Reusing LEDs from dying tube lights

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-16-17, 01:38 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question Reusing LEDs from dying tube lights

Hey guys.

At work we use primarily LED tube lights in all our classrooms. They dont go bad often, but when they do we just toss them in the recycling and put in new ones.

Id love to be able to use some of the LEDs that are in these giant strips for some little lighting projects at home, but i dont know terribly much about the internals of these bulbs, and whats actually required to run the diodes, beyond simply adding voltage.

For the sake of conversation, I have one 4 foot Phillips LED strip and the "ballast" or controller that came with it. The Light bulb was flashing, but all of the LEDs appeared to light up.


Is there any way to easily convert these to smaller strips for use elsewhere??

I try not to be a hoarder, but i cant see throwing away stuff i could use.

Thanks in advance!

-Merv
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-16-17, 03:07 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 20,810
Received 194 Votes on 180 Posts
It's very possible that the LED emitters are OK. Do some reading on LED's and how to feed them. None of it is rocket science but it will take some minimal knowledge and some tools.

Often the LEDs are broken down into segments. The last one I took apart had them in groups of three but if you want to really take it down you could power each one individually.
 
  #3  
Old 10-16-17, 04:10 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 12,933
Received 54 Votes on 47 Posts
I am also in the thick of an LED project similar you what you are thinking of doing. As an electrician I come across LED items that have failed for one reason or another. Typically it is the ballast/driver that has failed and it is cheaper for the customer to convert the fixture to something that can be serviced rather then by a $80 driver.

Recently I fished an LED work light out of the dumpster on a job I was working on. Since it was LED I couldn't believe it was junk so I brought it home. This was an odd animal as the power supply was 12v DC output but each light head had a 7.2v battery in it. Thinking it ran off 12 volts I connected a 12 volt battery directly to the 3 LEDs and burned them up. I then learned that the 3 20mm LEDs were wired in series and run off 3 volts each for a total of 9 volts. I cut out the fancy electronic junk in the light, got some 9 volt adapters of Amazon and they are now are up and running.

I still need to get some replacement LEDs off ebay and fix the one I killed but that leads me into more learning how LEDs operate. Some LED arrays operate on variable volts but constant current. An LED that has unlimited current available will burn itself out.

Bottom line: follow Pilot Dane's advice and do some research and have fun playing with them, LEDs are very interesting and relitivly safe to tinker with.
 
  #4  
Old 10-16-17, 05:38 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Any good primers on how to get started - that you can recommend?
 
  #5  
Old 10-16-17, 05:41 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 52,672
Received 340 Votes on 318 Posts
Look up..... Big Clive on you tube.
 
  #6  
Old 10-17-17, 05:27 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 20,810
Received 194 Votes on 180 Posts
Big Clive has some good Youtube's but he doesn't come out and tell you how to. He explains how things work in great detail.

If you search for "how to power and led" you'll get many websites that walk you through the process. What you need will depend on the LED's you have and how you want to power them. The article linked below describes how to power a red LED which uses a lower voltage than white LEDs but it will get you started.

https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials...ng-diodes-leds
 
  #7  
Old 10-17-17, 06:30 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,612
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
In my limited experience it's almost impossible to find specs since the manufacturer & model of the LEDs can't be determined and they are often assembled into arrays by wiring them in series or series-parallel. It often comes down to just experimenting with them using a bench power supply with variable voltage AND current (or at least carefully monitoring the current by running the feed thru a current meter). Have fun--you're getting them for free so go for it!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: