10W Retro-Futuristic LED Lamp




LEDs could be very efficient and  economical in long term use. A 10W LED lamp can replace a 100w incandescent lamp or a 30W compact fluorescent lamp. Despite an relatively high initial cost, compared with other kinds of domestic lamps, your electric bill could drop significantly if you use it instead.

Here I will show to you how to make your own stylish 10W Retro-Futuristic LED Lamp, spending around US$ 25 bucks. Let's go!


Step 1: Materials

You will need:

1. One old burned compact fluorescent lamp, for the LED lamp socket  (anyone serves);

2. Two grip flat connectors;

3. One 10W LED: www.satisled.com/10w-high-power-led-white-600800lm_p134.html - color of your choice;

4. Two little screws (search in your tech scrap);

5. One 10W LED driver: www.satistronics.com/constant-current-power-supply-for-10-w-power-led-100240vac-input_p2174.html

6. Thermal paste;

7. One old computer cooler (search in your tech scrap);

8. Heat shrink tubing;

9. 30 cm of wire (2 mm). 

Step 2: Tools

You will need also:

1. Soldering iron;

2. Little screwdriver;

3. Small plier cutter;

4. Long nose plier;

5. Medium plier cutter;

6. Puncture tool;

7. Flat screwdriver;

8. Grip plier;

9. Little drill;

10. Electric drilling machine.

Your will need some oil drops too.

Step 3: Disassembling the Compact Fluorescent Lamp

Be careful to not break the CFC lamp. The glass could cut you and there are mercury inside the lamp. 

Slowly try to open the base of the lamp, inserting the flat screwdriver and moving it up and down along the junction. These could damage the plastic a little, but it's not critical. You could after scrape the plastic with a knife or sand it to minimize the faults.

Carefully cut the two wires that join the circuit with the socket, without break the connection. Now cut about 0.5 cm of the insulation of the wire.

Step 4: Welding the LED Driver to the Socket

Place two pieces of heat shrink tubing around the wires. It is important to isolate them and make a good finish.

Now solder the two wires to the AC wires of the LED driver and position and heat the heat shrink tubing for shrinking.

Step 5: Cutting the Base

Make a little V cut in the plastic base to pass the wires.

Step 6: Boring the Base

Make two little aligned opposite holes with the soldering iron, and scrap them with a knife. 
Now pass the 30 cm wire through them.

Step 7: Bolting the LED

Place the LED in the center of the cooler.

Mark the holes with a pencil-case and make a punctuation in them.

Drop a bit of oil and make the holes with the driller. Choose a drill a little smaller then the screws. They will make the screw when you tighten it in the soft metal of the cooler (cooper or aluminum).

Before you tighten them, apply some thermal paste below the LED.

Step 8: Connecting the Grip Flat Connectors

Cut a little dent in the side of the connector of the LED, to not interfere with the sliding of the grip flat connector.

Make some adjustment in the grip connector with the plier, if necessary. They have to stay tightly connected in the LED contacts.

Step 9: Linking the Parts

Now, put the cooler above the driver and pass the wire inside the fins of the cooler. 

Cut the wire leaving approximately 1 cm above the cooler.

Bend tightly the wire on the cooler, so that all stay firm.

Step 10: Linking the LED

Grip the DC wires of the LED driver to the LED connectors. If one wire is short because the position, solder another piece on it.

The standard polarity is positive (red) to the LED contact with a little semicircle mark.

However, the chinese have poor standards and I have found some LEDs that have inverted polarity. Don't worry, if it does not turn on in three seconds, just switch the two wires that go to the LED contacts. The LED will not burn out.

Don't look directly to the LED! It's very, very bright and could damage your eyes. Be safe.

Step 11: Finishing - the Diffuser

The LED alone is very bright and cast sharp shadows. You could make the light more smooth with a diffuser.

Cut the base of a 2L PET bottle and sand it grossly. Make four holes and put little hook wires in them. Now fit the diffuser below the LED lamp and voilá! You are the first in the block to have a 10W Retro-Futuristic LED Lamp!

Have fun and help to save the planet!

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    97 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Hi. You can use the LED lamp of these instructable. The driver can be pluged in 100-240Vac and 10W is plenty of light. But the format is different of the tube, I know. There are LED lamps in tubes in the market. They have a LED strip inside a plastic tube, plus a little driver circuit. You have to know only the code of the lamp type and the lenght. Around 10W is fine.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I realize this conversation is now over three years old, but it brings up some questions for me that remain unanswered with regard to current, voltage, drivers, and LEDs. I had been under the impression that any electrical device "draws" current as required, and that too much voltage is what causes them to fail. I have now let this notion go, and am accepting that high-power LEDs draw whatever they can in terms of current until they die. Got it. But this then leaves me with this question: if I have a power supply that is rated to 1A, doesn't that mean that the power supply is only "good for" one amp of power and that if you try to draw more than one amp through it, it will overhead and die on its own? And if so, doesn't this make finding a power supply for a high power LED rather difficult? Or am I not understanding the difference between a power supply and a driver? Or can a power supply contain a current-limiting driver? Or is such a driver a standard thing in most power supplies?

