Powering LEDs

A place to discuss all things involving power and lighting. Generator tips, alternative energy, lighting your camp/bike/art/self and more.

Powering LEDs

Postby Misti » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:16 pm

We are planning on putting 3-5 meters of 5050 SMD RGB 150LED per meter lights on a 2 person bike. it says it is 2A-3A for 5 meters at 12V DC.

What would be the best way to power this?

We have a 12V marine deepcycle battery that is 125Ah at 1A that we were thinking of using but aren't sure how long this will last and we haven't bought the LEDs yet to test it. Does anyone have experience with this?

This is the missing piece of information we need to figure out how to recharge. A solar trickle charger at HF is fairly cheap, but wont do us any good if it isn't enough, but we don't want to buy something more pricy and have it be overkill either.

Suggestions are appreciated!
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby 5280MeV » Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:48 pm

Caveat: I have no experience but am researching a similar setup for lighting a small camp at Alchemy (Georgia regional).

I thought most deep cycle batteries were rated at 20 hours, so the 125 Ah should be very similar for 1 amp or for 5 amps in this case. So for 3 amps, one should be able to run 20 hours before dropping to 50% capacity? I would expect that this would get you through most if not all of the burn.

That is a LOT of LED lighting, are you sure you want those strips at full power? I was looking at attaching strips to some nylon webbing and running them overhead. To cut down on the sheer brightness and power draw, I was considering using a PWM dimmer to keep the current down to 1-2 amps for around 10 meters of strip lighting.

We are resigned to using a generator this year as we expect to draw about 4-6 amps for 5 hours a night, but hope to switch to solar in 2013 with a 100W+ array of panels.

Experienced people, please correct me and add suggestions!
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby BBadger » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:36 pm

As the voltage that you need for your lights is the same as the battery, simply divide the Amp-hour rating of your battery by the number of amps the LEDs will use. That yields how many hours you'll have to run.

In your case, you could theoretically get 125AH / 3A = 41 hours of light out of that battery.

One thing to consider is that you'll want your deep-cycle batteries to only be discharged to 50% maximum if you want them to last longer. Discharging them further can damage the batteries. Also consider that you may not be running those batteries at full-blast all the time (e.g. if they're blinking), and you can probably get away with reducing the amount of current they actually use because they'll still look pretty bright anyway (and you can use the bright mode for extra pop! when you want it).

An adequate solar power charger + regulator will probably cost you quite a bit more than it would cost you to just buy more batteries. I think 6V 220AH batteries are about $85 each. I think you need a solar power current rating of at least 10% of your battery's AH capacity to actually charge them. You'll need a charge regulator too, or else it'll damage your batteries as they charge.

If you want to control how your LED strips blink and all that, consider hooking them up to RGB LED amplifiers. Then you can hook them to something like a microcontroller and make them blink or do other things which can save you power, while being entertaining. Here's an example setup.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby some seeing eye » Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:50 pm

A smaller battery would be fine. If Snow Koan Solar is back this year in Nectar Village, they charge batteries as a gift. Then you could stop at the AEZone Village, they enjoy teaching about panels and chargers for future years.

Controllers like http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdet ... er=073-004 will dim too, saving power. Agree those strips are very bright.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby Misti » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:08 pm

This is the set up we are looking at, the lot we will buy has 6 sets :shock: I dont think all 6 sets will fit on the bike, (its big but not THAT big) The remote looks like it has a dimming option on it.
Image

http://www.ebay.com/itm/LOT-6-Waterproo ... 43abdf7679

It would be AWESOME if the battery would last the whole time.

We were talking to someone about the LEDS and they said "It's Burningman, if you're going to do it, go all out! It's only once a year."
I am already thinking of ways to use the extra reels around the house and yard.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby Misti » Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:17 pm

some seeing eye wrote:
Controllers like http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdet ... er=073-004 will dim too, saving power. Agree those strips are very bright.


