LED Light Nirvana - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-13-2008, 02:32 AM   #15
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Lost a full stop intensity . . . hmmm.

OK, here's what I have observed while actually using them without the blocking diode that protects the voltage regulator:

First, I didn't give the amount of voltage drop coming from the 7812 regulators a lot of thought when I installed them. When I tested one against a fully-charged battery I got a nice, 11.9-ish volts out the backside of the regulator. Though I knew there would be a voltage drop-off as the battery ran down, I really didn't consider how severe that voltage drop-off wold be.

So here's what I observed when I first went out with my LED lighting last summer, when I didn't need to run the furnace in my trailer (only the fantastic fan) and the solar panel kept up with my energy demands: I never noticed any drop in light levels. The only time I have noticed a drop is when it's cold out and I'm running the electricity-hungry furnace, and even then it isn't like I think I'm getting half the light. By the time I need to use the lights again the next day the solar panel has generally charged my battery back up to capacity again.

Since our eyes require a roughly 50% reduction in actual light levels to create a perceivable difference in overall light, that fits with your observation that your light meter registers a full stop difference (a halving of the light) between the lights under full power and when the battery runs down. You have to reduce lighting levels by a factor of ten before most people will tell you they see half as much light; the same is true of your ears, you have to decrease sound intensity by a factor of ten before people perceive that the noise level has dropped by half.

Your mileage may vary, but this is a worthwhile trade-off when I contrast this small perceived drop in light levels against the simplicity of the circuit, its low cost, very low power draw, and the enormous importance of protecting my expensive LED lights from LED-killing over-voltages. Sure, I could spend more money on a fancier DC power supply, but a fancier power supply would consume more energy, negating at least some of the reason I installed the LEDs in the first place. And, as I upgrade the other lights in my trailer to LEDs and replace my forced-air furnace with a zero-electric-draw catalytic heater, my overall current draw from the battery will drop way off, making the drop in light levels even lower.

So, yes, I can see why people would want to install the fancier power supply, but since I'm happy with the setup I've created, I don't see a whole lot of reason to change what I've got.

--Peter
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Old 03-13-2008, 10:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Lost a full stop intensity . . . hmmm.

OK, here's what I have observed while actually using them without the blocking diode that protects the voltage regulator:

First, I didn't give the amount of voltage drop coming from the 7812 regulators a lot of thought when I installed them. When I tested one against a fully-charged battery I got a nice, 11.9-ish volts out the backside of the regulator. Though I knew there would be a voltage drop-off as the battery ran down, I really didn't consider how severe that voltage drop-off wold be.

So here's what I observed when I first went out with my LED lighting last summer, when I didn't need to run the furnace in my trailer (only the fantastic fan) and the solar panel kept up with my energy demands: I never noticed any drop in light levels. The only time I have noticed a drop is when it's cold out and I'm running the electricity-hungry furnace, and even then it isn't like I think I'm getting half the light. By the time I need to use the lights again the next day the solar panel has generally charged my battery back up to capacity again.

Since our eyes require a roughly 50% reduction in actual light levels to create a perceivable difference in overall light, that fits with your observation that your light meter registers a full stop difference (a halving of the light) between the lights under full power and when the battery runs down. You have to reduce lighting levels by a factor of ten before most people will tell you they see half as much light; the same is true of your ears, you have to decrease sound intensity by a factor of ten before people perceive that the noise level has dropped by half.

Your mileage may vary, but this is a worthwhile trade-off when I contrast this small perceived drop in light levels against the simplicity of the circuit, its low cost, very low power draw, and the enormous importance of protecting my expensive LED lights from LED-killing over-voltages. Sure, I could spend more money on a fancier DC power supply, but a fancier power supply would consume more energy, negating at least some of the reason I installed the LEDs in the first place. And, as I upgrade the other lights in my trailer to LEDs and replace my forced-air furnace with a zero-electric-draw catalytic heater, my overall current draw from the battery will drop way off, making the drop in light levels even lower.

So, yes, I can see why people would want to install the fancier power supply, but since I'm happy with the setup I've created, I don't see a whole lot of reason to change what I've got.

