Author Topic: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]  (Read 3431 times)

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Offline samwisekoi

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DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« on: Sun, 06 April 2014, 12:11:13 »
Greetings!

For the past while I have been making my own LED strips for internal case lighting.  I like doing this because I can control color, brightness, length, LED type, and everything else.  I've made straight monochrome strips; I've made RGB multi-strips to enable 8-bit color lighting, and I've made quite a few bright white led strips to shine like spotlights on individual components in a PC build.

I use this wizard to calculate the resistors I need for various LEDs:
http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz

And Mouser.com to buy individual LEDs to my liking:
Horrible URL shortened by bit.ly:  http://bit.ly/1oEiaGj

And resistors:
Horrible URL shortened by bit.ly: http://bit.ly/1gzXq8P

However, I have been using protoyping board stock to make my LED strips, which has a number of drawbacks:
 - It is ugly.
 - it requires hard wiring and lots of checking and double-checking.
 - It is really hard to stick to a flat surface with double-sided tape.
 - I have to cut it to size, making a horrible smell when I do it with a Dremel.

So, since I think this is something I am going to continue to do, I designed a modular PCB for through-hole LED strips.  It is one-half-inch wide and 12 inches in total length, with one LED per inch.  It is designed to be subdivided easily into up to four 3" strips, so you can use it to make any length between 3" and 12".  It also is designed to daisy-chain easily, either with connectors or hard wiring.  And because it is in sub-strips of three LEDs, you can use it for Red, Blue or White LEDs just by changing the resistor value.

FYI, individual LEDs cost 15 cents each, and resistors cost 7 cents.  So a 12-LED strip would cost $2.08 in parts, and be as bright (or dim) as you like.

This is one sub-section of the PCB:
60177-0
Three LED Strip PCB by samwisekoi 2014.

Note that it is all-black with white lettering and proudly displays the geekhack.org site name.  It is also much smaller than shown.

The entire strip of four sub-sections looks like this:
60179-1
Four-segment, 12-LED Strip PCB by samwisekoi 2014.

You can cut the strip between any of the double-lines or connect them by soldering wires between the positive and negative connector pads.

I am going to make about 100 12" strips.,  They will cost under $3.00 for a strip of four, or $0.75 per three-inch sub-strip.  Including LEDs and resistors, a 12 LED strip would cost around $5 total, be any color you want, and give off up to 156,000mcd of light.

Because I use these regularly, and because the cost for a production run is optimized around 100 12" strips, I am going to have that many made.

if anyone would like some of these, reply here.  If anyone thinks interest would be greater than 100 12" strips total, suggest a Group Buy, and I'll consider it.

But for now, this is just a "Making Things Together" post with the opportunity for any geekhacker who wants to pick some up welcome as well.  (OCN and OC3D folks are also welcome, although this is a geekhack.org jam.)

I will take a post some photos of the strips in various configurations from my prototypes.

TL;DR If you'd like to be able to make your own LED strips, you can get some geekhack.org PCBs here.

 - Ron | samwisekoi

p.s.  These might be interesting to use as internal and side illumination in the various Acrylic keypad and keyboard cases being made now.
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline samwisekoi

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #1 on: Sun, 06 April 2014, 12:11:33 »
Status:

April 08, 2014
  • Order for 100 12"x0.5" PCBs (each containing four 3-LED sub-strips) has been placed.
  • No changes were made to the design, so version 140406c in White on Black was ordered.
  • Estimated cost per PCB was $2.84, and ETA is April 28, 2014.

April 25, 2014
  • PCBs have arrived and they look great!
  • Cut a few into 3, 6, and 9-LED sub-sections.
  • Made up a few working strips; all is well.
  • Shot some photos and posted them below.

 - Ron | samwisekoi
« Last Edit: Fri, 25 April 2014, 19:19:24 by samwisekoi »
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline jdcarpe

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #2 on: Sun, 06 April 2014, 12:27:26 »
I'll definitely be in for some of these. Thanks, Ron!
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Offline codyeatworld

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #3 on: Sun, 06 April 2014, 12:56:12 »
I'm interested.

Looking forward to the photos.

I think LZ did something like this.




Offline samwisekoi

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 06 April 2014, 20:12:19 »
I spent some time dinking with the layout and with some of my prototypes, and have made some (what I hope are) improvements in the design.  Unless anyone cares to comment on the design, I'll place the order as shown on approximately Tuesday 08-Apr-2014.  So feel free to comment, etc.