I couldn't talk my boyfriend into that 44 key remote, he doesn't think I need so many buttons :roll: If they end up being too bright we have thought about aiming them at the ground for a glow effect.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby CornMan » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:03 am

It's uncanny how the American public has turned away from electronics as a hobby. If Burning Man was going on in the '70s, you could get all you needed at your corner Radio Shack. I chuckled under my breath a while back when I saw an old Realistic color organ at the Salvation Army. I remember when those were sold as kits. Hobbies in general have been on the wane. I remember a time when the model car and airplane isle at PayLess was nearly as long as the potato chip isle is now at Walgreens.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby Trishntek » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:35 am

i like to look at the numbers as watts and watt-hrs. You have conservatively 1200 watt-hrs. and intend to use 36 watts per hour presumably during the dark hours only. So let's say you run your lights for 6 hours per night. That is a need of about 220watt-hrs. per night.

If your solar setup from HF is the one I'm thinking, it charges at 45 watts. So if you charge for 5 hours of daylight, that yields 225 watt-hrs potential charge per day. That would work out quite nicely. Now it may be cloudy or you may not be able to charge one day. Oh well! You may not fully recharge the battery every day, but you won't completely discharge it either.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:02 am

A marine deep cycle battery will be more than fine, but the bigger issue there is the weight. That's a lot of battery to be peddling around with!

If you cut the strips and sequenced them instead of having them all on all the time, you could get away with literally powering the whole thing with some AA, C or D cells. Personally for a bike, that's what I would do. There are some super cool and easy to use sequencing boards with different patterns out there for around $30-$40. Hell, I ran 1,440 sequenced LEDs off of 12 AAs last year and didn't have to change the batteries once.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby BBadger » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:07 am

Zeke Chaparral wrote:It's uncanny how the American public has turned away from electronics as a hobby. If Burning Man was going on in the '70s, you could get all you needed at your corner Radio Shack. I chuckled under my breath a while back when I saw an old Realistic color organ at the Salvation Army. I remember when those were sold as kits. Hobbies in general have been on the wane. I remember a time when the model car and airplane isle at PayLess was nearly as long as the potato chip isle is now at Walgreens.


It's time to climb out of your cave Zeke. Electronics as a hobby has evolved. Back in the 1970s all you had was Radio Shack. You built stuff using kits, bought whatever that shithole Radio Shack had, and you were happy. If you don't see people doing that kind of thing anymore it's because that is remnant of times long past--and good riddance.

At no point in time has there been so much access and creativity surrounding electronics. We don't need hobby shops and shitholes like Radio Shack. They only existed because it was expensive and hard to get stuff except in quantities we couldn't afford. People gravitated towards such places because they were a resource, and the people too.

Times have changed, and for the better. Nowadays you can buy electronic parts cheaply, easily interface with advanced chips and microcontrollers, access hundreds of thousands of free and available designs with full documentation, converse with endless numbers of people about virtually any electronic subject, and even parade your creations on the net for all to see and admire.

This is the golden age of electronics.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby 5280MeV » Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:26 am

Trishntek - It is too bad we measure time in increments of 3600 seconds, otherwise we could just measure energy in kilojoules and this would make a whole lot more sense. I am getting used to thinking in Ah for "energy", but it feels dirty. In any case, the 220 Watt-hours needed for the bike comes out to about 190 food calories.

Junglesmacks - Sequenced or not, 1440 LEDs seems like a LOT to be powered by 12 AAs. I assume you wired them in series for 18V and ~1-2 Ah? How many LEDs did you wire in series, and could you see them getting dimmer as the battery drained? I have been juggling how many to put in series, but it seems like if the combined forward voltage is a large fraction of the total voltage, the light output would become very sensitive to the voltage shift of the draining battery.

Here is a related question to everyone: AGM or traditional flooded battery? Especially for a bike, I could see a real advantage to using a more rugged sealed battery like they use on motorcycles. Also, the thought of dealing with acid MOOP and packing out a cracked and leaky battery does not seem like too much fun. On the other hand, AGM is several times more expensive than traditional lead-acid batteries. What experiences do you have with different battery types?
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby gyre » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:24 am

Got a good pwm, Mev?
I'm looking.

Have you guys considered fibre optics?
There's a thread about that.
Very efficient with the more costly rgb LEDs.

There are some home exterior lighting kits now with pwm for infinite color change.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:20 am

5280MeV wrote:Junglesmacks - Sequenced or not, 1440 LEDs seems like a LOT to be powered by 12 AAs. I assume you wired them in series for 18V and ~1-2 Ah? How many LEDs did you wire in series, and could you see them getting dimmer as the battery drained? I have been juggling how many to put in series, but it seems like if the combined forward voltage is a large fraction of the total voltage, the light output would become very sensitive to the voltage shift of the draining battery.


I wired them 5 per chain of series connection with a 150 ohm resistor per chain. Here's the thread I did on my project: viewtopic.php?t=38955

Here's the youtube clip:

They did get a little dimmer by the end of the week, but really not all that much. They were so friggin bright to begin with that I actually made a little 300 ohm resistor pack that I snapped inline to bring the brightness down. When I wore the suit again for Halloween here in Orlando downtown (let me tell you about some fun..), I actually wired in a potentiometer so that I could dial them down and turn them on and off a little easier.

For this years LED suit, I actually just finished laying out my custom PCBs that I'll be having made up. 3.2" x 2.1" with 35 LEDs per panel.. and using 3 of those in a line for each of the 8 channels on the legs. Making up smaller boards for the arms but haven't finished yet. I'm anticipating using the same amount of 3 x 5 chains so 15 per channel.. x 8 channels.. 240 LEDs total for the top and 1680 for the bottom.. so 1920 LEDs total.. and again being driven off of 12 AAs @ 18v.

Still debating on my color combo for this year.. but leaning towards pink and green.. but then again red and yellow.. or.. hmmm.. almost thinking about making a few pairs of pants since with the PCBs they'll assemble so much quicker than the hand twisting of last year. Holy shit what a chore that was. Never again.

It's SO WORTH IT THOUGH. You want to talk about owning a fun toy at BM. Yeah. Build yourself a full body LED suit and go party in it. :twisted:



NOW.. back to the OP.. I actually read too fast the first time through and skimmed over that she wants to use RGB LEDs instead of single color. That will make the sequencing a little trickier unless you build a custom MOSFET + Arduino type solution. FWIW, there are some great and relatively inexpensive LED controllers here: http://picprojects.org/projects/picprojects.htm. This is where I picked up the board that I used last year and now this year. The ultimate goal is to go full RGB instead of single colors.. so hopefully by next year the price of 5mm dome common cathode RGBs comes down enough to the point that it's viable. They're still at least $0.15/each and I need to make the custom board. Second thought.. totally doable. That's what's happening for 2013. Oh yes.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby Trishntek » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:21 am

Junglesmacks wrote:
A marine deep cycle battery will be more than fine, but the bigger issue there is the weight. That's a lot of battery to be peddling around with!


I checked a few MC batteries from interstate and there are some nice AGM batteries which would service the OP's needs nicely. There is one that holds 144 watt hours for $100. I would rather use AGM or a dry cell setup on a bike.

Like the rest of us, I'm sure the OP is looking for a way to work with what they have on hand instead of spending more $$$. That 12V deep cycle battery weighs 80 pounds or more! That is a bit awkward on a bicycle,,,, especially on the playa.

My solar/wind array has lead acid batteries. But I move that once for setup and once to pack it away. I top off the water in them about once per quarter of the year and they work great on the playa and here at home. These 6V 225Ah golf cart batteries weigh 100 pounds each.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:28 am

For the sake of the thread being a resource of information, here is the layout for the PCB that I'm using this year. Don't mean to hijack thread, just keeping it all together.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby Misti » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:27 pm

The weight and stability of the battery isn't really a concern with the bike we made. Originally it was 4 separate mountain bikes. We cut and welded them into two 7 foot long semi-recumbant bikes, which will be welded side by side 3-4 feet apart to accommodate the handle bars and a small cooler. We were thinking we could mount a battery under the cooler in it's own little space. The gears are still usable and have an easy pedal mode if we need it.

