[Clive] had an interesting video about LED lights from Philips. You can’t buy them unless you live in Dubai. Apparently inspired by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who wanted more efficient and longer-lasting bulbs. The secret? A normal LED bulb uses an LED “filament” at 1 watt each. The Dubai bulbs run at about a fourth of that which means they need more LEDs to get the same amount of light, but they should last longer and operate more efficiently.
After exploring the brightness and color of different lamps, [Clive] tears one up and finds some surprises inside. The LEDs get over 200V each and the driver circuit has a lot of pairs of components, possibly to keep the size small for the high voltages involved, although it could be to improve reliability, [Clive] wasn’t sure.
By reducing the power, [Clive] was able to count that each LED strip contains 21 LEDs. He also notes some of the oddities in construction that appear to be for reliability and ease of manufacturing. We aren’t sure how that compares to the construction of conventional bulbs. The circuit includes a bridge rectifier and a linear current regulator using a MOSFET.
The bulbs cost a bit more, but if you factor in the probable long life, their total cost over time should be reasonable. Overall, it is interesting that a nice design came from what amounts to government regulation. Of course, there is a price: in exchange for the development of the bulbs, Philips has the exclusive right to make and sell the bulbs for the next several years. They expect to sell 10 million lamps by the end of 2021, although they are only available, currently, in Dubai.
The lamp has plenty of neat design touches that speak to [Heliox]’s experience in the 3D printed arts. The articulating arms are modular, and feature integrated cable guides. The lamp base features nuts inserted mid-print for easy assembly, and the swivel is actually a two-piece mechanism printed as a single assembly. The table clamp uses a large screw, and the benefit of 3D printing means its easy to customise to suit any individual table. Using black and orange filaments gives the lamp a proper industrial look, and the bright LED strips are perfect for illuminating a bench for fine detailed work.
It’s a great addition to [Heliox]’s workspace, and the tall articulated design means it can cast light without getting in the way of what you’re doing. We’ve featured her work before, too – like this glorious infinity cube. Video after the break.
We consider ourselves well-versed when it comes to the technical literature plastered on hardware store parts. Acronyms don’t frighten us, and our Google-fu is strong enough to overcome most mysteries. One bit of dark magic we didn’t understand was the gobbledygook on LED lamps. Wattage is easy and color temperature made sense because it corresponds with warm and cool colors, but Color Rendering Index (CRI) sounds like deep magic. Of course, some folks understand these terms so thoroughly that they can teach the rest of us, like [Jon] and [Kevin], who are building a light controller that corrects inadequacies in cheap lamps by installing several lamps into one unit.
We learned a lot by reading their logs, which are like the Cliff Notes from a lighting engineer’s textbook, but we’ll leave it as an exercise for the students to read through. Their project uses precise light sensors to measure the “flavor” of light coming off cheap lamps so you can mix up a pleasing ratio. In some ways, they are copying the effects of incandescent bulbs, which emit light relatively evenly across the visible light spectrum, right into the infrared. Unfortunately, cheap LEDs have holes in their spectrum coverage, and a Warm White unit has different gaps compared with Daylight, but combining them just right gives a rich output, without breaking the bank.
Many of us have been inspired by the videos of the Falcon 9 booster, tall as an office building, riding a pillar of flame down to a pinpoint landing at Kennedy Space Center or on one of SpaceX’s floating landing pads in the ocean. It’s not often that we get to see science fiction fantasy become reality on such a short timescale, and while they might not be sold on the practicality of reusable rockets, even the most skeptical of observers have to admit it’s an incredible feat of engineering.
Though it can’t quite compare to the real thing, this 1:60 scale Falcon 9 lamp by [Sir Michael II] promises to bring a little of that excitement home every time you flick on the light. Combining a scratch built model of the reusable booster with some RGB LEDs, the hovering tableau recreates the tense final seconds before the towering rocket comes to a rest on its deployable landing legs. We imagine those last moments must seem like an eternity for the SpaceX engineers watching from home as well.
[Michael] walks readers through assembling the Falcon 9 model, which cleverly uses a 2 inch white PVC pipe as the fuselage. After all, why waste the time and material printing a long white cylinder when you can just buy one at the hardware store for a few bucks?
Dressed up with 3D printed details from Thingiverse user [twuelfing] and splashed with a bit of paint, it makes for a very convincing model. While the diameter of the pipe isn’t quite right for the claimed 1:60 scale, unless Elon Musk is coming over your place to hang out, we don’t think anyone will notice.
The rocket is attached to the pad with a piece of threaded steel rod, around which [Michael] has wrapped one meter of RGB LEDs controlled by an Arduino Uno. With some polyester fiber filler as a diffuser and a bit of code to get the LEDs flickering, he’s able to produce a realistic “flame” that looks to be coming from the Falcon 9’s center engine. While we admit it may not make a very good lamp in the traditional sense, it certainly gets extra points for style.
If you think of levitating objects you probably think about magnets but this is not what [Aaron Hung] used to build his levitating LED lamp. To be fair, his lamp is not really levitating but merely generates the illusion through the principles of tensegrity. We have featured a number of tensegrity structures over the last months but this is maybe the first time somebody has used it to build a daily-use item.
In his instructable [Aaron Hung] points out that according to Earnshaw’s theorem magnetic levitation using static magnetic fields like those of permanent magnets is actually impossible. If you are interested, the Wikipedia article also explains why floating superconductors and the Levitron toy do not contradict this theorem. (TL;DR: they’re dynamic.)
Coming back to [Aaron Hung]’s tensegrity lamp, the construction is rather simple and only requires an Arduino Nano, a Neopixel ring, a 9 V battery some wood or cardboard, and fishing line. The tensegrity part of the lamp consists of two similar pieces of laser-cut wood which are held together by fishing line so that the top part seems to float in mid-air. Normally, tensegrity structures are very fragile so [Aaron Hung] added some extra lines for stability which allowed him to hang the lamp from the top section without collapsing the whole structure. After coding some animations for the Neopixel ring and adding a paper lampshade the project was finished.
One wouldn’t expect there to be much to cause envy in the world of desk lamps, after all whether it’s a classic Anglepoise or a dollar store LED affair if it does its job of casting the requisite quantity of light where it’s needed, most of us are happy. But then we saw [Ronny Ziss]’s LED arc desk lamp, and suddenly all other lamps simply aren’t good enough any more. If it’s not a wall-to-wall arc of LEDs spanning the length of the desk, it quite simply no longer cuts the mustard. We’ve entered the world of lamp envy, folks, and it’s a poorly-illuminated place to be.
As you can see in the video below the break both the hardware and the software of this lamp are impressive in their own right, the structure being an aluminium extrusion carrying an addressable white LED strip fitted into an arc between two custom plywood blocks on the walls either side of the desk. The software is controlled through a rotary encoder, and allows command of the position, width, and brightness of the illuminated portion, as well as having a hidden Pong game. Sadly he doesn’t reveal the software or the microcontroller in question, however the task is not an onerous one and it’s likely most Hackaday readers could put it together using their board or processor of choice.
The build starts with a glass lightbulb souvenir from the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. Inside, a TinyLily Mini microcontroller board is tasked with talking to an accelerometer to detect movement. When the lightbulb is picked up and oriented in the vertical axis, it lights up a NeoPixel LED, glowing to indicate that you’ve just had a remarkable idea! It’s all powered off a single CR2032 coin cell, thanks to the low voltage requirements of the modern TinyLily components.
It’s a build that serves as a good way to learn about accelerometers, and it makes a fun desk toy, too. We’ve seen some other projects go by the name “Prometheus”, too — like a wrist mounted flame thrower. How’s that for variety?