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Picture of 10W led security light hack
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Well i guess I'll start by saying that this is my first able, so be gentle (; lol. I always seemed to have a problem with my halogen security lights burning out. I wanted a simple, cheap, permanent solution. Led's seemed to be the way to go. Im fairly new to 120V electronics and am learning quickly, but I've been customizing 12V for years.
 
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Step 1: The problem

Picture of The problem
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The first picture shows what has been happening to my halogens. Not just one or two but all seven. Not once or twice a year, but every few weeks. At about $6usd it can become an unnecessary headache. The second picture shows my personal choice for a solution. A 10w led:) The original halogen could produce over 3000 lumens, and this led produces around 950 so it's not quite equivalent. Having said that I chose the 10w led for several reasons. Mainly cost, and no heatsink fan needed at 10w. any higher and you would probably need a fan, which i couldn't get to fit tidily into the housing. 10w produces more than enough power for my application anyhow. The pictures are vague for lower light output, but i can see clearly in front of these lights for over 20 yards, or read a book easily at about 20 feet.

Step 2: Gather parts and tools

Picture of Gather parts and tools
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The component parts I used are shown above. A halogen housing, 10w led bulb and driver. A small heatsink i scrapped off of an old tv (; if you don't have a housing I included a picture of the brand and model number I am using.
housing. $15
10w led bulb. $1 (ebay)
10w led driver. $5 (ebay)
heatsink. free (ex-girlfriends tv;)

TOOLS- if i miss something just let me know and i will update. i didn't keep track of exactly what i used every step.

screwdrivers. assorted
soldering iron
wire cutters
scissors
drill
assorted drill bits

Step 3: Tear apart old housing

There are 2 screws holding the faceplate on. Remove those to pull the front cover and glass off. After that just gut the interior. It's all trash for my purposes except for the reflector. I find it easier to wire everything if i break lose the elbow joint. so find the screw like in picture 6 and remove it. Then pull the elbow off and remove the old wires.

Step 4: Prep the light housing

Inside the light housing are 2 small nipples for the factory screws. They are in my way, so i used oversized drill bits to remove them. Be careful not to go all the way through the casing. They don't have to be perfect, but the more flush, the better. The drivers I get just happen to fit almost perfectly into the natural recess of this housing so install it as I did in picture 7. It still protrudes a little bit, but not a bad fit. BE SURE TO MARK WHICH WIRES ARE YOUR LOAD AND NUETRAL BEFORE YOU PROCEDE. Then take the reflector and place back in the housing. It will stick up too far to put the front cover back on, so i work it down to encase the driver. Pictures 8 and 9. Not the prettiest thing ever, but it works. Then remove the reflector and cut down as seen in picture 10 to make "fingers". When you are done with that, place the reflector back into the housing placing the driver to led wires out somehow like i did in picture 11

Step 5: Placing led onto heatsink

Start by placing your led on the heatsink and marking your holes. I actually used an old led as a template to drill my holes, and I still managed to get them crooked. Oh well... lol. Then drill and use whatever screws you are using to tap the holes. It's just aluminum. It'll be okay (; then remove the screws and lightly file the holes so there are no shavings sticking up. Use some sort of thermal grease or paste where the led will go and spread it thin and evenly. Then carefully place your led onto your heatsink and screw it into place.

Step 6: Placing heatsink into housing

Picture of Placing heatsink into housing
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Take your heatsink with the led installed and place it into your housing on the reflector. Be mindful that the orientation of the led matches the wires sticking out from the driver. Take the "fingers" from the reflector and wrap them around the heatsink in a way as to hold it in place. It doesn't have to be super tight, as this is being mounted onto a house and won't have to deal with any amount of vibration. Then cut your wires to length and solder them accordingly. (Not my best soldering job, but hey, i just got out of surgery a few hours ago. lol)

Step 7: Finishing up

Picture of Finishing up
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Now just pull the wires back through the elbow and screw it back together, and screw the front cover back on and your good to go. Im not going to explain how to wire this into your house, if you don't know 110 and 220 color codes, then you don't need to be doing this project without the help of someone more experienced that could show you the safety do's and don'ts

Step 8: The results

Picture of The results
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Very clean, very bright lights. Not quite as bright as the halogens, but at least i don't every have to replace them (i hope;) Like i said before, the pictures really don't do them justice. Thanks for reading, and good luck:)
dtidbeaux (author) 1 year ago
That's a great idea. I've thought about that but i couldn't do that with heatsinks i had. If i ever have problems with the leds burning out i will definitely put that idea to use with some new heatsinks. I wonder if using the aluminum housing as a heatsink, if i could get away with a more powerful led without using a fan. Since it would constantly have fresh air moving around it, it might work. Any insight?

As bhvm says, if the heatsink is isolated from fresh air, it will not do its job properly.

But if you can solidly fix and screw the heatsink to the casing, it will act as a heatsink for the heatsink, so there would be no problem from it being sealed inside.

dtidbeaux (author) 1 year ago
I actually wrote it because i wanted the simplest upgrade i could that produced the most bang for my buck as it were. And the housings are sealed, but the first one i built as a tester was almost 6 months ago, and i haven't had any issues with them as of yet. That was definitely one of my concerns, but no problems so far:)
bhvm1 year ago

Love your simple mod man! I hope that the fixture is not air tight otherwisey the heat will accumulate and cook the LED.