Updated 2018 - Multiday Lighting (10 years of History)

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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Updated 2018 - Multiday Lighting (10 years of History)

Post by raptor » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:34 pm

I was shopping in WallyWorld today and I noticed that they now have LED light bulbs at prices that are about equal to CFL light bulbs. The bulbs included PAR 38 bulbs that consumed 5 watts as a well as other bulbs that appear to be substitutes for 25 watt incandescent bulbs that consume only 1.5 watts.

Image

I purchased a single LED bulb for $5.97 to try it out. I have seen similar bulbs but they typically cost over $30 each.

Per the package, the LED bulb produces 76 lumens for 30,000 hours while consuming 1.5 watts. I compared it to 5 and 7 watt CFL bulb. These cost about $2.50 each and have a reported life of 10,000 hours.

Thus over 30,000 hours the CFL bulb will need 3 bulbs and cost around $7.50 (3x$2.50) vs. the $6 for the single bulb. The LED bulb over time will be cheaper assuming it lasts the full 30,000 hours.

Electricity cost will also be lower for an LED bulb. Assuming the bulb is on 24/7, the annual cost of electricity for this bulb (1.5 watts @ $.12/KwH for 8,760 hours) is only $1.55 vs. $5.27 for the 5 watt CFL and $26.28 for a regular 25 watt incandescent bulb. As you can see, changing to LED from CFL can save money. Changing from incandescent to either CFL of LED is a no brainer. The LED bulb generates full illumination immediately, whether it is hot or cold. Folks in cold conditions will not see the long delay in an LED like with a CFL. The LED has no mercury issues either.

So how does this bulb actually compare to the CFL and incandescent light? The bulb is not as bright as the 7 watt CFL but about the same brightness as a 5 watt CFL and a 25 watt incandescent bulb. The light pattern is far more directional than either of these bulbs but the light output is more than adequate for basic illumination.

When you couple this bulb with an inverter and a battery you have great combination that draws very little power.

Image

I have this setup for extended power outage. It consists of a car jumper battery with a 10 amp battery. A small DC inverter that produces only 100 watts of power, an inexpensive 120 volt light with a clamp to attach to many surfaces. I typically include a 45 watt flood light a 13 watt CFL light and a 7 watt CFL light. I have now added the 1.5 watt LED bulb. This combination makes a versatile and portable lighting source that can also be a 12 volt power source.

Run Time:

45 watt PAR 38 Flood light – approximately 1 hour of run time. This bulb illuminates an average yard.

13 watt CFL – Easily lights up a 12 x 12 room with enough light to read – run time of about 6 hours

7 watt CFL – Produces adequate light to safely illuminate a 12x12 room- Approximately 15 hours of run time.

1.5 watt LED – Produces adequate light to safely illuminate a 10x10 room – Approximately 35 hours of run time.

This setup with multiple lights allows you to chose between a lot of light for a short period of time or less light for a very long time. It provides flexibility that you cannot obtain with a flashlight or lantern (electric, oil or propane).

The LED bulb makes this setup a true multi-day unit assuming the light is used on average even 6 hours a day usage. The battery can be recharged by plugging it into a 120 volt outlet or by plugging it into a 12 volt power plug.
Last edited by raptor on Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by Ruderpinne » Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:38 pm

Thats pretty sweet man!!

Thanks
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by nyiangelo » Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:34 pm

I saw some like these at Sam's the other day. I was wondering how good they would work. Thanks for the review.
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by ferretrodeo » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:19 pm

Cool. I keep a light on in my garage 24/7 (for the cat) and I think I will replace the bulb with one of these. Thanks for the post.
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by Apollo-11 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:27 pm

I've been looking at various homemade permutations of this idea.

LED lighting is just getting ready for prime-time. It's now becoming more cost-effective than CFL lighting for general people (as opposed to electronics hobbyists like myself) as efficient task lighting. It's still not great for general area lighting, since it's usually pretty directional and non-diffused.

