led strips

How-to Guide For Installing LED Strips Underneath Your Car

LED strips underneath your car?

Yes, there is such a thing.

Instead of going into the mechanics to get an accessories upgrade, why not do it yourself?

You save a few extra dollars. Not to mention, your car will look pretty sleek.

Not sure how to install the LED lights?

Don’t worry about it. We’re here to help you out.

Read on to learn how to install LED strips underneath your car – and, why you don’t need to shill out your hard-earned cash.

Color and Effect

First, you need to decide on the color and brightness level.

If you have just made the switch from regular lighting to LED, LED lights are not one and the same.

In fact, the incandescent and florescent (CFL) wattage is worlds apart from the LED wattage.

Most of the time, LED lights don’t even go by watts, but lumens.

So, you’ll want to look at a conversion chart if you have a specific wattage in mind.

What you need to know about color

Like with the watts, LED lights (and the LED strips) aren’t in the same colors as incandescent and CFL lighting.

In general, “warm white” and “soft white” are safe bets. These will be in the 3000 Kelvin (K) range.

However, for a car, you may want to go for a more vibrant and fun effect.

In that case, go towards the 5000 K) range for cool blues.

Or why not consider a light green or pink?  

No matter what color you end up buying, always make sure the packaging says “colored.”

Otherwise, you risk getting LED strips you may not like.

Adhesive or No Adhesive

A lot of the LED strips come with adhesive. The adhesive helps the lights stick to the underneath of your car.

However, some people aren’t a fan.

If you’re one of them, consider getting several zip ties instead. So, the ties will hold the lights in place.

Button Switch?

Like with the adhesive, some LED strips come with a button switch. Essentially, after installing the strips, you’d press the switch and the lights would go on.

Some people are a fan of these. Others aren’t.

Nonetheless, it’s best to decide on this before installation.

Test the LED Strips

It’s a bummer when you install your strips and, when you try to turn them on, they don’t work.

To prevent this from happening, test the strips out before installation.

That way, if they’re a bust you can return them. No biggie.

Don’t leave the batter terminal on

Before you install your LED strips, disconnect the negative battery terminal.

In case you don’t know, you have two terminals on your car battery: negative and positive.

You’ve probably come across them if you’ve needed to jump-start your car.

Anyways, turn that bad boy off.

This ensures there’s no unexpected “surprises” when you install the strips.

(On that note, you’ll also want to turn off your engine as well.)

Check the underneath of the car

You’re going to want to plan where you install the LED strips.

Not doing this means more time spent squished underneath your car. Not comfortable.

To bypass this, look for secure ridges to lay the LED lights.

Normally, this is the perimeter. Or, in other words, the frame or fenders of the car.

If you have a truck, you can attach the LED lights to the edges of the bed.  

You’re also going to want to choose a spot for the module box.

The module box is where the wired from the LED strips connect to.

Note that you’ll want a spot AWAY from the engine and radiator.

This would cause considerable heat damage. That would mean more time and money for you.

Clean the Surface

Clean the underneath of your car. This especially applies to where you’re going to install the strips.

You don’t need specialized car cleaner to do this. Some warm water, soap, and a few rags will do.

Not doing this could affect the adhesive. You’d risk the LED strips disconnecting from the adhesive.

Not to mention, the grime could affect the aesthetic impact.

Play it safe and clean it.

Install the strips

Once the underneath is dried, it’s time to install the strips.

Lay the strips where you want them. Since this is the underneath of your car and because of gravity, you’ll want to attach the lights with zip ties as you do this.

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to use one zip tie for every 12 inches of lighting.

After doing this you can add the adhesive.

For double support, you may want to keep the zip ties in place.

This is recommended.

If not, cut the zip ties off. Be careful to not bother the adhesive too much. You don’t want to affect the support.

Or, if you don’t have adhesive, you’re done after attaching the zip ties.

Route the wires

You’re going to need to route the wires. Doing this will allow the lights to turn on.

It’s best to route them to the module box, located in the engine bay.

After that, you’re done!

Questions and Concerns

After installation, there’s very little maintenance. Generally, LED lights last 30,000 to 50,000 hours.

So, if you wanted to leave the strips on during your commute. And your commute is 2 hours each way. That’s 7,500 to 12,500 hours before you’ll have to switch the lights out. So, 312.5 to 520.8 days.

Unfortunately, when the LED lights do go out, you may need to switch out the strips for new ones.

The good news though is that, by now, you’re a pro at this!

Besides that, periodically check the underneath of your car for any broken zip ties. If you do find one, replace it.

Also, for the best aesthetic effects, keep the underneath of your car clean.

This will deter grime buildup smudging the lights.

For more questions and concerns about LED strips, contact us. We’re happy to help! Also, you may find your answer in another one of our blogs!

led strips

Why You Should Install LED Strips in Your Drawers

At some point in most of our lives, we have fumbled around in the dark, searching for an item, only to cause more commotion than if we would have just turned on the light.

However, we try to be courteous of our kids, significant others, parents, etc. to not switch on a light and disrupt their valuable sleep. After all, who likes to be woken up? We sure don’t!

If this sounds like you, and you wish for less fumbling around, you should consider investing in LED strips for your drawers and cabinets.

LED strips can be easily installed into the inner lining of your furniture to give you that little bit of brightness you need without having to light the entire room.

Your partner will thank you for making less racket and you will get to spend less time whisking through those hard-to-see areas. Sounds like a win-win!

Read below to learn why you should invest in LED strips as a source of lighting in your drawers and cabinets.

LED Strips Are Affordable

LED strips are usually relatively inexpensive especially when compared to other forms of lighting. Also, they have a much longer bulb life, meaning you will need to spend less replacing bulbs over time.

Pricing is based on several different aspects of LED strips. The biggest difference and determinant you will in varying costs is footage and voltage.

Knowing how much power and how long of a strip you need will help you gauge which LED strips you should purchase.

LED lights also require much less energy than other bulbs. You probably didn’t know you would be getting tips on how to cut back on that electricity bill, did ya?!

Consider these statistics:

  • On average, using a Incandescent bulb to light a room for 12 hours a day for 40 days, you will spend $10.00.
  • If you were to switch to LED bulbs and use the same amount of power, for the same amount of time, you would spend $0.27 instead on your electricity bill.

