Friday, 27 September 2013

Tutorial: Installing LED Spotlights in a room box


I have had a few inquiries about ceiling spotlights recently and one of my customers has successfully installed them in a modern art gallery shop box to display her miniature paintings so I thought it was the ideal opportunity to do a quick tutorial to show how easy and effective they are!

Firstly, this is the interior of Hazel's finished room box.  She wanted to create a modern art gallery that was well lit with even lighting which would show her paintings to best effect.

I suggested using 3mm high brightness LEDs with clear lens clips which hold the LED in place and also act as a diffuser, spreading the light and making it very even  (Standard round top LEDs normally produce a spotlight effect).

Finished art gallery with LED spotlights
Finished art gallery with LED spotlights
Close up of LED spotlights
Close up of LED spotlights
 Based on her requirements I did a couple of tests with a cardboard box of similar size to her room box and that gave a light spread of about 3 inches per LED meaning they can be spaced at 6 inch centers (150mm) to provide even lighting.
I drew up the plan below in CAD.  It shows the LEDs at 6 inch centers (150mm) and Hazel also wanted three additional LEDs for the shop windows and the front door.


CAD plan for layout of LED spotlights
CAD plan for layout of LED spotlights
For the clear lens clips the best way to install them is to mark out your layout on the exterior of your room or room box and then drill 4.5mm holes at each location.
Depending on your room or box you can either make grooves for the wires using a dremel, or by hand.  You can then secure the LED and wires in place with masking tape over the top or, if you don't want to make grooves you can just stick the wires down with masking tape and cover with your flooring or roof material the same as you would usually do with lighting wires.

The clips are designed for 3mm thick material but this can be worked around by drilling a slightly larger hole (ie 4.5mm) and if necessary, the clips can be glued in position with tacky wax or superglue or similar.  Just a tiny drop in the hole to secure.  I find the clear clips tend to hole pretty firmly though without glue.

Clear lens clips  - installed in a ceiling (demo)
Clear lens clips  - installed in a ceiling (demo)

Once the clear clips are in position you simply push the LED into the clip until you hear a 'click'.  It's best to have one finger on the 'spotlight' so the clip doesn't get pushed out of the hole.

Once you have positioned all the wires you should then have something like this:
External view of room box roof showing LED wiring in grooves
External view of room box roof showing LED wiring in grooves
Once the LEDs and wiring are installed you can connect them up to your power supply.  In this case all the LEDs are powered off a 3 volt, 2 x AAA battery kit.  The 3 LEDs in the shop frontage were powered off a separate 2 x AAA battery kit so the front can be easily removed.  A small connector block was used to connect the LED wires to the battery wires.  It ensures a good connection and makes wiring very simple.  No soldering required.  This makes it a very effective but simple solution and ideal for portability.

This was a very large room box - the Victorian Shop Box kit from the Dolls House Builder which is 23" L x 16" W x 12" H (590 x 400 x 298mm) which is a huge shop!  The entire spotlight kit including 11 pre-wired LEDs, 11 clear lens clips and 2 AAA battery kits only cost £30 so it's a fairly cost effective solution.

The LEDs were wired with the white wire found in all dolls house lighting which has the advantage of being flat and so very neat to hide but it is slightly more expensive than the standard red & black wire I can also supply.

Other clip options include black ring clips or brass or nickel metal 3mm eyelets.  Top row shows each clip with a 3mm LED installed.  Lower row is the clips on their own.
Spotlight clip options
Spotlight clip options

If you'd like to read more about the creation of Hazel's Art Gallery with lots of finished photos including the shop frontage, click on the link: Hazel Rayfields Art in Wax Blog.

I'd like to thank Hazel for allowing me to use the photos of her finished art gallery.

I hope it's a useful tutorial and perhaps inspires you to try something similar.

Jennifer,

If you would like to try your own spotlight ceiling you can purchase the 3mm LEDs, clear lens clips and batteries here:
3mm LEDs
Clear lens clips
3v Battery Kit


4 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing it Jennifer!
    Hugs
    Ewa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ewa, glad you found it useful :)

      Delete
  2. thank you for sharing this wonderful tutorial Jennifer :)

    Hugs
    Marisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marisa. Glad you found it useful :)

      Delete