Introduction: LED Lighting
This instructable shows how to make a simple LED light that can be installed just about anywhere you might need a light such as a crawlspace, cabinet, shed or patio.
The pictures show what the fixtures look like and how they can be strung together. I will update later with a post of them installed in my shed once I get them installed.
The materials list for this build is quite short and inexpensive:
1. stranded (or solid) hookup wire (20 ga wire will be sufficient for more than 10 light heads)
2. 6 Ultra Bright White LEDs (3-3.2V, 20mA)
3. 3/4" PCV Cap (some extras might be useful in case of errors in drilling)
4. 3/4" PVC Plug
1/4" drill and drill press
solder and soldering iron
hot glue sticks and hot glue gun
Step 1: Drill Pairs of Holes in PVC Cap
1. Drill a sample 1/4" hole in a test material and test fit your LEDs, adjust your drill size up or down as necessary you want a snug but not tight fit.
2. Draw marks on the PVC cap in the pattern you want to drill, I was able to reliably make 6 evenly space holes in the caps after one practice run.
3. Drill 1/4" holes into the cap using pilot holes if necessary as a guide, these don't have to be perfectly parallel and I actually preferred mine pointing slightly outward from the center hole.
Note: if you are having difficulty with 6 holes you can use 4 instead.
4. Drill a single hole in the center of the plug
5. Check the fit of the LEDs in the 1/4" holes, they should fit snugly but not too tight since you will need to put them in and out several times.
Step 2: Preparing the LEDs
This design will be powered with a 6V battery or battery pack so connecting two 3V LEDs in series eliminates the need for current limiting resistors. Each light head will hold 3 pairs of LEDs in parallel, arrange the LED pairs so the three positive legs are near one side and the three negative are on the opposite side.
1. Working in pairs press the LEDs into their holes (mark them so you know which ones you have done) with the LEDs inserted twist the center two legs tightly together so they don't move.
2. Remove the LEDS and solder those legs.
3. Trim the center soldered legs so it is only a short stub.
4. Repeat with the other two pairs.
5. Insert the three pairs of LEDs back into the cap,
6. Push the three positive wires toward the outside edge but leave enough room for the plug to fit, twist the three positive leads together and the red wire from your twin lead wire and solder them together.
7. Repeat the previous step with the negative lleads and the black wire.
Pictures coming when I can get someone to take them for me as I assemble.
Step 3: Final Assembly
1. Connect the red wire to the positive lead on a 6V battery (pack) and the black to the negative lead to test the circuit. Repair solder connections if any pairs of LEDs don't light.
2. Thread the remaining wire through the hole in the plug (if you have a really long spool of wire you might want to pre-thread this before soldering) and carefully test fit the plug into the cap to make sure none of the wires get damaged by the plug.
3. If everything fits fine carefully push the LEDs in one last time to make sure they are as far as possible into the holes and use your hot glue gun to squirt glue as far into the cap to seal the LED holes to make the light head more weatherproof, squirt hot glue around the center connections and side connections to insulate them and quickly push the plug back into the cap.
4. The final step after it's all assembled is to squirt some hot glue into the hole to seal it and make it weatherproof and let is all harden.
These light heads can then be connected to a 6V battery pack and placed anywhere they are needed.
Pictures of the glueing process coming when I can get someone to help.