Also, over time, you will spend a considerably less amount of money replacing LED bulbs as they have a much longer bulb life than other incandescent bulbs.

LED Lighting Is Safer Than Other Forms of Electricity

If you have children who – how should I say this?- tend to get a little meddlesome through the kitchen cabinets or your personal drawers, LED strips are still great as they will not affect the child’s safety.

LED lights are much more efficient in transforming energy to light, as opposed to traditional bulbs that pick up much larger heat waves. Since LED bulbs emit significantly less heat, they are not as dangerous to touch.

While it is still not advised to directly touch the bulbs when they are turned on, doing so will not result in injury as it could with traditional bulbs.

Most of our drawers and cabinets are fairly confined spaces so you may not have a lot of room to fumble and peruse through. Yet, if you accidentally bump into the strip, you will not have to worry about you or your child getting burned.

LED lights are made from various semiconductor materials, instead of glass, so they are less prone to breakage as well. If you or your child can be a little clutzy, you will not have to worry about injury from breaking the LED strips.

LED Strips Are Easy to Install and Are Interchangeable

Many LED strips are backed with adhesive sticky tape, so you are able to easily place your light fixture wherever is convenient for you. The tape would have no problem being hung from a drawer or cabinet within your home.

However, if your strip lights do not have double tape, that’s no problem at all. Manually installing LED lights into a drawer or cabinet is quite simple.

You will need to purchase additional accessories for your strips. You can use a mounting track, mounting clip, and other holders.

One of our favorite features of LED strips is their versatility

They can be customized and tailored to fit so many different needs.

Perhaps you check on your children at the end of the night after they have laid down. However, once you finally get them to fall asleep, do you want to risk waking them up to begin the process all over again?

Avoid this by installing LED strips underneath your child’s bed. Strips can be customized so they are motion sensored, so you will be able to have the lighting you need by simply walking to the bed.

How many of us have had this scenario happen?:

After hitting that snooze button for nearly 30 minutes, 7 a.m. finally rolls around and it’s time to get out of bed.

Even though you had a half hour to rise out of bed and start your morning ritual, you knew you could squeeze that extra few minutes of sleep. Yet, even though you may be up and moving about, you are still not fully awake.

The last thing you want to do is flip on that bedroom switch so you can rummage through your wardrobe.

Ease into the morning light by installing LED strips into your closet so you can find that perfect outfit without that first morning shock of brightness.

Where Do You Purchase LED Strips?

Not to toot our own horn, but we make some pretty awesome LED strips.

We offer both 12V and 120V strips, that have a bulb life up to 50,000 hours. That’s almost 300 weeks straight of less fumbling, less cranky significant others, and less restless children.

Aside from being cost and energy efficient, easy to install, and safer to have in the home, LED strips are also great for home decorating and fun projects with the children.

Have you done any awesome custom lighting projects? Share below or here so we can show you off on our page!

Any tips, questions, comments, and concerns- drop a comment below!

led rope lights

Using a Motion Sensor with Your LED Rope Lights

Perhaps you’ve had your LED rope lights for a while. You love that they’re brighter, conserve more energy, and are safer to have in the house.

However, as with all lighting fixtures, proper placement of your lights can be tricky.

We offer one easy, hassle-free solution to finding the perfect spot for your LED rope lights: motion sensors.

Combining a motion sensor with LED lighting offers many benefits. The items needed to assemble are affordable and easy to find.

You may be thinking, “But wait, I am not very tech savvy.” If that’s on your mind, this post is for you!

We have broken down exactly what you need to purchase. And we’ve outlined the steps you need to take so you can have rockin’ LED rope lights that turn on whenever you enter the room.

Read below to learn how to use a motion sensor with your LED rope lights.

Uses of Motion Sensors Paired with LED Rope Lights

These sensors can make a lot of your day-to-day activities much easier. You won’t have to worry about tripping in the dark before you reach the switch or wasting battery and energy on a lamp.

Apply beneath a bed frame or dresser to avoid turning on a light when your partner is sleeping. Instead of accidentally waking your children up when you check on them, your LED rope light can brighten the room without the disturbance.

Another great use of pairing motion sensors to LED rope lights is underneath and inside cabinets and pantries. Avoid fumbling around and knocking over items in dark areas with your movable light fixture.

There are dozens of ways your lights and motion sensor can be used. Consider placing a string on the outer lining of your tent during a camping trip or even the inside frame of your vehicle’s trunk.

How to Apply Motion Sensors to LED Rope Lights

The application process is simple. You will need four items: a Passive Infrared Motion Sensor (PIR), LED rope lights, power supply from a suitable battery pack, and adhesive double-stick tape (if not already apart of your LED rope lights).

Determine what battery type the motion sensor requires. Commonly, PIR’s require battery packs which are batteries inside a plastic casing.

Your source of power, presumably the battery pack, should have two wires attached that connect to the motion sensor.

Your LED runs through a microcontroller which will identify when the switch is turned ‘On’ or ‘Off’. Manipulate the microcontroller to wire the motion sensor.

Open the controller and locate the integrated circuit attached to the power rails. The circuits will need to be disconnected. Attach your motion sensor/battery pack wires instead.

Before attaching the battery pack to the circuit power board, solder the wires so they’re able to insert and remain in place. Cut the wires to 3 inches.

Attach your wires to the proper circuits.

In some instances depending on your PIR, you may need to reprogram the microcontroller to perform the desired functions.  

After attaching the power source to the motion sensor, mount these items to the LED rope lights. Use an adhesive.

Remove the adhesive backing and attach the battery pack to the LED rope lights. Place the motion sensor and battery pack wherever is most convenient.

After attaching, mount the motion sensor to the wall and the LED rope lights. We would recommend determining where you want to place your LED lights before attaching the motion sensor so you can get a better feel for where you’d like it to go.

Depending on the battery pack it may last up to 100,000 hours.

What will you use your LED rope lights for?

If you need more inspiration check out our blog where you’ll find some great suggestions including decorating for the holidays, lighting up your backyard, and designing your man cave.

What suggestions do you have for assembling LED light fixtures so they can work in junction with motion sensors? Have you put together an awesome space thanks to LED rope lights? Comment and share below!

