From what we've read, it seems that there are many LED conversions out there. That actually means that people are converting their lightbulbs to LEDs by tinkering around with them a bit. Sounds like a daunting project, but it's really interesting, as LEDs are much brighter and generate almost no heat.
First of all, LED lights are slowly seeping into the mass market. It's not unusual to see high-end light fixtures use LED. From our research, it seems that most people still use incandescent or highly effective fluorescent bulbs. If I had to choose between all of those options, I'd choose LEDs. They're just better to work with. They provide nice diffuse bright lighting that can also be focused. So read on to find out more.
Claudiopolis explains that he's tried all sorts of LED-conversions. His latest solution is simple and efficient. You'll need quite a bit of patience in order to make this work, but consider the fact that you'll get countless hours of low consumption light, it's worth it. His tutorial covers how to convert a regular halogen bulb to an LED bulb, while maintaining full 12V light bulb usability. The result of this build can be used indoors or outdoors.
- one halogen bulb (burnt or new since they are really cheap) with no glass cover on front
- online access to //led.linear1.org/led.wiz , a great LED array calculator you can use to figure out the resistors you'll need depending on your number of LED's and the supply voltage.
- Super Glue & compound glue
- solder wire, moderate soldering skills, solder gun
- one small piece of 0.2mm aluminum sheet
- a paper hole-puncher
You first start to empty the bulb with a screwdriver. Once most of the cement is taken out, use a hammer and deftly take out the halogen bulb. You then use a hole-puncher to make evenly distributed holes in a thin sheet of aluminum, that's cut to fit the reflector of your halogen bulb. Next you'll need to figure out how many resistors you'll need for your setup. Now you can assemble the LED. The sheet will need to be held in place as you place the LEDs into their cradles. Using a drop of superglue should keep them tightly in place. You have to make sure that each cathode is next to an anode, otherwise, soldering them together will be a problem
After each LED is placed, use compound glue around each LED so that they firmly stay in place. You'll use a nailclipper to cut the legs of the LEDs so that they fit together. Next it's time to solder the LEDs together and to solder in the resistors using the scheme that you established previously. Afterward, you'll insert your new LED bulb into the halogen bulb reflector using some compound glue. That's it!
The most challenging bit of this build is the soldering and making sure that you connected everything according to plan. If you don't have too many LEDs, it shouldn't be a problem. Claudiopolis mentions that he got very good results with six 0.5W LEDs. The resulting light was very bright.
[photos by Claudiopolis]