Fun With LEDs

Let there be light!

Let there be light!

     I’m not sure why incorporating funky lighting into my nerd cave is such a big deal for me.  I guess I just feel like it brings the room to life in ways nothing else does.  Maybe as a child of the 70’s, I got bit by the lava lamp bug and never looked back.

     Last year, I saw a commercial for a flat screen TV that has LED (light emitting diodes) on the back of the set.  It looked like whatever the colors on your screen happened to be would be duplicated on the wall behind your TV, creating this halo of constantly-changing colors.  I don’t think they explained it as having any other use besides just looking cool…which it did.

      I was on Amazon about a month ago looking at lighting and noticed some add-on LED kits that provide back-lighting to your TV.  I think I pictured/assumed this to be more or less the same thing I had seen on the commercial, so I ordered one.  Admittedly, I didn’t read the reviews or item description closely.  I mean, it’s lights and I like lights, so into the cart it went. I’ve been known to make an impulse buy now and then.

LED kit laid out on the bed--there's not much to it, but it lights up nicely.

LED kit laid out on the bed–there’s not much to it, but it lights up nicely.

     Well, when I installed the kit, which was super-easy, it ended up not really being what I wanted.  It works exactly as advertised but the LEDs are white, so while it does indeed backlight your TV, there are not any changing colors.  I gather that the whole point is to provide ambient lighting to ease the strain on your eyes when watching TV in the dark. OK, but I need some funkiness in my lighting, so I decided to remove it.

     So, now I had this really cool little strip of LEDs looking for a home.  Surely there must be some other use for it?  Then a light bulb went off (see what I did there?). One of my problems with my modeling desk/workbench is lighting.  I have a really nice desk lamp but the light from it is very focused.

     I happen to have a metal bookshelf mounted over my desk, so I simply stuck the strip of LEDs underneath.  The light strip already has adhesive tape on the back so it took me about 30 seconds. There’s a little toggle switch that controls the lights and I mounted it under the desk top (also with the included double stick tape).  Simply plug in the little power supply and flip the switch for instant lighting.  The lights alone probably aren’t bright enough to work by (at least for my aging eyes), but they provide a nice glow that helps illuminate references and instruction sheets. And they look cool.

     So, I bought the light kit for one use and ended up re-purposing it. As Bob Vila used to say, “It’s a nice detail”.  As always, use your own judgement when doing stuff like this.  I’d imagine the manufacturer would say that my use of the kit isn’t the recommended one.  I get that.  But, I’ve got them mounted to a metal shelf, they don’t generate any discernible heat and I don’t keep them plugged in when I’m not around since I’m paranoid about that kinda thing.  Just sayin…be careful.

Until next time…stay nerdy my friends.


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