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There you go! I knew your landscape expertise would come up with something! Nails wood and a rubber band you can't any more basic then that. You are going to have to show them how to make them at the make & take. Did you have the file the points on those nails? What type are they?
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
The nails are copper plated weatherstrip nails (#17X 3/4") made by "crown bolt" and found at home depot in the hardware section. The copper allowed me to solder the wire EASILY to the nails, then drive them through the small pieces of "finish grade" 1/2" plywood. Here a few more support photos. I could only post 5 in the first post. Cronologically these are the first 3 pics in the build process.







At first I was concerned that the nails would bend before I could get them all the way in the little block (Wire attached). Then, when that wasn't a problem I was afraid that they'd slide right out the back as I pushed them onto the wire. They did move a little bit, untill I used a cork to let the tips of the nails fully penatrate the wire. No filing of the nails was required. The soldering made for a clean enough connection that there's no contact on the "Head side" of the nails to short the circuit. It works way better and faster than I could have anticipated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
This is the beauty of "Low voltage" wiring. First it's DC and not AC. It's WAY safer than household current. The exposed wires and nails will be "Hot glued" on the top in the final version for a little protection and insulation. You can also add di-electric grease and/or electrical tape to add further protection. I assume no Liability for what is shown, however, I've installed 12V landscape lighting for many years and it has proven to be very safe. I think that as long as you keep the connections out of standing water and away from Metal, you'll be fine. If anyone want's to chime in about any possible safety issues please feel free to do so in this thread.
 

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This is the beauty of "Low voltage" wiring. First it's DC and not AC. It's WAY safer than household current. The exposed wires and nails will be "Hot glued" on the top in the final version for a little protection and insulation. You can also add di-electric grease and/or electrical tape to add further protection. I assume no Liability for what is shown, however, I've installed 12V landscape lighting for many years and it has proven to be very safe. I think that as long as you keep the connections out of standing water and away from Metal, you'll be fine. If anyone want's to chime in about any possible safety issues please feel free to do so in this thread.
Ok cool! I am so glad you guys know so much about this electrical stuff because I am clueless. Anyway this looks great and I'm looking forward to learning as much as I can about it. Thanks! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
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. /QUOTE]

I meant to comment on this earlier Joisey. The intention of that 3-way mount is to have all 3 lights on one tombstone or another single prop to get a blending of colors for a cool effect. The beauty of the design is that you can make whatever fixtures you want for various effects. You can have a 3-way and aim each individual spotlight at 3 different props, or aim them all at one prop to get that creepy blending effect. Or you can just make a single one as you suggested. I'm hoping my LED order comes in before the April meeting so I can get a few different clusters together for demonstration purposes. That's why I wanted to have the flexibility for the connections. I will make several clusters of 2-3-4 and a few singles. At this point I don't know what lights I want where.... If I am unhappy with a certain effect of a 3-way I can easily switch it out for a 2-way or even a single spotlight.
 

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I know you are using a computer power supply to power these LED lights. I have been wondering about using the Malibu landscape lighting transformer to power a string of these, one difference they output 12V AC power. Will these LEDs operate the same or will life expectancy go down?
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I know you are using a computer power supply to power these LED lights. I have been wondering about using the Malibu landscape lighting transformer to power a string of these, one difference they output 12V AC power. Will these LEDs operate the same or will life expectancy go down?
I believe that your malibu transformer output is DC. That's why it's called a transformer, It "transforms" 120 AC to 12V DC so you can safely run your outdoor lights without using special cable or protective conduits. You could easily verify your output with a "meter", or just check the bulbs inside the fixtures that came with your malibu set. I'd bet they are 11w dc or 20w dc low voltage bulbs. If that is indeed the case (and I believe that it is), you can run these LED lights just fine on that transformer. Make sure to install the proper resistor for 12V based on how many lights you have in series inside each fixture. There are many LED calculators on the web to give you the proper value of the resistor you'd need to build these lights. they are VERY simple to make.
 

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On an auction site, that will remain nameless to avoid the ire of the powers that be, there is a Malibu 12 volt 150 watt transformer. How many 3mm led's can be run on this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
HP- Ohms law question?

