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In this instructable I will be sharing with you how to make a portable plant light. The light can be made custom size/shape and even the color of lights can be adjusted per situation.!
You can grow plants indoors at any time, no sun light is needed. and if you don't know how to garden, you can easily turn any regular plant pot into a smart pot system.
Step 1: Plan + Materials
Let's do a quick sketch;
- we need a frame that can be easily attached to any existing plant pot.
- it should also be adjustable as the plant grows taller.
The metal hanger will carry everything. Parts can easily be secured/adjusted with the use of nuts/bolts. The LED driver will be hidden behind the plant pot.
Step 2: Optional, But a Must
the key to being successful growing plants indoors is by the use of ac outlet timers. the sun takes care of the timing outdoors, but indoors one can easily forget to turn the plant lights on. which can cause delay in growth. it can be a simple/cheap manual, analog type or more complicated/pricey digital styles (can set up to a week of different schedules).
they all do the job - you can also set daily alarms on your phone to remind you about the light schedule, and save money.!
if you are planning on adding more lights per bar (i would suggest 8/bar max.), you can easily use tiny dc fans to keep the LEDs cool. for this upgrade we would also need a 5V dc adapter (phone chargers work great).
Step 3: Let's Build
we start with building the frame;
1. measure the height. slowly unroll the perforated metal hanger, going all the way up and then back down - doubling the strength. otherwise the light gets very wobbly. cut using heavy duty scissors, or by bending the same spot back&forth until it breaks. secure it with nut/bolt at couple places.
2. secure the nail stoppers. first to each other and then to the arm. now we should have a pretty stable frame. you can also add a wooden block or a piece of heavy metal to the back/bottom of the frame for more stability.
3. glue the LEDs. you can first take off the light bars for easier access. carefully layout the LEDs in series direction, looping from one bar to the next and then exiting towards the driver. make sure to wait until the glue cures. while waiting, you can secure the switch and the driver at this point and measure/cut cable length, split the ends - getting them ready for soldering. you should also test each LED if they are working before gluing them on to the frame.
time to solder..
Step 4: Electrical
some simple electrical work needed;
1. solder the LEDs in series. the electricity is always going in one direction, reaching positive of the first LED exiting from negative to the positive of the next LED and so forth until the last one. where the negative cable exits the last LED and connects to the negative of the LED driver.
2. solder the driver. the positive DC out goes straight to the positive of first LED. the negative DC out goes straight to the negative of last LED.
3. solder the switch. the switch goes in between the driver and the AC cable. simply connect one leg of the switch to the positive AC in of the driver and the other leg to the positive of the AC cable. the negative of the AC cable goes straight to the negative AC in of the driver.
IMPORTANT. before connecting the light to the wall, you have to make sure none of the soldered parts are touching the frame anywhere.!
plug the cable in and turn the switch ON. you now should have light.!
once you make sure that all LEDs turn on and the switch is working unplug it from the wall and use plenty of sealant options at the "naked" soldered spots. I have used lots of hot glue, making sure the joints are sealed properly and are holding well. you can also use electrical tape.
Step 5: Conclusion
If you are not familiar with my work, here you can see that I have made many different versions of this similar idea.
i get only 4 hours of direct sunlight in my apartment, and only in 1 room. my first instructable was also my first attempt trying to fix this problem. I have created many of these arms since then, always trying out different combinations of lay out, design, materials.
this is a very stable and powerful light source, also extremely efficient. being able to get so close to the plant/leaves is another advantage. you can easily attach more bars and keep building around the plant as it grows taller. you can also give a try to the art of plant training and keep the light same height, and train your plant to stay short and bushy..?!
hope you got some ideas for the winter as many of us are forced to bring plants indoors. I have many fruit trees growing in a non-tropical zone. many citrus trees and 1 lychee tree at the moment. all under many different versions of LED lights. they are great - more work than CFLs but if you can solder, definitely worth it.. (there are now solder free versions available, more expensive tho).
thank you for your time. please remember to vote (top right)and subscribe.!
love & peace