A Work In Progress

Biker Bear

Sep 9, 2006
The Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Sprawl
I've mentioned before that I occasionally go camping with a group of friends, and I had this idea for lighting up my campsite:



The "body" of the unit is a Strecket aluminum cabinet/drawer handle from IKEA, 2/$4. I stink at fabrication, so I prefer to look for items like this that can be repurposed to fit my needs. I suppose if one wanted to run this sort of thing really hard, a passive finned heat-sink could be added just opposite the LED.

The LED is affixed with thermal epoxy, the other items with ordinary silicone sealer/glue. The two disc objects are magnets, and the driver is DX sku#25505.

In the back view, you can see how I plan to affix these to trees - flat-headed thumbtacks with ring magnets to increase the "grip" of the magnets on the LED unit. Obviously, one could attach these without the tacks to anything ferromagnetic, possibly with some kind of pad to protect the finish if necessary. I wish I could have found truly flat thumbtacks with plain steel heads, but either they simply aren't made for some reason, or I just didn't think of the right place to look.

As you can see, there's no power input added yet; I'm still considering the connector type. My idea is to have one on each side near the magnets, so I can daisy-chain these to run in parallel from one battery pack. (Think in terms of having 3 of them arranged around a tree; one's directly connected to the battery, and the rest continue on from there. Much easier than having to run three separate lines to the battery.) As it would be convenient to be able to use inexpensive, pre-made cables and this isn't a high-power situation, I'm leaning to standard 3.5mm mono TS jacks - the sort commonly used in the stereo version for headphone connections to portable music players, etc. That said, if anyone has a better idea I'm open to suggestions.

I have yet to do any testing to see if these drivers will even play well together in parallel; I once rigged some cheap hand-held fluorescent lights to have external power jacks for a similar purpose and found that the ballasts were so noisy that they interfered with each other. I had to add filter capacitors to keep them from causing annoying flickering, and I frankly won't be surprised if I wind up needing to add filter caps to these as well.

I'm pretty happy with the basic design and the drivers and LEDs are in hand but if anyone has constructive suggestions I'm happy to hear them.