Also, we love to see how our LED lights are being put to use. If you have a custom lighting project that involves Birddog LED lights, submit it to us here so you can show off your project.

Using LED Light Strips Behind Your Television

We all do a few things around the house to make sure that our things stay in good shape.

You do things to maintain your furniture and electronics, but what are you doing to help out your TV?

Installing LED light strips may benefit your vision.

Confused about how a few light strips can benefit your TV and eyes?  Read on to learn more.

The screen light problem

Before talk about LED light strips and your TV, we need to give you a little bit of context.

Whenever you look at something your pupil needs to dilate to regulate the amount of light entering the eye.

Many people believe that pupil dilation is determined on light alone, but that’s a common misconception.

We live in a world that’s dominated by screens. The TVs, smartphones, and computers we look at could have unintended effects on our vision.

When we look at a bright TV screen, our eyes are essentially focusing on an extremely bright light that’s floating in a very dim surrounding area.  

Our brains perceive that the screen is bright in relation to our surrounding environment, but our eyes still attempt to adjust based on the overall brightness of the entire area.

Because of this, it’s easy for eyes to become fatigued when watching TV.

Eye strain can be a real issue for people. In extreme cases, people may even get slight headaches or migraines.

Some people may try to combat this issue by leaving on lights in their TV room, but this can create its own unique set of problems.

Most rooms have ceiling, floor, and table lamps. Many are located either above or in front of the TV screen, some are located at around the same height of the viewer’s head.

When you turn on lights to keep the room bright you do solve the issue of having a bright screen in a dim room, but you don’t solve the eye strain problem.

Lighting that’s to the side or behind the viewer will project light on the viewing surface. This can cause image glare and decrease contrast.

LED light strips and bias lighting

Bias lighting is the term for any kind of ambient light that can be placed behind a screen.  It can solve the problems associated with light and eye strain and even makes watching TV more pleasurable.

One of the things bias lighting can improve upon are colors and contrast.

The grays and blacks on your TV screens will look richer and the contrast will seem more powerful.

If you feel like you’re spending time adjusting your TV’s brightness and contrast settings, the problem may not be the TV. It could be your room lighting.  

Adjusting the TV repetitively may harm the picture quality or wear out the backlight.  LED light strips help your picture problems.

Solving the light problem

Some people will spend hundreds of dollars to solve their lighting problems. If you want you could get an expensive lighting system that’s designed to provide bias lighting.

Or you could spend a couple of dollars on a simple DIY project with LED light strips.

You don’t need to be an electrician or an AV expert to install bias lighting behind your TV.  If you follow these tips you’ll solve your light problem in a matter of minutes.

led light strips

Get the right equipment

You don’t need much for this DIY project, but there are a few essentials:

  • Flexible LED light strips
  • Painters or masking tape
  • Tape measurer

 

Measure accurately

You don’t want to put your lights in the wrong place when you’re ready to install.

Use tape to outline your TV before you remove it to install the lights. You don’t want lighting elements to be exposed, and the lights need to fit inside of the square frame.

Consider placement

If you do a search for DIY TV backlighting, you’re going to find scores of videos.

Some people place LED light strips on the wall behind their TVs, others will do it directly on the TV.

This placement depends on your preference. Since our lights are easy to place, you could do it any way you choose!

Think about decor

The right LED light strips gives you freedom.

Some choose to hide their bias lighting, but others may choose to make it a part of their decor scheme.

A soft white hue may be the perfect lighting choice.

Want to get creative? Pick your favorite color led lights.

Your turn

Have any questions about how bias lighting could improve your TV viewing experience?  

Contact us.

led light bulbs

Do LED Light Bulbs Attract Fewer Insects?

In a contest for the best energy-saving light source, LED light bulbs would certainly steal the spotlight. Thanks to their energy efficiency, longevity, quality of light, and wide range of applications, LEDs are set to become the future of the light bulb.

However, beyond whether or not LED lights will save you energy, there’s another question many people want answered: Do LED light bulbs attract fewer insects?

Nobody likes to have bugs swarming around their lighting. This is not only annoying, but can also leave a big mess for you to clean up if the insects get inside the light fixture.

What is even more concerning to many people is the danger of being exposed to diseases by the insects attracted to their light bulbs.

In fact, every year over one million people die from mosquito-borne diseases.  

Maybe that’s why many people are looking to LED light bulbs to solve their insect problems.

A quick Google query reveals that many people have asked whether LED light bulbs attract fewer insects. Recent research suggests that LED lighting attract significantly fewer insects than regular bulbs.

All these conflicting opinions can be confusing.

Allow us to shed some light on the matter!

What Science Has to Say about LED Light Bulbs and Insects

In a study conducted in England, researchers compared the number of flies that visited 18 sites where they had set up either LEDs, CFLs, or traditional incandescent lights.

The study found 80% percent of the flies that visited the test sites went straight to the regular incandescent bulbs. But get this — only 2-3% of the flies visited the LED bulbs.

Crazy, right?

Based on these results, the answer to the question “Do LED light bulbs attract fewer insects?” is a resounding yes.

And when you think about what draws insects to light in the first place, it’s not surprising that LED lights don’t attract as many insects as regular bulbs.

Insects swarm around light fixtures because they are attracted to the light bulb’s warmth and the wavelength, or color, of light. Because LED lights are designed differently, most insects prefer other light sources to LEDs.

LEDs don’t produce as much heat as traditional light bulbs.

LED bulbs release very little heat. In fact, LEDs only get up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s really quite cool in comparison to CFLs and incandescent light bulbs, which can get between 167 and 327 degrees.

The reason why traditional bulbs give off so much more heat has to do with the way they generate light. Incandescent bulbs produce light by running electric current through a filament that’s made of tungsten.

During this process, more energy is released in the form of heat than in the form of visible light. In fact, only 10% of the light that incandescent bulbs produce actually falls in the visible spectrum. So that means that 90% of the energy is being released as heat.

Since LEDs use a diode rather than a filament. So they’re using more energy to generate light than is being released as heat.

The first generation of LED light bulbs only produced infrared light, which isn’t visible to the human eye. But since, scientists have engineered visible light-emitting diodes, or VLEDs. That’s one reason why LED light bulbs and LED TVs have been gaining attention in recent years.  