I have built a couple of prototype devices with internal power conversion circuitry to try to drain every last bit of power from a dead or dying battery. My purpose for doing this would be to keep the lights on in an underground shelter or bunker, or allow outside security lighting when you don't have much power to spare.

My own devices start with a 12V source, and internally convert over to the 4.5 VDC 30mA regulated source that the LEDs operate most efficiently at. I have built a couple of test devices... one is a bank of 10 high intensity white LEDs that operate from a single 9V battery for a period of about 16 hours. They literally drain it until it's totally dead as a stone. This is called a Low Drop Out (LDO) compensator.

I have also experimented around with a homemade bank of IR LEDs to use as an invisible security light for night vision devices and night vision cameras. 100 IR LEDs will light up an area like it's daylight for a 1st gen night vision device or a low-light security camera. I am eventually (...I have a lot of ongoing projects and distractions as a Mad Scientist (TM)), going to house it in a reused weatherproof lighting enclosure such as this:

Image

My thought is that, in a PAW situation, if you had a couple of small solar cells and a halfway decent battery bank made of golf cart batteries or deep cycle RV batteries, you would be able to keep the lights on at a very low power demand. You could then use a very small solar array extremely efficiently... keep the battery charged up for those cloudy days, or use the excess for things like pumping water.
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by ferretrodeo » Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:38 pm

Can anybody recommend a book on ideas and how to put things like these together? I would like to put a system together to light my house (I read the post on the home built generator) but I would like step by step instructions so I don't burn my house down or electrocute myself. I am not looking for anything that will run everything but a system that will allow me to keep a few lights on.
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by Apollo-11 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:07 am

Ferretrodeo, if you keep your emergency system independent of your home electrical system, it is a lot simpler.

Once you start connecting generators and inverters and battery banks to the grid, it gets complex. This is because a generator can "backfeed" electricity into the grid during a power outage. It can kill a lineman who is trying to repair the electrical grid.

For this reason, code requires that you must have a generator transfer switch on your electrical panel. It's a failsafe device that automatically clicks your panel over to the generator during a power failure. It first disconnects the main grid, then connects the generator to your home. It pretty much must be installed by a licensed electrician, and you need permits and inspections.

If you keep things in a "plug-in"-able state you are much better off.

One homemade system I saw uses a computer UPS and a big bank of batteries. You plug in your consumer grade LED lights or CFL bulbs. When the power goes out, you have charged batteries. Unfortunately not for long... that's why I'm experimenting with homemade power systems.

Start reading. I recommend "Home Power" magazine. This may lead you to "Mother Earth News" and "Backwoods Home" magazines and lots of other books, online forums, and newsgroups. I'm an engineer and an electronics hobbyist. I've been playing around with this stuff for years, about the time that we looked at green and red LEDs and started thinking about retrofitting all those incandescent "Emergency Exit" signs. This kind of niche application is perfect for LEDs... you go from 24/7 40 watt consumption to 1.2 watts, and you don't have to change the bulbs for 10 years, so you have reduced labor costs as well.

Image

We really should have an "Alternative Power" section here on ZS.

Edited to add:
Found this link in my bookmarks. It's an automatic-on LED emergency light. This one is built for 220V use in Europe, but you could change the circuit easily to make it work on 110V.
http://www.free-circuits.com/circuits/l ... ency-light
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by WhoShotJR » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:41 am

That is the same bulb they sell at my Sam's Club for 3 for $15. I've been using them for about 18 months or so. One is on my nightstand and is more than enough to read by and actually too much for getting up in the middle of the night (I've turned it on a few times and had trouble getting back to sleep).

I keep another on the back porch and can easily see anything of interest out to about 30'.

Inside it's really useful to place a mirror behind them if it's placed close to a wall to get more of the light into the room. For the amount of power they use, and with the prices they go for now, they are a really great value. In some type of emergency situation they couldn't be beat.

Also I have thousands of hours on one of the bulbs and have yet to notice any appreciable decline in the light output. They get two big thumbs up from me. And for anyone wondering, the bulbs I use don't have the terrible overly white/blue effect. More of a soft white light.


