Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Making Your Own LED Halogen Replacement

Although there are lots of cheap GU10 halogen replacement LED out there these days, and decent one too, but still very few that meet my requirement:
  • As bright as 50W halogen (around 850 lumens), and;
  • Although halogen has warm-white colour (3000K), I actually prefer daylight white (4000K), and;
  • Beam angle 35 degree or wider, and;
  • Under AU$25.

Those ones that are close to my requirement, so far, either:
  • cost much more than AU$50, or;
  • Not bright enough (see my rant in the next paragraph below), or;
  • Have very narrow beam angle (less than 30 degree)
  • Too bluish (around 6500K).

In term of brightness, lots of people on various website claim their LED halogen replacement have equal (or better) brightness with their 50W halogen counterparts. Well, a very narrow beam angle (like 15 degree or less), does make the centre illumination spot very bright. Indeed, brighter than 50W halogen, but it does NOT have more lumens (total light output). IF narrow beam angle is all you need, then these 3-watter LED with 15 degree beam angle or less are the perfect solution for you: cheap, bright, and very low power consumption.

But, until such thing exist (true 50W halogen replacement), I decided to make my own LED lighting. The new XM-L LED from CREE (well, with the current trend, it's soon to be replaced with newer and better LEDs still!) is the best candidate.

So, Components that are easily available to tinkerer like me:
  1. Light bulb housing, including heatsink and optic for LEDs: SKU13741,
  2. Constant current driver that can fit to the lightbulb housing: SKU14034,
  3. LED module: SKU51989.

I have to make some compromises with components above:
  • Not bright enough (from my calculation at the moment, it's only going to be 340 lumens),
  • Optics still too narrow, but excluding them from the assembly should be good enough,
  • Still too bluish with the available LED. I can get daylight white from other distributor, but they charge ridiculously expensive with over the top postage and handling on top of that.
I will report findings as soon as I finish my LED lightbulb!

Note: If you want MR16 halogen replacement, CREE has done the hard yard for you, check this out!

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