With warmer options like CFLs and incandescent lights, it’s no wonder that heat-seeking insects like mosquitoes and cockroaches tend to prefer these sources rather than LEDs.

Here’s another reason why insects prefer incandescent and CFL bulbs to LEDs.

Scientists are developing LED light bulbs with colors that insects aren’t attracted to.  

Researchers have shown that most insects prefer colors on the blue side of the spectrum. In fact, one study suggests that 60-70% of insects prefer blue, violet, and ultraviolet light wavelengths.

When LED light bulbs first started hitting the market, they were made to emit mostly blue wavelengths. So even though LEDs didn’t give off as much heat, they still could still attract some insects based on their preference for blue and UV lights.

However, more recently, LEDs are being customized to emit wavelengths that aren’t as attractive to bugs. In fact, one design that was tested in 2015 showed that 20% fewer insects were drawn to the LEDs that had been designed to block blue lights.

When you combine this customization with the fact that LEDs already don’t emit much UV light, you’ve got a light source that most insects won’t want anything to do with.

The Verdict on LED Light Bulbs

The answer to the buzzing question “Do LED light bulbs attract fewer insects?” we say, definitely!

The low heat emitted is enough to keep most bugs from swarming around LED lights. On top of that, with the new developments in LED light bulb colors, LED light sources are set to become the least attractive bulbs out there.

So besides being a green energy source, LEDs are also much less likely to draw disease-carrying insects onto your porch or into your house. Say goodbye to pesky mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, and moths!

You have plenty of options when it comes to light sources, but it’s clear that LED light bulbs are your best bet for preventing insects from entering your home. Given all the benefits of LEDs, it’s more than likely that these awesome light bulbs will take center stage in the coming years.

If you have any more questions about LED light bulbs, be sure to check out our LED and Incandescent FAQ page. Please feel free to contact us! We’re happy to talk with you on the phone or on our live chat.

led light fixtures

7 Things to Avoid When Making the Switch to LED Light Fixtures

So, you’ve decided to make the switch.

Hello LED light fixtures and bulbs. Goodbye fluorescent and incandescent lights.

You can save a ton on energy consumption with LED lights, but there’s some things to keep in mind when making the switch.

LED is a different breed of lights compared to its energy-wasting cousins.

Initially, you’re going to have to pay more attention to the packaging in order to get the LED light bulbs you want.

This applies to LED light fixtures as well.

Read on to learn what the differences are.

And what you can do to ensure you’re in love with your LED purchase(s).

 

It’s all about the color

Ok, let’s get this straight.

You can’t walk into a home goods store and pick the first LED box off the rack.

You’re going to need to pay attention to some features.

With LED lights (for LED light fixtures), there’s a bunch of colors.

These range from “warm white” and “soft white” to blue, even pink LED lights.

You could go with  “bright white,” this color mimics daylight and department stores.

If you’re not a fan and want to opt for something else, choose another color within the 3000K-5000K (Kelvin) range.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want an interesting color for your home or business, why not go more towards the 5000K range. Here you’ll find the cool blues.

To buy or not to buy: cheap versus expensive LED lights

Like with most products, you get what you pay for.

LED light fixtures and bulbs are no exception.

While manufacturers may boast of saving you a lot of energy (aka money), that’s not always the case.

Especially in regards to price, the more expensive the LED light fixture or bulb, the better the quality.

This all depends on your price point and what you want out of your LED light fixtures and bulbs.

Ugh, the expensive price

We alluded to this in our prior point. But, yes, LED lighting is initially more expensive than fluorescent and incandescent lighting.

Your average LED light will run around $20 to $35 US dollars.

The fluorescent lighting is usually around $3.95 per bulb.

And the incandescent bulbs cost roughly $1.25 a piece.

In the short term, you may have a deficit of $16.05-$31.05 compared to fluorescent bulbs. And a difference of $18.75-$33.75 with incandescent lights.

Trust me, you’ll get your money back (and then some) in the long run.

Because LED lighting wastes less power and uses less energy.

This means you’ll save roughly $10 every year on your electricity bill. Add that up and it comes out to $50 every 5 years. $50 you’re not throwing away in the trash.

Enjoy your new, lower electricity bill!

 

May need one of those LED light fixtures

So, you’re thinking you’ll install the LED lights in your incandescent fixture.

Easy peezy.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

LED lights have a different shape than their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts.

So, while you may be stoked about the money you’ll be saving by not buying one of those LED light fixtures.

Hate to break it to you, but it’s worth the splurge.

Not to mention, there’s more to it than bulb shape.

LED fixtures have specific heat sinks that absorb the heat the LED lights emit. Then disperses that heat in the air.  

 

Take a look at your space

And on that heating note…

Since the LED heat sink (in the LED fixture) disperses that heat into the air, you’re going to have to evaluate your space.

So, your best bet is to stick with open space. You won’t get hot. Plus, it’s more room to enjoy your LED fixture and lights.

 

One word for you: lumens

Remember when we said LED is a different light breed than its fluorescent and incandescent cousins?

Well, here’s why.

Watts, kilowatt-hours, joules… These energy units can get pretty confusing.

A lot of us may think a watt is the total energy output of a light.

Not quite.

It actually refers to the amount of energy the light draws in.

On top of that, LED watts are not the same as incandescent and fluorescent watts.

When it comes to LED light fixtures and lights, it’s all about the lumens.

This is because the number of LED watts doesn’t translate to the levels of brightness, like it does with incandescent lights.

So, if you really want lights on your LED light fixture to be as bright as say a 100-watt incandescent light, look for 1600lm (lumens) on the packaging.

 

Dimness of LED lights

While we’ve come a long way from Thomas Edison inventing the first incandescent light bulb in 1879, we’ve got a ways to go.

Unfortunately, manufacturers still haven’t found a way to fit the LED light with the old dimmers.

In other words, your old dimmer won’t work.

If you do want a dimmer, you may have to buy an LED-compatible one.

 

Bonus: Less hassle

The truth is, you’re going to have to buy more when you make the switch from regular lighting to LED: light fixture, lighting, and LED-compatible dimmer.

But, in the long run, you’ll change the light fewer times.

A single LED bulb lasts up to 50,000 hours.