    Here's the recent quandry: I have a series of five white power LEDs that I am running in series using an old power supply from a computer that claims to put out 18.5V of power and 3.5A of current. These bulbs seem to be doing OK (I have not run them very long, not more than 2 hours at a time over the past few days) though they do get rather hot (I have them attached to an aluminum bar, a finned aluminum heatsink, and then a fan on top of that and they still get quite hot). I am still rather disappointed with their brightness, though. They are bright, but by themselves even all five are not bright enough for my intended design (an aquarium hood). I also had a set of 3 such LEDs hooked up to a 12V 2A supply for a couple of hours— I finally got the brightness I wanted, but then the bulbs slowly burned out and are now useless. I am about to get a new 10W RGB power LED that I would really rather not destroy. The manufacturer claims the bulbs run at 30-34V and a current of 1.5A. I would rather have the bulb slightly under-driven and last forever than overdriven and burnt out in a year. Can I get some help figuring out what kind of power supply I should be using with this new lamp? I have read ever message above and the constant back and forth of it ("You are wrong about X", "No, you are totally wrong about X", etc. becomes very, very confusing!). Thanks!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    There are two popular methods for power supply regulation, either for it to measure the output voltage, or for it to measure the output current. The latter is what is used on a power supply usually called an LED "driver". It can vary the voltage until the current spec you desire for the particular LED is met. Even so, these also have current, voltage and and thermal limitations and may fail if those limitations are exceeded.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Cheap drivers are an early failure rate and often do not output what they claim to, plus if you don't care that it's low quality, you can get the exact same thing cheaper elsewhere. DX was a good option many years ago but is no longer cost competitive except for items they stock in a US warehouse so the US buyer isn't waiting a month to receive the item.


    3 years ago

    I want to connect 3 10w led chip parallel ,can I use 1 30w led driver that I could buy from ebay to do that ? I heard that it is not a good idea to connect power led paralle l ,is that true or I have to buy 3 individual 10w driver to do that? Thank you for any input.


    Where can I find supplies, a website to get the parts for the LED lamp projects? Ebay or somewhere else, I am an electronics tech 1st for USMC, then for the USPS... need supply of parts, where to find, hoping to light my shed and several rooms in the house, with low electricity usage. Thank you for any help you can give me, I worked on Communications gear, not lighting... totally differnt than wave propegation... thank you all for your help


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Well... Today, my five LED lamps was functioning whitout any problems for more than one year. I think that is a good testing time for me.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm very amateur when it comes to electronics but still trying to self teach as much as I can. wouldn't you be able to use the current power supply in the cf bulb housing and run a series of leds off of that?
    its my understanding that the bulbs burn quicker than the components behind them.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The CFL power supply can't be used for LEDs. They use high frequency AC to light the tube. You have to use current constant drivers for LEDs, voltage and current according with the LED specs. Or use resistors to limit the current, but they are inefficient.

    Nice instructable !
    Nice design , too , but there's one thing , add a cover like those ceiling CFL's have , or else somebody's gonna go blind looking at it , for real .
    How about installing a fan too ? It might get hot , why not ;) especially if you encase the cooling fin in a case , i might be wrong , but you could correct me .

    5 replies

    I have done this project about 3 years ago, with 1 watt LED.
    The heat sink was from an old CPU cooler with integral fan.
    without the fan , junction temperature was recorded as 140 F.
    As soon as the fan kicked on, it dropped down to room temp, ie 70 F.
    Thanks for the info.

    The diffuser have the function to soften the light, and it's ok. These LED is really very bright and there are many other options to diffuse his light. I choose a very cheap.
    The fan is not necessary, if the cooler is exposed. It reaches 53 Celsius, and the LED supports it. Don't close this thing with a case or it will fry. In this case, the fan is mandatory.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Your conclusion is premature. It is not the temperature of the heatsink that matters, it is the temperature of the LED die. Similiarly you don't know the temperature of a car engine by measuring the radiator temperature.

    Further, I cannot recommend using the generic power supply linked, it appears to not be UL listed and may be unsafe. I would be glad to be wrong though, if you will provide the CE and FCC certificates for it that are implied by the stamps on its label and a proof that the components are the same as submitted for the certification.

    Further, mounting the power supply above the heatsink will heat it up, I would be worried about it causing a fire.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I think people need to stop judging others' intelligence based on how well they speak English; it doesn't work too well. I judge intelligence based on whether or not one has a profile picture.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Well, I'm using five of these LED lamps in my home without any problems. The circuit inside the CFL heats a lot also (in a closed case), and don't burn out. The temperature of the air around the LED could be up to 80 degree Celsius, so 53 degree in the cooler is OK.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Just ordered the parts for the light. Wish there was something like this for Hot Water Heaters in apartments. Not allowed to modify the heater at all or anything else for that matter. Very good project.

    Thank you Instructables for the spell checker.........


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Lindsley, I run into this post by accident. I am Frank from SatiLED company. I would like say Thanks on behalf of all our company. My question is if we can quote this article on our blog. And as a reward, we would like to send you one 10W power LED for free. Please contact me via sales@satiled.com to leave your registered email on our website.

    Best regards

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Dear Frank,
    Thank you for your interest in my article. Of course that you can quote it in your blog. I'm working in other projects with your LEDs and I will send the link to you when they are finished.
    Thanks for the 10w LED too!