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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I noticed that my hunting cabin was really dark and the Colman lantern really affected the air quality so I was looking for an alternative lighting system. I have an extra relatively new 12v battery that was for a tractor and I thought hey if I charge that sucker up I bet it will light an LED lamp for a really long time. I searched on Ebay and found these dome light replacements lights and thought hey I can create an entire bank of those and that would certainly light it up. I mounted them to a piece of white MDF and wired them all together in parallel. Bingo it will easily light the cabin without all the pollution. I have no idea how long the battery will last but we'll have to test it out and see.

here are the bulbs
http://www.ebay.com/itm/5X-Cool-White-Car-RV-Trailer-1156-BA15S-Adapter-48-SMD-Map-Dome-Panel-LED-Light-/301254141910?pt=Motors_RV_Trailer_Camper_Parts_Accessories&hash=item46242567d6&vxp=mtr

this is what it looks like.
 

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That's being thrifty. Looks good. Now a solar panel and never have to touch them for a while. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks, I was looking at the harbor freight solar panels as a method for recharging the battery while I was there. At the very least it could extend the charge of the battery a little bit. My hunting camp is 1.5 hours from home so I'm typically going up there for a long weekend so I think it would last for three evenings.
 

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A tractor or car battery has approximately 100-120 amp hours of energy.

I would imagine that whole bank of LED's you put together takes less than 1 amp hour of energy when on. So, probably 4 days or so of solid light if you left it on 24/7. Probably 2x that. Put your volt meter inline with positive going to the battery and turn the volt meter to measure amps (most do) and you can measure the DC amps being used.

One regret I have when building my cabin is that I didn't run 12V DC lines throughout the cabin and patio to use LED lighting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
A tractor or car battery has approximately 100-120 amp hours of energy.

I would imagine that whole bank of LED's you put together takes less than 1 amp hour of energy when on. So, probably 4 days or so of solid light if you left it on 24/7. Probably 2x that. Put your volt meter inline with positive going to the battery and turn the volt meter to measure amps (most do) and you can measure the DC amps being used.

One regret I have when building my cabin is that I didn't run 12V DC lines throughout the cabin and patio to use LED lighting.
Wow thanks for the input I'm an electrical ignoramus so having some input like this puts me at ease. I was hoping that was the case and part of the reason I posted it on here was to see if anyone else had an idea about lighting duration. I really appreciate the input. Of course the truth is in the doing so next year when I head up there to camp I'll find out for sure.

Thanks again
 

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LED lights were the perfect solution. They use so little power I would bet you will get a week's use out of one charge. Worst case scenario get a small generator to recharge the battery for a long trip.

I think you'll find yourself adding some reading lights too.

The nice thing about 12v wiring is you don't need to protect it as much as 110v wiring, plus you can use the clear coated speaker wire if you desire. Using 16ga speaker wire is overkill but those LED lights sure will not overload it. Just tack it in the corners up the wall and it's hardly noticed.

When we built our house (2009-2010) fluorescent lighting (or optional LED) was required almost exclusively. I have no doubt that LED's will take over that market in the not too distant future. They are brighter and more efficient. I run LED Christmas lights outside my house and I have about 20 strands, and total watt usage was less than 120w. That's less than a single strand of my old incandescent lights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well at $10 dollars for 5 of them, adding some reading lights isn't a bad idea, thanks for the suggestion. I can tell you those 10 that I have are really really bright but I could see my self adding one over the bunks to make it easier to read. I'll put them on independent switches and bingo I'll be in the front row. Thanks for the idea.
 

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Buy yourself a solar battery charger. It'll keep the battery charged without you having to do a thing.

A car battery will keep an LED light fixture lit for a LOOOOONG time.
 

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I use these things all over the place.

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/16FT-5630-LE...826069?pt=US_Car_Lighting&hash=item27eee6c695

Cut to the desired length, peel and stick, hook up to a 12v power source and you are good to go. I use them to light my kitchen counters, my display cases, the bed of my truck, and all over my hunt camp. The ones I guy are waterproof and I've even put some in my shower. They really work awesome.

