Thursday, June 6, 2013
Gelling a LED Lamp
So I'm a fan of these inexpensive CREE LED bulbs, $10 at amazon.com. At 9 watts. they are as bright as a 35 watt halogen, last essentially forever, and have a warm white color with acceptable CRI (though LEDs will likely never be quite as good as incandescents in that respect).
They are bright enough and wide-spectrum enough that you can add color gels, and it's pretty easy. The faceplate is held on with only 3 small screws:
Take them out, and the faceplace comes off, along with three lenses which sit on top of the three LEDs. Don't lose the tiny screws! You can see the three 3-watt LEDs attached to the heatsink.
You can use any gel you want to change the color. I had these in my collection, I think they are Roscolux brand but I'm not sure. The combination of pink and orange gave a color I liked.
So I cut out a triangle from both gels big enough to cover all three LEDs and put them on top of the lenses. Carefully putting the body of the lamp on top sandwiches the gels between the LEDs and the lenses. Even though the lenses are concave to fit over the LED dome lenses, there's room enough to scrunch up the gels.
Carefully screw the faceplate back on. You will need some pressure to compress the new gels. Et voila! A color LED lamp, with a gentle tint:
It's too bright to photograph directly, but I put it in a fixture next to an unmodified LED lamp (to the left) and halogen lamps (pointing down) so you can get a little bit of the color effect:
If you are keeping track, this is my Lamp of the Month for May (oops!)