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Old February 24, 2009, 20:53   #1
jerrymrc
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The LED thread.....

So this will be another thread by yours truly on how to build some LED array's.

The goal of this one will be to replace the bulbs in the camper with 3-6 LED array's and save some power while we are at it.

A few years ago I purchased some LED's in bulk and tried some tests. Needless to say they were disappointing. With the advances made over the last few years I decided to try this again.

The camper uses 1141 bulbs in the lighting system. there are 13 total in the camper. Each one draws about 1.47 amps or 18 watts. Just having 3 of these bulbs lit is 4.41A or 62 W. That is allot of power gang when you are running on batteries and solar.

If my calculations are right I should be able to provide more light at 1/3 the power. Stay tuned we start the adventure tomorrow.
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Old February 24, 2009, 21:23   #2
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Looking forward to this, Jerry
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Old February 24, 2009, 21:33   #3
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I dig your threads.
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Old February 24, 2009, 21:41   #4
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one walkway light in white, lights up the back of the toy .....have ya seen the batt /solar charging lanterns in cheaper than dirt ..30 led 360°...would easily light up your unit ....how the heck ya doing back there jerry ....hows the new machine ??
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Old February 24, 2009, 22:53   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by ggiilliiee
one walkway light in white, lights up the back of the toy .....have ya seen the batt /solar charging lanterns in cheaper than dirt ..30 led 360°...would easily light up your unit ....how the heck ya doing back there jerry ....hows the new machine ??
Doing OK. New machine is great except for the motor. Will be changing a couple of things to get me by but just the classic case of some chevy guy building a Pontiac. Nothing I can't fix but frustrating to say the least.

Some junk to pick up tomorrow and pic's to follow.
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Old February 25, 2009, 19:42   #6
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Here we go. Diodes are nothing more than traffic cops for electronics. They are one way valves. There are many kinds but we are interested in LED's and there application for lighting.

One thing you must remember is an LED will not operate by itself. In order to function there has to be a load attached to it. LED's are also not a matter of just choosing the number you want to use and off you go.

Every LED has a set of parameters. Forward voltage, forward current, reverse current and light output. You need to use good ol math or cheat like I do when designing LED arrays. I use this one

The LED's I have chose for this project are 10mm in size. I am using these for there dissipation (wide beam) and there light output. They were advertised as 1/2W LED's with 280.000 MCD of light output and 500 mw of power dissipation. In simple terms good light for the power (and price)

I paid $29 shipped for 50 of them.

Back to the topic. I mentioned above that you just can not start plugging in LED's Lets see why.


Say I want 2 LED's.

I enter 12.5 volts. My forward current of 100ma. 2 LED's and a forward voltage of 2.7

The calculator tells me I need a resistor of 56 Ohms. OK but what it also tells me that I will use 560mw of power on the resistor. The two LED's will use 740mw of power for a total of 1300mw. So I am lighting 2 LED's for 1300mw of power.

Lets try 3. It tells me I need a 15 Ohm resistor. The resistor will dissipate 150mw. The 3 LED's will dissipate 1110mw for a total of 1260mw.

In simple terms the resistor is the load and the more power we we use on it the less we use to light with. The only thing that we get is heat from the power used. I can light 3 LED's for less power than 2.

So now we know that for the LED array we are going to build that 3 LED's per resistor is the optimum number. Trying to use 4 drops the ohm level to the point that we now have to build another set of three. If you noticed 2 LED's required 56 Ohms and 3 needed 15 Ohms.

Like the song goes. "are ya with me so far?"
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Old February 25, 2009, 19:47   #7
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THE PROJECT

So here is what I have. A typical camper light housing using a 12V 18W 1141 bulb.
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Old February 25, 2009, 20:01   #8
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The supplies. I need LED's, Wire, circuit card material, A bulb base, drill, dremel, epoxy, resistors and a solder iron.

