View Full Version : Tutorial: Very Simple LED Alternative to Cathode Lighting

09-09-2007, 03:28 PM
A little tutorial I did a while back. Thought it may be of use to someone, perhaps wanting to light up a case with minimal room.

-Shopping List-

2 x 5mm 3.5v LEDs (I will be using super-bright blue)
2 x Suitable Resistors
2 x lengths of Wire (I am using solid core bell wire, black & Blue)
1 x Housing box - Maplins code JX56L is a good one to use
20cm heatshrink
2 x 5mm LED holders - (I am using Maplins code N89AX as needed black)
1 metre of aquarium air hose (or cable braiding or your choice)


Wire Cutters
Needle Nose Pliers
Corded/less Drill - 3mm, 8mm & 9mm Bits
Masking Tape

Ok thats everything you will need to make 1 lighting unit housing 2 x LEDs. This would be enough to illuminate a third of an average size case to the brighness of a cathode tube.


1st Step -
Mask the box you have chosen as the housing, measure and mark where each LED will sit. Drill a 3mm pilot hole then enlarge to 9mm.
Repeat this on the rear of the housing but enlarge to 8mm.

Remove masking tape

2nd Step -
Take the LEDs, heatshrink, resistors and LED holders

Join the resistor to the longest wire on the LED and apply heatshrink, repeat with second LED and Resistor.

Now join one wire to the resistor and another wire to the shortest wire on the LED, again apply heatshrink. I used back and blue so its easy to see which wire is positive (blue) and which is negitive (black).

3rd Step -
Now moving back to the LED housing, insert LED holders into the 9mm holes (if using different holders check mounting hole size)

Once inserted tighten the small nut to hold them securly in place.

4th Step -
Next twist the 2 wires together for neatness. As I am using solid core wire this is very easy and the wires stay together and keep thier shape very well.

5th Step -
With the LED holders in place and the wires twistes together, insert the LEDs through the rear 8mm hole on the housing and into the holders. Most LED holders will come with a small plastic plug to hold the LED inside the holder. I did not use this as I prefer to use a very small amount of superglue around the rim of the LED.

6th Step -
Thread the wires through the aqurium hose (or your choice of braiding) so that the end of the hose is inside the housing.


7th Step -
Screw the housing cover into place using the screws provided and the unit is complete, simple ehh.



Now all thats left is to instal it into your case using the mounting holes on the housng plate and connect the wires to your chosen power supply.

Here are a few pictures of the LEDs connected up. I think you will agree they go give a very nice effect for such a small price - 3.70 approx.

I have made 4 of these in total and they illuminate my whole case, but most importantly they allow you to only illuminate the areas of the case you want.




Hope some of you find this post useful, I know there are similar versions of this availible to buy, but its always nice to make something yourself for half the price you could have brought it for.

09-09-2007, 06:13 PM
great tut +rep. was actually thinking of making one of these, guess you beat me to the punch :D

one thing i would add is to sand the top of the LEDs a little to help defuse the light.

09-09-2007, 07:02 PM
Great tut man! +rep.

01-05-2010, 07:27 PM
what size is the resistor?
theres a resistor on each led ..whats the size of it so it dosent blow?

01-05-2010, 07:33 PM
Hi Ekko, welcome to TBCS.

Any LED / resistor questions can be answered HERE. (http://metku.net/index.html?path=mods/ledcalc/index_eng) :)

01-05-2010, 07:35 PM
i thought it would be correct for the tut also..ok thanks..