Even if a person has no experience with power-tools, one of the easiest ways to mod involves adding interior lighting to a build. This is especially effective for cases with a large side-panel window Obviously not all lighting sources are the same and each present their own set of challenges when placed in a confined space. Halogen lights for example, simply are too hot and require too much power to run but LED lighting technology has advanced to the point of making it ideal for this scenario. LED lights consume very little power and are available in multiple colors. To make it even easier to add LED lighting to your build, case and cooling manufacturer Bitfenix has their Alchemy line (shares the name with their sleeved cable accessory kits) designed exactly for this purpose.[sc:sponsor sponsor=”Bitfenix” product_link=”http://www.bitfenix.com/global/en/products/premium-modding/alchemy-led-strips#specs” product_name=”Alchemy LED Strips” product_price_link=”http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811997057&cm_re=alchemy_led-_-11-997-057-_-Product” product_price=”$12.99 (12cm)/$24.99 (30cm)/$34.99 (60cm) ” ]
Bitfenix’ Alchemy LED kits are available in five colors: red, blue, green, orange and white, and is available in three lengths: 12, 30 and 60cm. A molex cable as well as extenders come with each Alchemy LED package so they are ready to use immediately. The molex connectors as well as each LED strip themselves are daisy chain-able to create a longer or customized length from the three default options.
|Available LED Colors||Red, Green, Blue, Orange, White|
|LED Type||5050 Top SMD|
This sample in particular is the white LED version but all of them will look similar until the LED’s are actually turned on. This 30cm version has 15 SMD LEDs per strip and each strip is coated with clear polyurethane for a non-diffused light output. Each LED is rated for 60 Lumens (give or take 10%). The 12cm version has six LED chips while the 60cm version has 30 LED chips in comparison.
Connectors on both ends are 4-pins each and for mounting, a 3M adhesive is used. Make sure to clean the mounting surface properly of any dust before installation to ensure proper grip. No matter how good the adhesive is, if the surface is not prepped, it will not stay in place, especially if mounted upside down on the chassis’ ceiling surface.
The image below shows how strong a single 30cm alchemy LED strip illuminates from the left side of the case in total darkness. For those who prefer a smoother, diffused LED look, applying a transluscent tape or wax paper on top will scatter the LED lighting further although lessening the brightness. BitFenix also has a liquid-proof Alchemy “Aqua” LED kit series available for those who want something mounted inside a reservoir or any ambitious liquid-oriented build. There are some drawbacks of course with an adhesive backed LED mounting and that is re-usability. Bitfenix is aware of this so they actually just announced a new Alchemy 2.0 version with built-in magnets specifically for those who want a less-permanent yet stable way to add interior system lighting.
The original Alchemy LED kit itself is impressive for its ease of use and compatibility. It is not just for cases either, for the creative types, incorporating the Alchemy LED kits into components such as graphics cards, RAM, radiators or motherboards is limited only by ones imagination, especially the 12cm version which might be too short for most cases but fitting for illuminating small components. Users can also mount the LEDs inside fan frames to quickly make a standard fan into an LED fan. This is very effective as well if the blades are transparent or complimentary to the LED kit color. The Bitfenix Alchemy LED kit is simple but it fosters creativity in many ways, which is what modding is really about.