If you had your lights on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you’d only need to switch it out approximately every 5.7 years.

Compared to the fluorescent (5 bulb changes) and incandescent bulbs (42 bulb changes), that’s quite a figure.

And, on top of that, you’ll be leaving less of a carbon footprint.

So, more money in your bank. And more environmental friendliness.

Ready to make the switch?

Contact us for more information about LED light fixtures. We’re happy to assist you!

And also, be sure to check out our blog for additional LED information.  

How to Turn Old CDs into DIY LED Lights

If you love DIY projects, it’s safe to assume that your house is full of do it yourself decor.

If you can knit it, sew it, paint it, or assemble it you’ll do it without any hesitation. There are theories about why people enjoy DIY work, but all you know is that you love doing it.  

The walls of your home are covered in unique paintings and pictures. Your accent walls always catch the eye of visitors, and people can’t help but describe your style as eclectic.  

You may think you’ve reached the end of your DIY decor journey. But there’s a simple project you can DIY that’s often overlooked.

Why you need DIY LED Lights

Lighting can change the entire mood of a room, and it plays an integral part in home decor.

If you’re tired of traditional lamps and lighting methods, it may be time to explore LED options.

LED lights are the future.  They’re sturdier, last longer, and they’re much more environmentally friendly.  

If you’re new to LED lights, we have the ultimate DIY project for you.  It’s fun, easy to do, and doesn’t require any tools. In fact, you probably have most of the materials you need lying around your house.

CD LED lamps

Want a DIY project that can get rid of house clutter and give you DIY LED lights?  Then you need to craft a CD LED lamp.  

Do you have a lot of old CDs lying around the house?  

Blank CDs or DVDs you don’t plan on using, even scratched and well-worn favorites would be ideal for a DIY LED lamp.

These DIY LED lights let you stretch your creative muscles and make an environmentally-friendly piece of home decor.  

All you need to make the project are LED rope lights, some sturdy electrical wire (or strong rope), and a bunch of old CDs and DVDs.  

There are two ways to do this project: You could make a standing desk or table lamp, or a hanging lamp. Let’s start off with the simplest project, the desk lamp.

Standing desk/table lamp

When you make your standing lamp, you’re going to start off with the base.

Take your electrical wire and bend the bottom into a circle.  Be sure to make it wide, you want it to support the weight of the CDs.  

When you’re finished with the base you should have a nearly complete circle with a long line of wire sticking straight up.

Now that you have your base, we can start adding the lighting elements and CDs.  

Align the LED light strip with the piece of wire that’s sticking up.  Once they’re next to each other, you can start stacking your CDs.

You can make the stack as big as you want, just make sure that you have enough LED light to illuminate them!  Also make sure to leave an inch or two of wire poking out of the top when you’re finished.

After you’ve reached the top of your LED light, it’s time to secure the CDs. Twist the leftover wire at the top, and you’re done!  

Now that you’ve mastered the standing lamp, let’s try the…

Hanging lamp

The process for this is similar to the other lamp, but you’ll need some different tools. You’ll still need CDs and a LED light rope, but you’ll also need some sturdy rope and a hook to hang it on once it’s done.

Take your rope and tie a large knot at the end of it. Make sure to tie it big and tight, that’ll be what keeps the CDs and the light rope in place.

Once you’re sure your knot is ready and strong, start slipping your CDs down the rope.

Instead of inserting the light at the beginning, you’re going to slip it in the CDs holes when you’re done stacking.  

Once you’re done, tie another knot at the other end of the rope so it can hang from your hook.  Then you’re done!

Since the rope is a bit more prominent than the wire in the standing lamp, you may want to consider a nice looking rope for this project. You could even dye your own.  

Display your new lamp!

The standing lamp and the hanging lamp are the perfect way to show off DIY LED lights.   They’re also one of the best DIY projects for people of any age. As you can see it’s very simple to do.

Now that you have a beautiful new lamp, you may be thinking of how you should display it.  When you’re thinking of where to put your newest DIY project, make sure you keep these tips in mind.

  • If you made a desk lamp and plan on using it for reading, be sure to put the lamp alongside your shoulder.  The top of the lamp should be even with the top of your head for maximum reading light.  
  • These lamps are great for decorative purposes, but not ideal for intense lighting.   
  • Hang your DIY LED lights near the TV or a different attention grabbing decor piece. Wherever you place it, make sure it’s somewhere that will catch the eye.
  • When you hang lamps make sure that they’re high enough up, it’s easy to make the mistake of hanging a lamp too low. These DIY LED lights can take up a lot of space when they’re hanging. If your hanging lamp is more than a foot long, you may not want to put it in the middle of your room.

What other easy DIY projects do you like to do?  Do you have tips for finding the perfect amount of room lighting? Tell us about it in our comments section!

led fixtures

Top 5 Myths About LED Fixtures Exposed

So, you’re thinking about installing a light fixture in your home or business. What do you buy?

You’ve heard a lot about LED fixtures, good and bad.

To be honest, you don’t know if they’re a good fixture option or not.

Can’t you just buy a regular light fixture?

The truth is, it’s not uncommon to hear these statements about LED fixtures.

The LED industry is still a new one, compared to when Thomas Edison first invented the incandescent light bulb in 1879.

To debunk some of these common myths, we’ve created this article about LED fixtures.

You’ll learn about electrical heat output, savings, and much more.

It’s a marketing ploy to make you purchase a more expensive fixture

Yes, LED lighting is generally more expensive in the short term. However, in the long run you end up saving more on your electricity bill. Plus they last much longer.

The truth is, a $20 LED bulb can shave around $10 off of your electricity bill per year.

Not to mention, LED lighting is roughly 15% more efficient than fluorescent lights. And they’re about six times more effective than incandescent lights.

More energy goes into the heat output of fluorescent and incandescent lighting than LED lighting, which causes a majority of that wasted light energy.

Since LED fixtures are designed to support LED lighting, you won’t have to worry about hefty long-term costs…or awkward installments and those annoying buzzing sounds.

LED fixtures are a trend and will fade out in a couple of years

New (and old) inventions do at times go out of fashion. Last year’s trends aren’t this year’s anymore.

However, the LED industry is not one of them.

Think of this industry as the hybrid car industry of lighting.