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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by smallthunder » Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:55 am

This is a great idea, thanks. I'm going to look into it myself.

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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by raptor » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:29 am

Apollo-11 wrote: Image

We really should have an "Alternative Power" section here on ZS.

Edited to add:
Found this link in my bookmarks. It's an automatic-on LED emergency light. This one is built for 220V use in Europe, but you could change the circuit easily to make it work on 110V.
http://www.free-circuits.com/circuits/l ... ency-light
I have retrofitted all of the exit signs in my building with replacement LED bulbs over the last 2 years. Since these must be on 24/7 and these bulbs are and labor intensive to replace (get a ladder, undo a screw, change the bulb, screw the cover back on, put up the ladder). I made it a priority project in 2006 & 2007. The oldest LED bulb now has around 18,000 hours on it with no appreciable dimming. The thing is these exit light bulbs cost around $35 each due a unique design, but claim to have 100,000 hour life. However the energy savings repays the extra cost in about 3 years and when I include the labor cost to replace the bulbs it is a no brainer. I use CFL lights in many of the other fixtures like the ceiling cans since previously the cost of the LED made them cost prohibitive.

The new LED PAR 38 I saw at Wally World are about $5 more than the CFL par 38 but will 3 times longer. Their light output is also not affected by cold weather. My CFL PAR 38 lights require about a minute to get up full light output when it is cold. This limits their value if you use motion sensor lights for security. The LEDs should not have this issue.
Last edited by raptor on Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by Ruderpinne » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:38 am

Since we are on the subject of LEDs, I love building stuff (anything really) and I love to use LED's to build stuff.

Im actually making a laser right now (like that burns stuff)

But I have made lamps use LED's and depending on which ones you get they make them quite a bit brighter!!
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by Apollo-11 » Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:43 am

@Raptor, I did the same retrofitting, once the retrofit "bulbs" were available. They work great, and never burn out. I was told by a person in the industry that they expect them to last 11 years. By then, they will still work but they will be at about half of their original brightness. (That's 674,000 hours.) If true, it's an amazing leap...

The "headache" factor was what made it worth it to me. I hate walking down a little-used hallway and seeing another one of those damn bulbs burned out. (So does the fire marshal when he does a surprise building inspection.) The money factor is a great incentive too.
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by razi » Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:46 pm

nice write-up. I'll keep an eye out for LED bulbs.
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by jclaudii » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:54 pm

I am not a fan of "Lights of America" brand LED's, We bought one to use as a "softer" light less harsh for when we have to get up with the baby at night, it worked perfect for that! But it went out before a 10 months were up on it. I bought the Candelbra type that goes in my ceiling fan.

I called up Customer Service and they told me I could ship it back to them with a receipt and they would send me a replacement. I then ask if they kept receipts for their personal light bulbs and they told me "no they did not". I told them I don't have the receipt and asked why they wanted to spend the extra money on reimbursing my shipping to them, and they told me "we won't reimburse your shipping, we only pay for it to come back to you". So I'm like great. I told them I will just take it back to walmart because they take everything back (and they did) but that I would not be buying from them again.

I had two CFL's one was GE the other who knows, but both had like 5 and 7 year warranties and they stopped working around year two or three. I called the number on the bulb, gave them a number off of the bulb and said "a replacement bulb is in the mail, please dispose of the broke one as hazardous waste" and asked if there was anything else they could help with. I looked closer at the "lights of america" and it's made in china and headquarted in the USA. So, if they can't offer a "realistic" return policy then I won't have none of it. After all, the serial number on the bulb tells them when it was made so they can validate the warranty or not.

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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by kcatto » Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:37 pm

I am new to Zombie Squad... been lurking for awhile...

but My wife and I are building a new house this summer....

We are having the electrician (my little brother) pull two sets of romax wires to every outlet and or fixture....

one for the generator and one for the grid.....

that way we can run both at the same time if we choose to. two complete separate systems....

