Friday, 26 May 2017

Using Strip Lights

I think I have mentioned, more than once that, lights are the bane of my life. I realise it is my own fault, I keep changing things but what else would you expect from a person like me.

I decided to use strip lights because I wanted, and still do want to make, lit mushrooms and they use individual strip lights* so I went looking for some. Well there's a pickle. As with everything nothing is as simple as it seems. It turns out there are not just one type, no that would be too easy, there are stacks, some really tiny, tiny. If you want to know more info click here and it will take you to a website that explains it a lot better than I ever could.
If you would like to read about the reason and how I changed the LED lights in Pebble Cottage to Strip Lights click here.
The reason why I choose to change the lights was that I was not happy with the LED's I had. They were 5mml LED's and at the time I was happy with them then I realised that the light seemed dull plus they use up more power than the strip lights. I was sure that the strip lights would be much better but they are not cheap.

First I tried micro lights but that was a disaster. I was putting in hundreds and still the light looked grey. For me these micros work much better when the light they emit is captured within a grape or a silicone mould etc.

So I went and purchased a strip of lights from Jaycar. I was able to purchase three lights in one strip (that is how they are sold unless you buy the whole role) and then I broke them up. After using them and seeing that they would do what I wanted to do I purchased a roll but was only able to purchase a water proof one. To release the lights within I was able to pull the two edges off and then peel back the top.

You can see several things in the photo above. 
First - The three lights are within two sections of copper dots with a pair of scissors printed on the top. This is where you can cut them if you are wanting to use the three lights and run them on 12v. As I don't want to do that I am only going to use one of the lights.

Second - Not all of the strip lights come with the positive and negative sign on the strip so it is a bit more fiddly when you go to add your wires.

Third - the three little solder dots on either side of the each light is covered in a very thin layer of sealer, this needs to be carefully scraped away so that when I soldered my wire onto it it will actually solder. If I find it won't it is because the sealer has not been removed enough.

Fourth - I have soldered the white (positive) wire on one side facing one way and the black (negative) the opposite way.
This is the finished solder of the strip light.
This is the underneath of the strip light.
To finish, depending on where I intend to use these lights I will either silicon them into lampshades or put a clear heat shrink tube over it to protect the solder. I am extremely pleased with these. As individual lights I was told that they use 4.2v each. Now as I am changing all my lights over to run on 4.5v, because of the micro lights that run on 4.5v, I was told the 4.2v do not need a resistor but I have chosen to add a 15ohms resistor just in case.

*Just a note on the lit mushrooms. Yes I can use the strip lights but I can also use the micro's. The only thing is that I am dealing with a square or an oblong and it will depend on the type of mushroom I want to make and the amount of light I want in my mushroom that will make me decide one way or the other.

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