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Old 19-02-2010, 12:35   #1
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LED DIY

I have been suprised that no comercial vendor has produced used one of the high effeciency LED such as Cree or Rebel to produce internal or navigagational boat lights.
When I last visited civilazation I went to an electronics store and purchased a Cree 3w LED (P4 nothing special) a stick on heatsink and a constant current driver.
I finally had the time to do some tinkerinig stick the Cree to the self adhesive heatsink solder a couple of wires and Bluetack that to a lightfitting. 10 mins work.
I was amazed. The Cree can be driven up to 1A but it was way too bright untill reduced to about 0.2A (This is at about 3.5V so it was drawing 0.07A from the 12V supply)
To those not familliar with this type of LED the emit light over 150 degrees much more than the standard 5mm LED (usually 15 deg) so one emmiter is plenty.
The current regulator is varible so I can dim the light to next to nothing or increase it to its full 3w.
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Old 19-02-2010, 13:43   #2
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That's an excellent info. Can you give us more info about current regulator/driver?
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Old 19-02-2010, 14:44   #3
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noelex 77,

This does sound like you have found a good but cheap system. If you could please include a simple schematic circuit of the regulator and current limit resistor ect you used to build? Just for the not so savy in electronics types like myself.

Thanks
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Old 20-02-2010, 09:37   #4
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The parts I used are from Jaycar (an Australian company)
The driver was from Electus part no AA-0596. I modified the resistance to reduce the current from the minimum of 350 ma to about 220ma
The LED was a 3w cree star from the same distributer.
No ciruit diagram needed the drive works from 12 to 30v just conect the 2 red wires from the driver to 12v and the blue and yellow wires to the LED.




See the web page at Electus Electus Distribution

My old light fitting have lost some of there chrome plating so today I made a new prototype fitting from Iroko and stainless steel. It need some finishing with wires leading through the bottom etc, but I think it will look nice when finished. The switch will give two levels of brightness.
The light is very different from the 5mm led covering at least 160 degrees with a broad spread of light.
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Old 20-02-2010, 10:32   #5
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This is very cool, noelex! It appears one could hook up to six high output leds to the single driver, resulting in an led floodlight. Does that sound right to you? Have you a suggestion for the best led for this particular application? The 60 degree lamp sounds interesting (Cree XR MR16). Any experience with the other lamps? Again, thank you. This thread represents the essence of Cruisers Forum and the capacity to inform and debate.
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Old 20-02-2010, 12:12   #6
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I just yesterday installed my new LED anchor light from these guys. Draws 0.09 amps. (thats right, 9/100ths of an amp. A typical 10 hour night will use just under one amp. Includes a photo cell switch.

Bebi Electronics-Home of the Finest Marine LED Lighting Products on Sea (or Earth)!
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Old 20-02-2010, 14:00   #7
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This is very cool, noelex! It appears one could hook up to six high output leds to the single driver, resulting in an led floodlight. Does that sound right to you? Have you a suggestion for the best led for this particular application? The 60 degree lamp sounds interesting (Cree XR MR16). Any experience with the other lamps? Again, thank you. This thread represents the essence of Cruisers Forum and the capacity to inform and debate.
Thanks for the comments.
The driver I used will power up to 3 emitters. There are other models that will do more. They even “detect” the number of emitters automatically, but with the wide distribution of light from a bare emitter is hard to imagine more than 1 being needed to spread the light. Mine is driven at less than a quarter of its maximum so there is plenty of scope to make an even brighter interior light. If you want an outdoor light , say a spreader light more emitters can be used as you say with the one driver.(you can even get a single emitter with 4 dies, but its less good than 4 single emmiters) If you want more of a spotlight reflectors an or optics can be added to the emitter to concentrate the light, which I presume has been done to the60 degree lamp you mention, although that is really a replacement “globe” rather than a bare LED

With my “reading” light I can move a book from the ceiling to the floor and back to the middle and there is no perceived change in brightness.
The drivers are very efficient, not like a dropping resistor, and adding a second emitter just results in roughly double the power consumed for twice as much light.

For sailors the bottom line is this type of LED is the most efficient way you can produce light and provides the opportunity to very bright light if that is what you want.
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Old 20-02-2010, 23:10   #8
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I just yesterday installed my new LED anchor light from these guys. Draws 0.09 amps. (thats right, 9/100ths of an amp. A typical 10 hour night will use just under one amp. Includes a photo cell switch.

