It gets pretty dark outside at night but I'm really a night owl. When I lived in the city there was no real dark spots. Street lights everywhere. Hanging out at night was the norm.
I started to put up halogen lights. First 100W, then 300W then 500 Watt. It works but the light is not too good for the electric bill. 1000Watts of light to play a card game is not too Green.
I wanted a light over the table but we have this big umbrella that hovers over it. Sure you could fold it up at night but that's work.
I decided to put Leds on the umbrella frame itself. Less than 20Watts on low and It looks kinda futuristic, or maybe a satellite dish..........
Step 1: LED Strips
I ordered a lot of these led strips in all different colors. Even RGB ones and NeoPixels.
I went cheap on this project with plain White ones. I used 5 Meter spools with 300 leds each. They were advertised as "3528 SMD 300 LEDs 5M Cool White Flexible Strip Light 12V Power Supply". I got 4 spools for a total of 1200 leds over 20 Meters.
I used probably around 1000 leds total. 8 strips 18 inches long on the center ribs and 8 strips 42 inches long on the outer ribs.
The hardest part was removing the waterproofing over the terminals after cutting them with scissors. Once I got a new razor blade in my knife it got easier.
I used 18ga alarm wire because I had a spool lying around.
I powered it up using a reclaimed PC power brick.
Step 2: Remote Control
I needed a better way to turn it on and off than just pulling the plug. I found this LED strip remote on eBay for $3....
Step 3: Night Games
Best part is we stayed outside well into the night and never noticed how dark it was......
Next victim for Led upgrades are the Metal Halide lights outside the garage...
Step 4: Winter Storage
It folds up nice and neat for storage. Just have to remember to bring in the remote. I keep the remote in the sealed ziplock anti static bag just in case I forget. Surprisingly it works well through he bag......