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water-based kinetic LED lamp Answered

I want to mak a kinetic light using high-powered LEDs to produce glitter line through a thin layer of agitated turbulent water in a wall mounted shelf. So, this gives me a few questions, but let me start with the idea I've got. I want to seperate a shelving unit (preferably solid wood not particleboard with some decent HxDxW) into two compartments. A glass sheet would be slid into grooves onto the side supports. The upper portion of the shelving unit would then be wood, waterproofed with some thin styrene plastic sheets. The bottom would then be composed of a large aluminum sheet (recessed slightly upwards for astheatics) which would house several LEDs in addition to the power adapter and voltage regulator. This would likely follow the "powering high powered LED" tutorial's alternate power source to the pucks. At this point a small pump would be placed into the upper compartment along with just enough water to submerge the pump to a safe level. Perhaps a small recess would be included in the top to allow instant colour shifts by using stained clear plastic sheets (this would reduce total illumination, but these are to be mood/ambient accents not primary lighting source) to avoid any of the more expensive/complex colour shifting lamps. The big question I have at this point is how thermally safe this would be, and how much LED I would actually need to achieve decent brightness. Also, I would prefer if the bottom was modular enough I could remove and work on it without dissasembling the entire assembly, but this may not be possible. Finally, I was wondering if I could run the heatsink material up the ront of the shelf, past the glass, and into the water (this should give great heat dissipation) and have a SAFE and STABLE waterproof join between a flush glass-metal joint with possible use of epoxy and/or silicone caulking. Anything not specified in here I'm uncertain of how to do exactly. So! If anyone has any ideas, suggestions, or awareness that this is pure madness (or has a better way t oget those glitter lines i lust for) please let me know.

3 Replies

JRGumby (author)2007-11-05

Alright, I've been working on trying to get the circuitry together, and Dan's RBG spotlight seems to be a very good basic circuit for analog (I o not want to mess with a microcontroller) control and dimming. What I'd like to know is if you can just drop a second line of LEDs in parallel of the chain as he has it. I'd prefer to be able to dim two lights at once, several feet apart, from one dial. If this isn't possible or if it will reduce the dafety and lifespan of the LEDs I'll just have to have 2. I'll have a diagram up soon, I got tied up the last few weeks with some actual work I had to do.

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NachoMahma (author)2007-10-26

. Let's see, you have a power adapter, a VR, a small pump, and some LEDs. The power adapter can be remote (eg, a wall wart) so it doesn't contribute any heat. A properly sized VR shouldn't put out much heat and can be mounted remotely with the adapter. LEDs don't put out much heat (next to none). The only trouble spot, temp wise, _might_ be the pump, but you should be able to find a small, low-voltage, submersible pump. For your purposes, a stirrer should work - anything that will agitate the water. Or maybe even a bubbler, but that introduces other problems.
. For mood lighting, brightness shouldn't be a problem. With some of the newer high output LEDs, you may only need 1 or 2. Even using "standard" LEDs, you shouldn't need more than a dozen. With a variable VR, or switch(es) to turn groups of LEDs on/off, you can adjust the brightness to fit the mood.
. I don't think a heatsink will be necessary.
. Silicone sealant would probably be a better choice than epoxy as it is more flexible and less likely to leak when moved or handled rough. Search for aquarium construction for tips on how to do it.
. If you will completely seal the water box, you won't need to waterproof everything else. With a sealed box, it might work better to leave the agitator out and rock the box back and forth - depends on the effect you are looking for.

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Kiteman (author)2007-10-26

Bump, plus, could you provide a diagram of some sort? Even if it's just a scan of a hand-drawn sketch?

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