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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

LED Strip Lighting Project–Part5

I wanted to install some LED lights outside on the decking. I figured out I could run two 5050 LED Controllers and LED strips from the one large 15amp LED Driver power supply, so I hooked up my second LED Controller / RF touch remote kit.

Testing the second LED Controller connected to the same 15A power supply


The LED strip in the kitchen and the one just outside on the deck won’t be in colour sync, however I wanted two LED Controllers and two RF touch remote controls, so I could independently control the kitchen or deck lights. As I didn’t want the outside lights on all the time if I just wanted the ones in the kitchen on.

I drilled a hole out in the corner behind the washing machine, through the external wall which I then fed through the cables to the outside.


I did actually buy a 2 amp LED driver power supply but I didn’t need it in the end, I will use this behind the kids wall mounted TV in their bedroom as they now want LED lights in their room, I just need to buy another IR remote control and LED controller, will probably buy the cheaper 24 key IR version.

2 Amp LED Driver Power Supply is allot smaller than I imagined it would be.


Larger 15A Power Supply left and the smaller 2A Power Supply right.


Patio window at the rear of the house / decking area.


The hole in the wall from the kitchen is just below the electric meter box on the left of the picture, this is where the LED strip starts and at the other end on the right the LED strip is just cut off to length.




The LED’s are much brighter than I imagined and light up the decking area well. I was going to add a second LED strip at the opposite side of the decking but I don’t think I will bother, one strip seems to be bright enough.


Not the best picture but its very Blue!


I added an ACT HomePro Z-WAVE appliance plug under the kitchen cupboards that plugs into the 15 amp LED Driver power supply, this will enable me to turn on and off the LED lights from the mControl Home Automation system rather than just being able to use the RF touch remotes, I will also now be able to set on/off timers and also to cut all power to the LED Driver power supply which I wouldn’t have been able to do other wise with the kick boards in place.


mControl MCML add-in for Windows Media Center with custom LED Lights device icon.
Back Garden – LED Lights – ON/OFF


Kitchen – LED Lights - ON/OFF


mControl for Internet Explorer


Well that’s it, once I’ve gotten the LEDs up and running behind the kids bedroom TV I think I will be all done on the LED lighting front, for now at least!

Next project? Maybe some bespoke Z-wave enabled motorized Somfy blackout roller blinds!


I replaced the IR LED controller with a Z-Wave Fibaro RGBW module, see here for more about that upgrade.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

LED Strip Lighting Project–Part4

In part 3 I used about 3 metres of 5050 LED strip in the kitchen, that left me with about 2 metres to create something for the back of the wall mounted HDTV in the living room.

With the length of LED strip I had left I measured and worked out the lengths of four pieces. You can cut these LED strips at the marked intervals.


As this was a waterproof LED strip I was working on, I had to slice back the silicone cover with a Stanley knife to reveal the four golden contact pins. The peg was used to keep the silicone cover held back out of the way. Using the LED cable I bought I had to use maybe 2 inch lengths of this cable that would join the 4 LED strips, this will become clearer in pictures further down the page.


Now I am not going to lie soldering these cables on was allot harder than I imagined, keeping in mind the LED strip is only 8MM wide and the contact pins are very close together, I’ve done quite a bit of soldering before but I am by no means an expert and my shaky hands don’t really help either. Ideally you need a keen eye and a steady hand for the job.

You should tin the ends of each cable first with solder and I found if I put a small blob of solder on each of the four contact pins on the LED strip first, when I came to attach the cable it was much easier. However the biggest problem as the contact pins are so close together, is ensuring that you do not bridge the gap between these contacts with your solder or wires etc.


This is the desired result joining two of the LED strips with our LED cable so we can create a right angle bend behind the TV.


You can buy right angled LED pieces off eBay like the ones shown below, but I can’t see how they would help? As you still need to solder them on?


I think its important to test each join you create before proceeding to the next one.


