Thursday, November 11, 2010


Light at Half Power
Magicker is the "style" of the Ikea Lamp, which I don't even think its available anymore, that I use for my bookcase lamps.  The video explains why I did this conversion, which more or less was because these lamps were going through the $5.00 halogen bulbs like there was no tomorrow.  I had to replace both lamps bulbs once a month and the last straw was when I had to replace three bulbs in a months time.  

I have a suspect that it has something to do with the transformers the lamps used as they always ran very, very HOT and I even had one appear to have shorted out and scorched a power outlet not long after purchasing them!  The transformers were just a step down transformer which went from 120V AC to 12V AC.  My power in my apartment has never had a brown out or black out, which is surprising living in California, but I suspect that it has something to do likely being on the same power grid as the Hospital I live near.

So needless to say I decided to ditch the AC transformers and use a universal DC transformer, you know the kind that has a bunch of different barrels/connections on the ends for electronic games, and gadgets. This also saved me from having to wire up in my schematic going from AC to DC, which I was going to build my own LED board.  Then after a quick fry's electronic store trip I stumbled across these kits from digitron (don't bother looking for them on their site, its not listed yet).  The kits were $9.99, a bit pricy i know, but it had everything I wanted.  They're super bright have 6 lights with 3 bright white LED's (so technically 18 individual LED's) and could be used for either 12V AC or DC!  The cool thing is that if you want you could solder up a bunch together in various configurations and still only run one power source! You see they're designed with solder pads on each corner and once that connection is made power will flow along to all that are connected!  NEAT!  

Overall it was a fun conversion and i'm pretty happy with the outcome, the transformers no longer run HOT, and the light is a nice bright white which I can vary at a flick of a switch from just a faint glow for movie watching or full on "daylight" for reading.  

What I'd like to do in a future hack is add maybe a small controller board and wireless so that I can program a time schedule and turn them on/off wirelessly or some other wacky idea, strobing perhaps!

So if you're interested in seeing my explanation, about 8 mins, and then build process, its in time lapse, take a look at the video!

Hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for stopping by!

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