52 in 52 – D40

Here’s another take on the theatrical theme, this time with a zooming feature that allows it to be adjusted from spotlight to floodlight, or anything in between. Just slide the forward snoot body in and out. The single element lens and a unique internal optical mixing chamber using White Optics and Rosco diffusing film that blends the light and diffuses it before it is sent through the lens creates a soft edged pattern without pattern edge color fringing, with a soft drop-off surround. The Bridgelux ES array inside produces a very nice color, working perfectly as the source for a diffuse pre-mix optic system.

52 in 52 – Designs 38 and 39

Design 38

Inspired by the ubiquitous bankers lamp, D38 is also a further exercise in working with very lightweight structure and use of White Optics as a paper shade material. Again, for simplicity, I used a 12″ LynkLabs SnapBrite strip with its 12 1W Tesla LEDs, and a BriteDriver power supply encased in one of the leg bases. The 14″H lamp produces both direct downlight and a subtle indirect shade presence.

Design 39

I call Design 39 a “GeoLite Festoon Sandwich”. It is essentially two slices of ABS plastic with 18 1/2Watt LynkLabs Festoon LED replacement lamps, ringing a 12V 12VA transformer, controlled by a simple pushbutton switch. The switches red knob and stem are intended to look like the little toothpick with decoration sandwich shops use. This is intended to provide a little accent light (it’s only 4.5″ square and 1.75″ deep), draw curious attention, and make one smile.

52 in 52 – Design 37

This is another experiment in ultra light elements that still serve a functional purpose. In this case, a vanity light for a small powder room.

The cantilevered light bar houses a LynkLabs 12w Tesla SnapBrite strip, while the wall box cover houses a BriteDriver power supply. The reflector elements are covered with White Optics material to optimize light from the LED strip and to diffuse the light throughout the room.

This replaced a 150W Halogen indirect reflector product, yet delivers roughly the same light into the space, saving a great deal of energy and the hassle of replacing the constantly failing halogen lamps.

One compromise I had to make here was the size of the wall plate. I would have liked it to be much smaller. However, in the application destination I needed it to fill, there was an existing wall condition and junction box configuration that required a 5″ square wall plate to cover. Ideally, I would have used a small vertical outlet box, with concealed fasteners… but practical reality sometimes demands these little sacrifices.

52 in 52 – Design 36

Had a thought to create something that produces the kind of light a conventional table lamp provides, with a little twist. In the middle of that I thought of a sailboat sail and how they fill with air. With these two seemingly unrelated images trapped in the skull, I sat down to design this little fixture. I had in mind something that was ultimately simple and uncomplicated, which immediately brought to mind the LynkLabs 12VAC SnapBrite strip. I have not found anything in all of LED-dom that gets me from wall power to LED light with less fuss. In this case, I used a magnetic 12 VA transformer, which is sized right on the money for the 12 1W LEDs on the 12″ SnapBrite strip I grabbed from the parts bin. Three parts: Switch, transformer, LED strip. Two wires between the parts, and done.

The sail/shade is made from White Optics material, which is over 92% reflective and 98% diffuse, creating a soft, blended light that is very nice on the reflective side. I also find the small amount of light that passes through the material nice as well, as there is a fabric like mesh pattern in it that is subtle and attractive. As a shade material it is really excellent, in that it transmits just a little light for presence, while reflecting the rest very efficiently.

The little lamp is only 16″ tall. One of the features I looked at carefully was visibility of the light source. The wrap around shade, closed top and bottom, and cutoff  geometry means that the light source is completely concealed from any viewing angle. Like a conventional table lamp, it can be oriented in any direction without exposing the light inside. However, in this instance, the decidedly asymmetric distribution provides more useful versatility than a conventional table lamp.

The idea here is it can be used in two ways:

  1. Aim the reflective side toward a wall to create a wide pleasant wash on the vertical surface. This is really nice for filling a corner with light and letting that reflect and fill a room, while the shade glow provides presence of the light source without being overly bright… or…
  2. Aim the reflective side toward the room and use the light to act much like a photographers soft light, emitting diffuse fill light into the space. The size of the shade and even distribution of the LynkLabs strip offer a bright, but pleasant glow. From the back, the shade produces just a little light behind on the wall, or if its viewed from behind offers a nice pleasant appearance.

