Wiring my LED puck lights

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Wiring my LED puck lights

Postby donmaloney » Wed Nov 12, 2008 10:55 am

Hi Everyone,
This thread is to show how I wired my LED puck lights. To see how I made the puck lights, visit this thread.
http://www.tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=26695

disclaimer-I have done a lot of guitar wiring work before, and lots of work with soldering, but I am not by any means an electrician. According to the online research I did, I wired this correctly, but since electricity can be dangerous, please be careful, and do plenty of research yourself before trying this. I got a lot of my wiring information here. http://www.instructables.com/group/LED's!/

LEDs or Light Emitting Diodes are small lights that provide bright directional light at a cool temp. with low energy consumption.

I used this LED calculator to figure out what resistors I needed to use, and how to wire it up. You need to use a resistor to avoid burning out the LED.

http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz

Here is the diagram I used for 3 LEDs and a 12v power source.

Image

On an LED, there is a bulb or diode with 2 wire legs on the bottom. One leg is positive, and one is negative. Usually the shorter leg is negative, but you can also see that looking at an LED from the top or bottom, one side is cut off, and it is not a full circle. The side that is cut off is the negative.

Image

I then laid out the LEDs in the disc I made for them. I marked the positive and negative sides on the disc. I arranged these like this in the picture as a demo. I did not arrange the lights straight across like this on my actual puck lights. I clustered them together to keep the wiring less confusing.

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Solder the LEDs together. Positive to Negative leaving a positive leg and a negative leg available at opposite ends of the chain. Then, clip off the excess.

Image

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You can see the resistor to the left in the picture. Wire the resistor to the free negative leg. Then you can attach the Negative leg to the Negative post on the battery. I know this is wired for 12v, but for the picture, I used a 9v.

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I used a glue gun to cover the bare LED legs so that they would hold the LEDs in place, and avoid shorting each other out.

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From this angle, you can see the Positive and Negative leads. The Negative lead is the one with the resistors.

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And last, here it is hooked up to a battery, mounted in the housing and lit up. The picture does not do the brightness of it justice.

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I would be happy to try to answer any questions you may have, and I also welcome corrections if I have made an error.
Thanks,
Don
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Postby brian_bp » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:26 pm

Don, very nicely done, :thumbsup:
and thanks for the exceptionally clear description! :applause:

Do you think the LED leads or resistor will get warm enough in use to cause any concern with the hot glue material melting? I'd guess not, I'm just wondering if this had been considered.
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Postby Mary K » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:43 pm

Wow, nice Job!! :thumbsup: i can not wait to see them installed.


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Postby Miriam C. » Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:54 pm

:applause: :applause: :thumbsup: Now that is what we really love to see. Making it a sticky so Steve can fit it in his index or how to. 8)
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Postby jss06 » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:08 pm

brian_bp wrote:Do you think the LED leads or resistor will get warm enough in use to cause any concern with the hot glue material melting? I'd guess not, I'm just wondering if this had been considered.


The heat produced will not even be close to the melting temp of the hot glue.


That is some great work. Makes me wish I had a lathe.
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Postby donmaloney » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:24 pm

jss06 wrote:
brian_bp wrote:Do you think the LED leads or resistor will get warm enough in use to cause any concern with the hot glue material melting? I'd guess not, I'm just wondering if this had been considered.


The heat produced will not even be close to the melting temp of the hot glue.


That is some great work. Makes me wish I had a lathe.


I very rarely use my lathe, but I love it when I do.

I had thought about the heating of glue, but I did not imagine the lights would get too hot. (Make sure you are done soldering before using the glue, though!!!)
The reason I used the hot glue is in case a bulb burned out which is rare, but not unheard of. I figured it would be easier to pull off the glue, replace the bulb, and glue it up again. I would hate to have an LED burn out and have to rebuild everything.

Mary K, I can't wait to see them installed either. I guess I have to build a teardrop around the lights.

Thanks for all of the kind words, everyone. Oh, and one of my first posts is a sticky!!! Too cool!!
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Postby brian_bp » Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:45 pm

donmaloney wrote:I had thought about the heating of glue, but I did not imagine the lights would get too hot. (Make sure you are done soldering before using the glue, though!!!)
The reason I used the hot glue is in case a bulb burned out which is rare, but not unheard of. I figured it would be easier to pull off the glue, replace the bulb, and glue it up again. I would hate to have an LED burn out and have to rebuild everything.