Bebi Electronics-Home of the Finest Marine LED Lighting Products on Sea (or Earth)!
The Bebi lights are fantastic. I have a number of interior lights from them and my next project is to install 2 Bebi Owl anchor lights. Why 2 ? I am sold on the benefits of anchor lights thatr are not on the top of the mast where they are easily mistaken for town lights. Installing 2 low down eleminates the problem of the boat or mast obstructing the light.
They have a low enogh power draw that installing 2 is not much of a drain on the battery. Incidently they dont even draw 0.09a, the "typical" draw quoted by Bebi for the Owl is 0.065a. My measurments indicate this is correct. So 2 will only draw 0.13a and the photocell helps reduce consumption further.
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Old 21-02-2010, 01:10   #9
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Luxeon LEDs (and breakout boards for convenient packaging) are here.
350mA constant current driver modules are here ($14)

The Luxeons are $5-6 for 1-watt units, $8 for 3 watts, and $20-25 for 5 watts. The little board to make handling them easier is $3.

So for a very bright LED package (3 watts white), you're looking at $25... plus packaging to keep it safe.

I'm using these internally, so far opting for commercially sealed units for outside use. I have also not yet tested the BuckToot driver module to ensure that it is low noise... I have one on order.

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Old 21-02-2010, 05:38   #10
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Thanks for the links Steve. It is good to see someone else doing a similar thing.
Although the Luxeon 111 is cheap I do not think is is a good choice for the cruising sailor.
The 3w Luxeon 111 will put ot about 80 lumens at its maximum 1A. A 3w Q5 Cree which is becoming reasonably easy to get will put out 220 lumens at the same current.
The improvement is similar a lower currents. Another way of looking at it is a Q5 Cree will put out more light driven at 0.35a than a Luxeon 111 will at 1a(note the currents are for 3.7V so the current draw from a 12V system will be proportionally less for both the Cree and Luxeon)
The improved efficiency is not the only befit but there is also much less heat to dissipate, for a fixed lighting level, and one Cree emitter will do the job of about 3 Luxeon emitters all simplifying luminare design.

(Note: For those not familiar with LED technology Luxeon and Cree are both brands of LED. They are very different to the 5mm LED that most people are familiar with. They will take 50x the current of a 5mm LED and produce perhaps 100x the amount of light. This means one LED can be used instead of the multiple emitters that are necessary with 5mm LED’s .
Luxeon and Cree LED look very similar and could be interchanged in most designs, but the Luxeon 111 was released in 2006 and is much less bright than the newer designs. To further confuse things Cree offer several models or bins which vary slightly in cost and brightness,
The Q5 bin Cree is the best that is reasonably easy to get.
A Q5 3W Cree will cost about $15-$25 depending on where you get them, perhaps 3X the price of the Luxeon 111, but it puts out 3X the light and the extra cost is not a factor compared to the time taken for a project like this, or the cost of other marine equipment.)
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Old 21-02-2010, 08:30   #11
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OK, so who's gonna try one in a nav light? There's a lot more involved there...color temps, visability, legal aspects (please leave the legal aspects out of this for now)...It really is about time someone applies current, high power LED tech to nav lights, dont ya think?
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Old 21-02-2010, 09:22   #12
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Old 21-02-2010, 12:14   #13
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Noelex - thanks for the Cree update! I have not tried them, but will.

Christian - I have done homebrew navlight retrofits into Aqua Signal enclosures, and they worked beautifully. Photos below...

Steve
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Old 21-02-2010, 13:20   #14
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Noelex (and all), I have three LEDs replacement bulbs from the previous owner. However, I have been interested in the Do-it-yourself approach, at least until they get away from $50-70/bulb. It seems all the work is being done outside the US.

Is there a "do it yourself" approach you recommend?
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Old 21-02-2010, 15:11   #15
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Noelex (and all),
Is there a "do it yourself" approach you recommend?
The large Led such as the Cree are very easy to use, just connect them to a suitable driver and connect that to the 12v supply. You need to glue the LED to a heat sink, a scrap piece of aluminium is fine, (ideally using thermal epoxy).

I would recommend
A q5 3watt star (the star is around disc that makes sodering easy) Cree
A variable driver from 350ma to 1a that is OK with a 12vdc input
Some thermal epoxy
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