I'm excited to put it all together! We had some of the last parts for it delivered today and i put it on, one more part to go and it will be complete, then we just need to weld the two together.


That's a really cool suit Junglesmacks! There's another possibility for the extra LED reels 8)
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:25 pm

Yeah it sounds like you have the means to haul that big of a battery. In that case, i would say go for it! I would venture to say that you will have plenty of battery power by the end of the burn. Remember that those power consumption ratings are only for when all R, G and B channels are at full on.. in other words making pure white light. Most of the time, you'll be making a different color.. and.. you'll see that those suckers are BRIGHT!! You'll want them toned down a little.. trust me. I have one of those same strips here in my house and 5 meters is enough light to fill the entire living room and kitchen with.

FYI.. the extended remote control version is super cool. You can buy them separate and retrofit your existing plug for it. You do have to swap and re-solder the plugs though. Gives you way more color control and options.

Overall, I would say go for the biggest battery that you feel comfortable biking with.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby Misti » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:10 pm

That's good to hear! I didn't know it was the power usage for full on white light, now I can see more how this could last longer than I was first thinking.

I think my boyfriend would be happy if it was one color the whole time since its a vast improvement over the glowstick necklaces we used our first year.
He might go for the extended remote if it would help us conserve power but I think hes afraid I will go through all the options and kill the battery, I almost had him convinced we needed it because it had dimming options but then he found a list of the options the smaller remote has and saw that it can dim too.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:17 pm

The main thing that the extended remote does is change the channels of RGB in smaller increments so you can get more variations of color out of the strip. Come to think of it, on the playa it wouldn't be as big of a deal as in a house. Since it refracts so much off of the walls and fills the house with the colored light, I like getting it just right. Playing with it doesn't drain the battery any more than just leaving it on does. You'll be playing with it.. oh yes.. you shall.. :lol:


After you guys get fully addicted this year to the world of LEDs, just wait until next year. Swap those RGB strips out for some WS2801 strips that you can control every single LED with and do full on rainbow pulsating, chasing, etc etc etc stuff. Did you see the Tunnel of Questionable Enlightenment by Workinonit last year at the burn? That's what he was using. They're a little tricky to learn but oh so much fun..

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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby Token » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:24 pm

Misti wrote:This is the set up we are looking at, the lot we will buy has 6 sets :shock: I dont think all 6 sets will fit on the bike, (its big but not THAT big) The remote looks like it has a dimming option on it.
Image

http://www.ebay.com/itm/LOT-6-Waterproo ... 43abdf7679

It would be AWESOME if the battery would last the whole time.

We were talking to someone about the LEDS and they said "It's Burningman, if you're going to do it, go all out! It's only once a year."
I am already thinking of ways to use the extra reels around the house and yard.


I've used the same lights on an art car. They are very bright. Use less.

They are NOT waterproof, dustproof or whatnot. Cover all connectors with epoxy or hi-pot resin. We stuffed them in vinyl tubing and crimped them.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:59 pm

Did you get the resin coated type or the uncoated, Token?

I've got the fully resin encased kind and they're pretty rugged. I run the same type of coating on my WS2801 strips and we're putting them through hell and back as we speak..
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby Misti » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:15 am

junglesmacks wrote:The main thing that the extended remote does is change the channels of RGB in smaller increments so you can get more variations of color out of the strip. Come to think of it, on the playa it wouldn't be as big of a deal as in a house. Since it refracts so much off of the walls and fills the house with the colored light, I like getting it just right. Playing with it doesn't drain the battery any more than just leaving it on does. You'll be playing with it.. oh yes.. you shall.. :lol:


After you guys get fully addicted this year to the world of LEDs, just wait until next year. Swap those RGB strips out for some WS2801 strips that you can control every single LED with and do full on rainbow pulsating, chasing, etc etc etc stuff. Did you see the Tunnel of Questionable Enlightenment by Workinonit last year at the burn? That's what he was using. They're a little tricky to learn but oh so much fun..




