LED Lighting

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LED Lighting

by Hesei » Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:32 pm

Well, I'm stuck waiting on more LED tape an wires, so I thought I'd go ahead an post some pics of what I've been up to.
I have a giant-ass collection that takes up an obscene amount of space. So displaying it all can be a problem. One of the biggest issues has been lighting. If you have covered cabinets and shelves like I do, you really can't get a good look at your collection. My remedy up to this point has been the Dioder line of LED strips from Ikea. The problems with these are numerous.
  • Price: these things are expensive at $30 a set - $40 if you want another color (warm white). And my first run with these was when they were $10 higher!
  • Color: the basic Dioder set is a soft white LED. Think fluorescent lighting. This really just doesn't look great in my opinion. It brings out all the imperfections, in my opinion.
  • Capacity: the set comes with four LED bars, but the power supply can sustain six - I've been running them like this for years. But when compared to DIY alternatives, this is nothing. For about $40, I can get five times that, and have brighter lights.
The biggest pro, of course, is simplicity. Not everyone has a soldering iron, let alone knows how to use it. And for those folks, they'll find that Dioders are very versatile. But I was tired of the color, cost, and limited capacity, so now I've moved over to LED tape.

I use two different LED tapes at the moment. Both are adhesive on one side, so mounting is a very simple task.
My favorite is this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00710K0DE/
It's high-density and has a brilliant color! Though if you were hoping to use some of the clip-on strip connectors, you can forget it. They will not fit. Just suck it up and use solder.
The one used in the bookcases is this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QQ48TK
This is not one I would recommend. Sure it's cheap, but the light is soft and the LEDs are fairly wide-spread. That's not to say you will get spotting, but the result is noticeably different from the previous product. The adhesive on this one doesn't seem to be as great as the other, either. I had to supplement it with some hot glue in spots.

For power, I use two different supplies depending on the size of the array.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0034GUEY4
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003WOIVRU/

To wire it up, just get some 18 gauge speaker wire from Lowes or something. As long as it's flexible, you'll be good.

Now what about a switch? How can you control all these LEDs without any electrical work? Well that one's on you. You can use switched extension cords, radio-controlled devices like those sold at Staples and home improvement stores, or go high-tech.

I use Insteon devices. So, the power supplies are plugged into one of two devices: ApplianceLincs or OutletLincs. I already have SwitchLincs installed in some rooms, and also have a SmartLinc which allows me to control it all through my phone (or any web browser).
In my office, for instance, there are a total of four switches. One SwitchLinc (at the office doorway) controls all the lights in the room: the can lights overhead, can lights over the Heisei display, an ApplianceLinc for the entertainment center displays (EC furniture make for great collection displays), and another ApplianceLinc for underneath the Heisei Display (another EC piece). A second SwitchLink controls only the overhead cans, while a third handles all the display lighting. The last is a normal switch for the closet - boring. I can control all the Insteon devices through my phone via the SmartLinc, which also allows me to set scenes or activate devices based on the time of day (or even sunrise/sunset).


So, that's kinda it. Just wanted to share some of my experience on this. Hope it helps someone. I'll post more pics as I complete the displays. I hope you all will also post pics and share your knowledge. And I'll also try to answer any questions you might have.
Attachments

DSC_4731.jpg - (99.21 KiB) - Viewed 2857 times

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The nice LED strips. They are only placed on the insides of the doors, here.

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I tend to just use hot glue to secure the wire in a corner, out of sight.

DSC_4720.jpg - (37.9 KiB) - Viewed 2857 times

DSC_4720.jpg
As you can plainly see, not a whole lot of skill is required to solder these up... can't believe I actually used to do modchips.

DSC_4727.jpg - (25.87 KiB) - Viewed 2857 times

DSC_4727.jpg
I kinda made my own wire pairs before moving to speaker wire. I love making these!

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ApplianceLinc behind an extension cord. I don't think you're supposed to do that, but oh well.

lighted-shelves.jpg - (178.53 KiB) - Viewed 2857 times

lighted-shelves.jpg
Crappy phone pic from last night. This is the second type of LED I mentioned. Took these pics with the lights out, so you could get a better idea of their power.

lighted-shelves2.jpg - (89.35 KiB) - Viewed 2857 times

lighted-shelves2.jpg
I ran a line across the top of the shelves as well. It really helps, even with all the lights on.
The shelves have two lines run across in parallel (physically).
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Re: LED Lighting

by Crimson_Raptor » Sat Dec 29, 2012 5:30 am

That's really cool Hesei! I do have a small critique though: the lighting of open air shelves seem to be rather harsh from having lights above the figures. Have you considered make a faux front of the shelf and having the lights shine up and toward the front of the figures? This would similar to how you have the lights on the very top shelf.


I tried to create a reply post for this a while back, but that was when I had all those browser problems and ended up losing my reply. And since I don't remember what I was going to say, even after rereading it, I figured I'd type something new.
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Re: LED Lighting

by Hesei » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:27 pm

Valid point. And it shows up in this picture, clearly. But with the added light from the rest of the room. this isn't a problem. I took this shot with the lights out and with a camera phone just to be quick and to the point. Now that the LEDs are complete, I need to take a new picture and properly illustrate the displays.
In some of my other displays, the LEDs are on the front rim - on a door or inside the frame. This gives off a much fuller light than just overhead. But on these shelves, I can't manage that. The widest one in particular, since it was built to have no lip. These were originally built to house Showcase Cages, just perfectly. The set closes to the door has movable shelves, so that's out. I barely managed to keep them mobile with LEDs on the underside. The final "DVD" shelves just don't have a proper lip to use, or it would be too high to properly light anything.

However, with enough LEDs and the added room lighting, the figures show up very well. I will try to take pics again, soon. There's just always some other project taking up my spare time... and a lot of space.
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Re: LED Lighting

by Crimson_Raptor » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:32 am

Cool! I would like to see the update photos or simply with the lights on.
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Re: LED Lighting

by Crimson_Raptor » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:43 pm

What do you think of using fiber-optic lights like these, Hesei?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/370837397684

Now that I think about it, that may be better as a diorama set up, rather than for shelf lighting. Hmmm, well you could make a diorama within your shelf space. :razz:
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Re: LED Lighting

by Hesei » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:10 am

I'm trying to think of where I saw fiber optic used in a collection. ):D

It may not have been for Godzilla, but I think it's possible. Leds are just so much easier, though. Fiber would likely need a solid wire to direct them, or just leave them out as blast-lighting.

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