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39 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
New here, but I thought I would share my "science project". Truth in advertising, long ago I started my work life selling electronics and doing custom car stereo installations. Please don't try this if you are uncomfortable cutting & splicing wires, and drilling holes in metal.

So I picked up a brand new 3X 30 HD that was last year's model (black control housing) for $1249 all in, delivered into my garage. I have been lurking in the forum and reading the LED project from 2point2 and want to say Thank You for the inspiration! Instead of sourcing individual components and project boxes, I found an easier way to convert the AC alternator output to DC. A little more expensive and it requires spicing, but it is off the shelf and ready to install. I found a bridge rectifier circuit on Amazon and did a round of emails with the seller/builder prior to ordering it. The device can be searched by the following on Amazon: 72W Outdoor Waterproof Low Voltage Landscape LED Power Supply Converter/Rectifier, Input 12V AC to Output 12V DC

The total current draw is well under 3.5 amps at low idle (10.9 volts) and 2.3 amps at full open throttle (16 volts). I opted not to install any type of switch given the life of LED's

I ordered an inline fuse kit for $8 including fuses, and the light I ordered was a 36W Combo bean (Spot & flood) by Westin. Westin 09-13206C Black EF2 LED Light Bar. The price is as high as $46, currently $36, and I got lucky scoring it somehow for $17 with a $10 rebate!! I chose the Westin because of the lifetime warranty. There are similar ones for around $20 but double check the warranty.

In addition, I ordered a set of LUYED 900 Lumens 12v-24v 1141 Chipsets Led Bulb for $11.99 from Amazon, to replace the 1141 incandescent bulb supplied by Cub.

The alternator on this model has a 3 amp output for the heated handles, and a 5amp output for the lighting circuit. The lighting circuit is the yellow wire coming out of the Molex plug.

Time for the build: I split the harness open from the Molex plug up to the light. I spliced the existing green ground wires at the headlight together to feed the heated handles. I grabbed the yellow from the headlight about 1/3 of the way down the handle split it. I ran a new ground wire from the headlight down to the yellow headlight wire. Next, I ran a set of wires for the Westin from the auger housing across the side of the engine block, past the connector and up the loom about 2/3 of the way to the same areas where the headlight leads were.

I spliced the rectifier bridge (AC to DC converter) AC inputs to the yellow lead from the Molex and tied the other wire on the rectifier to the existing green chassis ground wire. I spliced the DC output of the bridge to the respective leads of the existing headlight and the new cable pair leading to the Westin. Every spice was done with marine type butt splices that are crimped, and have a heat shrink with integral adhesive to weather seal the connections. I spliced the fuse with the same style butt splices, and connected the output of the fuse and the DC ground to the Westin, again with weatherproof heat shrink butt splices.

Everything was tested with a DVM for polarity and voltage prior to being bulbed up and before being re-loomed, put into split loom, taped, wire tied and finalized. The hole for the Westin was carefully marked, drilled, deburred, and reprimed top, bottom and inside the actual hole with Rustoleum brush-on enamel to prevent rust.

Bottom line, cost was under $60, it took about 4.5 hours to figure it all out and actually do it. The pictures tell the rest of the story.


39 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Search Amazon for this: 72W Outdoor Waterproof Low Voltage Landscape LED Power Supply Converter/Rectifier, Input 12V AC to Output 12V DC from EDH Lighting

39 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Bridge Rectifier vs Bridge Rectifier with Capacitors

Some posts on the site seem to indicate thar a BR with out capacitors will shorten the life of LED's. I reached out ot the guy who builds the Amazon piece and here is what he said.

Message from 3rd party seller:
Hi Xxxx,

The short answer is that this won't cause any appreciable degradation in reliability.
Quick background so you don't think i am pulling this out of my butt. :) My training is in
integrated circuit design. Did that for 7 years down in Silicon Valley. Then moved on
to designing telecommunication systems before jumping off and doing my own thing. So I
am very familiar with this topic.

There is a minimum voltage required to turn on a LED, the foward bias voltage. The LED
is ON when it has this voltage or higher. And it's off when doesn't have this voltage.
There's also the concept of "reverse bias". LED is in "reverse bias"
if it experiences negative voltage across the leads. Reverse biasing a LED, will cause
damage. This is why you don't want to run an AC voltage on it. While the LED will turn
on (during the positive cycle of the AC sinewave), its reliability suffers due to what is
called junction breakdown. If it were made better (like a normal diode meant to experience
this type of reverse biasing, such as those in a rectifier bridge), then the reliability
won't suffer. But LED are not made to tolerate reverse bias. My experience is that
these LED strips you find on Amazon die after about 300hr of operating on AC voltage (I
only tried one such experiment so your mileage might vary a little).

Anyway. Back to the question at hand. A rectifier produces only positive voltages for
the LED....that's the whole point. So no issue here with reverse biasing and such.
Without the voltage smoothing capacitor, the LED will be OFF very briefly, at 60Hz, as
the sinewave dips below the forward bias voltage. Search for "EDH Lighting" on
youtube and you'll see my video about that. Your question really boils down to
"Does rapidly turning on/off a LED damage it". The answer is no. Think about
your computer. It's operating a GHz. The circuits inside the computer are turning on
and off at GHz. No damage. It's just the nature of semiconductors...they are meant to
operate like that. I've had these LED lights in my yard for over 2 years running off my
device. No issues.

That said, all LEDs do have a rated lifetime. I believe LED die generally due to a
process called electromigration. This is where the metal inside the LED gets worn thin
and eventually break just due to use (ie, having current running through those metal).
Turning the circuit on/off quickly doesn't speed up this failure process.

Hope that all makes sense.
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