by New England Gardener
new alternative for lighting has appeared on the scene - LED lights. A few years
ago, LED lights were mere novelties, but now they are extremely
practical, drawing very little energy, and by selecting the
correct LED lights they can be powered directly from a 12 volt
RV battery...recharged from a solar panel. The pioneer in
this field is "New England Gardener," and his comments appear below.
These comments will be expanded as he writes to me, and soon
there will be photos to go with his comments.
"The reason I am writing,
is I think the LED type lights and bulbs now offered for
auto/truck use are becoming practical for emergency use. I
bought an amber stop/running light at a truck stop and have
been using it on my deep cycle batteries, and it draws very
little current. Back-up white LED truck lights are now
available, and would make a better reading light. It wouldn't
take more than 10 or 15 watts of solar panel to maintain a
battery for running a LED light and portable short wave radio
watt LED lamp from www.superbrightleds.com with the
long black and red wires that come with it (left). I
have attached a Lighter plug, and it makes a bright
reading lamp, or lights the kitchen table for Supper.
The LED Amber Tractor Trailer clearance/turn signal
fixture (right) I bought at a truck stop. I added
a toggle switch to select between the bright turn
signal to light for our kitchen, and the parking
lamp section we use as a night light.
The parking light section
gives plenty of light for a night light in our large kitchen.
This is important, because we have a full size wood cook stove
there. The brake/turn signal section lights up the room well
enough to eat and do tasks like select fire wood for the stove
and open the damper, set the table etc. It appears to be very
directional, so I point it at an angle toward the ceiling, to
spread the light around the room. The amber light doesn t spoil
my night vision as much as white, and looks more like it could
be from a fireplace or oil lamp, so it does have some security
advantages. I was going to make a bracket for it with a switch
to select between high and low when I found a web site that
sells a wide variety of LED 'bulbs'. They have the white back
up lights, and some of these only draw 40 ma, so that s less
The LED lamp I hung from our kitchen chandelier is also rated
at one watt, and it provides plenty of light to read by. If you
want to use rechargeable
batteries, be sure to read the pages on 12 VDC adapters for charging
"New England Gardener"