Sunday, November 13, 2022

LED strip lights

Before I start on the lights, take a look at this great photo taken by fellow boater Sue Tilson at our marina. It's her entry into the moorers' association photo competition.  It got my vote but it only came equal third.

I think it's a stunner, very Turneresque, and what's more, if you click it up big you may be able to see that the boat sticking out at he left is none other than Herbie!  Thank you Sue for letting me post this here.

Well I've sort of finished a prototype conversion of a fluorescent strip light into an LED one.  I've learned a bit in the process so I'll pass it on.  Perhaps the first thing to say is that I haven't been able to test it yet because we're at our son's place in Cambridge and he has no 12v (or thereabouts) DC supply to hand.  Anyway here are a couple of pictures showing what I did.

Here's the old fluorescent tube starter circuitry which you have to take out.

Once you get the back of the light fitting this circuit drops out easily.  Then you just have to dispose of it as you see fit.

Then I chose to make a little circuit to protect the LEDs against voltage variations and spikes.  You don't need to know much about electronics to do this and the parts are very cheap.  All it is is a little 12v voltage regulator with a capacitor each side of it to smooth out incoming and outgoing voltage spikes.

The little black thing in the shadow is the voltage regulator (costing 30p). I suppose the total cost of the bits is less than a pound, and it fits in nicely where the old circuit was.  The output wires to the leds are on the right.

Flipping the thing over we see the LED strip which is connected by a little plastic connector (again costing only pence).  The LED strip itself is sticky backed.  

Of course I have to clip on the plastic diffuser cover.  The one thing I haven't told you is that I broke the old on -off switch so I'll have to source a new one.  So all in all I will have probably spent about three pounds. The LEDs cost about ten quid for a five meter spool so you can convert all your lights with one spool. I think we have seven such lights on Herbie.

Will it work? Well we'll have to see when I connect it up. How much light will it give?  I refer you to my previous answer.

I'll write it up in more detail if and when it works.

We're back to the boat later today ready for the dreaded BSS inspection tomorrow.  Fingers crossed. 

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