I apologize for this very stupid question, but I'm diving head-first into electronics and I am sort of confused. I'm hoping some experts' answers will at least give me more terminology, concepts, and electronics to look up and study (LOL).

What kind of RGB LEDs exist that you can combine 160 of them into a light fixture that runs at maximum 130 W? All of the RGB (or RGBW) LEDs I see run at about 9-14 V per diode (like CREE XPE2 or XMLs, or even 5mm RGD LEDs), which makes sense because each LED generally about 3V it seems. A 130 W fixture with 160 RGB LEDs means about 0.8W per LED...so with my limited understanding, what am I missing? (Again, I apologize for this kind of ignorant question.)

I'm not trying to build this light, I'm just trying to understand how you could combine 160 LEDs into a light that's rated by the manufacturer at 130W. I am building my own light, but it's not a replica of this one...this is just a point of trying to understand RGB LEDs better.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm confused about what you want to know. I've re-read it several times and your "facts" and other commentary leave me without anything much to hang a thought on. For example, you mention XPE2 which is a system that includes two LEDs with operating currents different from the third (the red.) You aren't supposed to operate them in series and that is the only way you could come up with that voltage range. \$\endgroup\$
    – jonk
    Jul 17, 2020 at 4:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Output power details are not clear. You say that it is 130W. But is it total (i.e. R+G+B) or is it for each of R, G and B (i.e. total ~400W)? There are some other details that must be taken into account before electronics: Environment, heat transfer etc. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2020 at 5:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you have control over the current you can combine 1,000 LEDs into one fixture and have it run at 100W. It may not be brighter than 100 LEDs at 100W but maybe it fits the design better. Maybe explain a bit more about what exactly you are trying to do. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 17, 2020 at 5:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SpehroPefhany, I'm sorry I'm not very clear. With this example, I'm just trying to understand how it could work. Your explanation helps a bit. If I understand properly, you don't HAVE to drive all he LEDs (in series) at their max current. You could drive them much lower. And it could be better design because maybe more even light spread? If I got it right, then yours would be (I guess) the answer to this question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jess
    Jul 17, 2020 at 5:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RohatKılıç, I'm sorry I didn't explain well. It's 130 W for the entire fixture. The fixture itself is made of 160 RGD LEDs (so I guess each one is R+G+B combined, maybe something like the CREEs that combine 3 diodes on a single board). I would like to know more about the other details that matter...but I suspect maybe Spehro has answered it (yes, it really was that basic I guess...) \$\endgroup\$
    – Jess
    Jul 17, 2020 at 5:23

1 Answer 1


The LEDs can of course be run at lower current than their maximum rating. This can prolong their life time and be due to thermal (cooling) reasons.

It is Not feasible or efficient to regulate the current with a simple potentiometer in series: it will go up in smoke when you run enough current through it.


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