For a garage in the woods with no power, I needed a way to add lighting quickly. I tried a commercial solar powered unit, but the motion detector never seems to come on at the right time.
This is a simple project using a strip of LEDs and a compact Lithium Ion battery. With the small battery listed, it lasts more than an hour, and the battery can be taken into the house to charge up.
The LEDs are very bright, and enough to find things etc. For a full workshop, you may want more than one strip.
Step 1: Parts
LED Strip - I used 5630 Day White (6500K) LEDs - a 5m strip with 300 LEDs. This consumes 9.5w/m, so 47.5 watts at 12v. This was lower than some other types of LEDs I had, and should last longer on one battery charge. I used non-waterproof ones since I had them around, but the waterproof ones would be fine too.
Battery - I love these batteries since they have both 12v and 5v outputs. I have used them for Halloween decorations and robots too. The one in the link is 3.5 Ah, and lasted over an hour in my setting. There are more powerful ones available too. This one comes in 8.3 Ah and 11 Ah ones. This one is a camping battery with 13.5 Ah, and even has an inverter.
(2) 10 foot pieces of 1/2" Electric Metallic Tube (EMT) Conduit. I chose this over PVC etc. since it was low cost and rigid. There are a lot of materials that could be used instead. A metal base also helps dissipate any heat from the LEDs.
One 1/2 in. EMT Set-Screw Coupling to connect the two pipes.
Zip ties to attach the LED strip to the conduit.
5.5mm x 2.1mm CCTV Power Jack Adapters - 2 Female and 2 Male. I like these connectors since they do not require any soldering. I had a short one on the LED strip, and was just lazy and used a couple more to make an extension cord. I used some old speaker wire I had for the longer wire.
Bike Hooks like these. I had some old ones I used. I only needed three of them.
Step 2: Assemble the Conduit and LEDs and Hang Them
Since the conduit is in 10' sections, one of them will need to be cut. I just put them together with the coupler, and used the LED strip as a guide to see where to cut the one conduit.
I used zip ties every few LEDs to mount the strip to the coupler. I put the zip ties at the cut points between the LEDs. Note that I took most of the photos before cutting off the ends of the zip ties.
To hang the LEDs, I just used three bike hooks I had already.
That's about it - very easy!
Step 3: Wiring
The wiring was very simple. Using the "CCTV" type connectors allows you to do this with no soldering. I had a short wire on the LED strip, and was just lazy and used a couple more to make an extension cord. I used some old speaker wire I had for the longer wire. You could do this with only one connector if you solder the wires at the LED.
I placed the battery near the door to make it easy to turn on, and it is just resting there to be taken back to the house to recharge easily.
Clearly, I could do some better cable management, but it's fine for now! :-)