The LED Story

When I started playing around with conserving power, my son the engineer told me I better go look at LED's.

Light Emitting Diode.  A single LED looks like a blob of clear plastic on the end of two wires.
We are used to seeing them as indicator lights on practically everything.
They are nearly indestructible and last practically forever.
They use much less juice than an incandescent lamp: 1156 lamp incandescent=1.5 amps, same With LED= .5 amps   and make less heat. A 12v fluorescent lamp uses even less juice.

LED’s come in various colors, some will change color depending on the current being supplied.  Many traffic lights and truck or bus taillights are now made with LED’s’  And of course there are many flash lights available.   White LED’s are a bluish pure white, unlike the yellower light from incandescent lamps.  Combining white and yellow LED’s in one array might produce a warmer light.

You can buy LED fixtures already assembled, lamps on common bases, or DIY arrays wired onto a tiny circuit board including the necessary resistors.  You can also buy them individually and use your own resistor or make a regulator to supply a number of them.

In the bathroom, I replaced a 1156 with a made up LED bulb that has ... LED's. (12, I think)

Since all the light comes out of the top of the LED,  in this fixture I wasn't getting much out. First I tried making a reflector, with limited , nsuccesseeds to be a real mirror. Then  I bent the mounting tab on the socket so the lamp pointed more down.

The diffusing cover on the fixture seemed to kill a lot of the light, so I made a hole for it to look out. Since this is a one bulb "night light circuit, I left the incands in the "see the eyelash" circuit.
Now it lights up the bathroom well enough to do your bathroom stuff, even Ok on reading on the can.

The Closets

Above the door to the bathroom , I mounted this, aimed at the closets.

It is an array with reflectors mounted on a circuit board.

I ran wire from the bathroom light .  The fixture itself is a plastic drinking cup cut to fit into the corner, I had to trim the circuit board to fit into the cup..



There are two of these lights over the sink and stove area.

Although LED's don't create much heat, because this one is big and sealed in acrylic, I found that the laminate above where I mounted it was getting a little bubbly.  I cut apart two small tart pans to make a funky fixture that gives a bit of air space.

These are wired right into the existing over the sink light.  As they are really bright, I just took out the bulbs in the fixture.

Cove light in Living area

This is a strip light tucked up under the "valance" that would have a  curtain, now has a venetian blind.

It is wired to the street side "reading light" over the sofa, and has a line switch to Control it.  This lights up the table nicely, nearly enough to read by, and also gives general lighting to the area.

Outside light

LED"s encased in plastic, wired right into wires from old light , removed corroded socket.

This is completely waterproof, I think i got the 18 LED. it's plenty to see the step, the latch and a big area around the door of the trailer.

Pantry lights

There are two of these coming off the ends of the overhead kitchen light/vent.  I wired them to the the two lamps that come on with the first click.  The 1156's are still in the other click.

I rounded off the board and took the guts out of two night lights to make a housing.
Now I can actually see inside the fridge at night.

The Bedroom lamp.

This is an oriental shade hiding  a 12 LED array and a utility strip light from Cabela's:

For a reading light:

This is a regular lamp, with an adapter that turns the regular plug into a 12V plug

From Gaiam

I can't find the lamp , but this one is close. I have a 12, but for reading 18 would be better.

There are plenty of 12v edison base LED's out there. If you plug in a 12v LED to 110v it will fry. Expensive omelet.

Edison base 12v fluorescence are probably the best for reading /task lighting.

In addition, there are 1156 style LED's in the bedroom and sofa reading lights.

After I finish the dinette project, I will put another strip light under the front window valance.

Places you can buy LED's

Holly Solar
Best source for arrays, and other DIY resources

Real Goods
Real goods joined up with Jade Mountain.  
These folks have everything you need to get off the grid and out of the grind.
LED's here are a tad expensive.

Buy Truck Stuff
Lots of taillights, clearance lights in different patterns and shapes. Only in Red or Amber, and only in full housing. Might work for some taillight replacements,
but not with the original lenses.

This outfit has a lot of good stuff.  I thought they would solve the  ptaillightroblem with their angled tail light lbbulbsbut they have the off set pins the wrong way.
Also they are a little scatterbrained about their orders. I think they would really like to sell 100's not just one or two.  You should definitely look at their other  products for ideas too.

Super Bright LED's
Lots of interior auto and marine light, including 1157 replacements.

LED Marketplace
Gateway to tons of info and suppliers (looks like mostly wholesale)

The LED Light  I got the mounted arrays here.

And of course, keep searching for new and cheaper sources.....

For those who want to know lots more:

Don Klipstein's LED Pages- Technical info and links:

 The LED Museum  more technical and comparisons of flashlights: