Not an original idea. I think these have been around as long as LED ribbon. Usually, it is something hastily thrown together by the best boy. I wanted to make something more substantial; a light that is bi-color, bright, durable, and easy to setup. Always with any electric I bring to set, I want it to work well, and look professional.
There are many advantages to an LED lantern light with the light-weight, low power draw, and the ability to adjust color temperature.
I probably over-engineered this a little. The light was made with 32 feet of bi-color ribbon wrapped around 2 large cans riveted together. (A friend I asked to weld these together. He informed me that this type of metal is not suitable for welding.)
The light is 200 watts total. Inside is an electronic fan for cooling. The bottom has a spring-loaded base which fits a 20-inch paper lantern. The top has a baby pin for rigging the light.
I need some new electronics to operate the light. I built a case for a 350 watt LED power supply, 24 volts DC. The PWM dimmer is 2-channel operating at 21 kHz with a maximum of 500 watts per channel.
These dimmers came with cool looking LED readouts that go from 0 to 100 percent.
|2-Channel PWM dimmer on top. 350 watt DC power supply on bottom.|
The dimmer works great with a 100 percent duty cycle. The LEDs still glow with no flicker at 1 percent.
|Inside the PWM dimmer|
I am a little disappointment that the dimmers are slightly steppy. (Steppy-ness is when the dimming does not appear smooth; discrete steps in brightness can be seen.)
I'm not knowledgeable enough about DC electronics to know if this is a factor of the high Hertz rate, or the higher wattage, or just a characteristic of this brand of dimmer. Becasue of the steppy-ness, this dimmer would probably not be suitable for on-camera dimming.
The cooling fan is probably unnecessary. When building the light, I was concerned that it could overheat. I tested the light for 30 minutes. It did not get excessively hot. I think the metal cans with the open ends are excellent heat sinks for the LED ribbon. Also, the fan is nosier than I expected. I would expect sound would complain about it. I did make it easy to disconnect the fan for this reason.
The finished light is great. I hope to get a lot of use out of it. It is bright, operates well, and fits into a paper lantern perfectly.