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Author Topic: Getting a gentle glow from my LEDs  (Read 1805 times)
Giles de Sade
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« on: August 31, 2010, 01:34:06 pm »


Hi -

I'll try and explain what i'm trying to do, though my ability to form into words what's in my head normally leads to a page of babbling nonsense!  Roll Eyes

Right - I'm doing some clothing which will have some LEDs within it but I don't want them to shine like little points of light - I want to spread the light around so I get more of an overall 'glow' to an area.

Has anyone got any kind of thoughts or suggestions as to how I may be able to achieve this effect?

Thankyou my friends!

 Smiley
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Narsil
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2010, 01:45:01 pm »


Probably the best bet is to use use some sort of semi-transparent material to diffuse the light. Some simple solutions to try would be either dipping the LED in  a suitable solvent to 'frost' the plastic dome or applying  blob of hot melt glue.

Which LEDs you choose will also have a significant effect on the finished result the standard indicator LEDs aren't massively bright and will probably end up looking like points of light whatever you do as they don't have enough 'throw' to illuminate an area.

There are also high intensity LEDs available, teh brightest ones are 1W or higher output and are bright enough to be used singly in torches. They also come with a variety of spread patterns which might be useful to you.

http://www.luxeonstar.com/

Depending on the application cold cathode tubes might also be an option

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CM-006-GE&groupid=701&catid=1428&subcat=
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Oneiros
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Lord of Glancairn


« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2010, 06:33:52 pm »

Having out of boredom mostly gutted a Master Series Lightsabre, they used a medium desity styrophome type materal in the tube, and this is what defuses the light from 16 LED's into a solid blade effect.

If you therefore set the LED's behind a panel made from a strip of the 2-3mm think packing type styrofoam material/fabric (not too sure what it's actually called) and then covered it with that clear flexible plastic material stuff they make mobile phone cases from it should defuse quite nicely.
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What really matters is what you do with what you have. - H. G. Wells
Giles de Sade
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United Kingdom United Kingdom



« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2010, 10:16:29 am »

Oooh - yes - this is all sounding very positive. I've found some gutted LEDs in the shed and I'm in a child-like frenzy wishing the day away so I can get home and start experimenting with things..

Thank you for the help so far...
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DreamHazard
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2010, 11:12:09 am »

before adding a diffusing material, scuff up the surface of the LED with a bit of sandpaper or a file
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quatch
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2010, 08:53:37 pm »

sanding the face helps a lot, as does sawing off the top curved bit (a focusing lens which you don't want).

You could try a layer or two of waxed paper as a diffuser?
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Oneiros
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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2010, 09:01:54 pm »

If you do cut or sand, just make sure you don't cut or sand too much away.

If you expose the emitter, it's over.  Wink
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Otto Von Pifka
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2010, 05:42:12 am »

you can use EL wire or tape for what you need, the down side is the  inverter that powers the tape or wire has to be wired to the tape or wire using the supplied wires of a specific length.

some inverters are built with the battery pack built in which makes hiding it even harder. a separate pack can be wired much longer to hide the batteries easier.

I googled EL wire and found a place called glowhut.com. they seem to have a good piece for what you want to do, its a 5 foot long tape with an inverter battery pack for $18.

I have never ordered from them so caveat emptor.
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Dr. Corneilius
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2010, 12:29:19 am »

I dont know about led lights but with normal bulbs using a potentiometer is an easy way to raise the electrical resistance and get a softer glow like the dimmer switch in most homes.  they are pretty inexpensive and available at most electronics stores like radioshack ect.ect.ect.

plus, a stylish knob can be a great accent to your outfit.  can anyone confirm if this would work on a led light?

best of luck hope it helps
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Khem Caigan
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2010, 01:29:13 am »

you can use EL wire or tape for what you need, the down side is the  inverter that powers the tape or wire has to be wired to the tape or wire using the supplied wires of a specific length.

Or you can use EL fabric:

Electroluminescent Fabric
http://tinyurl.com/6lg5qc

SuperFlex EL Fabric Is Here
http://tinyurl.com/22udwb4

Sai Does An EL Fabric Demo
@SteampunkWorkshop
http://tinyurl.com/23v8ygy

Electroluminescent Fabric Displays
http://tinyurl.com/2boajp3
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~ Johannes Kepler, letter to Galileo Galilei, 1609.
Rooster
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2010, 10:00:30 am »

Take a look on Ebay for SMD LED tape as well. SMD LED's are more diffuse than the standard kind.
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C Pendulum-Tickworthy
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2010, 04:40:55 pm »

... using a potentiometer ...  can anyone confirm if this would work on a led light?


I can confirm that this would work in principle -but-
Ignore the coloured text if you want

A typical LED will require 20mA to run at full brightness, dropping about 2v in the process.
If you wish to run this from a 9v battery (a PP3, the little square job) then you need to lose the other 7v across a series resistor.
Ohm's law states that V=I*R, V=7v and I=20mA or 0.02A so R = V/I = 7/0.02 = 350R
To drop to 5mA for a dim glow, R=7/0.005 = 1400R = 1.4kOhms
You also need to consider power dissipation (this is energy wasted as heat by the resistor) in Watts
At 20mA the resistor dissipates P=V*I = 7*0.02 = 0.14W or 140mW
At 5mA this becomes 7*0.005 = 0.035W or 35mW

You will need a fixed resistor of 350 Ohms in series with a variable resistor of 1kOhms and rated for 150mW or more; all in series with the LED.
http://www.maplin.co.uk/module.aspx?moduleno=2205

All the above assumes a 9v battery - the values change if any other voltage is used!

HTH, from Cornelius to Dr. Corneilius Smiley
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D.M. Atlas
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DaveAtlas
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2010, 07:06:14 pm »

I like using High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) as a diffusion material.The best diffusion with the highest durability I have been able to find. plus it has a. The stuff is near indestructible. It also has low forming temperature (500*) so it is relatively simple to thermoform into various shaped diffusers.
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- D.M. Atlas
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