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Discussion Starter · #141 ·
Can you reuse old landscape lighting wire? I have 200 feet of used wire that has had lights clipped to it?
Sure, you can use that old wire if it's in fairly good condition. I would test the continuity of it from end to end first, and wiggle it around a little to be sure the entire length is good before you count on it as your halloween wire. I recommend 14-2 or thicker (12-2 or 10-2 has heavier copper wire, and is more expensive and sort of overkill). I have used 16-2 as well, but that's about the practical limit as far as how small you can go using the vampire clips.

We relocate lights for customers all the time as thier trees grow, or as thier lighting requirements change. The punctures that are created by the vampire clips do cause "Some" degredation of the copper inside, but in general, this type of wire can last a VERY long time, especially if you only use it for 1 month a year and then store it in a dry location. It's not uncommon for this type of wire to last 10-20 years, even when its in constant exposure to the elements. Often it is buried in damp mulch beds for it's entire life and does just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #142 ·
Update: Ordering Proceedure for Custom Resistors.

I updated THIS post on available resistors and how to order them for your LED's From Asia Engineer. Scroll about halfway down, and look for the orange UPDATE:.

I'm also curious to see how well the "Mixed bag of different colors" performs if anyone buys them. It seems that it's the only way to get yellows from Asia Engineer. The MCD's listed for these are considerably lower than what you can buy when ordering individual colors.

I have found other inexpensive LEDs when surfing around, but very few have equal or greater MCD ratings than what's available from Asia Engineer (When comparing cost).
 

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I know this was answered a while back in on of the threads going on this topic, but I can't find it. If I order the multi pack of LEDs and two other packages, one of red and one of blue, from asia engineer, are they shipped together or bundled together like one order or do I need to fill out separate emails for each?
 

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Discussion Starter · #144 ·
I know this was answered a while back in on of the threads going on this topic, but I can't find it. If I order the multi pack of LEDs and two other packages, one of red and one of blue, from asia engineer, are they shipped together or bundled together like one order or do I need to fill out separate emails for each?
Place an order for 1 item, but don't check out. Go back to the main pages and order your second Item.. You'll see both items in your check out basket. Repeat as necessary till your done shopping. If you want to cancel an item, just click the check box on the list and remove it. You'll get E-mails wanting you to pay for the removed Item, BUT You can go to "My E-bay" and Click "REMOVE" on your "To Do" List, and that Item will be permanantly removed from your "Please pay for this Item" List.

As for the "Mixed bag, I'm not sure if you can order special resistors. BUT, If you place an order that requires 100 ohm AND 360 ohm resistors, I believe they are still the 2 values you would need for the Mixed bag when you are using 3 LED's. Remember, if you order 100 LED's, you get 100 resistors of your choice. You only need 1/3rd of the resistors to build these spotlights. You will have extras leftover for your Mixed bag. I haven't checked the requirements for the yellows, but I believe they will be either 100 ohm or 360 ohm ( the same as you will be special ordering with your two other colors). So in summary, If you want to additional colors, One of those colors should be Red, or amber, so you can get the 360 ohm resistors. ALl of the other colors use the 100 Ohm resistors.

Did that make Sense??
 

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Discussion Starter · #146 · (Edited)
Yeah, I think so. I am still trying to determine what the different values are in the multi vs regular packs. I see there is a big difference in the mcd value from 4000 to 13000 but what is that value for, brightness? Geeze I feel incompetant here.
Mcd's, Lumens, and candle's are all measurement of light intensity.

As for the correct resistor's for the "multi" pack, Just use the LED calculator listed earlier in this thread. Plug in your supply voltage (12V in your case), Your Foward Voltage of each color (it usually has a range High and Low, check both), and your Milliamp (ma) requirement of each color. Then add the number of LED's in series (3 in your case). This will calculate your resistor value(s) in Exact numbers. Unfortunatly there are Only certain resistor values available, so the common rule is to get the Closest available resistor value (usually the next availalbe Higher value). In our case the whites "should" have a 120 ohm resistor, but thier nearest availalble resistor is 150 Ohm. Since the 100 ohm is still (barely) within the acceptable range I opted to use that one. As I said, I wouldn't recommend them if I didn't try them first with success and MANY hours of testing.

