FAQ - LED Lighting
This year, I will be doing a number of LED classes and seminars on the subject of LED Lighting. This Project section will list the types and sources of LED lighting that Haunter can use. Most of the LED lighting systems will concentrate on 12 Volt power source because of their advantages of installation and safety factors.

The factors in favor for LED lighting are...

1) Low Voltage. With LEDs operating from a few Volts to under 30, they are safer just about any other light source. No need to pull permits for the installing of LED lights or the wiring.

2) Power to light efficiency. LED light are many times more efficient than any other light available to the Haunter. Will this efficiency comes less wasted heat too. Bottom line, you get more light with less power.

3) Longevity. With a lifetime in 10,000's of hours, most LED will last 10 years being left on all the time.

4) Shock resistance: LEDs, being solid-state components, are difficult to damage with external shock, unlike fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, which are fragile.

5) Pure Color. A LED will emit a very tight spectrum of light. By changing the type of LED or mixing two or more together, LED can product any color in the rainbow. In the case of white light they use a Red, Blue and Green LED in the package.

Where to buy the LEDs.
Most of the LED lighting that I buy today is from eBay. (Amazon is also a good source too.) This source has its good and bad sides. Without a doubt, the prices on eBay are hard to beat. But many times I’ve been burned by a dealer selling products of poor quality. The old saying, “buyer beware” applies to shopping on eBay. Just buy one item from a deal that is new to you. After you are sure of their quality, then by more.

I remember buying a 12 Volt Flood LED light and it turned out to be a 120 Volt unit. I requested to return with refund from the seller and he claimed that I order 120 Volt unit or I did not know what I was talking about. After about a month and a little help from eBay, I finally return it and got a full refund.

I should point out that I do not bit on Auctions. It’s a waste of time and you never get the price you want. Just use the search option “Buy It Now” to find the best price without all the games.

Most of the time, the stuff that’s on the heavy side will have the lowest price if it’s NOT shipped in from another country or overseas. Try to stay local on those items.

When buying LED strips lights, it’s best to search with a term like “5m 300 LEDs 5050 SMD Waterproof Pure White LED Light Strip” and don’t forget to select the “Buy It Now” option. (Replace Pure White with the color you need.) You should find strip in a waterproof sleeve for about $15 and with power supply for another $5.

Anytime LEDs are used in a Haunt they should be waterproof even if there are used indoors. Besides keep them dry, the waterproofing helps keeps them from getting damage. In the case of LED strips, there are two types of waterproofing, coating and sleeve. The sleeve type is easier to work and offers better protection from water and impact damage. Just remember to seal off the ends of the sleeve to keep the LEDs dry.

Now, the types of LED light:
First up are the small LEDS used as prop eyes, candles, indicators and small show lights. These LEDs only take a few volts and less then a tenth of watt to power them. With the low cost only few cents each, you can afford to buy hundreds at a time. Don’t forget the inline resistor you will need. (The resistor’s value is based on the supply voltage.)

MR-11 and MR-16 lights
Next up are the scene lights for the props and sections of the background. These Lights are bit large and run from 1 to 15 watts using 12 Volts power. Most of these LED are design to fit in small garden light fixtures to keep them safe from the elements. Range from smaller MR-11 to larger MR-16 with G4 mounting are great for lighting up a ports to cemetery scenes.

LED Flood Lights
Speaking of garden LED lights, there is a class of LED lights that range from smaller 10 watt units all the up 100 watts or more. These flood lights are encased in a ip65 waterproof housing so bad weather will not harm them. Beside coming in warm & pure white light, there are RGB version for creating any color light you need.

A little trick is putting a color gel sheet on the inside glass cover. This not only protects the gel from elements, it make it hard to fall off. Since the LED light is not hot as the order theater lights the gel will last many haunt season before it needs for changing.

LED strips
Should you need to create a large field light effect that cast no shadows then LED strip lights are a good choice. The come in a number of colors including RGB for a color spectrum source. Most of the strips are 5 meters (about 16 feet) lengths and sold as just the strips or include power supplies and/or RGB controllers.

It is recommend to use the “5050" size since smaller LEDs (like “3838" or “3850") give off less light. Even in indoor locations, always go with the waterproof versions of the strips. (The waterproofing will help protect the strips from damage.)

Most strips come with an adhesive backing, but it will not hold for long in very hot or color climates. It’s not bad idea to use another adhesive (like hot glue) to attach the strip to the surface. If you want the ability to remove the LED strip from your haunt, mount it a 2 by 1 board hot glue and then screw it down in the haunt.

It should be noted that most LED strips can be cut about every 3 inches to costume fit your needs.

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