Saturday, August 04, 2012

LED Lighting

We are making an apartment above our garage and I have wanted to fiddle with LED lighting for a while.  I have a friend, Deryl, who used LED strip lights under his cabinets and they look great.  After a few discussions with him, I decided to try it out.  Deryl used 31k lights bought from Amazon and of course, since he is an engineer and I am way smarter then he, I decided to use the 27k lights because they are 400 warmer than Deryls.  However, after putting them all up my wife and best friend's first words were, "Why are they green?"
27k LED lights from Amazon.  Don't get these.
Tip #1.  Use the 31k lights.  I am actually buying some 31k and 50k lights and hoping to give them a try.  More on that later.
This is what comes in the package.  There is a connector at one end (I didn't recognize it) and two bare black/red wires on the other end.  There is also some 3M tape on the bottom of the lights.  I hooked it up right away and they all seemed to work.  I have read places where sometimes some of the lights are out.  Might want to check.

Here is where they are going.  We have some rafters across an open ceiling and I am going to stick the lights on top of the rafters.

So how do we power all this?  Where, this is where Deryl is the expert.  His job has something to do with extra PC power supplies, so he gave me the skinny on those.  All computer power supplies have several different voltages and one of them is 12v.  Now these lights use 12v and 2 amps a piece and I am installing 3 sets of them so I need around 6 amps.  I went over to the local junk pc shop (I don't know how they stay in business) and bought a 300w Antec power supply for $10.  The picture below shows all the extra wires cut off.  This power supply has a 17amp 12v rail so I have plenty of power.  I would look around the web to figure out the wiring.  Also, I did not know that you have to jump a wire on the big connector (You can see the paperclip below) to get the power supply to work. This actually caused me $10 to figure out as I went and bought a different power supply to replace this one and they guy filled me in on the missing info.  So now I have an extra power supply and complete information.  Good Trade...

So I climbed the ladder and stuck the lights to the top of the rafters and wired them up. Below is a shot of  wire nuts I used.

 Below is the power supply hooked up.  On this (and maybe all) power supplies, the black and yellow wires are the 12volt ones.  LEDs have a specific +/- so be careful there.  I also used 18 gauge speaker wire for the runs to the lights.  They were short:
Finally, here is the final product.

Final Thoughts.  They look great but are not bright enough. The lights I used were 300 for 16 meters, but you can get 600 for 16 meters.  I however can add another strand of lights which is what I will do.  I think they look great....


  1. Cool blog post. Make a night shot please :) it always gives best impression. Well done :). ppumkin from stack

  2. thanks. i wasnt sure about how to connect the computer PSU to the led.. i found this advice on "home improvment" and your comment got me here..

    If you wish the best result, make sure to put the led less than 10-15 cm from wall/ceiling aka reflecting surface to get that nice shade effect.

    now you can buy 5050 led (strongest led) 10 meter cost 16-20 Euro from Ebay :) thanks for your post

  3. Jafar,

    Thanks for the tip. I believe I have it a bit too close on one end and it looks a bit goofy...

  4. Can you give more detail on the wire connections..Did u remove the wire u didn't need ?...& how it it plug into an outlet ? Thanks

  5. Theresa,

    I did not remove the extra wires but left the connectors on the ones I was not using. Also, all power supplies use the same black (usually) cable to plug into the wall. It is the same thing that a PC tower uses. They come with it.

  6. can you post a clear picture of the two wires your are jumping with the paper clip or tell me the colors please

  7. join green and black next to it and it should be on