Introduction: $20 Streetlamp / Streetlight
Welcome to the instructable for a very cheap streetlight. We really needed something to light up our front yard because we live in the boonies and it gets very dark at night.
The lights that you can buy in the shops are really expensive and the minimum is about 100 euros, and more like 200 if you want a nice one. So I decided to make my own from cheap materials. I was not expecting something amazing looking, I just wanted something functional. In the end though, I am pretty happy with the result.
An additional upgrade to this in the Infra-red sensor that was added so that it lights up when you walk out the front door.
The system I built here runs on a 12v LED bulb and that is powered from an old car battery and a small solar panel/charge controller, which I have as a permanent set up for my pool lights and polytunnel lighting. You could equally do this with a 240v mains connection. The Infra-red sensors are also sold as a 240v unit on amazon.
Step 1: Parts Required
The streetlight is made up of:
50mm PVC end cap (0.5 euros)
1m length of 75mm PVC waste pipe (5-7 euros)
75mm to 50mm PVC pipe adapter (2 euros)
2m length of 50mm PVC waste pipe (2 euros)
a cheap light fitting (6 Euros)
To fix the light in the ground, I ran a 12v supply through a conduit and through the 75mm diameter pipe.
Dig a hole in the ground where you want to have the light and set the 75mm pipe in the hole. To ensure it is correctly straight and vertical, the simplest way of fixing it in place is to lay a plank of wood on the ground that is long enough to span the hole. Then use a clamp to hold the tube to the wood. This will allow you to position the pipe to the vertical. During the construction of our chain link fence (100 posts), I found this a much simpler way of holding the post while the concrete sets, than leaning braces against the pipe at a 45 degree angle. Although whichever way works for you is best.
Once the pipe is set in the correct location, with the wider end at the top, ready to accept the adapter, pour in a bucket of cement/concrete to hold the base tube in the ground. Leave overnight. Make sure you don't squash the wires too much or you will not be able to pull them through later. Although you may wish to ensure that you have at least 3m of cable already pulled through and ready to push through the next sections of pipe.
Step 2: Construct the Light and Wiring
You will now have the PVC pipe in the ground and are ready to put it all together.
Unscrew the bottom of the light fitting and screw through it in to the end cap of the pvc pipe. I used stainless steel screws so it would last a long time. The cheap plastic lights from DIY shops can have the bulb holder mounted at the top or the bottom of the casing. After drilling a hole for the cables through the end cap and mounting the glass surround to the cap, I then attached the wires to the bulb holder and fixed it back on to the base of the light surround.
I did not connect the wires from the supply yet, I set up a separate set of wires with a block connector, so I could do everything in the house, before climbing the ladder.
The 3 wires of the movement sensor were black and red wires to the 12v supply, then the same black, and the brown to the bulb. I set the light to come on for the length of time that I wanted it to stay on after the sensor detects movement. Then set the switch on the sensor so that it only worked at night. I drilled a hole through the side of the pipe and fixed external part of the sensor. You can see that I have an additional straight connector, this was because I wanted the additional space to mount the sensor controller inside the pipe without removing the plastic casing.
You can now use the PVC welding glue to connect all of the joints together. The adapter goes on first.. you did remember to put it on before you connected the cables right? :-)
Then the 2m x 50mm pipe gets glued in. For the top part, I did not glue it, I screwed through the side of the end cap to hold it, so that i could remove it again if the sensor broke.
Additional things: I sprayed it black with an acrylic spray paint. I would also like to do a dry-bush effect with a gold or silver to make it look metallic, but I have not got around to that yet. I also forgot to spray the adapter, and ran out of spray as it was only an old half full can to begin with. So still some work to do, and maybe if you don't have the wires, the cement or other things lying around, you might go over the 20 quid budget. But it is still a lot cheaper than buying one, and my wife and kids love it.
If you enjoyed reading this, please vote for me :-D
Participated in the
Outside Contest 2016