Feel free to ask any more questions.

Good luck with the LED calculations, and let me know what you discover.
 

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This information is priceless! I'm totally going to start making a bunch of these. Thanks for the tutorial.
I'm assuming I know the answer, but I haven't seen it directly asked yet- is the 12v low enough voltage not to shock you if touched?
 

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Discussion Starter · #148 ·
This information is priceless! I'm totally going to start making a bunch of these. Thanks for the tutorial.
I'm assuming I know the answer, but I haven't seen it directly asked yet- is the 12v low enough voltage not to shock you if touched?
THank you, I appreciate the endorsement. As for your question, the quick answer is yes you can get a shock from 12 volts. THe long answer is that it's still safer than 120V power chords running all over the place. Someone said earlier in this thread that you could kill someone with a 9V battery if you knew just how to do it.
You have to use common sense with ANYTHING that uses electricity. All and all I think it's fairly safe.
 

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I know a lot has to do with amperage- do you know how many amps are considered dangerous at 12v? I know the "spark cage" trick using a 12v battery charger is safe to touch since it is such a low amperage. I'm plenty comfortable with my electrical knowledge to tackle these LED lights, but I'd like to know my volunteers can safely help set up these lights too.
 

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If you really worried about it have them connect the lights and before you connect the battery do a quick test with a multimeter to see if there are any shorts. Or use a computer power supply while you connect the lights (it will power down if a short happens) and then switch to the battery or leave the CPS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #151 ·
In addition to what Joe said, The only part of the wire that could possibly be exposed to skin contact would be the very ends of the landscape wire. If you use Wire nuts at your power supply and "Cleanly" Cut and tape the other end, you should have absolutely NO issues. As for the Vampire connectors, It's almost impossible to get your fingers in an area to touch them as your connecting them. Also, I always used a small piece of plywood to press the vampire clips into the landscape wire. I ALWAYS use a Computer power supply because it's safer with it's "Fault protection" built into it. I also always connect my lights while the computer power supply is is ON. That way you can insure that you haven't accidently created a short while your connectig them. You also get really good feedback as you plug each light in. Remember, you don't want to puncture the wire all the way through to the other side. Just press them in enough to get the light to turn on, secure them, and then just give the connection one more "press" to insure good contact. Also make sure that you protect the copper nail heads with hot glue or some other medium. It will prevent corrosion, and even further reduce the chance of an accidental shock. I would avoid using a battery unless you can install a fuse or some other kind of "fault Protection".
 

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I'm not sure if someone's mentioned this or it's been addressed (thread has 11 pages at this point, TL : DR) but I'm noticing some light leakage from the photo's on page 1 through the PVC. My solution to this would be to make a small cylinder of Aluminum foil and slide it down the barrel so that it acts as a light-proof barrier for the PVC. Also would help reflect up some of the stray photons...

edit: this is not to say I won't be reading this thing fully when I have more time, this idea rocks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #153 ·
I'm not sure if someone's mentioned this or it's been addressed (thread has 11 pages at this point, TL : DR) but I'm noticing some light leakage from the photo's on page 1 through the PVC. My solution to this would be to make a small cylinder of Aluminum foil and slide it down the barrel so that it acts as a light-proof barrier for the PVC. Also would help reflect up some of the stray photons...

edit: this is not to say I won't be reading this thing fully when I have more time, this idea rocks!
To address your comment, they weren't painted black yet in those first few pictures of this thread. Once they're painted, there's really no noticable "bleed" through the PVC. Aluminum probably won't do much for focusing these lights since they already have a 25 degree viewing angle.

Yea, this thread is pretty long, but it has a lot of great information in it if you can hang in there.

The culmination of this topic is the LED TUTORIAL that I did to make these lights. I've made a LOT of improvements since this thread got started. I'm also open to any upgrades or improvements that anyone else offers.

Joe (Hpropman) and Scarecrow came up with some cool connection methods as an alternative to mine.
 
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