LED Light Nirvana - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-06-2007, 02:14 AM   #1
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After months of waiting (and outrage over their oversized IKEA sign right at the intersection of I-205 and Airport way), the new Portland, OR IKEA store opened nearby, and Lynne and I went there last weekend in search of a chair.

While shopping I spotted these puck lights. They come in sets of four pucks, each with nine super-bright LEDs and are spendy (4 for $40), but they put out the nicest quality light of any LED lighting I've seen to date. The light is warmer than the CCFL bulbs I was planning to install in our Scamp, and way warmer than the LED lights I've seen anywhere else. While no where near as warm as standard incandescent bulbs, to my eye the color seems slightly warmer than "cool white" fluorescents and feel more like conventional household lighting than other low-e trailer lighting options I've seen. They're also very stingy on power use, just 160 mAmps (1.9 watts) four a set of four, and that 160mAmps is more than enough to light the "big" 4' long kitchen counter on one side of our Scamp 5er.


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4 IKEA pucks taped up under the cabinets over our counter.

IKEA also sells the same LEDs in a set of four in-line, 9-LED light bars. And for those who want mood lighting both types can be had in light-changing LED sets.

Now the bad news: I've already mentioned they're spendy, 4 for $40, and while a set of four puts out more light and a more diffuse light than one of the 25 LED dome-like lights Gina uses, they don't come close to the output of a single $7 CCFL light tube. I'll need several sets to light the trailer, probably one set over each kitchen counter, two or three sets over the dinette where we do our reading, another pair in the loft. And that'll still leave the "entry" area lit by the LED bayonet-mount 12v plug-in replacements I bought on eBay. ($7-$8 each.) That's a lot of cash for light.

I also suspect these LEDs would burn up if I ran them directly on the 13+ volts our converter or a fully charged battery pumps out, so I'll need to solder together a simple regulator circuit with a $2 voltage regulator chip (from Radio Shack) for each set.

Peter's low-e lighting stats:

Lighting Type --------------------- MilliAmps - Watts - Hrs to consume 60A*
25 LED Light Dome (like Gina's) --- 130 ------ 1.6w -------- 461
4 IKEA Puck Lights ------------------ 160 ------ 1.9w -------- 375
2 CCFL Bulbs on 1 converter ------- 840 ------ 10w -------- 71

*60 Amp Hours is the approximate maximum you can discharge from a fully-charged Group 27 battery before potentially damaging it by running its charge down too low.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:27 AM   #2
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Hey Peter..

just saw this from "that link over in the other thread". Don't know how I missed it til now.

Yes, get the regulator in there.. As you know, I am none to happy with convertors to start with, but I also spaced that over voltage detail and now have a couple flickering single leds in my little domes from running them off the convertor. I also "Blew Up" (No, thousands were not killed) a couple of my drop in replacements.

My convertor is always switched "off" but I recently had my battery charger fail and had to use it for a week or so last month. I was careful NOT to use the LEDs when doing so.
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
Hey Peter..

just saw this from "that link over in the other thread". Don't know how I missed it til now.

Yes, get the regulator in there.. As you know, I am none to happy with convertors to start with, but I also spaced that over voltage detail and now have a couple flickering single leds in my little domes from running them off the convertor. I also "Blew Up" (No, thousands were not killed) a couple of my drop in replacements.

My convertor is always switched "off" but I recently had my battery charger fail and had to use it for a week or so last month. I was careful NOT to use the LEDs when doing so.
Yea, I breadboarded and soldered together regulator circuits for each of my LED light circuits when I did the final install. (One for the lights on either side of the galley (sink side with three pucks/stove side in pic with four) and a third with a dropping resistor for a single dim night-light over the stove.) They're very nice. It's spendy, but I'll be adding more LED pucks and light strips in the loft and over the dinette. I'll leave the classic, incandescent automotive bulb fixtures up with standard bulbs for when we have shore power or want a really bright reading light . . . the bathroom will continue to have one of the incandescent bulb fixtures retrofit with a blue-white automotive LED replacement bulb. Even then I figure I'll wind up spending another $250.00 on six LED light sets and regulator circuits.

