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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is my version of home-made LED lighting. These are pics of the unpainted final version. The entire unit will be painted flat black using cottenballs in the face to keep the paint off of the LED's. The LEDS were installed into 2-liter bottle caps, then soldered with the resister, and then slid into the thin-wall PVC pipe without glue so the can be adjusted (Focused) or serviced. Note that the same bottle caps are installed first and slid all the way inside the PVC to form a "bottom" and give the small self-tapping "Adjuster" screw a little more "Beef" to screw into. The "stems" are the hangers for hanging ceilings. They are fully adjustable without tools and relatively cheap to build. Many thanks to the NJ/PA group for their inspiration and a "Group LED buy" that made these rediculously cheap to build.

UPDATE: I started a Tutorial for these lights HERE. It includes several modifications and updates from the original design seen in this thread. As I improve the design and experiment with other LED's, I'll Update the Tutorial to include any favorable improvements.









I took these pics during the daytime to show some details. Even during the day the LED's were strong enough to cast a nice pattern on the wall. I'm using a computer power supply (12V outputs) to run them all. I plan on having at least 20 of these made by Halloween as well as many overhead spots.
 

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Great job Greg. You'll have to bring them on the 10th for "show and tell". I really like the finished look that the 2nd bottlecap gives them.
 

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Nice and simple with so many possiblities! Heck, just lighting up something off season would be cool.
 

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Great job, Greg. As for the power pack, how many amps is the 12V? My neighbor has a few different ones and needs to know the exact power info needed for these LED's. Any help would be greatly appreciated. (Very nice meeting you yesterday, BTW :D)
 

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Hey I like that idea. That is another idea that I am going to steal (ahem - I mean borrow) from you. Can you still turn them left and right? Also the screw that attaches the tube to the hanger is it a sheet metal screw or a nut and bolt? As you have said before it is great to see the free flow of ideas from a single theme project on this forum! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mad, With VERY few exceptions, any computer power supply will work. All computer power supplies have 3 different voltage connections inside them to run various parts of a computer (3V, 5V, and 12V). Amperage doesn't matter unless you are running a massive amount of lights, or rocking granny's. But power supplies are relatively cheap, so if you exceed the required amperage (too many lights for example), the supply will (usually) safely kick itself off. Just get a second one to suppliment your power needs (Run separately). You won't blow your LEDS with a computer power supply since we have built them just for that purpose. That little resistor you installed with your lights was calibrated just for 12V. We'll show you what wires to connect everything to in your power supply when you see us next time. IT was GREAT Meeting you too, we all hope you can make a lot of our meetings :) and thanks for the compliment on the lights.

Fritz, Sharp, and Archive, Thanks for the great comments. Much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Joe, The Hangers swing left to right at just the right tension due to the fact that I used a slightly oversized drill bit to predrill the holes. The screw I used was a 8-18 X 1/2" self-tapping (automotive sheet metal) screw that also penatrated into the Bottom bottle cap for a little extra "Grip". Time will tell if they remain viable for a long term solution.... BUT my initial feeling is that they will last a very long time. Besides, a quick fix if the screw "dethreaded" would be to add a new bottom bottle cap or crazy glue if you strip the screw out. I have some plans for banks of 4- 5 and more for various applications... this setup could also be used in trees, light poles, on houses, pop-up shelters, and inside of props where there might otherwise be issues with space or vibrations. I am really in love with the compact nature of these things and of course the instant adjustability. They do adjust L-R and Up and Down.
 

