Turning Spotlights Into Soft LED Nightlights


[Bob] had a couple of bright, 12V halogen spotlights in his hallway that didn’t get much use. Rather than toss them out or leave them sitting idle, he decided to replace the bright bulbs with dimmer LEDs that he could keep lit through the night.

He opened up the spotlights, removing the bulbs and the built in mirrors before fitting them with 350mA LED pucks. The pucks were mounted to a pair of L-shaped aluminum scraps, which serve as both a mounting plate and heatsink. When running, the underdriven LEDs barely heat the aluminum plates, so he is pretty confident that the lights are adequately cooled.

The orange LEDs provide a nice warm glow in his hallway, and he says they are perfect for late night trips to the fridge. They currently stay lit all the time, but [Bob] is considering adding a light sensor to turn them on them automatically, as well as a PIR sensor to increase the brightness as someone passes by.

7 thoughts on “Turning Spotlights Into Soft LED Nightlights

  1. Oh man, I was slightly confused for a second from the title. My brain went into full on theatre mode and assumed we were talkin’ bout big honkin’ cans o’ light that made you sweat on stage being converted into LED thingamabobs.

    Speaking of which, I should get on making something like that, with a proper (non-pwm) dimmer, or at least one with some sort of low pass so the stage lights don’t have a refresh-rate that gets caught on camera (or by panning your eyes hard left or right really fast)

  2. Use an X-10 PIR sensor. You can control the time it’s on, and program when it operates (day light or just evening). I use it for the lights under my kitchen cabinets and it works great.

    The only drawback is changing the batteries, you have to re-program the whole thing again.

  3. a regular security PIR would work as you already have 12V there for the “spotlights” , these are more of under counter lights that were used elsewhere. Lots of work and cash to change them over when for less than $6.00 each you can get the same thing in amber/red/disco-stew-purple/whatever at most online LED shops… I guess if I had some 1W led modules laying around I’d like to put them to use like that..

    Overkill on the heatsink though… That and just changing the halogen 2 pin bulbs for lower wattage ones would have done the same thing. 12V halongen fixtures run on … drumroll…. 12 volts. so a 4 watt outdoor patchway lamp bulb would plug right in (bi pin type) and do the same thing for $0.21 each and zero time spent.

  4. I chose those leds because i already had them, same for the L brakets which are leftovers. As for their size, they might be barely enough for the full 350mA current of the led. Besides, the orange light seems very well suited for the night.


    I already have a couple of security PIRs that i will use. I want to automate some other lights, all run from 12V, and I can use a single supply for everything.

    As for those spot lights from ebay, they look alot like what i know some people bought and are really poor quality.

  5. Thanks fart face. I have some old accent lighting Halogen bulb G4 fixtures that I was going to retrofit With my stash of harbor freight led flashlights. This is perfect. I’ve also got some x10 motion sensors that are programmable and wired up to an old DC wallwart (no more wasted AAA’s) Time to light my stairs, hallway, pantry, maybe kitchen too.

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