As to the circuit card material. and old heat resistant plastic will work as well as Bakelite or even 1/16" hardboard. I happen to have some old extender cards for equipment long past away. it is made of glass epoxy and is perfect for this application.
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Old February 25, 2009, 20:21   #9
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Lets take the bulb and gut it. All I want is the housing and a little glass attached to it for the base. I break the bulb and use a drill bit to clean the inside. When done it should look like this. I have also cut my circuit card material to the rough size to fit the fixture I plan to use it in.

I am going to use 6 LED's for this one lamp.
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Old February 25, 2009, 20:28   #10
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Next up. We need to attached a lead to the + terminal of the lamp socket.
If you look down inside the lamp you will see where the original wire went.

I strip a little insulation back and take the solder iron to the outside of the base. Once hot enough the wire should pop through. trim the wire and put the bead back on the base.
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Old February 25, 2009, 20:39   #11
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Now we trim our card material so we have a tab that fits inside the bulb base. I made a 3/8" tab that fits tight inside the base.

Now some may be asking why I am doing all this when LED bulbs are already out there. Well a traditional LED replacement will not work in this application as you will see. This design can also be modified for other purposes.
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Old February 25, 2009, 20:46   #12
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Next we take the bulb and base back to the camper. We are going to mount the LED's on one side only facing down. The size of the fixture determines the size of the bulb.

I also want to be sure the card is in the right place. So we take the array out and fit it into the housing. After playing with it for awhile I see that I want to tilt the card a little.
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Old February 25, 2009, 20:49   #13
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Another view. Since I made the card fit tight I can move it a little and it is not flopping around. Then I remove the assembly and it is back to the bench.
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Old February 25, 2009, 20:53   #14
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I now epoxy the card into the base with my wire on the back side.
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Old February 25, 2009, 20:59   #15
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One more view and we are done for tonight. Tomorrow we will mount the electronics and take it for a spin.
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Old February 26, 2009, 00:05   #16
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jerry ...do you not have to worry about the amps ???.6-10 amps from that fused outlet wont melt those LED's ..???...just curious ...say cheese ....poooooffff .hehe
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Old February 26, 2009, 05:52   #17
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Stand by ggiilliiee. He's explaining how he's handling the voltage/current thing as he goes. And he doing it in layman's terms so everybody can get it. The "load" resistor he mentioned above is a current limiter to keep from "poofing" the LED's. But it wastes current. Next up he'll show you how to get around that. I'll shut up now.
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Old February 26, 2009, 08:20   #18
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maybe this will save you some time

leds on ebay Here
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Old February 26, 2009, 20:34   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by daimok
maybe this will save you some time

leds on ebay Here
I apologize. Now that I have seen it it is different and might work for what I am doing. I am not sure about the light output and current draw but I may pick up a couple just to try.

Quote:
Stand by ggiilliiee. He's explaining how he's handling the voltage/current thing as he goes. And he doing it in layman's terms so everybody can get it. The "load" resistor he mentioned above is a current limiter to keep from "poofing" the LED's. But it wastes current. Next up he'll show you how to get around that. I'll shut up now
Yes I could build a current circuit using NPN's PNP's or even FET's but I wanted to keep this simple. I believe that were I to build a big array that is the way I would go.

With the small ones I am building the loss by optimizing the simple circuit and using fairly robust LED's operating well under there capacity was the way I wanted to go. I am not trying to get everything I can get (at this point)
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Old February 26, 2009, 20:45   #20
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So back to the task at hand. I will say that I did screw up a little by not planning a little better. The physical layout I will change with the next one only because I did not think about the wide and stiff legs of the 10mm LED's

I am so use to putting in components, bending the leads over and solder away. In hindsight I would have rotated the holes 90 and bent one way then the other. I did not so I have to pay the price. Here are the holes that should have been side by side instead of parallel. Stupid me but I do learn.
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Old February 26, 2009, 21:16   #21
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As I said Diodes are a one way valve. They have an Anode (+) and a cathode (-) The anode is identified by the longer leg. In our simple circuit we have 3 diodes with the one resistor. this is a series circuit. We want 6 LED's so all we have to do is build another one and tie each identical ends together.

