I'm not new to either CPF nor LED-lighting but this will be my first "big" project and I have whole autumn/winter 'till next off-road season to complete it.
My motivation on this project is my off-road hobby and the fact that vision-x light-bars are insanely expensive (Dealers here in Sweden add more to the already sky-high price, so it's almost ridiculous).
A friend of mine has one of those bars, I think it's the largest version and to my knowledge he paid an equivalent to a cost of a small house in cash for it. The guy practically sh*ts money, so he can afford it. So you see.. it's kinda competitive too . Building a light-bar with more power for less money is that ultimate goal.
Anyway let's get serious, this build is about more than just making my friend cry like a a little girl and begging me to build him one too. This is about.. well probably the very essence of CPF - light, light and sh*itlot of illumination introduced to the surroundings at those levels where the amount of produced photons actually make air vibrate and leafs to prematurely fall from the trees.
But in reality that's a dream which will probably never come true, at least not in this small scale build or until someone invents a small portable nuclear reactor for my Jeep.
I have most of the build figured out, there're some minor ambiguities about the housing left to handle.
Please forgive me for using metric units, It's a PITA to translate them, and most of dealers use metric to specify dimensions anyway.
And finally, please do me a favor and spare me those discussions of how HID's are better, and how I will be robbing entire southern Sweden of a white Christmas only by dissipating that LED heat, I know that already.
The bar itself will me made of an aluminum U-channel. I know that an u-channel is not the prettiest thing to make a housing of, but let the version 1.0 be about function and not the looks :-)
Bolted front panel with either plexi or glass window. Aluminum end caps secured by small bolts flush with the U-channel sides. Front panel will have some kind of rubber och silicone stripe around the outer edge to achieve hermetic seal. (I think a small vent is neccessary though... heat from LEDs + trapped air = boom)
I'll be ordering five lengths of this aluminum heatsink off of Ebay to make a total of 1000mm. The bar will be a bit wider than that, but I believe the length of heatsinks is sufficient. These will be bolted (or maybe even "durafix"-ed) to the outer backside of the U-channel with a layer of thermo-compound between surfaces.
Thirteen (it's not final yet :-) maaayybe I can squeeze one more in ) SST-90 LEDs will be mounted to the back of the u-channel using thermo-compound and small bolts. On top of these I will mount these reflectors. I'm not entirely sure yet of how I'll mount the reflectors so they stay in place, and still be removable if needed.
One of the ideas is to glue them to the front window and have them come off as one piece... we'll see...
There are two drivers to chose from, Mister Wichtel's and this one. The advantage of the latter is two-mode ability. Not sure yet if I want that. Actually I'm not even sure if it's still produced and sold. DerWichtels is (I asked)
Both are small, and both can drive more than one LED off the Jeeps power. DerWichtel recommends two in series, I believe him :-)
Drivers will be attached to the bar walls as well so they stay cool.
There's a third option which is probably more optimal for this build: a monster switching supply. The above mentioned drivers are tiny, and are built with a flashlight in mind. But in a Jeep I have none of those limitations flashlight-builders have to wrestle with. No need to save space, no power limitations, good cooling possibilities and no limit on PCB's configuration/size/number of components. The only thing is that I have not found one suitable adjustable current DC-DC supply yet... If you know of one throw me a PM
have not figured out that yet, but it's on the easy side.
I will continuously fill this thread with my progress :-)