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I like this way of being able to mount it to different objects. Looks neat and compact. How many total lights are you going to have working on the computer power supply. Also how far in between are you going to distance the three set of lights from the other set? I was curious because I want to set up my lights before the next make and take so I can be shown how to hook it up to the computer power supply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Joisey, First off I hope your feeling better... we missed you. My solution for connecting all of the lights is to use those "Malibu type connectors" used for landscape lighting. They are also called "Vampire connectors" because they pierce the 12 guage landscape wire with 2 little metal teeth to make a very reliable yet temporary/movable connection. My whole Idea was to create a very flexible design to adapt and evolve with my haunt. So in a nutshell.... Set up your haunt. Buy 100' (or more) of 12 gage landscape lighting wire. Set your fixtures where you think you want them... run the landscape lighting wire to each LED fixture, connect your hookups for this season and your done... In My case I'll have several "Main Runs" of wire in different directions towards multiple fixtures. If you looked down at my setup from the air it would look like a multi-spoked wheel with the power supply being in the center, and the spokes being the "Main runs"of landscape wire All of my fixtures will be attached to the various "Main runs". Of course they aren't straight like spokes. Each run can zig-zag around to accomadate your haunt and avoid tripping hazards. Some runs might be 20' and some night be 125'. Now, I know that 12 gage landscape lighting wire isn't the cheapest... but it allows for such flexibility because as a professional landscape lighting installer, this system allows for you to change your setup every year and still use the main run wire for several years before it corrodes. The piercing effect of the connectors does allow for the main wire to corrode over time, but if it's dedicated to halloween and only used for a few weeks a year it should last for a long long time.
To answer your other question, My pictures represent a bank of 3 lights... I will probably run 20-30 of these and probably 30 individual spots. so between 90 and 120 individual light fixtures.
 

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I like the mount you have for the light, but I would have 1 to 3 lights on each mount. I figure I wouldn't need 3 lights per mount because I will be spacing out my props. I also would only be using the lights for Halloween so would I be able to get away with the 22 gauge since I already bought that? I wasn't sure if you were the one that said they were going to make the lights yearly for landscaping, but I would really love to see pictures of your setup when your done. Anyway very nice setup and thanks for answering my questions. The electrical part of Halloween I'm still clueless, but I really want to learn as much as I can. I told Joe I'm going to purchase a book from Radio Shack called: Getting Started in Electronics. I'm hoping that will teach me the basics so I will be able to hook up these motors and lights to power sources by myself.
 

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Neat solution to LED's I designed my own last hant season using prewired LED's from Ebay. I was really happy with the results, I love the rich colors they give.
 

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Joisey, First off I hope your feeling better... we missed you. My solution for connecting all of the lights is to use those "Malibu type connectors" used for landscape lighting. They are also called "Vampire connectors" because they pierce the 12 guage landscape wire with 2 little metal teeth to make a very reliable yet temporary/movable connection. My whole Idea was to create a very flexible design to adapt and evolve with my haunt. So in a nutshell.... Set up your haunt. Buy 100' (or more) of 12 gage landscape lighting wire. Set your fixtures where you think you want them... run the landscape lighting wire to each LED fixture, connect your hookups for this season and your done... In My case I'll have several "Main Runs" of wire in different directions towards multiple fixtures. If you looked down at my setup from the air it would look like a multi-spoked wheel with the power supply being in the center, and the spokes being the "Main runs"of landscape wire All of my fixtures will be attached to the various "Main runs". Of course they aren't straight like spokes. Each run can zig-zag around to accomadate your haunt and avoid tripping hazards. Some runs might be 20' and some night be 125'. Now, I know that 12 gage landscape lighting wire isn't the cheapest... but it allows for such flexibility because as a professional landscape lighting installer, this system allows for you to change your setup every year and still use the main run wire for several years before it corrodes. The piercing effect of the connectors does allow for the main wire to corrode over time, but if it's dedicated to halloween and only used for a few weeks a year it should last for a long long time.
To answer your other question, My pictures represent a bank of 3 lights... I will probably run 20-30 of these and probably 30 individual spots. so between 90 and 120 individual light fixtures.
Greg can you please bring a sample of the landscape wire and the Malibu connectors to the next meeting as a demonstration? I will not be able to make it to that meeting and since you have them already.
 

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"Vampire Connectors". Snort, if there was ever an electrical thingamajig that was designed for us... :p

Can you attach a gobo to these lights or are they too small to bother with?
 

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Gobos may be used, in connection with projectors and simpler light sources, to create lighting scenes in a theatrical application. this page will explain and show some examples.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gobo_%28lighting%29

It is like putting a lens over the light with an image that you want to project like a slide projector.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Connectors CHEAP

The one concern since I made these lights was how to connect them quickly, reliably, and with a lot of flexability year to year. As a landscape light installer, I immediately thought about those malibu connectors, but they are VERY expensive, especially if I wanted to have 50 of them. So, I made my own based on another style connector that I often use. These connectors allow me to use one (or more) long length wires that aren't spliced at all. Did I mention that they are SUPER CHEAP and exceptionally easy to make.









 
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