Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Home made LED spotlights

One major problem we had last year at the camping Luciole haunted trail event was the lack of ligthing at night.
We didn't have enough power cords to insert lighting in the proper areas. So one of the things I want to add
this year to the haunted trail is proper lighting. It will have 3 purposes:

  1. To help the people walking through the trail at night.

  2. To add more ambiance to the trail.

  3. To either highlight or hide certain props/actor for a scare.

Since getting power to the trail is an issue. I thought I could use LED spots powered on 9V batteries. One product
that is done for that purpose and that I love is the mini spotlight. I determined that I would need around 20
spotlights to light correctly the trail. So 20 spotlights times 11$ = 220$. That alone would drain my budget for
the camping Halloween. So instead of buying the mini spotlights, I decided to go the hard way and build them

Using the money I got for my 31st birthday, I bough 40 5mm LEDs and many different resistors that will match the different
uses I will have for them (mainly spotlights but I also have other projects that require LEDs). Then, I browsed
the web to look at how other people made their spots and finally came with my own design on how to do them. I had
several points that my design needed to address:

  1. The spot would need to work on 9V battery and so the battery itself should be attached in some way to the spot armature.

  2. The angle of the spot should be adjustable

  3. The spot would need to be easy to fix into the dirt

  4. Finally, the spot would be made on what I had on hand in my garage as most as possible to reduce the cost.

The final result is what you can see below. The spot is made of 1/2" PVC pipe with 2 1/2" PVC caps and one 3/4" to 1/2" PVC reductor.
The armature is made of 2 pieces of alumnum stock bolted togheter. The two alumnum piece form a U shape that gives
just enought space for the 9V battery to fit tighly in. Taking into consideration the price of all the material I already had at home,
the total cost of one unit of my spotlights is 5.25$. I made a total economy of 115$ for the 20 spotlights in exchange of 8 hours of work.
I'm quite happy with the ending of this project.

Did I mention that these spots are incredibly bright for their small size? Here's a picture I took of my lawnmower,
in my garage, at a distance of 18'.



Chris 'Frog Queen' Davis said...

Great work my friend!

Look forward to seeing them in your haunt. We love LEDs - never going back to flood lights again. Thanks for sharing.


The Captain said...

These are awesome! Great work. I agree about LEDs, so small but so bright!

Ghoul Friday said...

I really need to embrace my MacGyver haunter side and learn how to do these things.

The coverage is impressive.

TheTerrorTrail said...

I take it that you used 2 - 5mm led per light ?

PumpkinBrain said...

Thanks for visiting my blog The Terror Trail. I used only one 5 mm super bright led per light. So far every color I made have a good range except for deep red. Maybe I miscalculated the resistor I need. Otherwise, using 2 led instead of one for that color might do the trick. Thanks for the idea!

TheTerrorTrail said...

Thanks for the info.. I will post some pics of mine when finished, I plan to make about 30 of them for my outdoor haunt this year.. may I ask what resistor size you used ?

PumpkinBrain said...

Sure! I calculated the resistors for my LEDs based on a 20mA diode forward curren for a 9V and 12V power source.

---- 9V power source ----
blue, yellow, amber, dark red & red
330 ohm 1/4 watt

green & UV
270 ohm 1/4 watt

---- 12V power source ----
blue, green & UV
470 ohm 1/2 watt

yellow, amber, dark red & red
560 ohm 1/2 watt

I used this LED calculator to determine what I needed.

TheTerrorTrail said...

OK yet another question, Where did you purchase your led's and resistors ?

PumpkinBrain said...

I bought the LEDs from MonsterGuts. The resistors and the 9V battery snaps have been bought on AllElectronics

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