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Thread: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    Ok well, my parents are going to do a solar powered setup for a barn (they live on a ranch) we are going to start the construction of soon. The setup should provide enough power for 120V plug, and lighting durring the night. So I'm assuming this requires some pretty large batteries etc.

    My idea was to save them some power by using 10 or so Luxeons at 350ma to Illuminate the barn at night. Since the solar power setup sound VERY capable of deliver lots of power I figured this would be quite clever and efficient. Pluse you should never have to change bulbs etc.

    It would be nice to get some comments about this being a practical purpose for LED's. If someone has another suggestion for lighting off a solar powered setup, please let me know.

    I can try to get more specs as to the compleat solar powered system as we get closer to installing it.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    1. Why do you want to light a barn at night?

    2. Why do you want to use solar power for the lights? Are they going to power their whole ranch that way? Will they have refrigerators, A/C, etc.?

    3. Why LED's instead of fluorescent? At the power levels you're talking about, fluorescent is much more efficient.

    There have been some threads about solar power and there are good web sites about it. Basically you're getting into a pretty substantial project that may or may not be worth it depending on your precise situation.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* Neg2LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    well, if you want to store lotsa power, buy a couple 1kah lead acid batteries...

    neg

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    Flashaholic flashlightlens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    Justintoxicated - I've got a thread going over here on solar/battery circuits.

    There are some interesting thoughts and ideas so far.

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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    paulr,
    1) they plan to use the barn at night and check out horses and whatever and don't want to bring a lantern or other portable lighting.
    2)For emergencies like the San Diego Firers we had a while back. They have their own well and would like to try converting some things to solar to save power (Cali San Diego Gas and Electric Bills are quite high), there will be a small refridgerator I believe, just something small enough to keep beverages cold while we work outside in the heat. They plan on using solar power other places also so as not to have to run power across a few acres and because it's cheaper than real power, and good for emergencies.

    3) they don't need superbright lighting but your saying that flourescents would be more efficient than using like 10 1 watts of Luxeons? if so please let me know. That is also a possibility. I just thought LED's would be nice because thats what my stepdad mentioned he was looking at (only non luxeon solar powered versions) And they would never burn out. Also they could be spaced to provide nice even flood coverage, but I would assume I could only run 1-2 Large flourescent bulbs for that much power?

    flashlightlens thanks for the link I'll go check it out now.

    Neg2LED, I'll look into it.


    My Step Dad works with these kinds of setups when designing school etc and has been wanting to try one on their house for some time now, so setting up the solar powered portion I would be leaving to him, he is willing to spend the money to make it happen.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    How much time are they going to spend checking out horses? I mean, will these lights run 24/7, or just an hour or two a month, or what?

    If it's just a few hours a month, solar is reasonable but it may be simpler to just use batteries and charge them from a vehicle or a generator once in a while. Depending on the location, wind power may be another alternative to solar.

    Yes, fluorescents are more efficient than LED's, for now. I don't know if you'd want to use large bulbs rather than the small U-shaped tubes like you see in fluorescent lanterns.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    Ok, I don't know anything about horses except that they're big, can bite and kick - and tend to get very nervous when I pass them on my recumbent bike [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]
    But I would imagine that you need a little more than 10 Watts to check out horses in a barn (= big?).

    In the power range you're talkin about (i.e. >10W), both fluorescents and HID are more efficient than LEDs - and ordinary halogen may be cheaper. The only advantage of the LEDs is their near indestructability.

    Regarding emergencies - unless you really have to care about fire hazard in a big way and these emergencies happen a lot more often than they should, a small electric generator may be both more econonmic and more reliable than a solar/battery system.

    Just my .02 $currency$

    Bye
    Markus

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    I see your points, we are looking into a generator for the house, but for the barn and outside we are definately going solar, probably lights will be used only a short time every night or maybe every 3 nights or whenever needed outside in the barn. My Stepdad had a Flourescent lantern and said thats about the amount of light we would need, I showed him my nearly dead Lux III 3C and he said that it looked good if we got a few of those. I was thinking 10 would be more than enough to navigate and quickly look over a horse. Mainly because a real checkup would be done in the day light anyways. Not sure on the dimensions of the barn yet. I think HID would be much too expensive and could possibly blind the horses, not to mention expensive to replace as they burn out. They told me a horses eyes are extreamly sensative to light durring the nighttime. 10 LED's may actually be more than enough, 3 might be enough for their purposes. Right now we are trying to decide between luxeons and Flourescents, but while 20 watts of flourescents may be enough, 10 LED's seems to me like it would be plenty without blinding the animals.

