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BACK LIGHTING OR CREATING A LIGHT BOX USING TAPE LIGHT
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
When backlighting a graphics panel or creating a lightbox, the rule of thumb is whatever the depth of the lightbox, this will be what you have your LED flexible strip lighting (tape light) on center, example if your box is 3.5” deep then you will have the lighting spaced 3.5” apart.
The best place is mounted directly behind the graphic mounted on a backboard; in some situations, if your lightbox is less than 30” wide and at least 2” deep you can side light the box with a slightly brighter LED ribbon. This would entail having the LED flexible strip lighting mounted on the sides of the light box, a more economical solution because it requires less LED strips.
Another rule is when backlighting with LED flexible strip the depth of your box should be at least 3”, any shallower and you will see hot spots.
Let’s start with backlighting. Where and how far back do you mount the tape light?
For boxes 10″ and under in-depth, first of all, use a low wattage (2.25w/ft) in a pure white color for the best crisp look on your graphics.
As to where you place the tape on your backboard, as already mentioned, we have a general rule of thumb to get the best even light with no dark spots. For every inch of depth your box, space out the tape the same distance from the center to center.
For example, if you have a lightbox that is 24″ x 48″ and 6″ deep, space out four rows of tape a maximum of 6″ apart. Start the first row 3″ from the side and then 6″ from then on. The beauty of LED tape is that you can fold it without damaging it (only fold low wattage 2.25w/ft not higher wattage).
You can, therefore, use one continuous run of tape to light up this box, simply by folding the tape at the appropriate length, in this case every 6″ (max continuous length is 20 ft before you start getting voltage drop, i.e. it starts to get dim the farther you get from the power supply).
For light boxes deeper than 10″, use a higher wattage LED tape (at least 4.5w/ft) for a brighter intense look on your graphics.
For shallow and smaller boxes less than 30″ wide or where you have no space to make a deep box, place the LED tape around the perimeter of the box and as far back in the box as possible to give a decent light output from less tape light.
A final point in backlighting is to make sure your backboard and insides of the lightbox are white to get the maximum reflection and light output for a bright graphics display.