A hybrid car is an energy efficient car designed to waste less gas.

The same goes for LED lighting in respect to wasting less electrical energy.

Updating and improving inventions don’t go out of fashion. The improvements keep coming.

In any case, the LED lighting industry will only improve their LED bulbs and fixtures, making them as energy efficient as possible.

In fact, estimates project the LED market to continue to grow, having an 84% of luminaire-hour sales by 2030.

With this type of growth, you can expect the LED industry (LED fixtures and bulbs included) to stick around.

Since LED lighting outputs less heat, feel free to touch and tinker with these fixtures

This goes for any type of fixtures in general: don’t touch it.

It’s true that LED lighting is cooler than fluorescent and incandescent lighting.

Surprisingly enough, incandescent bulbs only produce roughly 10% of electrical output. The rest turns into heat. That’s a lot of heat (ouch!).

With this type of output, do not touch incandescent bulbs or the fixtures that support them.

This doesn’t mean though that you should be poking around with the LED lighting.

Like other kinds of lighting, the LED fixtures do require a heat sink.

In case you don’t know, heat sinks absorb the heat produced by the lighting.

Even though the LED fixtures may have the most up-to-date heat sink technology, it’s still not recommended to touch the fixture.

Assuming you’re the professional

While you shouldn’t tamper with the LED lighting because of the heat sink, don’t try to fix it if there’s a problem with it.

Always call a professional.

Tampering with it puts you and, if you work in an office setting, your co-workers’ safety at risk.

Not to mention, you risk adding more labor cost if you don’t fix the LED fixture correctly.

So, don’t sweat it. Let a professional handle it.

It’s just too expensive; I can’t afford it

We touched on this earlier, but let’s explain more about LED cost.

Yes, short-term wise, you will be paying a higher initial cost.

But in the long run, you will be saving more.

Throughout the world, $100 billion US dollars are spent on light bulbs and fixtures per year. And, on top of that, $600 billion for the power.

The United States alone spends 23% in electricity. Dividing this percentage up, that’s 18% for bulbs and 4% to 5% for the air conditioners that decrease the heat produced by the bulbs.

That being said, we mentioned that LED lighting outputs less heat, hence less power waste.

How long each bulb lasts?

The compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) lasts for 10,000 hours. The incandescent light, 1,200 hours. And the LED light bulb, roughly 25,000-50,000 hours.

That means in 50,000 hours (approximately 2,083.33 days or 5.71 years) you’re only going to need one LED bulb.

You would need 5 CFL bulbs and 42 incandescent bulbs for that same time period.

Let’s do the math.

If a CFL bulb costs $3.95 each. Multiply that by 5 (the number of bulbs that would be needed for a 50,000-hour period). And add $84 (cost of electricity at twelve cents per kilowatt-hour). You come out with a total of $103.75.

Running the same math for incandescent lighting: that adds up to $412.50 ($1.25 x 42 + $360).

But with the LED lighting, your total is $95.95.

How is that possible?

Although the bulb may cost $39.95, you only need one for the 50,000-hour time period.

Add $60 since twelve cents per kilowatt-hour is the average electricity cost per state. And there you have it.

So, you end up saving exactly $7.80 more than when using the CFL lighting. And a whopping $316.55 compared to the incandescent lighting.

Think of how much money would be saved if the US (and the world!) converted to LED fixtures and bulbs.

Not many people and industries are on the LED bandwagon

In fact, thousands of car, equipment, and street light manufacturers have turned to LED lighting.

This doesn’t include the thousands of individual users who’ve installed LED fixtures and bulbs into their offices and homes.

The reason?

They want to save on costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

So, why not you too?

Contact us to know more about LED light fixtures and LED lighting in general.

How to Cut LED Rope Lights

Rope lighting is an extremely versatile product. Not only is it a viable source of illumination in the home, but it’s also a fun alternative to everyday lighting options like standard, overhead domes or table and floor lamps, just for example.

You can use options like LED rope or strip lights to spice up your decor for any holiday. Rope lighting comes in a variety of colors and you can bend it to follow curves or twist it into designs.  You can create decorative shapes or even words for displays. There’s no end to the imaginative ways you can employ this handy light source both indoors and out.

Perhaps one of the best features of rope lighting is the fact that you can save money by purchasing it in bulk to use it for projects large and small. Of course, you will have to cut it in order to get the precise length you need for a given project.

If you’re not terribly familiar with electronics, this may give you pause, and with good reason. Nobody wants to risk hazards like electrocution or starting a fire. However, with proper safety precautions, tools, and instructions you should have no trouble cutting and arranging your rope lights. Here are a few basics to put you on the right track.

Safety First

It’s important to understand a few safety rules any time you’re tinkering with electronics. For starters, you should never cut rope lighting that is plugged in, even if it isn’t on.  This could lead to dangers like electrocution.

Next, you need to check and double check that all of the components you’re using are for the same electrical load. If you fail to match up load ratings for any of the parts in your circuit, you could cause them to overload when you plug in your finished product. This could blow fuses, or worse, create sparks and start an electrical fire.

If you’re diligent, you should never encounter such issues.  Just in case, you may want to wear safety goggles and gloves when working with electronics and keep a properly rated fire extinguisher handy.

Procuring Parts

In many cases, your rope lighting will come with a power kit. The power supply may already be hooked up to one end of the rope. If you’re planning to cut several pieces to place in different locations, however, you might need additional power supplies.

There are a few things you should pay attention to. First and foremost, you need to make sure the power supply you get matches the load for the rope light you’re using.  For instance, check whether it’s 12V or 120V, just for example.

You should also check the number of wires in your rope lighting as it may feature two wires or five.  You want to make sure that the supplies you get match up. Any power sources, connectors, or caps you use should match the specs of your rope lighting.

Cutting

When it comes time to cut your rope lights, you’ll find the process pretty simple. Still, there’s a little more to it than cutting, say, a cucumber. You’re going to need a cutting board (or you can use a work bench if you have one) and a utility knife or sharp scissors.

When cutting with a knife, always cut away from your body, to the side, instead of toward yourself. This way if the knife slips you won’t have an unfortunate accident. The only real trick to cutting rope lighting is that you have to cut cleanly through the wires. This is why a sharp cutting implement is necessary.

