Build Your Own Light Device

Many of you have asked about building your own version of the lighted umbrella seen in Class 2 (Gateway Series). It’s not difficult to build. However, I have recently found a “grow light” available on eBay that will work the same and the items are far less expensive to acquire than building what I used in class.

Added bonus – there is no construction involved! It simply plugs into the wall and you're all set to experiment!

FIRST, A LITTLE 411 ABOUT LED's
LED is the acronym for “light emitting diode”. This is a solid-state semiconductor (a diode) that, when electricity passes thru, emits a perfectly pure color of CW light (continuous wave). It shouldn't flash or dim down.

LED’s can be found in most any color, so you need to be specific when ordering these. You want red since that color works best in this application. 

eBay Led light panel 
What you find at the link below is a grow light. Plants love the light from these devices! You will, too! 

Here is a link for the 225 LED Grow Light Panel.  All you will need to do is hang this up and plug it in! 

WANT TO BUILD IT YOURSELF? 
Here is an excerpt I sent to someone recently who wanted to build it themselves. It’s pretty simple. You will want an umbrella to attach the components to. You could hang the umbrella from the ceiling, or attach it to a stand (like a microphone stand). How you do this is only important insofar as much as you will want to be beneath it. 

You’ll find the parts online at Fry’s Electronics and also many resources are online. This is a link for epoxy sealed Red LED panels at Fry's. Regardless of where you get yours be certain you order Red LED panels! 

You will want several of these. I used 10 modules but you can use as many as you feel is needed. The only determining factor in using more is to keep in mind more LED's used requires more power (explained below). 

POWER
Besides this, you will need a 110/220 to 12-volt source; a plug-in wall adapter.  This is also available at Fry’s Electronics <link> and elsewhere. Any power supply will work so long as it delivers enough voltage and amperage. Amperage is important. This is the power behind the voltage that allows it to be useful. Read on...

The power supply (wall wart) should be at least 1 amp for 10 modules – or, a higher amperage rating if you plan to go beyond 10 modules (up to 2 amp @12 volts). This is easy to figure out.

Grab a magnifier and look at the tiny writing on the power supply. You'll see details there that tell you clearly what the OUTPUT VOLTAGE and AMPERAGE of the device are rated at. The measurement might be shown in Ma (milliamps, which is 1/1000th of an amp). One amp is 1000ma, two amps are 2,000ma, and so on. If your device says it is 500ma (or any number less than 1,000) it is one-half of an amp... not strong enough. 1,200ma is fine, as will be any number higher than 1,000ma.

The power supply at the link above is a good one rated at 12 volts @ 2 amps. This should easily handle 20 LED modules. I always use a higher rated power supply for 10 modules because it will probably never wear out if it can produce more than what is required to make the circuit work. If you were to use a 1 amp power supply module for more than 10 LED modules the power supply might be over worked and would heat up. Heat kills power supplies!!! No need to go there since now you know this is likely to happen ; )

CONNECTIONS
NOTE: Don't worry. Nothing here will shock you... even if it's plugged in (unless you're standing barefoot in water or touch this to your tongue - who does that???)

To connect this you need to cut off the end (if it has one). Strip off the top plastic covering and you find there are 2 wires. One is positive (probably red), and the other one (should be black) which is negative. You must identify these two wires before connecting. 

Next, get two small rolls of wire from a hardware or hobby store. The wire should be about the same size as the wire you found exiting the power supply. No need for large or heavy wire. You use this wire to connect to the power supply and the LED modules.

Use red and black copper stranded wire. It’s easier to identify as + and – this way. The modules have + and – markings on them. Red is positive (+) and black is negative (-).

Place the modules where you want to have them and measure the lengths of wire you’ll need. 

Cut the wire accordingly and strip a little off the end as needed. You'll understand this as you get going...  ; ) 

Connect the wires to the LED modules using small crimp connectors or by soldering the pieces together. Soldering is best but takes a little longer, and requires a soldering iron and solder. After soldering (if you solder the connections) be sure to carefully tape or shrink-tube these connections. If they touch with power applied it could short out the power supply and you'll need to buy another. 

No need to tape the wire crimps if you use these since they are already insulated

Once it is all wired correctly you will end up with a red and black wire. These connect to the power source; one black and one red. As mentioned, black is negative (-) and red is positive (+).

Securely connect these two wires to the power supply. It should light right up! If it doesn’t reverse the wires and see if that works. If constructed correctly it should work from this point as expected. If not... Well, inspect each LED module for a mistake.

CONNECTING TO THE UMBRELLA
This is probably the most simple aspect. Using plastic wire ties, simply set the modules in place and wire-tie them where you want them. Wire-tie the wires in place, too. You don't want these to dangle : )

THE FLOOR 
Once you have this panel all you need is to create a very dark – high contrast – background. Easily accomplished! Simply buy a King size black bed sheet (no, not satin haha) and place it on the floor. Alternatively, you can use any black cloth or a large rug. For best results, your floor covering should be large enough that it covers an area where you can stand and experiment. 

It’s also important there is no other light since this will diminish the effect. 

One more thing… 
Experiment with the effects of the light. Try placing your crystals on there and carefully observe the effects. Also, try using this light on sore areas. I think you will find this color of pure light has very interesting properties : ) 

Need help or have questions?Use our contact form. I’ll do my best to help you ; ) 

Best Wishes 
Jerry Wills