    The barn has not been constructed yet, we in the process of ripping down a large number of trees to make more space. But he already has the plans and blueprints so it should not take too long. (month or 2 probably) I will keep this thread updated as I lean more about the solar system he is installing. I really woudl like to do it with LED's but if flourescents are WAY better we may go that route. he is getting some LED lights that do not use luxeons to try out first. It's not like we need to light the barn up like a house. he may find these are good enough, or we may buy them just to modify them. he wants to do something cool and different....

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    Ok, your last sentence is an important input [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

    You might want to look into boating supplies for 12V lighting appliances (both fluorescent and LED). In addition, at least over here a big electonic mailorder house is offering various LED-based lamps in the MR-16 form factor, so you can use them inside the usual halogen lighting systems. Unfortunately, the most interesting one apparently isn't available yet (though it's in the catalogue for at least half a year now): 3W single white LED with very narrow beam optic and cooling fins, ready to plug into 12V.
    If you only need some orientation light (without colour rendition), coloured luxeons would give you more bang for the amps. I made a pair of nice bedroom (under-bed) lights from two cyan SEs, PGA coolers and not-quite-spherical glass candle holders. At 200 mA each (from an old cellphone wallwart), the reflected light is almost as good for walking around as that from the 25W bedside lamp (and those lights still aren't mounted under the bed where they should be but instead are just standing on the floor). It's just a weird light - especially if you've been running it for some time and then switch it off - the magenta coloured shadows are then really strange...

    Bye
    Markus

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    my ˘˘

    Go LED... i personally can't stand the painful light that comes from a fluorescent light, not to mention the reliability issue and the 'something different'.

    the 3W emitters have the best bang for the buck.. and it's amazing how little light you actually need.... driver could be an issue.. most LED drivers have a high freq. component and it's not recommended to run the power leads longer than 6 inches... you want to share a single driver among several or all LEDs so a custom driver might be necessary that can put out a clean current without the ripple and constant current... if you for example.. plugged the output from a buck puck (or any buck or boost driver) into a 20' long wire to a few LEDs... you can expect to knock out your TV and radios in the house.

    That problem might be solvable with a simple RC filter circuit, and it'd be very nice to have a dimmer capability so you can run just what you need.. you could certainly have the LEDs run all night every night at a low power, say 1/8th a watt.. low level LED is so beautiful for a night-light... but be able to crank them up to 3W a piece when you need them... if you have say 6 of them.. it'd be a very nice amt of light to see anything in the barn.

    -awr

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* Neg2LED's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    i didnt really mean one-thousand-amp-hour batteries! not even sure they exist.... anyway, im thinking 2 or 3 500ah batteries and a 1kw inverter. and why not give each LED its own downboy?

    neg

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    [ QUOTE ]
    andrewwynn said:
    my ˘˘

    Go LED... i personally can't stand the painful light that comes from a fluorescent light, not to mention the reliability issue and the 'something different'.

    the 3W emitters have the best bang for the buck.. and it's amazing how little light you actually need.... driver could be an issue.. most LED drivers have a high freq. component and it's not recommended to run the power leads longer than 6 inches... you want to share a single driver among several or all LEDs so a custom driver might be necessary that can put out a clean current without the ripple and constant current... if you for example.. plugged the output from a buck puck (or any buck or boost driver) into a 20' long wire to a few LEDs... you can expect to knock out your TV and radios in the house.

    That problem might be solvable with a simple RC filter circuit, and it'd be very nice to have a dimmer capability so you can run just what you need.. you could certainly have the LEDs run all night every night at a low power, say 1/8th a watt.. low level LED is so beautiful for a night-light... but be able to crank them up to 3W a piece when you need them... if you have say 6 of them.. it'd be a very nice amt of light to see anything in the barn.

    -awr

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I could do a custom converter for Justin, and you could make your wires as long as you want without radiation issues, as a properly designed converter doesn't radiate much at all. An example is my ARC4 makes my radio sing, but my TPS61030 in my 2AA Mag is silent.

  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* andrewwynn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    custom converter is exactly what i was talking about... solvable, but don't expect to take a buck puck and put on a 40' wire and have no surprises... i use and love the buck puck, but manoman did it make a mess of tv and radio (i am driving 12W with it)... because it's in a plastic body flashlight and didn't stop any of the radio waves before i put in some RF shielding.

    It should not be difficult to put in a filter to make the output smooth to run a string of LEDs.. and i'd probably put in a couple strings just to be redundant so when a horse bites through a wire some place only 1/2 the lights go out. (with that in mind.. make the open-ckt capability more than 15 sec. since you won't likely be there).

    -awr

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Solar Powered Luxeon Lighting for a Barn

    the lights willout of horses reach for sure. Newbie, I appreciate that offer. I jsut might take you up on it. We are currently waiting for tractor parts before we can finisah moving things out of the way and start construction so it will be some time before we get to lighting and hooking up the solar system.

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