Office LED – What’s the plan?
My family moved into our new house in late spring of last year. Since then, my office has expanded quite a bit. Initially, I had a couple of different desks from Ikea sitting next to each other.
This layout worked for awhile, but I didn’t like it. It felt cramped and inconsistent. I started to think about my ideal office layout and figured I wanted to have a lot more desk and shelf space. So, I started researching possible desks I could purchase to fulfill my ideas. To my surprise, there weren’t very many 8 or 10 foot desks that would work for my situation. The ones that I did find were very expensive. Ultimately, I ended up deciding to build what I wanted myself with the only prior woodworking experience being from junior highschool. I’m quite happy with the end result. It isn’t perfect, but I don’t mind. I built it all myself.
Over the past few months, I’ve added small things to it. For instance, I bought some under-the-table cable management and clips to hold my power strips. There’s one thing I’ve been dragging my feet on though and that’s lighting. Since the beginning, I knew I wanted to have LED strips between the surfaces and the wall, but I don’t know exactly how I’ll do that. I have done some research so I kind of know what I need, but I still don’t know exactly how everything will fit together or the amount of power it will require.
What I want to have is three separate programmable LED strips. One for each shelf and another for the desk. I’m thinking that the entry point for each strip will be on the right side and I’ll have some kind of circuit board that I can send commands to that will change the colors. Ideally, I’d also like to be able to control it all with my phone.
The problem here is the amount of current these LEDs need. From what I’ve read, each LED needs about 60 milliAmps of current at full brightness. I figure I’ll need about 45 feet of LEDs (or 14 meters). If I use 30 LEDs per meter then that’s roughly 25Amps of power. If I use 60 LEDs per meter, then it’s double. My office shares a 15A circuit with another bedroom and the computers in my office use about 5A of current when they’re all on and running full blast. I’ve also read that you’re supposed to leave room to spare. So, really, I figure I have another 5 amps to work with.
I have played around with electricity in the past, but my experience has been mostly limited to building projects from electronics kits. I also took an electronics course in high school but that knowledge is gone. So I would say that I have very little knowledge about electricity.
It could very well be that there is a simple answer here and I could run out and buy a kit that does exactly what I want. I have tried searching for kits or tutorials that fit my situation but I haven’t yet found anything that fits my needs. I’ve also talked to a few people more knowledgeable about this stuff and they’ve shied away from saying it’s possible. I know people have run thousands of LEDs inside and outside their home, but the videos and posts that I have seen never touch on the technical details that I need to feel confident that it can be done the way I’d like. The plan is to figure out and post everything I learn each step of the way. Hopefully, someone else finds it useful.
The idea with the board is to create some kind of web server or some kind of server on it that will listen for commands. It will also control the lighting for each of the strips. The Android app that I build will interface with this server and upload new instructions to it so I can change the lights.
With just this stuff I should be able to make the server and Android app and also figure out how much power I’ll really need to supply the 45 feet of LEDs.
Anyway, I’m just getting started, so there isn’t much to share yet other than what the plan is. I’ll write more as I do more.