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Instructions on how to build your own red light device

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  • Instructions on how to build your own red light device

    Thanks to IowaDavid (his instructions) and TP (who put it in this pdf format)!!

    Good luck everyone!

    Best wishes,

  • #2
    I was taking a fast look at this guide just to get some idea of how to get this done, but the ebay-links didnt work, the one supposed to show the resistors and the 13.8v amp power supply, on the first page. Could you please update this?


    • #3
      Sorry the ebay links don't work anymore but that is because they are no longer for sale on ebay by those sellers. If you read the pdf though it has the info you need and then when you are ready you can google on ebay and find sources that are current.

      Good luck!



      • #4
        A big thanks to Melissa W, IowaDavid and TP for compiling this guide.

        I built a 650 diode unit based on these instructions about 6 months ago and have seen a great improvement in my condition. I can't compare it to a manufactured RLT unit because I have never owned one but the coverage and joule strength of a device modeled on these instructions is really top notch. It's a great investment considering that it should provide many years of use.


        • #5
          My Red Light Therapy device.

          Hello again!

          About four months since this site gave me the first idea of building my own device, it is finally standing on my desk and working extremely well. I got this project finished, and I'm so glad about that right now, even though my friend (a professional solder) helped me a lot with that part of the job. But choice of material and maths and stuff behind made me learn a lot about both theoretical and practical electronics. I will start using this array in a couple of days - yeah, with RLT I'm prepared for 2010 to come - after I've fixed some protective goggles and some kind of adequate "shelf" or "ledge" (or what you would call it) to place the array upon, to get my face in an optimal position, as my simple "supports" (based on grooves in a particle board) are not able to lean. Well, as you can see this is very much based on IowaDavids guide, even though I had to ask about almost everything on a swedish electronics forum to get the picture.

          So, if any swedes need guidance I have a lot of information and would be pleased to help you get started in building your own device.

          I will try this for half a year and maybe build an array with blue light or IR later on. We'll see.

          Thanks to everyone that is making a contribution to this forum!

          And finally - my array:

          There are 936 Red LED's (the R1330 from on 4 PC Boards called "Europe boards" (some standard definition ****) on 100x160 mm each. Not high enough to cover a whole face, but as I don't need any treatment on my forehead, this array feels more than enough.

          And of course I'll let you hear about the results...

          Last edited by colander; 23 December 2009, 05:38 PM.


          • #6
            Great job!
            I hope you have wonderful results from using the light.
            Remember go slowly and build up your time gradually.

            Best of luck!


            • #7
              Are there problems with the instruction page or link? I could not get through to view the instructions. Does anyone know if the page is still available? Thank you


              • #8
                Hey there,
                Sorry about that. I guess it was taken down by the OP.
                If anyone saved a copy please post it.




                • #9
                  I did not save a copy, but maybe someone can put this cache version from google docs into a new PDF. Here it is:


                  • #10
                    I cant get either of the links to work unfortunately...


                    • #11
                      Instructions for red building your own red light unit from IowaDavid

                      The pdf file is no longer working but after some searching my husband found the old instructions that IowaDavid sent him.
                      Some of the links may no longer be working but it is easy enough to source what you need through ebay.

                      This is a quick overview of how to build your own red light therapy LED array for treating rosacea or other inflammatory skin disorders. You don’t necessarily have to use the sources I used for materials; the links provided function as examples of what you’ll need. The total cost should be between $250-$300, depending on where you buy things and if you need to buy any tools. As far as I know, this design is far brighter than anything on the market right now being sold for in-home red light therapy.

                      Most commercial LED products have anywhere from a few dozen LEDs to a couple hundred. The array described here has 882 LEDs, but I’d suggest that you order 1,000 LEDs, because if you buy 1000 LEDs (or more) the price drops to $.19/LED (at the link provided, at least), so you’d get 1,000 for $190. Whereas, if you bought 900, that'd be 900 x .29 = $261. If you're going to buy some, it makes sense to buy a batch of 1,000 or more.

                      LEDs can be found here:

                      The LED model you'll want is this one:

                      You'll need a soldering iron and some rosin core solder. I got this kind at Ace Hardware:

                      You'll also need a 13.8v 5 amp power supply (ebay is the cheapest I've found)--

                      Resistors are very cheap (ebay, again), for a lot of 100 22 ohm resistors:

                      Then you'd need some PC board: (3 of those--if you can find them for less online, by all means do so).

                      Some extra wire-- (like you'd get from stripping telephone wire of its outside covering). It should look like this:
                      Just strip the outer insulation/binding and use the inner wires. My father had just loads of this stuff coiled up in the basement so I stripped it and only used the red and black wires to help me keep things straight.

                      And then you’ll need some eye protection--sun tanning booth goggles or something similar would work; essentially anything opaque.

                      The end result looks like this:

                      And this is what each "tower" of the array looks like when it's soldered:



                      First, after you’ve got all of your supplies, take your PC board. Score that down the middle so you have two pieces that are 3" wide. Then snap it in half along the scored line. You want 6 3-inch wide perforated board pieces. On each piece of perforated board, you’ll have 21 rows of 7 LEDs with a resistor at the end of each row.