Here you can get an idea of how it might look when stuck behind the TV, once I had finished soldering I carefully attached some black electrical tape over the ends.


Here you can see the completed loom laid out on the kitchen floor.


Note there are only 3 corners that I joined using the LED cable, the last one top left is just cut off at the end and does not join back round to the start.


As this loom is going behind the TV I opted for an IR remote control and not RF. This is so I can program my Logitech Harmony universal remote control to control the LED lights, I will then not use the original 44 key LED remote control.

The LED controller is also allot smaller than it looks in the pictures on eBay when compared to the top off a bottle of Coke.


OK so now I am starting to attach the LED strip to the back of the TV, I forgot to mention in part 3 that these LED strips all have sticky 3M backing.



Completed installation.


On all these photographs and in the YouTube video there is a light halo, you don’t actually see this in real life and the pictures and video don’t really do it justice to how well it really looks.



Well that’s it for part 4. In part 5 I may cover programming and teaching your Logitech Harmony universal remote control to be able to control the LED lights instead of using the supplied IR remote control. Or I may look at my LED installation in the back garden, but I’ve not done that yet and its raining allot here in the UK so maybe a few weeks away.

Part 5 here.

LED Strip Lighting Project–Part3

The rest of my order arrived yesterday from China, no import tax or duties either as the seller I used ships from Hong Kong via Sweden to the UK.
I was keen to get started and install some of the LED lights in the house.


This is the LED Controller that comes with the RF touch colour wheel remote control.


RF touch colour wheel remote control, takes 3x AAA batteries, the reason I picked this particular RF remote over the other variation that is available on eBay is that this one has more lighting modes, 15 in total.


After testing the LED reels I was not happy with the 3528 indoor one it only seems to do Red,Green,Blue and not multi-colours or white, perhaps I didn’t read the specs. I did plan to use this 3528 reel in the kitchen and behind the TV in the living room, however decided not to use it and instead use one of the 5050 outdoor reels instead. Will probably resell the 3528 reel and buy another 5050 one.


Below is a picture of the four pin connector / cable that came with the LED Controller, this connects to the LED reel. Four cables, Blue,Green,Red and White which is V+

For the actual 12V power supply input I think you can wire in to the INPUT + and – sockets on the green connector block, however you can see top right I purchased a DC power jack connector instead.


COM / V+ on the LED driver power supply two cables.

The colours should have probably been COM = Black V+ = Red however I just used a bit of blue and brown cable from the inside of a 3 core electrical cable.


Which connect to the DC power jack connector which then plugs in to the LED controller unit.


Using a multi-meter to double check I am getting 12 Volts DC from the DC power jack connector.


First switch on!


Installing the 5050 reel under the kitchen kick boards


60 LEDs per metre


Here you can see under the kitchen cupboard which will be hidden by the kick board. I had to install a new double electric socket, this powers the LED Driver power supply unit, which I sat on a box in case my washing machine leaks which you can see is right next to it. The LED Controller unit can be seen fixed to the underneath of the cupboard. I will probably tidy this up and mount everything up out of the way.


To get round the right angle of the cupboards, I thought I would have to cut the LED strip and join with cables however the strip was flexible enough just to kink it and get round the right angle.


The finished installation



I mounted the RF remote control on the kitchen wall next to the under floor heating controller, using velcro. You can actually buy proper wall mounted colour wheel controllers that fit in to a backbox, but that's more money and more wiring.

That’s it for part 3 in part 4 I will look at creating a custom LED strip loom for behind the wall mounted HDTV in the living room. Get your soldering iron at the ready!

Part 4 here.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

LED Strip Lighting Project–Part2

My first LED Driver Power Supply unit turned up from China, only took 9 days to get to the UK which wasn’t bad.

