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Hi everyone. This is my first full tutorial on HauntForum. I followed this tutorial by Herman Secret to make some LED spotlights however making the spotlights are just half of the battle in my opinion... (BTW, the prewired LEDS are SOOO worth the extra $)

So I came up with this idea and I will show you how to make a terminal for all of your LED lights. Like I said, this is my first tutorial so tell me if I need to clarify anything.

Here is what you will be making:
IMG_1389.jpg

What you will need:
  • a wooden craft box (I got mine from Michael's)
  • speaker wire (you will need it for the LED spotlights anyway)
  • electrical wire (again, you will need it for the LED spotlights)
  • liquid electric tape
  • speaker terminals
  • adapter (or whatever power source you're using)
  • assorted small screws
  • wire caps
  • black paint
Tools you will need:
  • a drill or screwdriver
  • jigsaw
  • wire cutter/stripper
  • glue gun (and glue sticks) * optional
  • a paint brush
Step 1: Take the top (smaller side) off of your box. You can set the top aside for now.
IMG_1378.jpg

Step 2: Measure your speaker terminals - mine were about one inch long and one and a half inch wide so I traced out a section that I would eventually cut out. I got my speaker terminals HERE. Since I got 20, they were only $0.58 each. In this step, I also drilled holes in the corners so that I could saw out the rectangles easier.

Step 3: Cut out all three sections. Notice that section 3 on the right is smaller because I wanted to fit all the speaker terminals on the box so I did two rows of 7 and one row of 6. Put the sections that you cut out aside for later.
IMG_1380.jpg

Step 4: Paint the top and bottom black.
IMG_1381.jpg

Step 5: Screw the speaker terminals into the board. You can see that I didn't space my rows properly and I only could fit one screw on the last 2 rows... they're still fine and secure... I'm not too worried.
IMG_1382.jpg

Step 6: Turn the box over and fill in any gaps you may have with electrical tape.

Step 7: Next, using spare speaker wire wire the terminals together. You can attach the wire to the terminals by looping the wire through the hook on the back. REMEMBER: Know what side is red and what side is black. I used the copper side on the red terminal side and the silver wire on the black terminal side. I grouped the terminals into groups of four and then connected the groups of four together to the adapter.
IMG_1384.jpg

Step 8: Use the liquid electrical tape and seal up the loop and wire from the terminal. Put a big dab on top and let it dry overnight. I put on 3 coats of liquid electrical tape just to be sure. I also added a dab of hot glue after the third coat was dry.
IMG_1385.jpg

Step 9: Wire all the groups together to the adapter. I used wire caps to keep the wires together. I also drilled a hole in the side so the adapter chord could go through.
IMG_1387.jpg

Step 10: Screw one of the sections that you cut out to the bottom so that your box will stand up and re-attach the top. Plug it in and you are done! Simply make your spotlights and you can attach the ends to the box! Tonight I will take some pictures of the spotlights in the dark so you can see just how bright they are. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and Happy Haunting!

IMG_1389.jpg
IMG_1388.jpg
Like I said, I will give clarification on any of the above steps.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here's a clearance regulated (regulated is very important or you could blow out all the LEDs by overvoltage spikes) 12v adapter, 2 amp. You'll be sick of soldering before you run out of power for your LEDs.

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=129-077
Hi Xane - So with that adapter, can you put on less than 100 LEDs and it won't blow them out? (Is that what regulated means? haha) I noticed using my old 400amp adapter with only 3 spotlights at one time made the resistors get kinda hot. Thanks so much for this link and I think I'm gonna buy one!
 

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Wild Fandango
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Regulated means that it keeps a constant voltage. An unregulated supply will only put out that voltage when you draw the same amperage. So if you use a 12v adapter with 400mA but 3 LEDs at 20mA only draw 60mA of the power... your voltage will spike dangerously high, and possibly try to shove 18-24v through the LEDs. However, too high a voltage would make them flash super bright and pretty much immediately kill them afterward so the hot resistors may be due to not using the right wattage. Even if you have the correct amperage draw, an unregulated supply will fluctuate, giving you "dirty power". This is less of a problem for LEDs than it would be if you were powering an amplifier with it, where it would cause hum or buzz in the sound. With a regulated supply it doesn't matter if you have 1 or 100 LEDs hooked up as long as you don't go over the maximum amperage.

http://ledcalc.com/

will give you the wattage you need on your resistors. But it could still be due to an unregulated supply giving a higher, but not terminally higher voltage. You could also try using a higher wattage than needed... this won't hurt anything as long as your ohms are correct.

If you have a multimeter/voltmeter, use it to test the adapter without anything else hooked up to it. If it goes to 12v and holds steady (or gives something like 11.8-12.2v and holds steady... cheaper regulated supplies might not be regulated 100% perfectly) your supply is regulated. If the dial swings wildly and finally settles on something like 16v or higher, it's not regulated.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Regulated means that it keeps a constant voltage. An unregulated supply will only put out that voltage when you draw the same amperage. So if you use a 12v adapter with 400mA but 3 LEDs at 20mA only draw 60mA of the power... your voltage will spike dangerously high, and possibly try to shove 18-24v through the LEDs. However, too high a voltage would make them flash super bright and pretty much immediately kill them afterward so the hot resistors may be due to not using the right wattage. Even if you have the correct amperage draw, an unregulated supply will fluctuate, giving you "dirty power". This is less of a problem for LEDs than it would be if you were powering an amplifier with it, where it would cause hum or buzz in the sound. With a regulated supply it doesn't matter if you have 1 or 100 LEDs hooked up as long as you don't go over the maximum amperage.

http://ledcalc.com/

will give you the wattage you need on your resistors. But it could still be due to an unregulated supply giving a higher, but not terminally higher voltage. You could also try using a higher wattage than needed... this won't hurt anything as long as your ohms are correct.

