LED Bulb to Growlight

Wanted to put this out there for suggestions.

I have about a dozen LED 15w 1600lm non-dimmable bulbs that I think were from HD. I am looking at the possibility of removing the boards and making a light for my 3x3 area. Here’s what I input on:

1 - Is it even possible to wire the boards up to make a panel?

2 - What would be required? Would I need a driver or would a plug in transformer work?

3 - Should they be hooked up Parallel or Serial?

Here is a picture as to what I am talking about if I am confusing you.

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The reason for this is trying to use as much as I have on hand due to financial restraints. Would love to pick up a couple of SolStrips kits, as they sound great, but definitely out of budget, if I want to keep other supplies on hand. I could also probably get away with putting together some sort of fixture with light sockets, but I want to try to make it a low profile as possible due to space constraints and the damned things are still about $5 a piece, so still have to shell out about $60-$70.

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You could connect them in series or parallel or a combination of both but you would need to work out what driver to use (voltage and current) and buy it and you would need a large industrial baking tray or something similar as a heatsink and mounting plate. It can be done but the time you add it all up you might find you could have 3 or 4 solstrips and a lot more useable light for your plants.

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Why don’t you just screw them in and use them like normal? Sounds like a lot of work with zero benifit.

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@Jellypowered and someone else did a similar build to what you’re describing

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This. If you aren’t limited in space, just get some sockets and use them de-globed. No reason to take them apart and use separate drivers etc.

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I was thinking about using aluminum “U” channel, as I have and have access to a bunch, as both a backing/heatsink and the actual structure of it. If not, I am sure I can find a decent baking tray for less than $15. IIRC, the Solstrip tray is only about 12x18.

If I remember my electrical/electronics training, series increases the voltage draw and parallel increases the amperage draw, correct? Couldn’t you use something like a laptop power supply? I believe you’re talking about a 5v or 12v draw through the power board of the bulb and around 200mA each. Even 10 of them are only going to pull 2amps if done in parallel.

Also, at 1600 lumens each your output would be around 17000 lumens at 180W. What would a 180W SolStrip kit run, about $150?

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You could probably parallel the lot with a current limiting resistor for each unit and do it fairly cheaply but it’s a load of work for not a lot of light. Solstrips can put out up to 9000 lumens for 20 dollars each. A couple of bits of angle and a driver wont come to all that much and you can add more strips as and when you can afford to.

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As I said in the OP, that was an option, but would take up about 4-6 inches of headroom, even with the globes removed. My space is an old shower that is just over 6 feet tall (another 1.5 feet if I build a frame to raise the lighting up - which I will probably do). They are going in a Aero setup (Tote) so they will be off the ground already by a foot to a foot and a half.

Also, as I stated, even decent, but cheap sockets, that have some kind of mounting ability, are almost $5 a piece. I have found a few cheaper on line, but once you add the shipping, it runs even more per piece. You are correct, though, this would be the easiest way to do it.

Do you have a link? I couldn’t find anything similar. Was it on OG?

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Bud with a scrog net that’s plenty of room. Plus netting is the best way to get max yield in small spaces. Your trying to reinvent the wheel here bud remember kiss.

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Let’s look at it:

3 SolStrips (42w each @$20) - $60
1 Driver (non dimmable) - $50
Misc - $10
Total - $120

Amount I have to spend - $0

I would absolutely love to get a bunch of stuff from them, as it all sounds fantastic, but not in the cards right now.

Right now I have (2) 105W Daylight (5500K) CFL bulbs that I use for Veg and switch to (4) 45W (2700K) CFL bulbs for Flower. These I got for nothing (the 5500K) and $0.99 each (the 2700K)

My idea is to use as much as I have or can scrounge for free and as little as possible to spend as it will cut down on what I have for other stuff like Nutrients.

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My purpose was to field ideas about using “something I already have” KISS is great, but right now my rule of thumb is BATSU - Being Able To Stand Up which is why I grow.

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http://a.co/eeWyxLU

There ya go.

Take a peak at this thread too :smiley:

I had not seen those before, and while they would work, they would still cost almost $50 for a dozen of them and, while they seem to be lower profile, they are still about 1-1/2" tall plus about 3" for the bulb (without the globe) still about 6" or more with any backing.

The whole reason for the post was to get ideas about doing it with just the emitter boards and with what I had. As I said in the OP, I thought about doing it as bulbs but didn’t want to lose the headspace in the shower. I had a friend who did renovations and thought I could get some vanity light fixtures from him to use the socket (they teld to be low profile) but, alas, he is doing new construction now.

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Each of those lights already has a driver and heat sink built in.

I would sacrifice one and take it apart and see how easy it would be to separate them.

Idealy, you could have the driver portions outside the tent to keep some of the heat out of the tent. You could then wire all the drivers together and run them off one 110v AC plug. The outputs of each driver would be wired to each LED board. You wont need any additional heat sinks as they are already working fine the way they are. You just need to mount them some way and run the wires.

That assumes the driver circuits can be easily separated from the LED boards. I have not done this, so dont actually know if its possible or not. If ti is, it would solve all your problems.

Edit: This will only cost you some wire to run between the drivers and LED boards and a way to mount everything. You will want to use larger wire than is now connecting the boards and drivers because you will have a much longer run. Id suggest at least 16 ga wire.

Im not at all sure you can connect the driver outputs in parallel. You would need to test that to be sure they will be stable.

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Like @Larry3215 said, I’d sacrifice one and see what’s inside, and if you’re not worried about heat you could probably daisy chain the boards quite easily. Keep in mind that these LED bulbs have warnings on them to not use in recessed fixtures so lowering their profile would of course be at your own risk.

Slightly off topic, but another option would be to salvage sockets from (modern) fixtures and daisy chain them together, it might not be pretty but it will work. If you’re super concerned about profile you could just offset it by training/scrogging like others suggested. Besides if you end up with more light, your plants will be shorter anyway.

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@WMoon518 for how to disassemble them, refer to @Mr.Sparkle’s excellent how-to! Sorry I keep suggesting things that won’t work for you, i’m only trying to help! I promise!

Edit: would help if I linked it.

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@Larry3215 nailed it. Take them apart, mount them on your U channel, extend the DC wires and run the AC wires in parallel off a single plug.

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Thanks, I was going to link that when you posted it. :+1::seedling:

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I had forgotten about that tutorial. Its perfect :slight_smile:

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