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LED's in tubes?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Ken C, Jan 26, 2006.

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  1. Ken C

    Ken C Guest

    Can I put a snug, thin, opaque plastic tube (like a straw) around the
    body an LED to prevent the escape of light except out the end of the
    tube? The tube will extend approximately 1/8" past the top of the
    LED. I am concerned about heat buldup. The LED will be operated at
    normal spec -- 20 ma.
  2. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  3. Impmon

    Impmon Guest

    LED produces very little heat at rated specs so it should be fine.
  4. To be absolutely sure, you'll just have to test it out, but I think it
    will be fine at normal room temps. A straw won't do much to keep the
    light in, but fiber optic cable or a "litepipe" will do it easily.
    Litepipes are solid plastic tubes that can move light around corners and
    the like. I believe that digikey sells them.

    As for the heat, I ran an RGB LED with a styrofoam peanut pushed over it
    to act as a diffuser. After many hours, I didn't notice any difference
    in the light output. I'm sure the wire leads of the LED did a better
    job of removing heat than could possibly be dissipated thru the plastic
  5. Sure. An aluminum tube would be even better from opacity,
    reflectivity and heat conductivity standpoints.
  6. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Absolutely. I did exactly this with about 50 LEDs on a snazzy panel
    some small company was building where I was a temp. They had this LED
    panel mounted about 1/2" behind a sheet of transparent lexan with the
    light pattern screened on the back, and you practically couldn't tell
    which LED was lit, so I got some straws at the local fast food joint, cut
    them into 1/2" pieces, and slipped them over the LEDs. Worked perfectly,
    and they shipped the sucker and started ordering straws, and kept my jig!

  7. Rodney

    Rodney Guest

    For a nice fit you can use heat shrink tubing if you are careful about how
    you apply the heat. Black heat shrink is very opaque.
  8. Pooh Bear

    Pooh Bear Guest

    So. What is it you *really* want to do ?

    There are dedicated 'lightpipe leds' if that's your intention.

  9. Terry

    Terry Guest

    20 ma at say 3 volts (maximum) ? That's 60 milliwatts, or one sixteenth of
    one watt.
    Not likely to burn the fingers or anything else!
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