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Old 06-08-2010, 02:15 PM   #1
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


I'm going to re-ask a question I asked a while ago because I got some answers, but they were too complicated for me and I'm looking for a rather simple solution. Anyway, here it is!

Hi, I am a young artist (25) and I am in the conceptual stages of a piece I want to make, but have a few questions that require the aid of some knowledgeable electricians. Hopefully I can present my project and get some answers without too much confusion.

What I am looking to do is find a way to suspend a tube light (fluorescent, LED, whatever I can use or works best) in space using string. The problem, is that I want it to be lit, but not have to be attached to any sort of huge fixture like the ones on my ceiling that typically get long tubes put into.

Is there a way to power a tube lightbulb, (florescent, LED, or otherwise) without it being attached to a fixture, and without some crazy wiring that would need to be done.

For reference, I have a picture of the general idea that I am trying to convey:





So basically I'm wondering if it is possible, LED, fluorescent, or otherwise, to do something like this and power the bulb with a battery or a wall socket or something of the sort that will not require a big heavy ballast type thing.

Maybe there is something that already exists to help do this? Or maybe there is a special bulb that isn't LED or Fluorescent that can make this happen. Just hoping I can get a few answers.

Thanks in advance for any help!

-Scott

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Old 06-08-2010, 03:22 PM   #2
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


Check out this link for Lincandescent fixtures. The lamps are tubular like fluorescent but they are incandescent and I believe they only require 1-wire to each end.

http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...Jx0WK0T3mOqV3Q

You may have to buy the entire fixture and take from it the parts you need to make what you want work! But there is no ballast required, only straight 120-volt.

Heres a pic of one end of the lamp



and the whole lamp


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Old 06-08-2010, 08:13 PM   #3
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


Anytime you use LED or fluorescent you are going to need a driver or ballast. You might be able to suspend the fixtures and simply remote mount the gizmos away from the piece. Led drivers can be very small depending on the light. This might night be an ideal match, but it's cheap, fairly small and cord connected:
http://www.amazon.com/Power-Suppply-.../dp/B0034GUEY4
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:19 PM   #4
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


Static electricity will make those light up. Not very bright though, but maybe there is some kind of way you can wirelessly "beam" a heavy enough charge to make it lightup fully. Magnetic forces might do it as well, I know tesla coils can make em go on, but think that's sorta static electricity, more then magnetism. The thing with static though is to produce enough would probably be very noisy.

Oh know what, if you put a light bulb in the microwave, it lights up too, I'm pretty sure the same thing with neon tubes. Maybe you can somehow beam microwaves on it. I don't know how this could be done safely though... I would not play around with an actual magnetron. :o But they are concepts you can maybe ponder on.

Also are they low voltage? You could maybe hang them with thin metal wire, and they would also act as the electrical wires. Then you could have a small opening in the ceiling such as a small return vent type cover where it hooks up to the driver/mains. (needs to be accessible)
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Old 06-09-2010, 09:38 AM   #5
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


@goose134 - The piece looks interesting. Definitely in the right direction. I'm a little confused as to how it would work. I see that it plugs into the wall - but what from the tube plugs into it, and how? (Sorry if I'm so confused, I'm very new to electrical wiring and whatnot.

@Red Squirrel - These seem like good ideas, but maybe I emphasized something a bit wrong. It isn't completely necessary that these are fully free floating. I don't mind if they have a cord leading to the wall, or leading to a battery off to the side - I just don't want a giant ceiling ballast.

So I guess to rephrase the question in a more effective way, I'll start here. I included a drawing of what I am shooting for here in the end with 2 possible solutions (unless something better comes up) One solution on the left is to plug the light into a wall. Second solution on the left is to plug it into some sort of battery. There may be other solutions (ie smaller batteries, or whatever). What I want to do is suspend these 2 fluorescent or LED tubes at different degree's of angles from the ceiling (which is why there cannot be a large ballast mount). I want them to be about the size of a regular fluorescent tube (same in circumference around and about 36" in length). I have also found a link to something that may work, so I'm wondering if this will spark any better ideas.http://www.bosspaint.com/Plain_LED_Light_Strip_36_Inches_Long_RED_or_Blue_p/4.htm

I'm wondering if something like that, that can be plugged into a wall (these can only use a cigarette lighter adapter can be slid down into a frosted tube.

Maybe this new info will spark some more ideas - and thanks for all the help I've been given so far. Here is the drawing:
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:46 PM   #6
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If you do a search on "cable lighting" it might give you some ideas.
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:17 PM   #7
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The way these work is you need to plug in the driver and have the low voltage leads go to the light. If there were some way to conceal the driver in the ceiling (or on the ceiling in a box), you could supply the driver with 120 volts up there and run the low voltage wire down your support wire to light the fixture. Is this for an installation or for your house?
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:59 PM   #8
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


LED's can be connected up using resistors instead of ballasts, one per lamp. The resistors are small
and usually cylindrical, about the size of the push button on the top of a retracting ball point pen.
Actually many LED lamps are of the same shape and size.

A fluorescent lamp can be connected up with just the lamp and wires in the artwork and the ballast
or driver some distance away. The wires would be considered house current voltage wires, not
low voltage wires.

An LED tube contains many LED lamps inside and may or may not be wired up in a manner that has
no driver module either inside it or at the cord plug.

Lincandescent (tm) lamps (similar ones are called Lumiline (tm) ) get hot just like incandescent lamps.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 06-09-2010 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:21 PM   #9
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


This is for an installation/sculpture, not for practical house use.

Does anyone know of where to get an LED tube that can be hooked up regularly (like to a wall socket)

AllanJ - you mention a couple different ways, but I'm still kind of lost (sorry). I think LED is sounding like it is going to an easier option, but I'm confused about how to power a prebought LED tube or a home-made LED tube.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SX0T View Post
Does anyone know of where to get an LED tube that can be hooked up regularly (like to a wall socket)
A 1N4004 diode in series with 120vac gives about 50 vdc.
Depending on the color of the LED, each LED has about 2vdc across it @ 20 mA, so you'd need about 25 LEDs. Monitor the current and add more LEDs if the current is too high.

For a constant current drive you need a few more components and a few more bucks. 20 mA gives you the brightness of an indicator LED.

Since line voltage is applied to this 'device' it needs to be insulated.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:30 PM   #11
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Yoyizit - I am seriously confused as to how that response answers my question. Not trying to be rude or anything, I know that I'm the ignorant one here, but all this is so new to me - I really need things explained extremely simply. I have never done any sort of wiring or lighting work before.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:43 PM   #12
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


Quote:
Originally Posted by SX0T View Post
Yoyizit - I am seriously confused as to how that response answers my question. Not trying to be rude or anything, I know that I'm the ignorant one here, but all this is so new to me - I really need things explained extremely simply. I have never done any sort of wiring or lighting work before.
Then you'll need to get help from someone who is familiar with hobby electronic projects. Try
http://www.electro-tech-online.com/
You will need a soldering iron.

I don't think a Web search for a commercial product will help you - this seems to be very much a custom job.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 06-09-2010 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 06-09-2010, 08:48 PM   #13
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


Thanks a bunch for that link, I'll have a look over there and see what's up!
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:41 PM   #14
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


Man, I was wondering when you going to jump in on this Yoyizit.
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Old 06-10-2010, 01:21 AM   #15
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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation


look into the computer case modding forums to learn more about LEDs

I think, you'd be better off with remote balasts and florecents. no reason why you can't hang the tubes from the power wires and solder right to the terminals.

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