You can even get these cheap little dimmers for them that work really well
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/White-Manual...ing_Parts_and_Accessories&hash=item3a99d4fa15
 

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have you been looking into a solar panel and rechargeable battery like a deep cycle auto size battery??? may take care of eveyrthing....
 

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If you can drive right up to the cabin.....charge the battery(for the cabin lights) right off your vehicle with a set of jumper cables.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys all great ideas, I looked at the LED strips and almost bought those but decided to go with the bulbs.
 

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The bulbs are perfect for what you did with them. The big advantage of the strips is that they can be used where bulbs would be inconvenient. For example, I put some on the headboards of our bunks to use as reading lights. With the dimmers they are perfect for that or if someone wakes up at night and just needs a little light. I also put some in my gun safe rigged up with a magnetic door switch from an alarm system. Light turns on when I open the door, turns off when I close it. The possibilities are almost endless :-D

This year we invested in a large capacity battery and a small solar panel for the camp and I highly recommend it. My father-in-law is a little set in his ways and doesn't trust all this "modern stuff" so he still runs the generator every day when he's there whether we want him to or not :p. But I've done the math and we could easily go at least a week without it. And the great this is, once you have the battery, if you ever need more power you just need to ass more solar pannels.

We also have another battery for our water pump. Now we don't have to carry them back and forth to the camp anymore. We just leave them there on a trickle charge and there are good to go any time we need them.
 

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Solar panel charger will work great, I would recommend using a deep cycle battery like for a trolling motor, will get repeated charges. A regular car battery will not last long on draining and charging repeatedly unless you can maintain a steady charge like a generator works on a car.
 

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+1 for the deep cycle battery

I also use a solar panned controller that automatically switches to a trickle charge when the battery is full. Over charging a battery will severely reduce its lifespan
 

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I have used solar pannels to charge deep cycle batteries for a long time now and they work great for the most part. The only time we have trouble is the winter when th ecamp isn't heated the batteries like in a car discharge but I found if you leave a small light on the cycleing helps. I'm lucky my son works at NAPA so heavy duty batteries are reasonable
 

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A tractor or car battery has approximately 100-120 amp hours of energy.

I would imagine that whole bank of LED's you put together takes less than 1 amp hour of energy when on. So, probably 4 days or so of solid light if you left it on 24/7. Probably 2x that. Put your volt meter inline with positive going to the battery and turn the volt meter to measure amps (most do) and you can measure the DC amps being used.

One regret I have when building my cabin is that I didn't run 12V DC lines throughout the cabin and patio to use LED lighting.
Yep, you can either read the Amp draw with a multimeter and calculate it from your battery size, or there maybe a current rating on the light that you can use to do the math.
In parallel, you would add up all the current draws of each lamp.

To get a longer run time, hook two car batteries together in parallel.
 

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The only panels like this I found were rated around 4.8W so all 10 of them together is drawing around 3-4amps. Shouldn't have any trouble getting around 58hrs of continuous light out of them with a 120ah battery before they start to noticeably dim.
 

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For several years we ran 3 strips of LED lights in our cabin off of a deep cycle battery and it would last half the summer (weekend stays) without recharging. I ended up purchasing a solar charger and mounted on the side of the cabin (up high enough so it would be difficult to swipe) and ran wires in to the cabin. The distance is somewhat limited as I recall but it did the job and we never took the battery home again to recharge it.

A couple more ideas for batteries:

1.) electric scooter/wheelchair batteries are smaller than deep cycle trolling motor batteries but are designed to be recharged many times and store a lot of juice. They can be pricey though!
2.) buy two 6 volt electric lantern batters (Rayovac/Duracell, etc) and tape them together with some duct tape and wire them in series. You'll have a 12 volt backup battery that would last you at least a couple of weekends. We always kept a couple of them hand just in case. They take up very little room and have a long shelf life. We now have electricity in our cabin but I've not run hot water to the shower. We use a 5 gal bucket with a 1gal/min tank sprayer pump hooked to a RV shower head. We still run the pump off the two lantern batteries because they take so little room. For that purpose they last 6 months or longer.
 
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