R40 strips outfitted with LED's?

lcb

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Location
Phoenix, AZ
So, I have this space that has very limited power possibilities, and even more limited are my funds. In a storage closet, I found a handful of R40 strip lights, and I had a thought, but I'm not so sure how well it would work.

Has anyone used the LED equivalent lamps in these fixtures? I'm thinking that if I can do that, it could be a pretty easy way to get more light and use less power. Though these lamps are expensive to get the dimming capabilities, I'm willing to put forth the upfront cost if someone has done it successfully.

If you've tried this, let me know your thoughts. I know that the dimmable LED's have some issues at lower levels, so I'm not sure if it's worth it or not, but if anyone has had luck making this work, I'd love the info.
 

ElGusto

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2013
Location
Southwestern Virginia
Sounds like an interesting experiment but if you're going to to try to dim the fixtures you're likely to run into some trouble. Maybe par 38 halogens might be worth a try.
 

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Sep 24, 2005
Location
Michigan
I'd look into dimmable single color LED PAR style lamps as opposed to dimmable white LEDs.
 

Les

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
I've thought about this as well. I'm not sure how much detail the other threads went in to, but there are two main factors that may bite you (neither of which have to do with dimming):

1). Placing color media in front of an LED will significantly reduce the output and,

2). Any LED retrofit I'm aware of needs sufficient airflow to achieve the life expectancy advertised on the packaging. The R40 is a little more open on the inside than some (ex: A-lamp reflector strips), but it is still an enclosed space which will get pretty hot if all the lamps are on at one time.

Using single-color LEDs may address both issues. Even then, the cost of retrofit might rival the cost of new mid-grade fixtures, depending on how many strips you need to lamp. Don't get me wrong -- I am all for breathing new life in to old instruments. I do it all the time - just give the numbers a good run and do a test batch first. Good luck!
 

lcb

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Thanks, all.

sk8trsdad: lol. I've searched so many times through google with no CB results that I (clearly incorrectly) assumed that there weren't threads about it. CB threads come up within the first few links with most of my ridiculous google searches. I finally broke down and joined because I didn't see anything. Sorry for crowding the forum with old ideas.

I think that if I do it, I agree that single-color LEDs would be the way to go; the light output issue would definitely be a problem. And removing the rondels would certainly increase the airflow.

One of the other threads mentioned difficulty finding these, but who knows. Other than that, I think that dimming issues will be the worst issue.

Les, you may be right regarding costs with the mid-grade fixtures. My space is small, so I don't actually need a huge amount of fixtures to make a huge impact.

Halogens don't save enough wattage to make the overall project worth it; Currently, we only have two striplights to light the cyc, because of power. If I can switch to LED's, I should be able to get them all into the same 3 circuits. They would definitely be a better choice for dimming, though I believe (not an electrician by trade, so I very well may be wrong on this) that the halogens are prone to blackening if they aren't turned back up prior to turning them off; Any thoughts on that?
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Halogens won't blacken when dimmed for the most part necessary for discussion. 45 and 50 Watt Halogen PAR 38's could work dependant on wattage and candlepower needs if still available - lots of PAR and R lamps off the market. It's an interesting question on fronting the cost of LED dimmable LED. Removal of the Roundell probably won't be a problem and in fact might be a good thing to leave in use. Don't think I would worry about cooling on such lights. While a specified beam spread, the beam is still a bit more narrow as it comes out of the LED lamp than that of a filament lamp. This beam is coming out of a few narrow center sources and within the first few inches is more intense than that of a filament / halogen part. Could burn thru gel faster in going LED over sticking with the roundel. Given LED's are more of a pure color, gelling colored versions won't have good results, and in general it's possible that even in a white light version you will suffer from intensity some.

Drop off and dimming in general on dimmable LED's will cause problems dependant on brand in needing some R&D but it's a good concept in the above strip light solution. You will probably need a dummy ghost light load on the dimmers of about 75 watts to make the dimmers preform properly, and even than long term use on dimmers could show problems in lamp life. Old school analog dimmers as a thought if you have them might have really good results.