Wow I love that! We didn't get to go last year, but I looked up some videos of the Tunnel of Questionable Enlightenment and it was pretty neat, I bet it was cool in person.



Token wrote:
I've used the same lights on an art car. They are very bright. Use less.

They are NOT waterproof, dustproof or whatnot. Cover all connectors with epoxy or hi-pot resin. We stuffed them in vinyl tubing and crimped them.


We are hoping for bright, but if it is too much instead of cutting the strands and having the lighting be patchy on the bike and a bunch of small pieces that don't have controllers I will probably just use the dimming option. It looks like the ones we are looking at are the waterproof ones, I double checked after reading your post.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby gyre » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:51 pm

Have you considered clear silicone conformal coating?
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby TinkerMom » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:02 pm

Ok, so I am not grasping this. Or maybe I did and just need confirmation.

I have a flex strip of 60 SMD3528 LEDs. 12v
Company says it runs 20mA x 60
Consumption watts .24w x 60

I have a Dynamo Bike generator that runs on the front wheel of my bike.
It is 12v 6 watts

Will this suffice to run the strip light?

I have tried to follow along, but alas, I just need laymens terms. Can you dumb it down for me?
Thank you so much!!

And yes the Tunnel of Questionable Enlightenment was awesome!!
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby 5280MeV » Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:09 pm

TinkerMom wrote:Ok, so I am not grasping this. Or maybe I did and just need confirmation.

I have a flex strip of 60 SMD3528 LEDs. 12v
Company says it runs 20mA x 60
Consumption watts .24w x 60

I have a Dynamo Bike generator that runs on the front wheel of my bike.
It is 12v 6 watts

Will this suffice to run the strip light?

I have tried to follow along, but alas, I just need laymens terms. Can you dumb it down for me?
Thank you so much!!

And yes the Tunnel of Questionable Enlightenment was awesome!!


You get about 1 Watt of power consumed by four SMD lights, so your front wheel generator should be able to light up about 24 of them. You should be able to take a third of your strip and power it at full brightness with the generator.

You can try powering more than that, but you will likely lose more light intensity than you might expect - i.e. running all 60 lights will likely result in much less than 1/3 of the full brightness.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby roussel789 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:22 am

junglesmacks wrote:For the sake of the thread being a resource of information, here is the layout for the PCB that I'm using this year. Don't mean to hijack thread, just keeping it all together.


A great explanation with that diagram.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby TinkerMom » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:45 pm

5280MeV wrote:
TinkerMom wrote:Ok, so I am not grasping this. Or maybe I did and just need confirmation.

I have a flex strip of 60 SMD3528 LEDs. 12v
Company says it runs 20mA x 60
Consumption watts .24w x 60

I have a Dynamo Bike generator that runs on the front wheel of my bike.
It is 12v 6 watts

Will this suffice to run the strip light?

I have tried to follow along, but alas, I just need laymens terms. Can you dumb it down for me?
Thank you so much!!

And yes the Tunnel of Questionable Enlightenment was awesome!!


You get about 1 Watt of power consumed by four SMD lights, so your front wheel generator should be able to light up about 24 of them. You should be able to take a third of your strip and power it at full brightness with the generator.

You can try powering more than that, but you will likely lose more light intensity than you might expect - i.e. running all 60 lights will likely result in much less than 1/3 of the full brightness.


Thank you so very much!!!
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby gyre » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:17 pm

You may find batteries more effective than a generator.

The only good one I've had was a Marchal sold by schwinn.
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Re: Powering LEDs

Postby TinkerMom » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:04 pm

Ya, I was trying to use what I had around the barn.
For my trike I can put a battery, but my cruiser will do great with
the generator. Those 24 lights, line just perfect under the frame.
Plus, I do have all kinds of other lighting.
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