Improvements/updates:
 
  • Replaced schematic symbol of an LED with an actual outline to aid placing the LEDs.
  • Added a 0.150" mounting hole (one per 3-inch segment) to enable mounting with 6-32 or 3mm hardware.
  • Added a third "dummy" hole at each connector to enable use of polarized male fan connectors.
  • Made all the positive pads square and moved the plus and minus signs around to make it easier to figure out.

One sub-section (of four) of Rev. C of the LED strip.
60264-0
Revised three LED Strip PCB by samwisekoi 2014.

Picture above is straight from the layout application.  These colors are for ease of reading the circuit diagram.

The actual colors of the final PCB will be white lettering on a black background.

Please post a comment if you can think of anything to add/change/delete.

Happy trails!

 - Ron | samwisekoi

p.s.  @jdcarpe, if the race starts today, do you think you will send me boards before I send some to you?  Frankly, I hope you win.
« Last Edit: Sun, 06 April 2014, 20:14:00 by samwisekoi »
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #5 on: Sun, 06 April 2014, 20:56:18 »
Definitely interested in a few of these!

Offline samwisekoi

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 08 April 2014, 19:55:19 »
Order placed. See OP#2 for status.

 - Ron | samwisekoi
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline samwisekoi

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 25 April 2014, 19:41:44 »
LED Strips are in!  They look and work great!

62452-0
GeekHack LED Strip PCB by samwisekoi.

62454-1
One hundred strips are here now, more than a lifetime's worth!

62456-2
Crop them to 3, 6, 9, or 12-LED strips.

62458-3
Use polarized fan connectors.

62460-4
Or header connectors.

62462-5
And daisy-chain them together.

If you wanted to do it, you could even make each of the segments a different color without cutting them apart.

I've made some in red, bright white and soft white.  I'll post some images of them once I have them installed and powered up.

As I mentioned at the start of this thread, the most economical quantity to have made up was 100 strips, each with four 3-LED sub-strips.  I think for safety I need to tape five or more into a bundle for mailing so they don't get broken in transit.  Once I figure out how to mail a 1/2" by 12" item, I'll be happy to share with anyone who wants to reimburse me for the cost.  (Sort of a reverse group buy.)  I think a set of five strips will be around [edit] $25.00 $15.00 [/edit] plus postage.

Anyhow, these are here.  I've made some up, and will post pictures once I have them in systems.

 - Ron | samwisekoi

p.s.  This was partially a test of Pad2Pad.  After going through the entire process and looking at the results, I am 100% satisfied with Pad2Pad.

Edit: Corrected cost.
« Last Edit: Sat, 26 April 2014, 12:37:38 by samwisekoi »
I like keyboards and case modding.  Everything about a computer should be silent -- except the KEYBOARD!

'85 IBM F-122/Soarer Keyboard |  Leopold FC200 TKL (Browns) + GH36 Keypad (Browns/Greens) | GH-122 (Whites/Greens) with Nuclear Data Green keycaps in a Unicomp case

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 25 April 2014, 20:33:14 »
I would think so long as it was secured between two pieces of stiff cardboard you could send out safely. OR depending on if people wanted them broken apart you could make them smaller.

Did the PCB's end up costing more than the $2.84/PCB estimate?

Offline mkawa

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 01 May 2014, 23:12:51 »
quick tip on buying non-smt LEDs. just pick them up off ebay from HK sellers in bulk. they cost a few pennies each (less in total than just the shipping at mouser), and you can actually get a heck of a lot more variety in terms of color. photoelectric has not only found the elusive violet LED but also cyan and teal. SWEET!

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Offline Pacifist

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 01 May 2014, 23:17:41 »
quick tip on buying non-smt LEDs. just pick them up off ebay from HK sellers in bulk. they cost a few pennies each (less in total than just the shipping at mouser), and you can actually get a heck of a lot more variety in terms of color. photoelectric has not only found the elusive violet LED but also cyan and teal. SWEET!

links?!?!?!?!?

Offline vladthegreat

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Re: DIY LED Strips [Semi-IC/GB]
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 15 February 2015, 00:41:00 »
samwise while I have not dabbled to long in the PCB world of things. I was wondering if you could check your PM. I have an interest that you may be able to help direct me at least in the right direction.