--Peter
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:07 PM   #4
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We were just in Ikea in Phoenix Thursday and noticed they were starting to finally carry some LED lighting. Some very thin strips of 5 or 6 lights, with two or three such strips connected together, color adjustable as I recall. They were 120v but don't know if the final voltage was near 12 or not. OOPS - Just ntoiced that was what Peter had mentioned - yep, those, and yep, expensivo!

I got my pucks at Costco.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:47 PM   #5
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Peter:
I just succumbed to the pull of the IKEA lights and am considering the various ways to install them. For the electronically disadvantaged such as myself it would be nice to have some direct guidance about the regulator circuitry (part numbers, circuitry, etc.). Would you mind sharing the details?

My geek son could probably do it, but his disdain for my lack of knowledge doesn't help.
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Old 03-01-2008, 11:54 PM   #6
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Peter:
I just succumbed to the pull of the IKEA lights and am considering the various ways to install them. For the electronically disadvantaged such as myself it would be nice to have some direct guidance about the regulator circuitry (part numbers, circuitry, etc.). Would you mind sharing the details?
Sure, Per. You can get all the parts at most street-side Radio Shack stores (the ones in the malls don't stock the parts).

For each light circuit you need:
  • Their smallest "breadboards," a perforated sheet of plastic through which you can tuck the legs of each component. (They come in two-packs)
  • One "7812" 12 volt voltage regulator
  • One rectifier diode. (I bought a package of 25, catalog #276-1653 and just use the smallest ones.)
  • Solder and a soldering iron.

You also probably want an on/off switch, electrical tape (good) or heat-shrink tubing (better), solder, and a soldering iron, and hook-up wire. (I just used extra wire clipped off of my LED pucks). The circuit looks like this (schematic on top, and a drawing of the component layout on the bottom):



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You wire it up by sticking the "legs" of the diode, regulator, and stripped wire ends from the battery and to the LEDs through the holes on the smooth side of the breadboard, bending the legs and wires together so they just touch, then solder them together.

Make sure you are wiring the LEDs to the battery the right way around; they only light up when the positive lead is hooked to the positive side of the battery and negative to the negative side of the battery! Hooking them up backward -- positive to negative and negative to positive -- won't damage them, by the way. Neither will running them on a battery that's just been charged (and is at 13.5 volts) for a short while. The regulator circuit's primary job is to make sure the higher voltage (14.5 volts and up, usually) put out by the battery charger or AC converter doesn't cook your expensive LEDs.

I don't have diodes in my current three regulator circuits yet, but I will have them in any new LED setups and will retrofit my existing regulators with diodes, too. The diode protects the voltage regulator from being wired to the battery backward. If you wire the (+) side of the regulator to the (-) side of the battery it takes less than a second for the regulator to get really, finger burning hot and let off a little puff of smoke. After that it won't get power to the LEDs anymore. The diode protects the regulator in case you either hook your battery up backward or wire the regulator circuit in backwards.

I'll wire one up and take a picture and post it by next week. Or you can meet me at the Spring NOG or Bullards and I can show you the whole shebang in my trailer.
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Old 03-02-2008, 12:18 PM   #7
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I am getting ready to re-lamp my TT. Here are some of my sources if anyone is interested....

Super Bright LEDs for RVs

Sailor Sams LED Lights

Low Voltage Flat Electrical Wire<a href="http://www.flatwireready.com/index.htm" target="_blank">
</a>
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Old 03-02-2008, 12:22 PM   #8
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Some good info there.
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:54 PM   #9
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Sorry to bring this up again (dead horse, anal, who cares, etc.) but what I have found may be of some use. Those who are not concerned or interested please let it pass by, hopefully without flaming me too much.

Peter: my resident Code Monkey predicted several things about the Radio Shack regulator, and I was keen to prove him wrong, so I wired one together and made some measurements. Since the lights make it possible to compare things side by side I was able to come to some real conclusions.

He said that the regulator had a built-in loss of voltage in it which would get worse the further down the supply voltage moved. He also groused about the lack of efficiency.

Here are the results: the original 120v power supply provided 11.7v to the lights. 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.

The measured light drop was 1 full stop on the light meter, i.e. half intensity. Since LED lights generally suffer from indifferent intensity anyway this was fairly significant. What to do?

