Picture of 12v LED lights for Car, Home, Boat......

Hi this is a way to make 12v led lights that can be used on any standard 2 pin 12 volt light for example your cars lights, inside your motorhome, boat or 12v home lights(like those for your desk or to light up your paintings or photos).. these are very common so you can replace them almost anywhere and are also very very cheap easy to make and you will be saving lots of electricity since they bearly consume any electricity..

you can make these of 4 or 2 leds or more if conecting them in parallel depending on size and how much light you will need

it pretty much ends up beeng the size of a small 12v car bulb
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Step 1: Parts!!!

Picture of Parts!!!

the parts for this project are as following

you will need (in picture)
1---- 100nf capasitor
1---- ln4007 diod
1---- 150ohm resistor **
4---- super bright white leds (i will be using some bright orange LEDs)  *

soldering iron

   * this is to make the 4 led version... if you want the 2 leds you will need a 348 ohm resistor instead

  ** the value of the resistor will also very with the input Voltage, the type of LED you buy and the Diod...
      my led has a Forward Voltage of 2V (the white ones are 3.5V or somthing like that) and a max of 20 miliAmpers and my diod of 1.1V and i think a max of 1amp
      so if you would like to calculate the exact value for your components you will need this information..

     In the images i leave you a formula to calculate the resistor depending on your components..

     in this formula (in the image)
     V--------- is the voltage you will use to power the led
     Vfled---- is the forward voltage of your led
    Vfd------- is the forward voltage of your diod
     Imax---- is the maximum voltage that your circuit can take so that would be your LEDs operation current
     nºleds-- is the number of leds you will be conecting(if the resistor gives a negative number you passed the limit of leds)
boday6722 days ago

You mean connect the LEDs in series, not parallel.

aL33s1 month ago

Great stuff. I made a LED light for a licence plate illuminator a while back but soon got burned. Now I see that adding a diode and a capacitor solves that problem in long term. However I have a question regarding cap value. Must it be exactly 100pF or can I use something larger, say .1uF? It's because I normally don't buy electronic parts, I salvage them mostly from old electronics and from what I currently have on my hands, I'm unable to find a 100pF cap.

fwissocq5 months ago

I made two lamps with this instructable.

It works fine !

To replace a T10 5w lamp, i connected to a piece of test board (3 lines width) cutted with dremel tool.

(sorry for my bad english...) ;-)

ajensen279 months ago

crap i forgot the charging system puts out 14.4v good to know. but once I'm done with my math how do i get the resistor value

GrfxGawd1 year ago
Is this image correct and helpful?
jwad1232 years ago
why is the diode neccesary? the LED's are diodes, surely they will only allow current to flow one way, or am I missing something?
cknudstrup3 years ago
I had a question what is the purpose of the Diode since the LED are also diodes they wont let you hook them up backwards anyways. Are you using the diode to cut the voltage down along with the resistor?
LEDs typically have very low reverse breakdown, on the order of 18-20 volts. If one is using, say, a 24VDC supply and were to hook the LED up in reverse, it would surely destroy the LED. When using an AC supply, this can be somewhat mitigated by using two LEDs in anti-parallel so that one of them is conducting on each half-cycle, and the reverse voltage that the "off" LED sees is never greater than the forward voltage of the "on" LED, about 0.6V to 2V, depending on LED type. Vehicle charging systems are prone to "load dump", where the reverse voltage can briefly spike to 50 volts, or more, as when the engine stalls or is turned off. Having a 100V to 200V diode in series with the LED will prevent the LED from being destroyed by a reverse current spike.
jimdkc3 years ago
Nice job! However, you have your terminology backwards. The ANODE is the POSITIVE connection for a diode or LED, and the CATHODE is the NEGATIVE connection.

Also, while car batteries are 12 volts, the charging system runs a bit higher. You should do your calculations based on 14.4 volts when designing for automotive use to insure you don't supply too much current and shorten the LEDs life.
pcooper2 jimdkc2 years ago
Good point. A few months ago I ran across a site that sells marine LED lighting, and the company owner had posted a video showing a cheap Chinese-made LED lighting module literally going up in smoke when the bench supply was cranked up from 12VDC to 14.5VDC, which isn't unusual when an engine is running and the alternator is recharging the battery. It would be a shame to burn your yacht to the waterline -- or turn your car or house to ashes -- because of a marginal design.
Slim493 years ago
Please,.... change the BLUE ink to BLACK!
Its a Really Nice Design!!
I will make this & FWD it around.
HOWEVER! you need to redoo the blue ink diagrams/Schematics in BLACK ink! & PRINT bigger.
can't read the blue, even zooming in in other software ,its too faint & lo RES.
Mr. Steve
Nice project. I use on my car only 1 rezistor with 3 leds / module and i calculated for 14.4V. (I put them in serial.)
Your ideea with diode and a capacitor is great but how do i calculate or what models can i use?
w7272w3 years ago
This is great.Just what i was looking for.
Drawing the schematic wsa very help full.
fastcar1233 years ago
This is an awsome idea! just two questions. How would I put these in my car and wire them to the factory harness and keep them from moving or coming unconnected when they are in the car?

How nessacary is the capacitor or diode in the build?
nicotrial (author) 3 years ago
been using them for more then 5 months now.. its just the position lights i have not had a problem yet and here where i live they are very strict with car mods..
dude3003 years ago
Just remember if you do use them in your car they might be illegal
nicotrial (author) 3 years ago
kondzio293 years ago
Great job man, get five!
vishalapr3 years ago
I didn't rate it yet, but it is very nice, good luck in the contest, Have a look at my entry Star-Wars X-Wing 2 for the contest.
Well done again on making it!!!