Ultra low-power lighting solutions

LED emergency lights, Zine Library, and slightly obscure music recommendations

Continuing with the recent theme of “local jobs”, we’ve also done some work in our building this week. We actually started this one months ago, but diode problems slowed our progress. No longer!

It’s certainly been a learning process, this one. As they’re emergency lights, they ordinarily run off AC (alternating current). LEDs run off DC (direct current), which meant some fancy transforming business. We made some rectifiers out of Schottky diodes (Schottky diodes work fast, which means there wouldn’t be any flicker in the lights as the AC is converted to DC), which sorted that problem out. We then wired up some LED strip, connected the diodes, and butchered the existing lights in order to connect the LEDs. Voilà!

The motivation for changing these lights was the energy (and monetary) saving; they have to be on 24 hours a day. The lights that were in them before used 8 watts (w), which we replaced with 4w LEDs. As we replaced 11 lights, the saving is 384 kilowatts per year. In money terms, that’s £53.76 a year, without taking into account how often normal emergency lights need replacing. (The LEDs should last a good many years.) As I haven’t done quite enough maths, these lights would pay for themselves in two years at most; all told, the job cost around £100 to do. Pretty good, no?

Exciting things have been happening with the zine this week as well; it’s available on Zine Library! Zine Library is an awesome resource, with hundreds of zines available for free in PDF format. And our zine’s among them! Click the link above to download and read your very own copy for free.

Also exciting is my re-discovering of Mal Blum. I’ve spent all afternoon listening the catchy folk-punk, and recommend it highly if you’re into that sort of thing.


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This entry was posted on November 16, 2012 by in LEDs, Projects and tagged , , , , , , , .

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