Your thoughts are not old school or going cheap... you are cutting edge in making gear you have work again as per design of them in your situation. After all, anyone can do used mini-strip MR-16 or micro strip MR-11 and lamp them down to 12v/35w or even used LED cyc - there is lots of older LED gear that would be bright enough for your needs. But Strips, wish I still had some (were I still doing shows) made magic with them. AT work instead for a work table light I have a 5-lite Mole Richardson PAR 36 audience blinder I retrofitted for LED. Works great and on its swivel arm, when ever someone at the Leko prep dpt. shines their lights towards my department, I just turn it on, pull it out and swivel it back to them. They get the idea in a LED audience blinder now shining back at them.

A technical concern about wiring, asbestos and lamp socket condition of what you have in strip light. Charred lamp sockets can be fixed or replaced, asbestos wiring inside it is a large problem if there, and if sending the fixture off to be re-wired you can go four circuit if wanted for fourth color as easy enough to do when wiring but it will spread the beams apart more. Strip lights are very flexible in what you are going to do with them but often what you find available will need work. If bad lamp sockets especially - while fixable, a bad lamp socket will easily destroy a perfectly good lamp quickly.
 

lcb

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Location
Phoenix, AZ
One missed detail: part of the reasoning to do this is to go to 4 units instead of the 2 that I currently have in place, so that my cyc has full coverage instead of the 1/2-3/4 that I'm getting now.

The colored LED idea would be something like this: https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/led-colored-par38-lamps/ to negate the need for Roundel or Gel. Obvs, I'd likely need a higher wattage than these units, as these are roughly a 40w equivalent, and (I think) I'll need much higher, which may not be available.

I'll talk to my electrician friends about ghostloading and how that works. Again, as a non-electrician, these are things I never really learned about. ;)

Thanks, all, for the continued thoughts about this. I'd love to utilize them, but I'm just not quite sure if it's even worth doing it, mostly based on the dimming capabilities and whether the output would be decent.
 

Senorfish

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2014
Location
West Coast
Why would you want to ruin a perfectly good R40 strip light? :confused: I say spend the money on more power for the venue (reconfigure breaker panel?) R40's are beautiful lights.... especially when combined with LED's in the general plot instead of replaced by.

But anyway, yes LED's have dimming issues as the voltage drops. One problem is that there are like 7 or more different dimming technologies being developed to deal with LED's, and there are no agreed upon engineering standards as of yet. So one type of LED dimmer can have variations across manufacturers which leads to a very complicated compatability chart across lamp models. People are having a difficult enough time getting their kitchen ceiling LED can light retrofits to dim properly. I wouldn't waste too much time on it unless you're interested in trying to tackle some of these very current engineering challenges that the biggest companies are also trying to solve. Intersting project, yes. Easier than buying more power or some real LED fixtures for the venue? Not really.

here's some helpful reading :legalstuff:
http://www.liton.com/webcatalog/brochures/wp_dimmingfacts.pdf
 

ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Was working on dimming a few MR-16 LED's late last week. Have to completely agree with the above in not thinking about problems in dimming them with my post. Saw the above as with problems with a Non-dimmable LED I tried before even looking if it was dimmable. Stepping and flickering on the dimming range at best in problems when they were dimmed on a manual light board.

Incandescent dummy load didn't matter for dimmers designed to dim incandescent and LED or on incandescent normal dimmers. Saw stepping in general for noticeable blinks as it were when faded and flicker at around 50% on a manual board. Sensor rack LED module and normal dimmer module - normal module had the same results with a little better results, bit still wasn't clean in dimming. Once on a light board with control fade/dim scene, didn't matter which dimmer was in use in clearing up the problems. Didn't try lingering in the 50% range, by that time it was already decided that a color corrected halogen version MR-16 had a lot more output.

Used to working with LED tape it's transformers and encoders for a great dimming range and color mixing and finished fixtures at this point. Forgot how much I hate dealing with LED's in general. Designed package type stuff not re-inventing the wheel in a R-40 strip to be LED.

For MR-16, when LED didn't have the output, during a lunch hour I started searching for color corrected halogen versions of a MR-16, and didn't find much useful in output in at best 2/3 the output once up into the 5K color temp. range. Some were good but a simple 1/2 CTB blue on a normal high output lamp corrected the problem. Cheaper lamps, 100% CRI and no problems with dimmer curve.

Stick with the incandescent, or put them away a few more years until LED's are further along.
 

Users who are viewing this thread