I am putting together a video tutorial which goes through the ENTIRE process and shows/explains everything, including dealing with adapters that DON'T produce exactly 3 volts. I'm just exporting the video and then will run it up to YouTube and I'll post the link later.
If this doesn't provide enough information on wiring tea lights to adapters, I don't know what does! LOL
I cover everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, so it ran a lot longer than I expected. But there should be enough info in there to take you from start to finish.
thank you so much for taking the time to make the video creepyC! I lol'd at the hair comment Little bit of the mad scientist look there, hehe.
The video was funny and informative.
May seem obvious to others but Im a super noob, so a few things I need to clarify so I understand.
You mentioned running the diodes for dropping voltage from 5 to 3. With the diodes, you can run about 8 lights per diode. So if your dropping 2 volts with 2 diodes, you can do max 16 lights off the one modified adapter?
Also, can you give an illustration or show an example of real life daisy chain action to connect more than one in the method in your video?
You used red/white cable from dollar store, with male/female ends. Is this a MUST or can we use regular speaker wire? Especially if were going to be hooking up more than one light to the adapter.
Glad you liked the vid. Yeah, had a bit of the mad scientist thing going on there. I actually had to split the shooting across two days, so the latter part of the video I had some serious bed head going on! LOL
Ok... so the wire colors don't matter AT ALL. You can use regular speaker wire, just make sure you can tell which wire is which, since the way you hook them up matters. if you get them backwards, the lights won't light.
Here's diagram which may help better explain how to hook up multiple lights to the same adapter.
I say roughly 8 lights per diode (or diode pair in this case) simply because of current concerns and heating. So your max is 8. You could probably push it to 10 if you needed to, but I wouldn't go any more than that so you don't risk burning out the diodes.
Any other questions, post here or drop me an email (see signature).
Oh.. and the male/female connectors were just for convenience so I can easily disconnect them and/or replace the tea lights with other thing that can run off the same voltage. You don't *HAVE* to use them.
Very nice idea. My comment is on hooking up strings of them. REMEMBER THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BETWEEN SERIES AND PARALLEL CIRCUITS! You can't necessarily hook up LED is series and get them to light. There IS a voltage drop across each. The extension cord analogy is flawed because it has the outlets in parallel, not in series. So you want to figure out how many you want to string together, add up the forward voltage drop across each, then figure out what additional resistor to add to get the right amount of current given the voltage in the wall wart you are using. For example, a 12v wall wart will likely light a nice long chain, but might only light it once if you don't add an appropriate resistor to the circuit.
Also, unless the LED is a special one with a built-in resistor, you typically want a resistor as well as an LED and the power supply. The tea lights being used MIGHT have such a resistor built into the LED or it might not. I've read that sometimes they get away with the small internal resistance that the small battery has.
If you hook them up in parallel and don't add additional resistance, you'll draw more current per LED, which is bad and can burn out the LEDs and/or overheat the wall wart. The solution is to hook up a resistor with each LED. There's a nice calculator for how to hook them up and what resistors to use at http://led.linear1.org/led.wiz.
Last item: if you want to build your own, I've found at least one source of just the LEDs, with built-in flicker effect. The source is Evil Mad Science.
All my lights are hooked up in parallel for that very reason. Although I measured the actual current running through each light, that isn't to say they don't have some sort of internal resistor. So, I took the approach of the X-Files... Trust No-one. LOL I wired them in parallel so there is no possibility of how the LEDs are put together messing things up. The tea lights in the video must use the LEDs with everything built in. There were no other components, just the LED, the battery and the switch.
CreepyCreations: Yes, somehow I missed your picture, but I was really responding to someone else who suggested just rigging them in series. I am curious, though, why straight diodes in your diagram rather than resistors?
P.S. to another writer: yes, the flicking LEDs often have the circuit right in the LED, so this should be just as easy with any like that.
I use a couple of diodes because the voltage drop across them is predictable, regardless of the current draw. If you use a resistor, the voltage dropped changes as the current drawn changes, so it is not stable. So, in low current conditions, the voltage dropped across the resistor is smaller and could result in too much voltage going to your tea lights or whatever you have hooked up.
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Here is a list of what you will need:
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