This iteration of the design is decidedly minimalist, with the transformer visible from the lower housing and the switch exposed without any hint of refinement or attempt to conceal any of the components. The heat sink is nothing more that a 2″ wide strip of aluminum. The end product is low in cost and lightweight… and fun.  Oh yeah, since the transformer is a typical magnetic unit, dimming from a wall box dimmer designed for control of inductive loads will do the trick, at less cost than electronic load dimmer controls.

52 in 52 – Design 35

Some people fold paper, others doodle on the corners of note pads. I fiddle with metal, plastic, solder, wires and LEDs. Design often requires ignoring any practical uses or goals, and just let things flow, even when the result is odd and quirky. This definitely qualifies in this regard, and was pursued with little real regard for refinement or practical evolution.

This is a 3D sketch for all practical and impractical purposes. Actually it started as a pencil scribble on union skin tracing paper that was both goofy and compelling at once. The intent was to put that sketch into a physical form without spending a great deal of time fine tuning, refining, or iterating it into something practical. This includes rendering the surface finish as though it were sketched in air using a black crayon or charcoal stick.

Most of the parts used in this effort were from spares bins and scrap metal that just happened to fit the loose scribble, including the collection of lighting parts. The uplight LED is a Lumileds K2, while the interior light is provided by a Seoul Semiconductor P3. The two odd neighbors are wired in series. I figure the two can fight it out for their share of voltage from the 700mA driver located in the base along with dimmer. The main power supply is a spare universal 12VDC wall wart. Paint is a combination of textured Rustoleum Hammer-rite that was then over-sprayed with John Deer matte black while still wet to produce a surface with a charcoal impression, like it was sketched in space, much like charcoal and crayon appear on paper. The white reflective areas are white optics diffuse material and provide a stark contrast, like an area of paper undisturbed. I thought about writing some message on the back panel, or signing it, or sketching a doodle on it, but couldn’t decide what, so will leave it blank for now.

As rough sketches go, this has a little whimsy to it, and for me is compelling and curious at once – just the sort of thing I like. It’s certainly not going to be found in a local lighting showroom, and will not be duplicated, so is a true one-off. For some that might be welcome relief, for me it’s just an exercise, and a way of letting things go, in an industry overly wrapped up with metrics and doom aversion to have fun with what it has in front of it.

52 in 52 – Design 34

While creating this small pendant I couldn’t help but think that had LEDs happened in the 1980’s, they would have exploded in popularity much faster than we are seeing today. Between hi-tech styling, the openness of the market to accept new design, remnants of disco, and the pace of construction then were strong, while the need for energy efficient products that were not wimpy little 9W twin tubes or gastly white energy saving tube fluorescents was high. Hi-tech and LEDs work so well together, its a shame that todays stripped clean, commercial kitchen aesthetic really throttles use of new technology to produce exciting new things, unless of course they are white with brushed white metal trim (yawn). Can you imagine what Disco would have been like with LEDs? Color Kinetics would have become the size of Microsoft!

In any case, this design is actually quite simple. It is a small pendant for over a kitchen sink or counter, using a Bridgelux LED in a 4.5″ ribbed and etched glass shade, and Dialux driver in the canopy. I am driving the LED at only 350ma, as this is all the light I need here, at 27Fc on the counter below. The ribs in the shade produce the impression that the light source is suspended inside the shade, when it is actually in the head above. The light piping into the glass causes the illusion, while location of the LED higher up creates some shielding. The result is their is more light provided on the surface below, and less brightness in the shade. The cable is shielded communications cable with internal wire, using the braided jacket as the negative conductor – very 1980’s.

52 in 52 – Design 33

This is by far the easiest design so far. No soldering, no separate power supply and driver to combine. Dimming can be done with a wall box control, so the product is clean if knobs. With only 4 watts involved, the internal backplate does the job for a heat sink. This was simply a matter of taking an off-shelf piece of Spanish glass, making a holder and backing plate with trim, add a little mounting box to hide the transformer, and snap it together.

This is an AC LED product, using LynkLabs sconce module. The module has Tyco wire trap connectors, which make wiring as simple as strip and push. In this case, the output from the LynkLabs Brite Driver is wired directly to the strip. I used a cord to connect the sconce to an outlet, since I don’t have any wall boxes handy.

A nice, simple wall sconce that was easier to build than a CFL sconce, and uses considerably less power, and looks very nice on the wall. Not bad for less than 9 hours work, no? If all of the designs so far had been this easy, I would be thrilled.