What we have now is a series-parallel circuit. In connecting the diodes together we go + - + - + - We can wire diodes in series because they are not a resistance device (like a light bulb) per se. Our voltage drop is controlled by the resistor.

Now thinking about it this way one can understand the if you have wide swings in voltage then this simple circuit will not do the job but that is another thread altogether.
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Old February 26, 2009, 21:45   #22
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This place has them for 13bucks a pop 1156W is the replacement for 1141.

http://www.dav-electronics.com/LED_automotive_bulbs.htm

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Old February 26, 2009, 22:11   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by yarro
This place has them for 13bucks a pop 1156W is the replacement for 1141.

http://www.dav-electronics.com/LED_automotive_bulbs.htm

-Yarro
So if they point out the side instead of down how is that going to help? All I am using of the 1141 is the base. I need light 90 degrees from those bulbs you posted or did you not look at the pic,s?

I never should have started this........
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Old February 26, 2009, 22:46   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by jerrymrc


So if they point out the side instead of down how is that going to help? All I am using of the 1141 is the base. I need light 90 degrees from those bulbs you posted or did you not look at the pic,s?

I never should have started this........
I think its cool, Jerry and would like to see the progress.

Just because all the goofuses aren't technically competent doesn't make your project any less interesting.
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Old February 27, 2009, 12:09   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by jerrymrc




I never should have started this........
Yes, you should have started this. It's just a minor high jacking in progress, ignore it and lets get to soldering! You are also making a "light surface" rather than a point source bulb replacement. Lot's of stuff going for your method, please keep it up.

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Old February 27, 2009, 12:41   #26
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stranger ...id give jerry the shirt off my back ..and i do actually remember my 9th grade eletronics class ..but ...mostly just wondering ....WHY???...hehehe

http://www.improvementscatalog.com/h...-lighting.html

im listening jerry ...just askin questions ...
.as i have a bunch of 2500milicandle led's that ive been pulling out of cheapie butane cigg lighters ...wanted to set up a solar back up lantern like what i have now (batts only)....but hook up the walkway light to it and a diffuser lens ....with larger cells in a new batt pack ....probably put in a potetiometer for an off and dimmer too ...to get around the photo cell ..thanks for the tips ....really .....

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Old February 27, 2009, 13:15   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by jerrymrc
I never should have started this........
Not so, Jerry...

Great thread...

Keep plugging away...

Forrest
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Old February 27, 2009, 16:56   #28
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Well since I have drilled the holes in the wrong places I will bend the leads a quarter turn and fold over. This has got to be the worst job I have ever done. Good thing work can't see it.

If you look at the yellow wire and think of it as the + then I branched each leg from there down the side + - + - + - The end lead is the neg.
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Old February 27, 2009, 17:02   #29
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Now all we need to do is mount the resistors and tie both legs to the Neg and our custom assembly will be ready for testing. I have mounted the resistors on the face side and tied them in to complete the circuit.
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Old February 27, 2009, 17:07   #30
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In this case I went with the 15 Ohm resistors so I would have plenty of cushion on the top end of the voltage scale. I chose the LED's I did because one of the supposed features was a 40 degree pattern.

Most LED's have a narrow beam with not much light outside of that. A pic of the finished backside.
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Old February 27, 2009, 17:17   #31
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So I have finished it. Now what? Well testing @13 V showed that it draws .4A and that works out to 5.2W compared to the the 19.1 W (1.47A) that the 1141 bulb drew @ 13V

I may change the resistance to 11 or so and push the bulbs a little further. So how does it look and work?

Installed in the housing We have all the bulbs pointing down. The factory lens has a diffuser built in but I may have to add some diamond plate to it.
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Old February 27, 2009, 17:26   #32
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Of course I need to see it work and that's when I realized that I had no batteries in the camper. I was not about to plug it in because the inverter without the batteries as a buffer is a big no-no.

