LED Choice

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by ams314, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. ams314

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 15, 2013
    I'm looking to create a soft glowing effect through a thin white fabric using LEDs. I've not worked with LEDs much in the past and do not know many options available to me other than what may be considered the "standard" LED used for plug-and-play, which has its light concentrated too much on one spot for what I'm looking for. Does anybody know a product, or a place where I can browse products, that might fit my need?

    This is most likely going to be a battery operated, low voltage (<6V) type of application if I can help it. Thanks in advance for the advice!
  2. donpetru

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 14, 2008
    You're looking for a LED's manufacturer or dealer ?
    For example, you looked here: http://farnell.com/
    It would be helpful to present circuit diagram that you thought to build.
  3. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    The diffusion angle is the key to success. The LED Indicator lamps are too focused for what you want (6-degree to 20-degree are typical). Look for the flat, surface mount type. Here, 80 to 140-degree are typical. they are just more difficult to solder since they do not have long, through-hole leads.

    If you are stuck on through-hole leads, look for a frosted/diffused LED - the plastic "bulb" portion normally looks white instead of clear.
  4. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
    Welcome to AAC.

    By this, do you mean you want the light to appear to fade up and down, flicker, or do you want just a constant brightness?

    The first two options require a circuit, but you could hack a cheap tea light LED from a dollar store to work with a white LED if you desire a flickering effect. The last option is the simplest of all - you'll just need a resistor to limit the current to the LED.

    There are hundreds of LED options. While we could refer you to several sites for buying LEDs, you'll quickly get overwhelmed if you don't know exactly what you're looking for. If you can elaborate on what you're trying to do, we can help narrow it down then make recommendations.

    How far away is viewer, e.g., 3 feet, 3 yards, 200 feet, etc.?

    How bright does the light need to be?

    What is the viewing angle? In other words, will the light be focused and viewed only from a specific angle or do you want to view it from all around? Based on your description, I assume the latter, but want to verify.

    Will this be viewed in the dark or in other light? Will it be viewed indoors or outdoors?

    These factors help determine how much light and what viewing angle you'll need.
  5. ronv

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 12, 2008
  6. Alec_t

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    If you want uniform brightness over a large area, electroluminescent sheet would be better than LEDs. However, that would need an inverter to generate a high drive voltage from 6V.
  7. crutschow


    Mar 14, 2008
    You might try having the LEDs illuminate a white background to help diffuse the light.
  8. ams314

    Thread Starter New Member

    Dec 15, 2013
    Thanks for the responses folks.

    The effect I'm more or less looking for is like this pillow.

    A simple soft, diffuse lighting, just to cover at least the central area of a standard pillow. So the area isn't too big of a factor.

    I can handle fading and glowing effects readily enough, but my knowledge gaps when it comes to available solutions. If at all possible, I would like the LEDs to have a thin form factor (as to be placed on a sheet of fabric you could slide into a pillow case).

    Would something like electroluminescent wire work for my needs perhaps?
  9. Metalmann

    Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
  10. Austin Clark

    Active Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    Look up LED Strips, they'd be perfect for this I think.
  11. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    Agreed! Flexible LED strips can be cut to length and are fine for bending etc as long as the bend radius is not too tight.