52 in 52 – Design 32

I like the look of theatrical lighting, especially the ellipsoids and zooms. I’ve converted several to SSL, including fresnels,  Kliegl and Colortran zoom ellipsoids. Unfortunately, being designed for 500-1000 watt halogen lamps and use in stage applications, even the small mini-versions of these fixtures are too large for small spaces.

This design takes its aesthetic cues from theatrical lighting, along with styling from the days when movies and theater were the center of the entertainment universe.

The design provides full rotation of each arm about the vertical standard, rotation of each fixture yoke at the end of the arms, and aiming of the fixture in each yoke. In other words, each head can be aimed pretty much anywhere. In addition to this, each of the heads has its own driver with dimmer control, so after its been aimed, balancing light levels can be set easily. At the base, a single on-off switch means that the individual dimmer settings can be left alone.

The light source used for each head is a Cree MCE LED with 25 degree TIR optic. The ehat sink is buring inside each of the heads. Future iterations of a design like this will likely include an adjustable zoom optic, as well as color adjustment. The total height of the stand is 37″, and the base include a 7 1/2 pound iron weight for stability.

52 in 52 – Design 31


For those in the business, LEDs can at times drive one from ones skull. This thought inspired this design – a physical representation of LEDs being driven from a skull. To represent how resistance is not only futile, but will be incorporated, I utilized resisters in the drive circuit, exposed at the rear of the skull. These balance the fV of the upper white Cree MCE LED with the lower (3) red Rebel LEDs, driving from a single constant current power supply. When dimmed, the result is the white (higher fV) dims down first, then the red after the white is off. producing a unique effect from a single control.

As a point of reference, this is not the first expression of this type. I like the subtle twist of phrase that can present a new visual result. For example (see images below), Alien Landings are a part of our pop culture… but what happens if they forget their parachute? Or, Butter Fly collections have been put together for centuries, macabre little collections of insects with pins through their bodies… why not collect Bar Flies then, very colorful and strange, with pins through their chests? The term “Gearhead” has been used to describe auto enthusiasts, but what might one actually look like? How about a portrait of Tim O’LEARee? Occasionally these strange but humorous thoughts inspire a work of expression. I also like 3D in art, even if it is hung on the wall.

The skull seemed appropriate topically, as well as timely, since this is October, with Halloween coming just ’round the corner.

LED vs CFL – Game ON in Side-by-Side Comparison

Working with Molex Electronics, the ZEBRA Alliance, Oak Ridge National Labs, with fixtures provided by Ultralights and Solid State Luminaires, we created a side-by-side comparison between CFL and LED in two identical homes. One uses 100% CFL lighting, the other 100% LEDs. The LED house uses Molex Transcend modular products, which incorporate 4W Seoul Semiconductor Acriche 120VAC LEDs to control costs. While the CFL home was designed by a lighting showroom, the approach in the LED home included redressing lighting design to reduce and elliminate glare, focus on delivering light where it is needed, and producing more attractive spaces that also save energy. The end result is a 70%+ savings over the CFL home. The LED home has less than 0.4W/s.f. of connected lighting load. So little energy is connected, that the entire home could have been wired to a single 15A circuit breaker (920W).

The purpose of this project is to operate both homes with controls that simulate occupied operation over 18-24 months. Over that time the performance of the two homes will be monitored using a sophisticated array of sensors and data aquisition. Lighting is just one small part of the total effort, which includes building materials, HVAC, window glazing, and roofing system performance. There are four total homes, all with identical geographic orientation, within a block of one another. The other two utilize fluorescent lighting, but are different in many other ways, including architectural design.

Below are a few of the rooms of the houses to give you an idea of how the combined approach worked out. As one can see, the difference in appearance is noticeable. At the task level, the LED house provides twice the horizontal illumination on kitchen counters and dining table, matches the CFL in the game room and office (not shown here), and provides a more comfortable light everywhere, as the light sources produce no objectionable glare. So, regardless of the LED employed not being a leading edge lumen/watt producer, the savings remain significant, while the end product – delivered illumination – both attractive and comfortable. This is an approach that will eventually set LEDs up as the preferred light source in residential application – not matching CFL glare bombs, but delivering an improvement in lighted quality as well as energy saving.

For those attending the LEDs 2010 conference this month (Oct 25-27) in San Diego, I will be presenting this project with some background and more detail there.  Stop by and say hello if you are in the area:

Entry CFL Lighting
Entry LED Lighting
Living CFL Lighting
Living Room LED Lighting

Dining Room CFL Lighting
Living Room LED Lighting
Kitchen CFL and Linear Fluorescent Lighting
Kichen LED Lighting