So I grabbed one of the car batteries and hot wired it into the fuse panel. It showed 12.5v so this would be a good test. The lowest my batteries get running off the solar setup is about 12.3v. The LED.
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Old February 27, 2009, 17:29   #33
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The 1141
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Old February 27, 2009, 18:03   #34
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So what does it all mean? The current LED's have come a long way in just a few years. Can you just go and buy what you need? Sometimes. I may pick up a couple of the panels that daimok posted about just to try.

As I posted there are 13 of these in the camper. 5 are single and 4 are doubles like in the picture. One switch for the doubles. One double fixture draws 38.2 W of power. Placing the LED's in there just cut it to 10.4 W.

When your dry camping like I do you count every watt you are using. I am almost at the point that I can dry camp for as long as I want.

My ultimate goal of all this crap that some have seen me doing is to be able to take my one camper and truck and be able to live 2 years without resupply. This is the Survival forum is it not.

I will work on some other designs just to see how much I can gain and see what the cost is. Since most of the items were scrounged to build the array the cost was under $4 per bulb and my impression of the light output this was a success.
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Old February 27, 2009, 19:02   #35
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Sweet!
Just one thought.
Could you add a zener diode at the input end to clip any voltage spikes from the battery?
This might be an easy protection measure, especially if you re-charge with a genny.
It'd have to clip at 13.5 volts & be able to handle the total current, but shouldn't be a big item, either financially of physically.
Or use 2 zeners with the correct voltage rating instead of the resistors, that way you'd get double-duty out of one component.

For those not into electronics a zener only allows up to a specified voltage to pass, & dumps any excess as heat.
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Old February 28, 2009, 09:37   #36
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Hey Jerry, does your camper have a dedicated circuit for the lights? Maybe a breaker or a fuse just for them? If so, I might have something that will let you eliminate all the current limiting resistors on the boards you fabricated. You wouldn't have to remove them, just jumper them out. I might be able to reduce the current consumption another 25~30%.

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Old February 28, 2009, 12:35   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by L Haney
Hey Jerry, does your camper have a dedicated circuit for the lights? Maybe a breaker or a fuse just for them? If so, I might have something that will let you eliminate all the current limiting resistors on the boards you fabricated. You wouldn't have to remove them, just jumper them out. I might be able to reduce the current consumption another 25~30%.

Lowell
I never thought of that. Just put the limiter on the fuse block. Now that would work. Do you use the PNP as a shunt with the cathode on the base?

Been 20 years since I taught theory but not all of it goes away.

If you have a circuit that would handle about 3A that would work since I would never be running more than 7 bulbs at a time. I have to make double certain but I do think that all the lights are on one circuit.
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Old February 28, 2009, 14:44   #38
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Well, close. These are power MOSFET's that have a free running oscillator that sets the duty cycle. You trim with an external resistor that sets from about 5 to 95% on time. The other control input sets the frequency. Mot sure about the range on that one without looking. But 60 to 120 hz ought to be about right for this application. Best part is the on resistance of that FET is about .05 ohms. Set up right, it should run the lights with no decrease in brightness (to the eye) and trim a good bit off the power consumption. Taking non-flash photographs under those lights would be sort of hit or miss though.
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Old February 28, 2009, 18:30   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by L Haney
Well, close. These are power MOSFET's that have a free running oscillator that sets the duty cycle. You trim with an external resistor that sets from about 5 to 95% on time. The other control input sets the frequency. Mot sure about the range on that one without looking. But 60 to 120 hz ought to be about right for this application. Best part is the on resistance of that FET is about .05 ohms. Set up right, it should run the lights with no decrease in brightness (to the eye) and trim a good bit off the power consumption. Taking non-flash photographs under those lights would be sort of hit or miss though.
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Old February 28, 2009, 22:12   #40
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great thread , someone who is out there doing stuff ..
i will stick this on top in a few more days ,so if you dont see it look at the
top of the page .. you will see the other 2 thread jerry has up there
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Old March 01, 2009, 21:19   #41
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Thanks. We are not done with this. Lot's of ideas just got to get the time to do them.
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Old March 02, 2009, 20:47   #42
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Well I added a little clear diamond to defuse the pattern and it worked like a champ. Nice even light with no hot spot whatsoever.