If you have a multimeter/voltmeter, use it to test the adapter without anything else hooked up to it. If it goes to 12v and holds steady (or gives something like 11.8-12.2v and holds steady... cheaper regulated supplies might not be regulated 100% perfectly) your supply is regulated. If the dial swings wildly and finally settles on something like 16v or higher, it's not regulated.
Okay, thanks - I'm definitely gonna get the adapter you posted above. Thanks again for all of your info!
 

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Just bought all the parts I need to tackle this one. Finally something I can do after I get home from the office that doesn't involve the use of power tools!
 

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Out of curiosity, can you plug multiple speaker wires into the terminals, i.e. run 4 lights off one red & black terminal. I'm wondering if it'll work like it would with stereo speakers.

If it can, then you could (in theory) create 1 terminal and plug all of your lights into that one terminal.
 

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I was broke and opted to make a simple terminal.

A piece of wood with 2 bolts through it.
The supply wires are wrapped around the bottom.
All the wires end in ring terminals. I just put the wires on the appropriate bolts then
finger tighten the nuts on top.

Wrap the whole thing in a plastic bag, inside a tupperware container, under a tombstone.
I'm only running a dozen lights so nothing too bad.
 

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Wild Fandango
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I think it would be easier to use a screw terminal strip:

http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/TS-210/10-POSITION-DUAL-ROW-STRIP-20-AMP/1.html

And power plugs:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=110&cp_id=11009#1100903

And a (regulated) AC adapter. I guess if you have USB parts lying around you can use them but it would be horribly expensive to get any decent kind of length with USB cables. Even on discount sites like Monoprice a 16' cable is a couple of bucks, while 100' of 18 gauge speaker wire is about $10-15. And USB hubs are (relatively) expensive too, even the generic ones with questionable voltages.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think it would be easier to use a screw terminal strip:

http://www.allelectronics.com/make-a-store/item/TS-210/10-POSITION-DUAL-ROW-STRIP-20-AMP/1.html

And power plugs:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=110&cp_id=11009#1100903

And a (regulated) AC adapter. I guess if you have USB parts lying around you can use them but it would be horribly expensive to get any decent kind of length with USB cables. Even on discount sites like Monoprice a 16' cable is a couple of bucks, while 100' of 18 gauge speaker wire is about $10-15. And USB hubs are (relatively) expensive too, even the generic ones with questionable voltages.
Xane, I didn't see this until after I made my terminal, but still - I prefer the plug and "play-ness" of the speaker terminals... Either way, its great to help for the LED spots...

Out of curiosity, can you plug multiple speaker wires into the terminals, i.e. run 4 lights off one red & black terminal. I'm wondering if it'll work like it would with stereo speakers.

If it can, then you could (in theory) create 1 terminal and plug all of your lights into that one terminal.
Dminor, I don't see why you can't put more than one LED to a terminal... So in theory, ya I goes you could have 1 terminal and put all your lights into that one. Of course, the size of all the wires together might be too big... But you could definitely only have say 10 terminals but use 20 or 30 LEDS...
 

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Wild Fandango
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Xane, I didn't see this until after I made my terminal, but still - I prefer the plug and "play-ness" of the speaker terminals... Either way, its great to help for the LED spots...
I think I replied to the wrong thread :confused: I could have sworn I looked back through the thread and saw another yet post about using a USB hub to run LEDs (which I always found cool but rather limited). I agree that speaker terminals are good for this too, plus they're color coded!

Dminor, I don't see why you can't put more than one LED to a terminal... So in theory, ya I goes you could have 1 terminal and put all your lights into that one. Of course, the size of all the wires together might be too big... But you could definitely only have say 10 terminals but use 20 or 30 LEDS...
Yeah, LEDs draw so little power you don't have to worry about "overloading" a terminal. Just strip a little more of the wires and twist them together so it doesn't matter if it makes full contact with one or the other.
 

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Parts have finally arrived. I can't wait to get started!!!

The downside is that I pulled a 17.5 hour day yesterday and a 16 hour day the day before, so I'm running out of steam! I don't want to screw up, so I think I may wait until I've gotten some rest to get started.
 

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O.k....so I couldn't wait. Plus I got my second wind. So I went ahead and routed out the 8"x4" project box to allow for the speaker terminal pins to pass thru. I picked this particular model because of the mounting flange on the side. I don't have any mounting plans for it at the moment, but in the future I may just build some sort of master control box and will mount it at that point.

Here's where we're at:


Now I just need to find some screws to keep the speaker terminals in there nice and tight and then it's on to wiring.
 

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Looks great! Can you take a picture of the project box with out the terminals on? I would like to see your router job and what you took out. I am thinking of doing this project.
 

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Sure! Here ya go...



As you can see, my routing isn't that great (using a dremel tool on plastic can be a pain due to the plastic melting during the routing process), but I only needed 1/8" X 1" space to allow for the posts to slide through to the inside of the project box. The upside is that the uneven slots are hidden by the base of the speaker terminals, so my less than perfect routing will never be seen!
 

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The more I think about how convenient this project will be for setting up my lighting, the more I see a company stealing Hallowennie315's idea and making them for consumers for next halloween.
 
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