On an auction site, that will remain nameless to avoid the ire of the powers that be, there is a Malibu 12 volt 150 watt transformer. How many 3mm led's can be run on this?
HP, or anyone else, Please assist me in answering this since I don't remember the math. We used 5mm LED's, not 3mm, but I'd guess it's well over 100, Possibly 300 individual LED's. Our group made spots with 3 LED's in each. LED's of different colors have slightly different power consumption, but you should be able to easily run 300 LED's (3-per spotlight, so 100 spotlights) with a standard computer power supply. Anyone Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
 

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the formula for current is I=V/W (I=current, V=voltage, and W=power or watts). So 12/150=12.5 amps. now each spot light uses 20-25ma (milliamps) so 10 spots will use about 250ma (I am buffering a little for safety) so 100 spots will use about 2.5 to 3 amps. I do not think that I need to take this any further do I? OK one more step. 200 - 250 spot will use about 6.5 to 7 amps. That is about the most I would use with that transformer as a general rule you do not want to push a power supply past half of its capacity. The reason that we use computer supplies is that you can usually find them at curbies or from someone getting rid of an old computer.
 

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The Malibu light transformers are 12V AC and not DC current, as explained here in their FAQ. It's still low voltage and as safe as 12V DC, but LEDs are not designed to work with AC. The lights will probably light up, but depending on the quality of the LED they may flicker or burnout much quicker.

You will see a few drop-in LED "bulbs" that screw into regular 110V AC light sockets. These have rectifiers built in that change the AC current to DC current. This kind of defeats the purpose of running low wattage lines in the yard. You would still be running 110V AC extension cords everywhere to power these lights. They would use less energy than a standard bulb. The LED Center has good explanation on the use of rectifiers and LEDs.

I would stick with the PC power supply for large runs of home made LEDS since they can be bought for as little as $25.00 new. If you are only running a few spotlights, then a few wall warts would be fine. You don't have to run the LEDs at 12v. You could run them as low as 5 volts depending on how you wired them.

You can use the LED Center's Calculator/Wizard to help design the circuit you want to build. It will even display a wiring diagram that you can just copy. Poke around the site, it has a LOT of good information about the use of LEDS.
 

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This is such a neat idea Niblique. I'm assuming all "blocks" will be painted black to blend in. After much searching I still haven't found a photo showing how the "base" wire gets connected to the power supply and what, if anything, the power supply gets connected to. From what I can tell, power supplies have numerous wires yet only two are used to hook up the main LED spot wire. Does anyone know where I can see an actual photo of the LED spot wire connection to the computer power supply?
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Thanks for that info Jaybo. In fact I'll have to check if the professional grade transformers that I use do the same thing. I always assumed that all of the outdoor light transformers had 12Vdc outputs. I'll check that out and report back.

You know what the saying is:

When you ASSUME something you make an...........Ass out of U and ME.

LOLOL could be embarrasing.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Mad, I'll try to get a few pics up of the actual connection to the puter power supply in the next day or two.
 

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MadMomma, Here is a quick article explaining the color coding of power pack output wiring. http://reprap.org/wiki/PCPowerSupply I do strongly suggest however that you need to test the lines first. We've found some fairly unstable output readings with some of the power packs we've tested. Basically, you're identifying a 12v positive and a ground wire coming from the PC power pack. Then you need to wire nut and secure those to the positive and negative main wires that will run out to your spots. the PC power pack uses the same wire to plug into the wall outlet that it uses when used in a computer. This is all part of the make and take on the tenth, if you need to do it sooner and on your own, I suggest you have your neighbor show you how to test and identify the output power lines. If not, we'll show you at the make and take.
 

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I sure wish I could get to the make and take. WV is just too far away. Thanks for the fantastic information and references.
 

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22
0.0254
0.64516
16.14
52.9392
7
0.92
42 kHz
AWG gauge
Conductor
Diameter Inches

Conductor
Diameter mm

Ohms per 1000 ft.
Ohms per km
Maximum amps for chassis wiring
Maximum amps for
power transmission

Maximum frequency for
100% skin depth for solid conductor copper




( when I laid this out it was in a nice graph, oh well)
As far as I can tell the most economical wire to use is security system wire. 22/2 very cheap by the spool.
 

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I am still looking for a power supplyl. It is obvious that the computer power supply is best but I want something that I can get. I do not have access to old power supplies. I Have found 12v 6amp converter for LCD monitors. They are only $17.00 including
shipping. They do have the little plug on the end. I wonder how I could get a female and make a distribution box for the landscape central delivery wire. I could then tap into the "trunk Line" with security wire (22/2) to the led spots. The power supplies look like the ones for laptop computers. I use cookie tins as a heat sink for my power supply when I use my lap top. I just set it on top and it difuses the heat very well.
 

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Wayne you can cut the plug off and just twist the wires together with wire nuts. Just make sure that it is 12V if the adapter is more you will need a different value resistor. Usually computer power packs are what they say they are. I have a few power packs from monitors and they are 12 volts so you will prob be OK with it.
 
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