As usual, click any photo to bring up a larger version.
Almost two years ago I became curious about experimenting with LED lighting. Briefly, I was curious if those cheap LED strip lights that I was seeing on the market could be used for "regular" lighting. It seemed that they were primarily marketed as accent lighting.
Here are the relevant webpages that resulted:
Recently, I received a few inquiries from people who were curious to hear my thoughts on these LED lighting solutions now that I've been living with them for so long. I was actually kind of surprised to discover that it has almost been two years since I installed the first one. I just tend to forget about them.
So the executive summary is that yes, they still work, and they still work fine.
As a reminder... I have five sets of five meter-long LED strips mounted on the ceiling of my 11ft x 24ft shop. These are the high density strips with 300 LEDs per strip, and are either 5050 or 5630 SMD LEDs.
I still have some trouble with the adhesive. It's hanging loose in a few places. That could probably be easily fixed with some superglue. On three of the strips the glue is fine, so it's not the majority.
ONE of the strips has some burnt out LEDs -- indicated by the red arrows on the photo. (As I mentioned in the video, taking pictures -- or video -- of lights is not easy, so please excuse the rather poor photo.) However, this was one of my first strips, and with that strip I was experimenting with a 19v power supply and some other stuff -- so it might be my fault. Even with those burnt out LEDs the amount of light is pretty good.
I also purchased one of those "T8 LED" tubes last year - it snaps into an ordinary T8 fixture and you do NOT need to remove the transformer. In fact, this one NEEDS the T8 transformer to be in there. It is working fine. I also have some older T11 style fluorescent fixtures. I have NOT been able to find any LED bulbs that will fit in a T11 fixture.
I used a PC power supply from a scrap computer to power four of the LED strips. I hold this to the ceiling with some magnets salvaged from a hard drive. It's still solidly mounted to the ceiling. It is a bit dusty -- I just vacuumed it out for the first time after 18 months -- but it still works fine. Bear in mind that finding surplus power supplies from old PCs is easy. I consider this a basically free solution. Also, since it is rated at 450 watts, it can supply power to several LED strips.
The power supply does have a fan, and it does make a small hum. If I stand quietly, I can hear the hum. But I almost never notice it. There are a lot of things in my shop that make considerably more noise!
Would I do it again? YES. The lights work, and they're reasonably inexpensive. In fact, I have some more LED strips on order, as I think that some of the old T11 fluorescents will die soon. Of course, you know by now that I like to build things!
5 meter 5050 SMD LED strips
5 meter Strip of 5630 SMD LEDs
The vendor I originaly purchased from on amazon.ca - Hintel - does not appear on amazon.com, and has also disappeared from the amazon.ca website as of this writing. Therefore, this is a link to a search for "5630 SMD White 5M 300 LED" (and the same for 5050 SMD strips) which should help you find reasonably equivalent items. Note that a lot of the cheaper LED strips are shipped from Asia, so they make a month or so to arrive.
Thanks for reading!