LED there be light

dcarch7June 12, 2009

Many folks here are doing or wanting to do something with LED lights outdoors. Here are some considerations.

1. Solar LEDs do not work very well. They are too dim and they don't last (the rechargeable batteries inside die soon). They don't work on rainny days.

2. Do not use plug-in christmas LED lights. They say they are for outdoor use. They are not. They run on 110V AC with no safety grounding. There is always electric shock danger if you don't plug into a GFP outlet.

3. I have hooked up 50 bright white LEDs with an old car battery, and I have been running the LEDs 24/7 for over a week now, still going. I will let you know how long the battery will last without a re-charge. I think if you run you lights 4 hour a day, the battery will last months.


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Dcarch, are you a mad scientist or sumtin'?!!!lol! Just kiddin', I'll be checkin' back on this one...as I am thinkin' of lights in my yard...ropelights on the deck...art pcs spotlighted...etc..

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 11:04AM
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'---Dcarch, are you a mad scientist or sumtin'?!!!lol!----'

May be. Check out my post here:



    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 8:04PM
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calamity_j, dcarch sounds more like a savvy electrician. I know LEDs don't use as much energy for the brightness you get from them as incandescence bulbs so I can see them being powered by a car battery.

This question is coming from a layman's (or is it laywoman?) perspective ... how did you hook the lights up to the battery? And what sort of LED lights are they? Do you have pictures?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 10:52PM
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Yup...I need pics to understand!!! I'm thinking of hooking up a string of ropelights to my sensor light by way of one of those little dohickys that screw into where the bulb goes...that should work eh?!!!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 9:32AM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

I too would like to know how to attach lights to a car battery.
Does it mean/ effect anything that a battery is direct current? (a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, lol)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 10:34AM
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You can buy LEDs on eBay cheap. If you intend to power them up with an old car battery, buy the ones that come with resistors for 12 volts.

If you can handle a soldering iron, you should have no problem making LED lights. Just follow whatÂs shown on the pictures:

The only thing you have to worry about is to identify positive and negative connections.
The car battery is clearly labeled with which terminal is which. The longer leg of an LED is always positive.

They are other ways to connect LEDs. You can daisy-chain them (+ - + - + - + - ) and eliminated the need for resistors. You will have to make sure that you donÂt exceed the voltage rating for each LED (typically 3.6 VDC) Start out with many and gradually take away LEDs one at a time until you come to a reasonable brightness without burning out the LEDs.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 8:50PM
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Don't fool around with a soldering iron unless you know what you are doing. If you are looking for a linear type LED system which is waterproof, email me and I will send you some info.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 11:14AM
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1. Linear LEDs are a possbility because they are already wired for 12VDC. (Check eBay) However, not all of them are weatherproof.

2. My LEDs hooked up to an old car battery are still going strong after two full weeks of non-stop 24/7 operation.

3. Soldering is not dangerous. I know some of you can even do welding.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 12:59PM
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It's more than three weeks of 24/7 non-stop shining. The LEDs are still shows no sign of dimming.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 1:04PM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

That's amazing dcarch! Thank you for doing this experiment for our benefit. I gotta show this thread to dh.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 1:24PM
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It has been more than a month, still going.

It semms this is a way to power up lots of LEDs in your garden. No dangerous 110 vac to deal with, No extension cords. No need to install outlets.

Charge up a used car battery once in a while will power you LEDs for months.

You may also think of using this to drive a water pump for your fountain.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 7:27PM
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I don't know if you are a mad scientist or not. Smart for sure!!!
I love your ideas. I need to give this a try. I have an electrician in the family. I can run it by her. Might even get her to do all the work.
Think my husband will notice the battery missing from his car?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 10:34AM
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