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RGB LED lights are fast becoming really popular to enhance your surroundings. So what are they and how do they work? Well, let’s get back to basics –  white light comprises a range of colours as shown in the graphic below.

RGB LED lights prism

Most noteworthy, the 3 primary colours are Red Green and Blue – these primaries may be mixed to create a wide range of colours, and by adjusting the relative Red Green and Blue levels, different colours are created including whites and pastels. There have been huge advances in recent years with respect to LED’s. As a result, this has brought about a wide range of low energy products that are suitable for various types and styes of lighting.

About RGB LED lights

RGB LED lights come in various formats such as bulbs, spotlights, floodlights, wall washers and LED strips. Some of these devices require mains voltage, others use low voltage e.g. 12V or 24V. For outdoor lighting to show case buildings or features, flood lights and wall washers are becoming very popular. Furthermore, indoor or outdoor visual effects are possible by careful placement of RGB bulbs and spotlights. For small areas or features, bulbs and spot lights are the way to go, and they are low in cost. For larger areas, then LED strip is hard to beat as it comes in various sizes and can be joined with ease.

RGB LED lights on a strip – LED tape

LED tape has brought a whole new world of low cost accent and mood lighting as it is quite easy to install. For a small outlay, a vast range of user defined colours can be produced at your finger tips. With LED tape, it is very easy to bend to shape and cut. You really don’t need any knowledge on electrics to be able to create some amazing lighting effects. What’s more, they are safe to handle as they use low voltage and OK for use in kitchens and bathrooms. So, one of the most popular types of LED used in LED strips is the 5050 type shown below.

The 5050 RGB LED magnified

RGB LED lights 5050 LED

The three Red Green and Blue LED die are clearly visible with gold bond wires attached. Yet the white ceramic package housing them measures only 5.0mm x 5.0mm, hence the name 5050. if all 3 LEDS are at the same brightness then the light they emit looks white. But, it will not be as pure as the white produced by a white LED. As a rough guide, LED tape has 30 to 60 of these devices per meter of strip.

When using RGB LED lights in strip form then this can produce some striking visual effects, and by using your smartphone or tablet to control the lighting, this will add greatly to the “coolness” factor for sure.

Example of lounge mood lighting using RGB LED strips – twin circuit

RGB LED lights in lounge

Videos showing RGB LED lights in action

Here are 2 contrasting examples with the lighting in dynamic modes – colour flash and a relaxing colour fade mode.

Colour flash mode

This set up uses around 4m of strip on the rear cover of the TV to provide back lighting. Also. the floor standing speakers use a 1m strip and a sound sensitive controller.

Colour fade mode

Boat mood lighting using a short length of RGB LED strip recessed above the oval.

Finally, check out the range of mood lighting products at Visual chillout, Chris – the owner – is always keen to help out with advice and tips on these matters.