Was cooking up something with L Haney but even though the circuit says "Ceiling" only 1/2 the lights are on it.

I am now working on the reading lights that will be 3 leds each. The housing is small but it will work. I have potted 3 LED's with epoxy and will work them into a bulb.
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Old March 15, 2009, 21:36   #43
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I have now finished 5 of my lights. 4 6 LED's and one 3 LED. Now in all fairness I did order a few of the ones that daimok posted about.

I do not know as yet how they will work but at the very least I will use them in the bathroom. I will measure the current draw when they get here.

I will say that with the diffuser my 11 watt housings with the LED's are much better than the 38 watt 1141's. It is brighter, it is whiter and I have dropped my power consumption by over 2/3. I can light up the main room for 22 watts vs the 76 it used to take.

I guess that means more TV time when I dry camp. My TV SAT set up takes 56 Watts to run.
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Old March 23, 2009, 21:43   #44
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As an update and for those interested I did receive the 3 lights that daimok had posted about. For those wanting to buy without the hassle of making your own these are an alternative.

The good and the bad...... IMO.

Good.

Plug and play.
Bright
Draw 3.7 watts

Bad.

The white is almost annoying.
Very small pattern
in my case for 3 of these I can build 7 of the others.

The verdict.

I chose the LED's I did because of the output and the pattern. Not as focused as a normal LED. The end result was a bulb that gives good light and dispersion. The store bought LED's have a very narrow beam even with a diffuser. The output within a 4' circle is about the same as mine but there is a very sharp cutoff after that.

My home built ones work more like regular bulbs as to dispersion. they will light up the area that the bought ones will not.

They do draw only 3.7 VS 5.2W for mine. The incandescent's were very yellow. The LED's made it more like a fluorescent bulb but the store bought ones have that color temperature that is almost annoying.

I will be using them for the stove lighting because it has a 168 mount.

Just some thoughts.
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Old March 23, 2009, 22:53   #45
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This is great stuff jerry. First time I noticed this thread.
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Old April 30, 2009, 11:28   #46
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This is a really GREAT idea and project. Very very worthwhile and useful information that almost everyone can use if they choose to.

Please keep thinking, tinkering, achieving and teaching!

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Old May 17, 2009, 21:49   #47
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BTW. For those attending Falfest they can see a couple of these in action.
I will have the 6 double, 6 single, 3 single and the store bought ones in action.
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Old June 07, 2009, 19:54   #48
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Some updates. While the LED'S are great I found out that the inverters used in campers are not kind to them.

The quick story is that while it only shows 13.5V the ripple from the inverter will kill the LED's. I am sure that it only uses a half wave rectifier.

I was getting set up on Wednesday and had the light over the sink on. I looked up and it was out and the familiar smell hit me.

I pulled all the other LED's out and put the bulbs back in. I did leave the two commercial ones in the bathroom. By Friday half of the bulbs in them were burnt out as well.

The bottom line IMO is that if you are going to be using the inverter use bulbs or modify it. Dry camping or just using battery power as in a SHTF situation the LED's are great and use much less power.

I will still build the rest of them but put them in the camper as replacements in case I ever need them.

I now have another project to deal with (the inverter) If I have to I will convert it to full wave and with some caps hope to smooth it out.
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Old February 13, 2010, 10:39   #49
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Any news on the inverter work yet?...Great thread......I can use this info on my boat.........My BOB.....Bug out boat...........salt
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Old November 29, 2010, 14:23   #50
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Just to add to this thread:

http://ledcalc.com/

I know there's a link above for a similar thing, but I used this recently for a home project and it draws it out for you.

Become an expert! Impress your friends! Fun at parties! Hover over the question marks if you're unsure.

I got 6 5mm LED's running on 1 9v battery for just about 40 hours.
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