DC 12V 15A 180W Switch Power Supply Driver Transformer For LED Strip Light 220V

The power supply is all you get, no cables no instructions. You can see there are terminals for Live, Neutral, Earth / Ground, there are 2x COM (Common or negative) and two +V which is the DC positive. There is also a +V adjustment screw, they are set to 12V DC as standard so you shouldn’t need to move this adjustment screw, I did test mine with a multi-meter to double check it was outputting 12V DC which it was.


There is also a 110 V / 220 V switch on the inside, mine was set to 220 V by default which is correct for the UK, if your in the US it would have to be set to 110V. It is very important you set this switch correctly before attempting to plug in to the mains supply or you will probably blow up the power supply unit.

You can’t really see on this photo but the 110 V / 220 V switch is located inside you can flick the switch with a thin screwdriver.


I just used some regular 3 core electrical flex cable and a 13amp plug


Here you can see the wiring for the AC mains input, UK colours:
brown = live
blue = neutral
yellow with green = earth / ground


There is a good American Youtube video here about wiring up your LED Driver Power Supply, they don’t seem to use Earth / Ground on the American videos I have watched.


This should be very obvious but do not connect the plug to the mains wall socket and then touch the exposed wires as you will electrocute yourself and believe me a 240V shock is not nice! I’ve had a few in the past when working on old computers that weren’t as safe as they are these days. Watch the Youtube video for more information.

Well that’s it for part 2 as this is the only component to arrive so far, more coming soon.

Part 3 here.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

LED Strip Lighting Project–Part1

I’ve been thinking about buying some LED Strip lights for some time now and I finally decided to order some kits from eBay. You might want to consider Aliexpress as well. Most sellers are located in Hong Kong / China which is where I ordered mine from. The extremely helpful seller I used was called kaistore168 and she was able to do me a customised order and I bought additional items not listed on her auctions at pretty cheap prices. I ordered my LED Driver PSU’s from this seller delhanway2009.

I plan to use the waterproof 5050 2x 5M reels outside in the back garden / deck (with a RF Touch Remote on the wall near the back door). I also bought a cheaper 5M 3528 non-waterproof kit for use in doors, where I am going to put some LED lighting under the kick boards in the kitchen (using the second RF Touch Remote) and also behind my wall mounted HDTV in the living room (with the IR 44 Key Remote). I bought the IR remote control version for the living room so I could use my Logitech Harmony 895 to control the LED back-lighting behind the TV and even add it in to activities etc.

Below are the items I purchased:

5050 5M SMD 300 Leds Waterproof RGB LED Strip+ RF Wireless Touch Remote Controller System + Additional 5M Reel

Additional RF Wireless Touching Remote Controller For LED RGB Strip 12V/24V RGB Controller

5M 3528 300 LEDs Non-Waterproof LED Strip Light+44 Keys IR Remote Controller

DC 12V 15A 180W Switch Power Supply Driver Transformer For LED Strip Light 220V

To drive the 10M LED’s in the back garden / deck. 15Amps is enough to drive 15M of 5050 Led strips so I have a bit of overhead.

DC 12V 2A 24W Switching Power Supply Driver For LED Strip Light 220V Transformer

To drive the 2.5M 3528 LED’s in the kitchen under the kick boards.

UK DC 12V 2A Switching Power Supply adapter 100-240V AC

For use behind my HDTV in the living room, to drive 2.5M of 3528 LED’s.

I also found a UK LED specialist that supplies the silicone end caps needed for joining strips (creating right angles) outside. This video here shows how to fit them. You can buy right angled pieces off eBay but I didn’t see the point if you can solder your own wires. This same supplier also has the RGB 4 Core cable here.

I saw a really good article that explained the difference between 5050 and 3528 LED’s but I can’t find it now, so will just link to a Google search. Basically the LED’s are different sizes, brightness and power consumption etc. One thing to watch out for is make sure you are getting 300 LED’s per 5M and not 150 LED’s, if something looks too cheap then its probably 150 Led’s only.
Well I have to wait 10 days or so for delivery, lets hope everything arrives or this is going to be a real short series of posts.

Part Two here