Reading lights-looking for 12V (non-halogen)-maybe LED'S? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-16-2007, 03:32 AM   #15
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Is the need for voltage regulation an assumption, or from a technical spec, or from experience ($)?
I don't know which exact LEDs IKEA used in their lights, but some of the web sites where they talk about tricking out cars by installing sets of surface-mount LEDs like the ones IKEA uses warn that they're very sensitive to voltage and will burn out if the series of three LEDs with their associated resistor hits 13v. The IKEA power supply circuit has a regulator built into it, though I'm not sure if that's because they're worried about voltage fluctuations that might burn out the LEDs or because their front-end circuit supplies ample voltage so they can down-regulate to a known value that keeps the LED light levels constant. (A 10% drop in voltage to the Dioder lights causes substantial dimming.)

In any case I decided I'd rather assemble a few $2.60 regulator circuits than risk blowing the $80 worth of LED lights I've installed in my trailer.

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And can you share the basic regulator design?
I got my parts at Radio Shack: Their smallest bread-boards (about 1-1/4" square, they come in two-packs for $2.00) and a 12V, 1 Amp "7812" regulator chip (about $1.60), plus some jumper wires I already had. (It's worth noting that the Mall-based Radio Shack stores don't seem to stock transistors, resistors, and other goodies someone with a soldering iron fetish might go looking for. The stores that do have them keep them in their "parts drawers" in the drawer that mentions "voltage regulators" on the front.)

Here's the circuit. (I told you it was simple. All the bread-board does is provide a structure for attaching the input and output wires to the regulator IC).



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One regulator can support 24 of the IKEA Dioder light pucks if you attach a heat sink to the regulator; without the heat sink I'd probably limit the number of pucks to 12 or less.

One important note: You MUST attach the +/Positive lead to the in on the left and the -/Negative lead to the center lead. If you reverse the voltage the regulator will burn out almost as quickly as you throw the switch and see some pretty smoke. If you're lucky it'll make some pretty little flames for a moment, too. SO DON'T WIRE IT BACKWARD OR CONNECT YOUR BATTERY BACKWARD. When I swapped batteries between my trailer and tow vehicle when the generator gave out I turned my Fantastic Fan on and made sure the fan was pushing air in the direction it was supposed to before switching the LEDs on. On our trailers the all-white wire is usually the negative/ground wire.

--Peter
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Old 09-16-2007, 12:32 PM   #16
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Thanks, Peter!
I didn't know if you were using an IC regulator or something more crude. When I was young, you couldn't buy these things for $2.60...

A variation might be to limit the voltage (to protect the LEDs) and regulate the current with an adjustable setpoint, providing a dimming function. I think most of us probably just want brighter lighting setups on reasonable power, so dimming isn't a big priority.

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...If you reverse the voltage the regulator will burn out almost as quickly as you throw the switch and see some pretty smoke...
Ah, yes... the secret of all electrical components: they run on smoke, so when you let the smoke out, they stop working.

LED lighting is adding a whole new level of importance to not getting caught by the colour-coding snag that black means negative in automotive battery wiring, and positive in trailers. The previous owner of my Boler warned me about that when I bought it... he had his own "educational" experience.
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Old 09-16-2007, 10:44 PM   #17
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Ah, yes... the secret of all electrical components: they run on smoke, so when you let the smoke out, they stop working.

LED lighting is adding a whole new level of importance to not getting caught by the colour-coding snag that black means negative in automotive battery wiring, and positive in trailers. The previous owner of my Boler warned me about that when I bought it... he had his own "educational" experience.
Yea; I burned out one of my CCFL inverters that way. It's way too easy to do, but at least the LED lights themselves don't tend to burn out if you reverse voltage. They just don't light up. (Not that I did that. Nooooooo. Just a hunch. Really.)

If I'd thought about it when I was assembling my voltage regulators I would have added a simple bridge rectifier. That would have made it so the circuit wouldn't care how it was hooked up, it would flip the input voltage the right way around for the circuit.

--Peter
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:49 PM   #18
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Yea; I burned out one of my CCFL inverters that way. It's way too easy to do, but at least the LED lights themselves don't tend to burn out if you reverse voltage. They just don't light up. (Not that I did that. Nooooooo. Just a hunch. Really.)
Burn out an LED by reversing voltage? Depends on several things. The basic LED without dropping resisters and/or LEDs in series have a typical reverse voltage limit at 5 volts. Above that they tend to let the smoke out.

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If I'd thought about it when I was assembling my voltage regulators I would have added a simple bridge rectifier. That would have made it so the circuit wouldn't care how it was hooked up, it would flip the input voltage the right way around for the circuit.

--Peter
This would work if you can stand the 1.2 Volt drop across the bridge. You can reduce that to .6 volt drop by putting a diode is series with positive line. Standard practice for after market automotive electronics.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:12 AM   #19
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BJ's Wholesale club now has some nice LED lights Look in the tool section.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:46 AM   #20
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Wow, thanks for all the replys-lots of helpful info!