Connecting

Once you’ve cut your desired length of rope lighting, it’s time to connect it, either to a power source or to another section of rope lighting. Either way, you’ll start by loosening the nut on your connector. In some cases, it comes off and slides over the end of the rope light – in others it slides back on the connector.

From there you need to line up the pins on the connector with the wires in your rope light. Don’t worry if you line them up backward.  In that case, all that will happen is your lights won’t turn on when you plug them in, and you can remove the connector and flip it.

Make sure to push the connector pins all the way into your cut section of rope lights so that they connect to the wiring.  Next, screw the nut into place to secure the connector to the rope. Now your power source is connected, or your connector is ready to attach to the next section.

If you’ve cut your light and you don’t intend to attach it to anything, then you need to cap it off for the sake of safety. A simple plastic cap that slides over the end will do the trick.

Whether you use rope or strip lights around the house to highlight architectural features, decorate for holidays, or simply add illumination, customization is easy when you safely and properly cut, connect, and cap your lighting.

LED Wall Washers: What Are They?

LED Wall Washers are mainly used for commercial lighting applications such as big buildings and large outdoor areas. They produce a clean and even illumination on vertical surfaces. These types of lights can be found in big cities such as downtown New York or Las Vegas. They are commonly used to display art and design on a side of a building, in museums and gallery’s, or to simply light up the main fountain in the city square. LED wall washer for building lighting LED Wall Washers for building lighting LED wall washer for outdoor use LED Wall Washers for exterior decorating  

Stressed Out at Work? Use LED Lights

Many of us sit in an office in front of a computer screen with a lamp on our desk and lights above our heads. Little do we know that the lights installed in the workplace have a major effect on our stress levels. Our eyes are so sensitive to light, hence why most of us have to wear sunglasses on a sunny day.   reap the same stress-relief benefits of LEDs at the office.  The cool, pleasing glow of LEDs mimics natural daylight, so it’s a mood-booster in any room, from the kitchen to the living room. String them up in the entertainment area for a cinema-style movie experience, or try them in the bathroom for optimal makeup lighting. And since LEDs are so durable, they rarely need maintenance or replacement – which makes for some very happy dairy farmers (and homeowners).

LED Troubleshooting

Wiring mistakes and polarity issues are some of the most common of all LED lighting issues. Typically if your LED lights simply “don’t work” it is not because the products are defective but due to a basic wiring mistake or an error in aligning the polarity. If you are having issues getting anything to work in your LED installation or your lighting is inconsistent go over this troubleshooting guide for some pointers on resolving your issue.

When troubleshooting the wiring and polarity of your LED installation it is important to double and even triple check every connection, even the most skilled electricians can and do make simple mistakes. Be certain that your power connectors are making contact and are aligned with the correct wires or ports on your LED Lighting products.

A very common wiring mistake that is easily overlooked is the possibility of loose or obstructed connections in your LED installation. Typically if your lights simply don’t work, flicker on and off, or you are missing a color on a RGB installation, this is the case. If your wires are not stripped back far enough or a connector is pushed too far into the LED product it will give the illusion of a secure connection when in reality there is no connection at all. This is why it is important to double and even triple check your wiring installations because even if a wire looks like it is connected it may not be.

Also check that you have your polarity correct when wiring. Polarity issues can be very frustrating as  LED lighting, power supplies, and other accessories can have different wiring causing the polarity to switch alignment. LEDs are polarity sensitive, which means that they need a positive voltage at the anode and negative or ground at the cathode for them to operate. If you are not certain the polarity of your wires use a multimeter to test. Turn the multimeter to the diode setting (usually indicated by a diode symbol), and touch each probe to one of the LED terminals or wires. If the LED lights up, the positive probe is touching the anode, and the negative probe is touching the cathode. If it doesn’t light up, try swapping the probes around.

New Years Resolution #5: Try New Things

new-years-resolutions Sometimes it is easy to become stagnant in our daily activities. Diversify your ways through trying new things such as switching your light bulbs to LED light bulbs. There are many benefits as to why you should switch today. The light bulb has changed over the course of the years and is continually upgrading its technology. The latest and best lighting technology out there is LED. The recent government phaseout of the incandescent bulb has urged consumers to try new types of lighting. Below is an infographic on all of the features of LED technology.This year make the point to try new things. New Years Resolution-5-web      

LED Vase lights: The Perfect Lighting Centerpiece for a Wedding or Event

The RGB color changing LED Vase Light can spruce up the atmosphere of your wedding or event. The flat bottom base allows it to be placed perfectly on any even surface, such as the middle of the table. Decorating can sometimes be a hassle and a time consumer.The vase light provides a bright LED light that shines beautifully through crystal or glass, and allow decorators to easily add those finishing touches to the event. The LED technology in this vase light allow it to last up to 36 hours, much longer than any other regular vase light. The vast array of colors allow you to pick and choose according to your events arrangement. Events tend to have different themes associated with them, such as the popular disco or Hawaiian theme. It would be nice to have one product to use for multiple events throughout the year. The color changing LED vase light has the capability to switch between different colors to fit any color of your events theme. The colors also fade in and out at different speeds, all controlled by a remote. It is energized through a power-cord or batteries. See below some great ways to add that extra glow and vibrancy of color to the final piece of your decorating this year. vase light champagne Having drinks at the party? Place ice cubs and your drink of choice in a vase and energize the mood at the party! vase light Having a formal event? Fill the vase with water beads and arrange a beautiful bouquet of flowers on top of the display and wow your guests with vibrant colors of the LED light thats captured through the water beads. vase lamp flower pots Need a mini home makeover? Use opaque flower pots and arrange them on top of the LED vase light and watch the magical glow. Happy decorating! For more inspiring ideas check out our “how to” blog

