Letter Re: Some Low Power DC Lighting Solutions

Monday, Sep 26, 2011

Hi Jim,
I’ve been chasing some practical technologies that have proved useful to me. I hope that you find them useful as well.
 
As you know, power usage in an off-grid environment is a purse to be tightly controlled. After all, when you make your own, you cautiously guard it’s use.
 
I‘ve been using LED strings from Inirgee.com for the past number of years at the off grid ranch and have been well pleased. 
 
I’ve used the warm white and the cool white and learned I like warm white inside and cool white outside.
 

Recently I got adventurous and toyed with the Chinese/Hong Kong manufacturers on eBay. Most of my lights use the 1157 single pole DC light sockets so that’s what I centered around. I started out with these since the US guys have already toyed around and found what they liked but, of course, their price is higher.
 
Then I also got the cheap Chinese ones to try out. I also found these. They work well and put out light in 360 degrees.

Next, I tried the plate style light fixture. They come with Velcro backing so you can stick them up. They work very well for overhead or desk lights or simply put into RV-style house lamps. Here are three different eBay offerings: One, Two, Three

Then I ran across a super nice floodlight, 1,000 lumens and pulls ~.6 amps. A lot of light with a very minimal current draw.
 
All in all, the overall current reduction has been ~80% less than I was using and the lights are comfortable and reliable.
 
Nice thing about putting these floodlights on the ATV and tractor is at night, I can turn off the engine and leave all the lights on and not worry if I'm going to run the battery down. 5 to 6 hours of very bright light at night and the engine always starts.

One convenient method for portable applications of the floodlights has been to use a (military) BB-2590 lithium battery (rechargeable of course) powering a single floodlight and it ran continuously for seven days.
 
All in all, should power go away, using the aforementioned DC lighting solutions makes life a lot more tolerable. And before that should happen, the cost of illumination is drastically reduced I hope you find an acorn or two in the foregoing that helps you.
 
Best Regards, - The Army Aviator


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