Apr 112020

UV LEDs really make fluourescent materials pop but I’m way too lazy to be wiring up individual PWM dimmable LEDs, so I looked around for addressable UV options. The first searches came up with references to a few UV LED strip supplies, but everything I could find was out of stock. But in combing through Alibaba I found these PCBs made to drive a thru hole RGB with WS2812 signals.

I thought it might be possible to drive UV LEDs with them, so I ordered some.

I had a while to wait for the shipment and started searching again, and realized I’d somehow missed the most obvious supplier of specialty electronics had exactly what I was looking for- Adafruit FTW.. So I ordered a meter of them and got them about a week later.

They work really well, and I love that I can control 3 tiny UV LEDs on one chip and that does offer a little movement with the light when you rotate them, but I was looking for more definition. I’d already tried some little 30degree lenses for 5050 LEDs so I popped one on. It definitely tightens the beam, but the beams are so close it doesn’t make much of a difference in a small amount of space.

So I finally got the PCBs in and tested soldering up a few LEDs in a triangle.

Here’s a demo of the addressable 5050 bare, the 5050 with a 30degree lens, and the PCB with 3 individual UV LEDs (I think they have 20 degree lenses).

I really like the PCB version and I think I’m going to use them in these fresnel tube lights. This is a balsa plane one that is kind of boring because the plane is too level, but it’s good for testing.

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