Choosing the correct power supply for your LED project can sometimes be a difficult task, especially with so many options. Elemental has a large selection of power supplies. In deciding on one for my project, I narrowed it down to either wired, or portable. For the wired option, I could have gone with either the LED plug in adapters or the hard wired drivers. Neither of these would really work for my project. The plug in adapters would end up being difficult, as I have one outlet out on my patio, and it is awkwardly positioned away from the area I wish to put the table. The hard wired adapter is more for a permanent installation. For this under-lit table project, portability was an important deciding factor. By making the lighting and power source portable, I could open up a lot more opportunities to use the table. I chose a 12V portable battery pack, so I could have a table and light source for my back patio, camping trips, picnics, and the list goes on.
Now that I knew I wanted a portable pack, I had to choose which one would suit my needs best. I knew that I was going to be powering about 10’ of LED strip light. This strip light consumes about 1.44W per foot, so in total I needed a power source that could power about 14.4W of strip. I decided on the high capacity rechargeable lithium ion battery pack, as this is rated at 13,200 mA, which is more than enough to power the entire length of the strip. My other option would have been to go with the standard rechargeable pack. But this pack is only about 3,800 mA, which would power the strip, but for a very short amount of time. As an example, here is how I crunched the numbers to figure out how long I could expect to run the strips off of the high capacity pack.
The battery back is rated at 13,200 mA, which is about 13.2 Amp Hours. The LED strip, total, consumes about 14.4 Watts of power at 12V. To convert watts to amps, you divide the watts by the voltage: 14.4/12 =1.2. Now to get an estimate of the usage length, divide the Amp Hours, by the Amperage of the lighting: 13.2/1.2 = 11 Hours. Battery packs typically have about a 20% discharge rate, meaning you can expect it to run at about 80% of the calculated expectancy of 11 hours. So, based on my assumptions, this table should stay illuminated for about 8.8 Hours. I have since used it twice, and it ran as expected, about 8 hours, perfect.
I also factored in the size of the unit, and found that it was small enough to mount under the table and still have space for the strip and saw horses. Once I received everything, and mounted the strip, I placed the battery pack in the area I wanted to mount it.
This positioning was perfect. I had easy access to the power button, and I could easily wire the strip. I left the connector cable bundled so I could simply fit it under the lip of the table.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I did not want to use hardware to mount the battery pack as I did not want to drill any holes into the table top. I also wanted to be able to easily remove the pack when it needed to be charged, so adhesive was out of the question. The pack is relatively light, only 26 oz, so I decided to use some Velcro strips that I had left over from a previous project. Elemental LED has great Velcro mounting options as well, such as the dual lock reclosable fastener which I will be using in the future for sure.
Velcro makes for a super easy install.
In this image, you can see that I made sure not to place the Velcro over the venting holes, power packs love ventilation, and you don’t want it to overheat.
With the battery pack mounted, the next step is to connect it to the power strip. One of the accessories the pack comes with is multiple connector types.
This will allow you to power many 12V devices. Simply test with the locking strip light connector until you find the one you need.
To connect the locking connector to the strip, you would first want to test the connection. Elemental has a great video on How to use an LED strip light connector.
It’s fairly easy, just keep in mind you want the metal connectors on the strip to touch the metal connectors inside of the connector and match the polarities.
Now you are all set. The strip has been mounted properly, and the battery pack has been mounted and connected. Now it is time to power it up.
If it all went well, you should be all set. Sometimes you may make an error on the soldering, or other connections, so in the next and last post of the series, we will go through double-checking connections and troubleshooting any issues, such as how to desolder a bad connection. See you then!