Cat. #175805 power supply from Jameco. 25w capacity, DC to DC. Input can range from 9 to 18v. Output is adjustable around a nominal 12v. The C.M. says it is quite efficient. About 4 inches by 4 inches, inch and a half tall.

The unit came with the output voltage set at 11.9v. I messed with the adjuster and settled on 12.1v. When the supply from the battery/converter was at 13.6v the output was 12.1v. When the battery supply was ramped down to 12.4v the output was still 12.1v. Light output gained another 1/3 stop.

So the No.1 son appears to be right.

His opinion is that driving these lights directly off the system (when the converter does its desulfating regimen the voltage spikes to 14.4v for about 20 min.) will burn them out in short order. Also, running them off an inverter introduces significant losses.

Why fuss over all this? I like the IKEA lights, the color temperature, the way the diffuser works, and the slim and stylish cases. This power supply/regulator will drive 5 sets of lights (20 lights!) if asked to do so, and I will probably install additional sets eventually.

In keeping with the low-draw idea of these things, I plan to use double-pole single-throw light switches so that any one of them will turn on the power supply independently as the lights are turned on (don't want the supply on otherwise, phantom draw is not good). I.e. one pole turns on the light, the other pole turns on the regulator. OK, that's enough.
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Old 03-12-2008, 07:11 PM   #10
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Good test.
My take on the need to add a regulator for 12 Volt LED lights.
Generally speaking, LEDs are rated for forward voltage drop and luminance at 20mA of current. From looking at Ledtronics web site my memory has been confirmed. General specifications show maximum current at least 50mA, with peak at 150mA (very short duration). Assuming the the LED lights are designed properly they should draw close to 20mA at 12Volts. To get to 50mA the voltage would have to increase approx. 2.5 times (it would actually be a bit more). 12x2.5 = 30. Your 12 Volt trailer system will probably never see close to 30 Volts.
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Old 03-12-2008, 11:52 PM   #11
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[b]Cat. #175805 power supply from Jameco. 25w capacity, DC to DC. Input can range from 9 to 18v. Output is adjustable around a nominal 12v. The C.M. says it is quite efficient. About 4 inches by 4 inches, inch and a half tall.

The unit came with the output voltage set at 11.9v. I messed with the adjuster and settled on 12.1v. When the supply from the battery/converter was at 13.6v the output was 12.1v. When the battery supply was ramped down to 12.4v the output was still 12.1v. Light output gained another 1/3 stop.

So the No.1 son appears to be right.

His opinion is that driving these lights directly off the system (when the converter does its desulfating regimen the voltage spikes to 14.4v for about 20 min.) will burn them out in short order.
#175805
I like that price for regulating the lighting circuit of my hyperactive 30 year old converter...
Less than replacing the whole converter...
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:12 AM   #12
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Oh boy. It's RoHS compliant...

(Aargh!)

I have a stack of DC-DC converters siting on a shelf in my office. Prototypes for the same portable PA I get the 20aH batteries from. I tested one today, but it was toast. 5 more to go!
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Old 03-13-2008, 12:46 AM   #13
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I am not certain if I understand what the issue is? Is it voltage variability of intelligent converter power supply? This voltage varies +12.5% max. from the nominal charging voltage of 12.8V. I hope this would be within the LED circuit design specification. LED life is mainly related to semiconductor junction temperature so as long heat generated at the junction is conducted away the life is not impacted. 65 to 90% of heat is generated at the junction from the input power. I would focus on assuring that conduction followed by convection heat transfer is sufficient in order to keep junction temperature at spec. I really donít think converter voltage variability is an issue.

I like rickshramm LED sites, seems that LED application technology is really moving forward, it is still expensive.

George.





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Old 03-13-2008, 02:20 AM   #14
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For me the issue is that voltage varies from 14.4v at the extreme high end to about 12v boondocking (unless I'm really desperate for power). The LEDs will now be at a constant 12v brightness (even as low as, gasp, 9v input) and at the high end they supposedly will not have a shortened life because of excess voltage. I use an IntelliPower 4-stage converter which every 24 hours or so shoots 14.4v out for a limited time in order to desulfate the cells.
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