Roy, I really liked the one you came up with and I contacted Binnacle-unfortunately they're apparently clearing out on-hand stock and they only had one or two of any particular light, not the matching set of 4 we're looking for. Definately looks like something from Victory marine will work-just have to find another dealer. Also appreciate the portable/headlight ideas!
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:51 PM   #21
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This would work if you can stand the 1.2 Volt drop across the bridge. You can reduce that to .6 volt drop by putting a diode is series with positive line. Standard practice for after market automotive electronics.
Hmmm. I forgot about the voltage drop. 1.2V is enough to cause serious dimming in my LED light pucks when the battery is less than fully charged. A single blocking diode, on the other hand . . . Or I could affix some really obvious [b]+ and [b]- symbols on (currently unmarked) my battery leads!

--Peter
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:37 PM   #22
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Returning to ready-made LED reading lights, I haven't tried theor products, but TheLedLight.com has several 12V halogen replacement bulbs that look interesting, and their web site provides details most other LED vendors seem to leave out: They give the color/temperature of the light and the relative "watts" of light the LED replacements produce. (Color temperatures: Incandescent/Warm light at 3000K, "Cool White" at 5000K, "Daylight" at 6000K.)

--P
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:21 PM   #23
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Courtesy of an ad in a yacht magazine (I only read them... I'll never have a yacht)...
Sydney LED lamp from Imtra Marine Products


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No power regulator needed for this one: the flyer says that it handles inputs from 10V to 30V.

I have no idea what it's worth, but with a 2.5W LED it looks promising.

They have other models of LED Reading Lights as well, and a downloadable catalog.
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Old 09-18-2007, 07:39 PM   #24
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Could you find the time to talk about what you did to install your marine chart light? I mean about the electrical part of it (the wiring, how you mounted it).
Sure, I'm not finished mounting it properly yet, since it came with 3 wood screws. I drilled one hole in the FG for the wires where I wanted the light, fed the wires through the hole then drilled 3 smaller holes to match the fixture. I used a broken paint stir stick behind the FG to screw into until I can find the right size SS bolts. From the pictures you will see that I mounted it right beside the existing 12V light on the end of the cabinet. The light comes with 2 wires that easily reached the existing wiring for the other 12V fixture (the big round one). I simply cut the existing wires and used marettes to connect the +ve and -ve from both fixtures to the respecting feed. In all honesty it was the easiest and quickest thing I've ever done to the trailer. The most difficult part of it all was swapping the halogen bulb for the LED as it was a very exact fit.


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The first picture shows it in reading position. The wires you see coming out of the flouresent were from the previous 120V reading lamp that was poorly MacGuyvered by the previous owner. Those will go when we change the 120 flourescent above the sink.

The second picture shows it in the "up" position, we use this for some nice ambient lighting. While the last picture shows how it can be pointed towards the closet. It lights up the closet so well that I don't need to install any lights in the closet now.

For travelling, I generally lay it onto the existing round light.
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SmUP.JPG   SmCloset.JPG  

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Old 09-18-2007, 08:14 PM   #25
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...I simply cut the existing wires and used marettes to connect the +ve and -ve from both fixtures to the respecting feed...
Just intercepting the power supply to the existing light fixture makes perfect sense to me, but I would personally not use wire nuts (such as Marrettes®) to do it.

They're really for use in buildings, and I wouldn't trust them to stay fastened in the vibration of a trailer. They were used in my Boler's range hood, and the connections fell apart when I touched them in the process of fixing the fan; those connections were almost three decades old, but the other original connections in the trailer are not falling apart.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:35 PM   #26
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Just intercepting the power supply to the existing light fixture makes perfect sense to me, but I would personally not use wire nuts (such as Marrettes®) to do it.

They're really for use in buildings, and I wouldn't trust them to stay fastened in the vibration of a trailer. They were used in my Boler's range hood, and the connections fell apart when I touched them in the process of fixing the fan; those connections were almost three decades old, but the other original connections in the trailer are not falling apart.
Good point Brian,
Forgot to mention that the Marrettes were used since I was still working on the wiring for everything else. The Marrettes were also taped so I would not expect a problem for a few years. As I slowly work my way through replacing all the wires on the trailer the final new wire to wire connections are crimped bullets. The Marrettes will eventually be replaced once we determine what the rest of the fixtures and corresponding wiring will be.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:43 PM   #27
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Roy, I really liked the one you came up with and I contacted Binnacle-unfortunately they're apparently clearing out on-hand stock and they only had one or two of any particular light, not the matching set of 4 we're looking for. Definately looks like something from Victory marine will work-just have to find another dealer.
Thanks Jen,
Assuming you were going for the Victory lights I'd be tempted to buy what they had left in stock because the price was good. The savings on a set of 4 LED bulbs alone would buy 1 light at regular price from someone else. I would expect finding more lights would be simple, but at the regular price. I got mine from http://www.gencomarine.com I know they were on their site, but the store is in town and we picked it up locally.
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Old 09-19-2007, 09:20 AM   #28
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Roy,

Thank you --- especially for the photographs!

E. Graham

(Jarvis Collegiate alumna)
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