I am building a POV LED Globe using ~200 RGB LEDs.

I have three different types I am looking at and have no experience with:

  • 5mm RGB LEDs - Diffused (example)
  • 5mm Straw Hat RGB LEDs - Water Clear (example)
  • 5mm Straw Hat RGB LEDs - Diffused (example)

I have some Water Clear RGB LEDs and I am not pleased with them. The colors don't mix and all the light comes out of the top and almost none out of the sides. I know I can diffuse them myself by sanding or otherwise but for ~200 LEDs it's a lot of work.

For this project I want LEDs that have a wide angle of visibility and an even distribution of light so they have the same color/intensity at any angle on the curved display. The diffused straw hat LEDs seem like the best choice because from what I've read the straw hat design has a higher viewing angle and the diffused shell will mix the colors together better, but without real experience with any of them, I don't know that the best one on paper will be the best choice in reality.

What are the pros and cons of each of these?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ If you want diffused straw-hat LEDs, then the best type is diffused straw-hat LEDs. What are you asking? \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 17:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm looking for informed opinions from those who've worked with these different types and can compare them. I just don't have experience with any of them and haven't found any comparisons from research on the internet. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 18:07
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Since its an aesthetic judgement I don't think this is a great forum for this question. We prefer questions that can be answered with facts. You might just have to make a simplified version (like maybe 3 or 4 pixels) of your design, buy a grab-bag of different LEDs, try different things and see what looks best to you. I'd certainly rather buy diffused LEDs than hand-sand clear ones. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 18:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You could also try on chat --- it's a better place for questions asking for opinion rather than facts, but a much smaller audience. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Commented Oct 30, 2012 at 18:31

1 Answer 1


Generally I think you are going about this the correct way. You have to experiment with them and pick the right one for the job. The white balance is a big factor. Many RGB leds are not balanced well. The color temp. is another one. The pros buy from several color temp. bins and mix them up (even the same part number will get binned into different color temps).

Also how well the colors mix varies from LED to LED; you just have to try them.

I can vouch for the following RGB LEG:

Ledtronics SML13RGB2KT


You will not be disappointed. Let me know if you need some, I also have a break out PCB for them.

  • \$\begingroup\$ A little expensive but the luminosity specs on those SML13RGB2KT seem mighty impressive -- 980mcd for the Green! What current do you usually run through these? I bet they are hard to directly look at, at 20 mA \$\endgroup\$
    – OrCa
    Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 21:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think about 30mA in each. Yeah, they are crazy bright. I put them on one of my dev. boards and all my customers complained about how bright it was. Sheesh. They were probably all software people :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 31, 2012 at 22:12

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