The choice of hot glue does makes sense to me, and it certainly would be easier to peel it back than trying to break leads out of the epoxy which might otherwise be used!
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Postby bdosborn » Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:30 pm

One thing to consider is the affect a battery charger might have on your LED bias. Your LEDs might see a little over 14V if you turn them on and your battery charger is in bulk charge mode or you're charging from your tow vehicle. I've burned out a LEDs in a really short time (less than an hour) when I biased them for 12V and they were seeing 14.3V. You might think about a voltage regulator for your LEDs if you want to use your lights at different voltages. Here 's an easy regulator:


Linky

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Postby donmaloney » Sat Apr 11, 2009 12:49 pm

Bruce,
I know it has been a while since you posted the Voltage Regulator response. Thanks for the info on that. I am new at this wiring thing, and am getting rolling with it. Do I need a voltage regulator on each light, each circuit, just one for all of them. The plan is to have 6 puck lights in the cabin, and have 3 switches to control how many can be on at a time...2, 4, or 6.
Thanks for you help.
Don
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Postby bdosborn » Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:18 pm

Don,

I've been playing around with LEDs/regulators and I've been meaning to post something about it so thanks for the nudge. :D The LM2940 is rated for an output of 1 amp, so you could probably use just one regulator for all your lights. That being said, I'd split the lights across two regulators so that if one fails, you're not in the dark. I've been burning in LEDs on the LM2940 and haven't had any failures with a 48 hour run but it been pretty cool out in the garage. Heat is the enemy for both the regulator and the LEDs. I heat-sinked my regulator by bolting it to a 2" length of 3/4" aluminum angle I had leftover from the teardrop build. The regulator has been cool to the touch after running with a load of 0.3A. The output has been exactly 12V with an input anywhere between 12.7V and 14.3V. The regulator has also survived shorting the output and hooking it up with the polarity reversed (Doh!) . All-in-all its a nifty regulator, just don't forget to add the 22uF capacitor across the output.

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Postby rowerwet » Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:05 pm

another option would be to use those LED license plate bolts, they would thread into a hole anywhere, be independently changable and draw very little. They are designed to run on car voltage 12-15V and each one has its own lead wires. I have used them for reading lights for my wife, in the car I punch holes in the headliner and use a minimum of 4 white and blue (2 each) with a switch. with four focused on one spot it is bright enough for her to read at night and the scattered light doesn't bother my driving.
You can find these at some autopart stores or on Ebay.
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Postby MceeD » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:20 pm

bdosborn wrote:Don,

I've been playing around with LEDs/regulators and I've been meaning to post something about it so thanks for the nudge. :D The LM2940 is rated for an output of 1 amp, so you could probably use just one regulator for all your lights. That being said, I'd split the lights across two regulators so that if one fails, you're not in the dark. I've been burning in LEDs on the LM2940 and haven't had any failures with a 48 hour run but it been pretty cool out in the garage. Heat is the enemy for both the regulator and the LEDs. I heat-sinked my regulator by bolting it to a 2" length of 3/4" aluminum angle I had leftover from the teardrop build. The regulator has been cool to the touch after running with a load of 0.3A. The output has been exactly 12V with an input anywhere between 12.7V and 14.3V. The regulator has also survived shorting the output and hooking it up with the polarity reversed (Doh!) . All-in-all its a nifty regulator, just don't forget to add the 22uF capacitor across the output.

Bruce


Hey Bruce,

Thanks for this information. I have been trying to do some research on making a few of these in 3a versions.

When using these what happen if and /or when the voltage drops to or below 11vdc? Does it just by pass straight through when the input voltage is below the output voltage?

Mike
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Postby bdosborn » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:57 pm

Mike,

Yeah, I think it will pass through when the voltage drops below 12.5V. I've run my battery down to around 12.2V and the regulator worked just fine.

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Postby MceeD » Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:07 pm

bdosborn wrote:Mike,

Yeah, I think it will pass through when the voltage drops below 12.5V. I've run my battery down to around 12.2V and the regulator worked just fine.

Bruce


Thanks for getting back to me on this, I will make the plunge into finding some of the higher ones and see about making a few. Will need a few of the 3amps or a few less of the 5/7a :-)
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Postby afreegreek » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:57 pm

Red Oak??? .. good God, my eyes! :?
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