--Peter

I'm still wondering why you feel the need to use any kind of regulated supply?
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:00 AM   #17
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LED's been running for a year now in the 13 with no issues, but I don't use a converter.
Haven't ever run into a need for a converter yet, but I guess from reading this post, if you have one you need to regulate the DC voltage or fry LED's?
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:12 AM   #18
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LED's been running for a year now in the 13 with no issues, but I don't use a converter.
Haven't ever run into a need for a converter yet, but I guess from reading this post, if you have one you need to regulate the DC voltage or fry LED's?
My experience with LEDs would say otherwise.
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Old 03-13-2008, 11:58 AM   #19
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When the R.S. regulator did the work it supplied 11.4v from 13.0v battery power. When the batteries supplied 12.55v the R.S. regulator supplied 11.1v. When the batteries supplied 12.4v the regulator it dropped to 10.0v.
I looked at ST L7812 specification STL7812 and to have 11.4 - 12.6 output voltage at 5 mA to 1A current draw the input voltage needs to be 14.5 - 30V. The voltage drop on the device is 2V. Good measurements, as specked out. At 12V battery voltage you only get 10V on LEDs.

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Old 03-13-2008, 12:00 PM   #20
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My experience with LEDs would say otherwise.
Ditto,
George.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:11 PM   #21
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For me the issue is ... they supposedly will not have a shortened life because of excess voltage.
I have a 30 year old Converter that is putting out in excess of 18 volts DC and I don't have an extra $250 for a new converter.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:15 PM   #22
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I have a 30 year old Converter that is putting out in excess of 18 volts DC and I don't have an extra $250 for a new converter.
How is this possible with a battery connected?
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:42 PM   #23
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How is this possible with a battery connected?


When I plug in the trailer's 30 amp cord into shore power, and energize the converter's circuit breaker, I read 18.4 VDC at my interior fixtures. The lighting gets noticeably brighter. Over a short period of time, I have burnt out several LEDs. This does not happen when I am boondocking on battery power. While the CCFL's don't seem to be affected, I have taken to swaping to incandescent bulbs while on shore power and only use LED "bulb replacements" when boondocking on battery power. I suspect that the converter has a failure in the output regulator circuit, but with a work-around, fixing it (without so much as a schematic) is low on my priority list.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:52 PM   #24
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When I plug in the trailer's 30 amp cord into shore power, and energize the converter's circuit breaker, I read 18.4 VDC at my interior fixtures. The lighting gets noticeably brighter. Over a short period of time, I have burnt out several LEDs.
It is difficult to get 6 cells lead acid battery to over 18V (I assume you donít have 3 X 6V batteries). You must have 4V voltage drop between converter and battery.

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Old 03-13-2008, 10:09 PM   #25
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When I plug in the trailer's 30 amp cord into shore power, and energize the converter's circuit breaker, I read 18.4 VDC at my interior fixtures. The lighting gets noticeably brighter. Over a short period of time, I have burnt out several LEDs. This does not happen when I am boondocking on battery power. While the CCFL's don't seem to be affected, I have taken to swaping to incandescent bulbs while on shore power and only use LED "bulb replacements" when boondocking on battery power. I suspect that the converter has a failure in the output regulator circuit, but with a work-around, fixing it (without so much as a schematic) is low on my priority list.
OK.

Modern converters have a method of disconnecting the battery when the battery voltage reaches a preset voltage to prevent overcharging (boiling out the water). I suspect you're right about the regulator being bad, which would could have the effect of disconnecting the battery. If it was me I'd check the voltage at the battery with converter is on. If you're getting more than around 14 volts disconnect the battery to keep from boiling it all away then check the voltage at the interior fixtures, it might go higher.

Another option would be to use a battery charger instead of the converter. Run off the battery all the time, when in camp where you have power connect a charger to battery to keep it charged. 10 Amp smart chargers are pretty cheap and will do the job.

As for the LEDs, I'm kind of surprised that they would "burn out" at that voltage. It possible that the design of your LED fixture or replacement bulbs is set to run near maximum current instead of nominal current. They would do that to get maximum light output.

Anyway good luck with it all and happy camping.

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Old 03-14-2008, 12:39 AM   #26
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Frederick:
An aside to your experience: my old Newmark converter did what yours does. The lights would grow alarmingly bright, dim abruptly, etc. This was in addition to the buzzing.

I tried a 12v compact fluorescent bulb from West Marine some time ago and it blew out in short order. Using a 120v compact off an inverter solved that problem.

As I was checking all this yesterday I happened to catch the system at the 14.4 desulfation level (a Link 10 battery meter keeps tabs on this). I waited until the prescribed period was over and expected the voltage to drop to 13.6 or maybe as far as 13.2v. It did, but it took 3-5 minutes to slowly descend instead of doing the expected sudden drop. It suggests that the new converter really is a smart charger and keeps a tight grip on how it handles its business.
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Old 03-30-2008, 10:40 PM   #27
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Installed the first four IKEA LED lights. They are used as ambient lights in front, with a compact fluorescent used as task lighting above the table.
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