We also are installing plugs that have switches at every outlet.... so when they are off they are not pulling reisitance in the system because they are out of the loop....

similar to these..... http://blog.arlomidgett.com/wp-content/ ... utlets.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Our generator will be driven with either natural gas..... as we have a natural gas well on our property and part of our royalties is we can take as much off the well as we choose to.... so we could just run the generator in emergency or all the time if we choose to....

still in the discovery stage but rapidly coming together...

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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by raptor » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:31 pm

Welcome to the forum. When you get a chance please go by the introduction thread and introduce yourself.

It is none of my business but double wiring in a house strikes me as complex and can be accomplished more efficiently with the correct electrical switching and paralleling equipment. You may want to investigate that set up further.

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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by Blkhrt13 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:35 pm

Bumped to save. Sweet!
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by WhoShotJR » Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:24 pm

raptor wrote: It is none of my business but double wiring in a house strikes me as complex and can be accomplished more efficiently with the correct electrical switching and paralleling equipment. You may want to investigate that set up further.

Agreed. There is no way to wire a house, at least in the manner you have described it, to build such a system that would not backfeed power into the grid if the power was off. This could endanger the linemen's lives if they were working on the system. Much better, and cheaper overall, to have automatic switching equipment.

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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by Luthifer » Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:50 pm

kcatto wrote:

We also are installing plugs that have switches at every outlet.... so when they are off they are not pulling reisitance in the system because they are out of the loop....

similar to these..... http://blog.arlomidgett.com/wp-content/ ... utlets.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Could you elaborate a bit on this? I don't understand how a receptacle introduces resistance into a circuit if the circuit is open.

Consider having your wiring plan pre-approved by your inspector, it could save some money and hassle.

I mean this in a pleasant, helpful way; Wiring is not a hobby. There are serious consequences that come with improper wiring. Please consult a code book and wire accordingly.
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by kcatto » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:05 pm

any additional distance electrons have to travel down an electrical path even with the circuit open creates and generates resistance in the circuit.... by isolating each circuit with a common switch you by-pass any circuit which is not being used....
so if the circuit is turned off you are not charging the plug outlet or carrying electricity to a circuit that is not in need of the electron flow at that time....

If the switch is turned off the over all system does not even know it is there.... so it is not being charged..

I was taught this by an electrician while I was living in Australia.... but it makes perfect sense....

I am an A&P Mechanic by trade, in electronics and avionics but mainly radar, and guidance systems....

Luthifer wrote:
kcatto wrote:

We also are installing plugs that have switches at every outlet.... so when they are off they are not pulling reisitance in the system because they are out of the loop....

similar to these..... http://blog.arlomidgett.com/wp-content/ ... utlets.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Could you elaborate a bit on this? I don't understand how a receptacle introduces resistance into a circuit if the circuit is open.

Consider having your wiring plan pre-approved by your inspector, it could save some money and hassle.

I mean this in a pleasant, helpful way; Wiring is not a hobby. There are serious consequences that come with improper wiring. Please consult a code book and wire accordingly.

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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by kcatto » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:19 pm

I guess this post was lost some where, but my little brother is a electrical engineer, master electrician.. he has his own consulting and high end electrical company....

He designs freelance systems for out of the box problems.... for the Oklahoma energy resources board, and Oklahoma gas and electric.... he has installed about three dozen of these systems in the last five or six years....

The electrical blueprints have all ready been inspected and approved by the county inspector... and the county courthouse and sheriffs buildings are considering a change to this system now...


the only reason we are doing this is he told me the over all added expense was $2400.00 for the materials, no labor because they have to run the wiring anyway..... We are building out on our farm land given to me by my grandfather.... but we are 28 miles from town and the nearest neighbor is about 6miles away.... so having a generator is normal and having it pre-wired seems like a good idea....

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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by DannusMaximus » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:25 pm

Thanks for posting this, Raptor. Great addition to the large amount of practical advice found on this website.
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Re: Low Cost LED Bulb Plus 12 volt Power Pack=Multiday Lighting

Post by kcatto » Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:32 pm

sorry raptor....

I did not mean to hijack your thread.... I sometimes dribble on....

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