                      Now, you can start arranging your LEDs, 7 to a row. You want to arrange them positive/negative, right next to one another. The positive "leg" of the LED is the longer one, so on the underside, make sure all the long legs are on the right, the short legs on the left. Looking at it so you see the LEDs (not the legs), leave a space on the right-hand side where you'll attach a resistor (later) to the negative leg of the LED at the end of each row. Here's an idea of how it should look:

                      Those are LEDs, already soldered. I haven't put the resistors on yet, but you can see the right-hand side is left empty and is big enough for the resistors.
                      I've found that if you put the LEDs in, all seven of them, so their legs are hanging loose, then flip the perforated board over onto a towel, so the LED heads are cushioned, you can then press the legs of the LEDs into “X”s to brace them tight against the back side of the perforated board.
                      So, like this: After you've flipped the perforated board, press the positive leg of the first LED to the left, so it's flattened against the underside of the board. Then, press the negative leg of that first LED to the right, nearly parallel to the row, right snug to the positive leg of the 2nd LED. Then cross the positive leg of the 2nd LED over the negative leg of the 1st LED, so you've made an "X". Now, that first LED should be snug tight against the perforated board because both of its legs are flattened against the underside. Now, cross the negative leg of the 2nd LED parallel to the row, just above and snug to the positive leg of the 3rd LED. Press the positive leg of the 3rd LED across the negative leg of the second LED, so now the 2nd LED has both of its legs pressed flat against the underside of the board, and it should be snug. Keep doing this down the row, and leave the last negative leg pressed flat out to the side for when you connect it to the resistor later.
                      Now, go back and use some wire cutters to snip the excess wires of each of the legs off so all you have is just the tiny "X" where the legs of the LEDs overlap, but nothing else. Each of these joints is where you'll apply your solder (as you can see in the images linked above). You can either solder each row down as you go, or, clip off the ends of the legs, then set down the next row, and clip that off, and so on, and then go back and solder everything at the end.
                      You might want to play around with the soldering iron and some solder and some scrap wire just to get a feel for it. Here is a link for a basic overview on soldering:
                      Don't worry so much about the safety concerns like ventilation and stuff--you're just going to be getting some smoke of the rosin in the solder; it's not really harmful, from what I understand.
                      If you need more help, google some pages for a basic LED wiring overview or soldering or what-have-you. Here are some links:

                      You'll get pretty good at soldering after a short while. Just try to use as little solder as possible on each joint.

                      As we’re using a 13.8v power supply, and our LEDs have a forward voltage of 1.9 volts, and we use 7 LEDs per row, we can use 22 ohm resistors (if you use a different kind of LED, or a different power supply, you’ll need to do the math to figure out how to set up your array accordingly).
                      Resistors work either way you turn them--there's no positive or negative end. At the end of the each row, you solder the negative leg of the last LED to the resistor. Then, you can take a length of wire, slide it under all the free ends of the resistors, press those resistor legs down, just like with the LED legs, and solder the length of wire to each resistor so you have a connection all the way down the length of your tower. Then you'll want to do the same on the other side (positive end of the rows) of the tower. So, you'll have all of the first LEDs in each row connected by a wire and soldered at each LED's positive leg, and all the resistors will be connected in the same way. Here is what that will look like:

                      I have put hot glue over the wire running down each side to insulate it so it won't short out when it's next to other towers.

                      Here's what my array looks like from the back:

                      So for each tower, you have the positive wire connected to the first (top) positive LED leg/solder joint, and the negative wire connected to the last resistor/solder joint at the bottom. I used about 2 or 3 feet of wire for each tower's positive and negative connections, then brought all the positive wires together, twisted their ends together, and soldered them to a single wire to attach to the positive hook-up on the power supply, and I did the same with the negative wires. You can use electrical tape to bundle the wires in a few places as you see fit to keep things from getting too tangled.

                      After soldering the LEDs and resistors onto the perforated board, but before connecting each tower to the power supply, I made a stand for each tower. I drilled a hole in a piece of board that was 3” wide (to fit the perforated board’s width), and hot-glued this to the back of the tower at the bottom. You can use a board as a stand for your towers, plot out how you want your towers arranged in a half-moon circle, and put a nail down for each tower. The nail goes through the hole in the stand and keeps the towers from falling over. Here are a couple of pictures:

                      A final note on treatment times: I try to use my array for 20 minutes, twice a day. You could do it all in one sitting if you want, though, early on, you may find that you want to split it up into two sessions, as the treatments tend to calm my face, make it pale, and less reactive to triggers for the next several hours afterward. So, if you do it in the morning, it kind of settles your face for work or your day ahead, then, in early evening or before bed, the treatment will calm your face down from insults and any flushing during the day. I have also repeatedly, and intentionally, fallen asleep in front of my array and exposed myself to the red light for 4 or 5 hours at a time; this kind of prolonged exposure is not harmful, as far as I can tell, and in fact makes my flushing and redness even less of a problem the following day than it normally is.
                      I’m not cured from using my array—my condition continues to get better as my cumulative exposure time grows.

                      Happy Soldering!



                      • #12

                        Thanks Melissa and your husband for this. I have updated the link since it is no longer working.


                        • #13
                          Mahalo to you too ;)

                          Thanks Brady


                          • #14
                            Melissa is that whole model safe to touch when its on? I mean are there any exposed wires.

                            For example; while its plugged in can you move it around; can you have kids around and not worry?



                            • #15
                              Totally safe and no exposed wires. But I suppose it's up to the person who builds it for you to make sure that is taken care of.

                              I would only worry about it being knocked over by kids so you might want to put it away when not using it. We do because it is an eyesore anyway