Saturday, January 29, 2011

Automotive LEDs for Off Grid Use

While Frann and I were in Alpine Wednesday I caught her looking at the LED lights in AutoZone while we were picking up parts. I'd been thinking about checking into LEDs made for automotive use, but that seems to have expanded a lot since I last looked at them well over a year ago. Anyway she decided not to buy any, but I spied one set of two that was left so decided to try them. Price for a 2 pack was $19.99 which I figured wasn't bad at all if they put out decent light. (They do!)
Note this pack says that they are 12 LED, but it happens that both of them had 15 LEDs each instead. Evidently wrong packaging or they upgraded and didn't bother to upgrade the packaging? It also shows that they were supposed to come with a LED switch, but there wasn't one in the pack. Maybe that was a trade off? (More LEDs, but no switch?)
The first night I ran one off of the battery I have in here to keep my Zune charged with and I brought another 12 volt battery in to run the other one since I was using them on both ends of the living room. The next day it dawned on me that it would be nice to have them wired to the overhead lights where the existing light switches would work on them so I mounded them on the sides of the 2 overhead lights in the living room. I removed one of the bulbs from each light receptacle because I didn't want to use the watt hog incandescent bulbs that were in them, but kept them where if the switch is set for both sides then the LEDs and remaining incandescent lights will both work in case I needed more light for short periods. I did say that the incandescent lights are WATT HOGS didn't I. Running those for long periods at night kept the battery low so I quit doing it. Now I have more than enough light ALL night long if I cared to use it.
The LED receptacle comes with a swivel attached so you can point them at different areas which is a good thing. The light they put out is high intensity white light so they do put out a lot of light and they are nade to disperse the light rather than having a bunch of lighted dots showing up where they shine.Best part is that it is white light rather than the yellowish light the incandescent bulbs put out. Like I say they put out a lot of light and they make life in here a lot better at night, but I figure it will take one more pack (2 Lights) to get all the light I want.

These are running off of a single battery in this trailer, but they pull such a small amount of wattage that they could be burned 24/7 with no problem with the little solar I have hooked up to that battery. For that matter when I get two more lights that wouldn't be a problem either and probably the same could be said even if I ran 8 lights off of that battery.

13 comments:

  1. Hey, those are pretty nifty! How do you think they would do for a light over the kitchen sink? Good enough to see to wash dishes and stuff?

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  2. Abby, that would be a great use and it would put out plenty of light for that. Best part is that once you got through with the dishes you could swivel it up to reflect off of the sealing in the main room to help light it.

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  3. Your a genius! I wasn't sure they would work and didn't want to invest 20 bucks for failure. I would have never thought about using them with existing switches..Thanks I am sending a cloud your way...

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  4. Brilliant - reckon they could be used in our bathroom - I keep knocking over the kerosene light...

    I would never have thought of looking in an automotive shop / section for LED lights. And very cool that they can be hooked up to your overhead lights. Need to check that out.

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  5. Sounds like Autozone better get stocked up soon on LED,s

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  6. I noticed the clouds Frann and the damn wind to. I'd just as soon you kept both.

    Dani, I think one in the It'll Du would work real well. Maybe I'll eventually have 5 in here and one in there.

    RN, they only had one pack in AZ so I hope they aren't discontinuing them. They could be a hot item for off grid.

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  7. Ill check th e AZ,s here in Slowdessa, and get some ,if they got them

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  8. Nice lights. LED's are pretty bright. I may have to go to the auto parts store to check some out though cold cathode lights are great to use and pull so very lil juice. Thanks fer the info. Great find Frann and tffnguy. ~Jen

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  9. Tffnguy

    I sent my M1A rifle into to Springfield Armory to have the alignment checked on the barrel and reciever last month. They called back the original barrel was out of alingment with the reciever and they replaced the barrel (for free)I should get the rifle back in a few weeks.
    I went a big gunshow yesterday. Lots of toys! The gunshow was really, really crowded now that the feds are talking about gun control.

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  10. if you install car lights in your house do u have deer stopping by?

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  11. Jen, they sure beat using the standard bulbs!

    cc, sounds like a heck of a deal to me.

    Nick, NO not even the two legged type stop by. :( Not very often anyway.

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  12. You should pull all the incandescent bulbs out of all the fixtures in the trailer, and replace them with the LEDs. What a great energy saver. I was able to find some LED decorative lights for my outdoor front lawn light, the one we leave on all night. I know they are saving me a bundle on electricity. Got them at Home Depot, and they were expensive up front, but should more than pay for themselves in the long run.

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  13. Allen, I don't use any of the incandescent much at all. BTW I hear the government is trying to outlaw incandescent lights though so maybe that should be a good reason to use them?

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