Landscape Lighting Tips & Tricks

3 easy landscape lighting tricks You have spent countless hours grooming the yard, the trees, and the bushes to perfection, now what? Something seems to be missing.Add some light into the mix of your landscape scene and show off your hard work. Presentation is key, it shows the perfection of your masterpiece and your unique style. Landscaping lighting is a fun and engaging way to show off the beauty of your home, or better yet, add value to the architecture. Light your way into the summer months through these landscape lighting tips and tricks.   Tip # 1: Know the difference between overall lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Overall lighting would be good for the driveway because it provides a lot of illumination. Task lighting is used for specific purposes such as lighting the pathway up toward the front deck or back porch. Accent lighting is used to highlight certain architectural features that you want to show off. It typically draws attention to an object or area. The best type of light to use is LED, due to their record of using less energy to produce light and their attractively long lifespan of 50,000 hours. Another added benefit is that bugs aren’t attracted to the LED light because it doesn’t emit heat like incandescent lights. Tip # 2: Lighting placement is important. The absolute musts for outdoor lighting are driveways, entryways, walkways, steps, and patios. These are the areas where there is high foot traffic. So it is vital to have good light to see at night. There are many ways to creatively integrate light into the areas that need light such as the pathways by the house. Rope lights can be hidden within landscape features that line the driveway such as white rocks or other edging materials, strip lights can be placed under the ledge of the steps of the front porch or back patio, and solar led wall lights can be placed either on the gutter or along fence posts for added night time security. Tip # 3: Have complete control over your landscape lights through motion sensors, controllers, timers, and dimmers. LED lighting technology allows you to use these accessories to customize your lighting designs outdoors. LED rope lights and strip lights can be controlled through a simple remote. The controllers allow the lights to alternate betweenexciting light features such as fading, flashing, and chasing effects. Imagine what that would look like with your landscaping, or even the backyard pool! Last of all, do not forget to decorate the outdoor bushes and trees. Hang string lights from tree to tree, drape net lights over bushes, and float pixie berries in the pond or fountain. Landscape lighting should be fun, get creative and show off your hard work. Happy lighting!  

How to Spruce up your RV with LED Strip Lights

20130424_073342 Everyone can agree that summertime equals a good time. The versatile use of LED strip lights will allow you to creatively decorate your RV or camper. The longevity and efficiency of the light will prove to be the best choice for your lighting decorations for the summer. Camping is one of the top summertime activities that everyone from children to grandparents enjoy. Spruce up that old camper of yours with the newest lighting technology available.   In the bedroom of the RV, place strip light alongside the ledge for a night light effect. The strip light features an easy installation process with an adhesive back that will stick to any hard surface. Dimmers are also available for the LED strip light, and will give you complete control over the brightness in the RV bedroom. transportation-auto-wp-rgb-hd-strip transportation-auto-wp-rgb-strip Apply LED strip light to the bottom of the RV/camper and sit back and watch the night glow before your eyes. Relax and enjoy the visually pleasing light that LED emits. Pick and choose between different colors to fit your own unique style, or better yet choose the color changing LED strip light and change the colors periodically. There are many attractive features associated with the strip light; such as changing colors, dimming the brightness, and controlling the flashing, fading, and chasing effects if installed to a controller. Camping can be more fun with LED lights.

Get Growing with LED's

led grow lightLED lighting is a rapidly changing field that is sparking excitement everywhere, from general lighting to entertainment lighting even to horticultural lighting! With massive energy saving features, long lifetimes, and zero toxicity, LEDs are beginning to become prominent in the indoor growing world.

The advent of densely packed, high intensity, horticultural LED technology is giving indoor growers opportunities that were not previously available. Due to the low heat output of LEDs, growers can now increase light intensity by closing the distance between lights and plants as well as allowing for the isolation and mixing of wavelengths. Growers can now control the wavelength combinations and lighting regiments that they administer to their plants. Plants respond favorably to specific wavelengths in a light spectrum. However, the light that traditional bulbs produce is unbalanced. Wavelengths of light that are useless to plants are emitted from these bulbs, limiting their efficiency. Much of this extra light results in more heat, which is not beneficial to plant growth. In contrast, LEDs have a great advantage in that they have the ability to produce wavelength specific light. Because each LED emits a specific wavelength, growers can now mix various LED chips to optimize lights for plant growth. Although we know that plants benefit mostly from the blue and red parts of the spectrum, there are specific wavelengths that are ideal for plant growth. Different ratios of red and blue light will affect different types of chlorophyll (the main center of photosynthesis). Not only that, but plants need different wavelengths during different phases of growth. For example, plants benefit from the red spectrum during the flowering phase.

Results will inevitably vary from crop to crop, and as this is an active area of research, scientists are discovering more everyday not only which wavelengths benefit plants, but during what time of day or which growing phase to use them. Aside from cutting down costs, this gives the grower one less task to worry about. With more research, growers will better know which spectrums can accelerate or slow down growth, improve yields, or morph the shape of different plants.

The possibilities here are endless and it will be exciting to see what the future holds for this research.

LED is in the Fasion Industry Now!

degen-rainbow-2 Lights, Camera, Action! Supermodels strut their style along the streets of New York City, and this year they wore lights. LED lights aren’t just for decorating and lighting the home, they are meant to be creatively worn too! Clothing accessories such as heels, purses and earrings all have the capability to be integrated with LED technology. The world of lighting is evolving, proven by the statement made by the fashion industry.   Nothing is more fashionable than LED lights, especially when they are featured in the New York Fashion Week 2014. Beautiful designs were worn by beautiful models. Who would have thought that LED is fashionable? Check out the new trend happening and read more about thisfascinating article.

Illuminating Palm Trees with LED Rope Lights

palm tree pictureMake your Palm Trees light up and look great all year round with LED Rope Lights. Use a clear or Warm White rope light for a more inviting, relaxing feel or choose a different color for holidays, celebrations, or moods.   Choose a color that affects your mood,”If you want to use some color, green, red, or multi-color are all good choices for traditional Christmas holiday displays. In addition to the obvious considerations, such as the holiday or event you are decorating for, it is also wise to consider the affect that the light color will have on your observers. Its is widely accepted that light color affects human mood. Blue is calming and represents peace, tranquility, and harmony which are all good holiday themes. Blue is also a good winter color. Green represents nature, renewal, good luck, and spring. Orange is a warm color that expresses energy and grabs attention. Orange is also an obvious choice for autumn holidays. Purple has become one of our more popular colors and represents royalty, spirituality, mystery and enlightenment. Red is the most energetic of all the colors and grabs the most attention while also representing love and other strong emotions. Yellow represents joy, happiness, and imagination. Spend some time thinking about the general mood or feeling you want to convey and then select the appropriate color.”