Introduction: Outdoor PAR Flood Light Cans
Don't you hate it when your outdoor color flood lights loose their color coatings. Once the coatings get hot and start to flake off, they are pretty much useless. Depending on where you buy them, they cost around $6 each to replace. Typically, I usually only get two holiday "uses", Halloween and Christmas, before the coatings start flaking off.
For just a few dollars more up front, these outdoor lighting cans can save you a bunch of cash in the long run.
Step 1: What You Will Need
I found all the materials at my local home improvement store. I purchased the gels online (http://www.ebay.com). I buy them in bulk, it's cheaper per gel.
BILL OF MATERIALS:
5" x 4" Heating / Ventilation Taper Reducer
Lighting Gels (color as desired & high heat rated)
5" Screw Drive Hose Clamp
High Heat, Flat Green (or Flat Black) Spray Paint, RUST-OLEUM brand
100 watt Clear Flood Light Bulb
Outdoor Flood Light Base Assembly
Safety Razor Blade (not shown)
Step 2: Paint
Paint the Taper Reducer and the hose clamp.
This will take about 4 coats. The paint tends to "fish-eye" on the first coat, but will start to cover on the second. I forgot to paint my hose clamp in this photo, but got it later.
Step 3: Cut, Trim & Bend
Now, to make some tabs which will be used to hold the CAN to the BASE & BULB assembly. Use the tin snips to make a series of cuts starting from edge of the 4" diameter end (the smaller of the two ends) of the reducer. Stop cutting when you reach the crimp. As shown in the photos, make two cuts to produce one tab. I experimented here with a few different patterns. On my first CAN, I only cut two tabs, which worked great. This CAN, I decided to cut 4 tabs. Two is plenty fine, 4 is better.
After cutting the tabs, bend them outwards a little to help with the next step. Once bent outward, trim about 3/4" off the tabs. Once you have completed trimming the tabs, bend the tabs back inward towards the center of the reducer. Go ahead and bend them a little past 90 degrees, so they are starting to point "downwards" as shown in the last photo.
Step 4: Assemble the Base, Can, and Bulb
AND NOW FOR THE INFAMOUS DISCLAIMER. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.......... Since you are working with 115 vac, at the very least, getting shocked hurts and worst, may kill you. Do not screw the bulb into the base with the base plugged into an electrical outlet. Take note and care to be certain that THE TABS DO NOT COME IN CONTACT WITH THREADED PORTION OF THE LIGHT BULB. The tabs shouldn't even come close. IF THEY DO, trim a little bit more off the tabs until you have made sufficient clearance.
Insert the bulb into the CAN, through the newly formed tabs, and screw the bulb into the light base.
Step 5: Adding the Color Gel
Choose your gel color. Place your gel over the large end of the can and slide the clamp over it. Tighten the clamp, and trim the excess gel with a safety razor. Depending on the size gels you purchase, its possible to get two filters from the larger gels sheets.
Tip: Don't toss away the gels scraps. Combine left-over pieces sandwiched between two clear gels, to make a gel mosaic.
Step 6: Choose Your Base
In the side by side comparison, you can see a vast difference between the standard store bought color coated flood light on the left, verses the improved PAR lighting can on the right.
All thats left is to choose which type of base to use, the ground spike or the surface mount.
Some Points of Interest:
If need be, you can attach a short length of 5" heating / ventilation tube to the reducer, and mount your gel to it, effectively reducing the heat to the gel. Painting the inside of the extension flat black will help mask the lights location to viewers from the "front" side.
A plastic FOLGERS coffee can is what I use to store the different Gels which have already been cut and formed. Depending on what holiday it is as to which gels I use.
Experiment with the gels. One green, vs two green gels stacked changes the depth of green. I have found for halloween, stack a green and blue gel will give a creepier dark green.
Less bulb inventory. No need to buy all those different color bulbs. A Multi pack of clear is all you'll need, at a third of the price each, and you can use them until they burn out, not just until the coating starts to flake off.