[Noisebridge-discuss] cheap LED power & boost converters Re: driving multiple LEDs with minimal batteries

T t at of.net
Wed Jan 5 06:41:46 UTC 2011

The circuit that gives you more volts from a lower voltage supply is called
a "boost" converter.  Typically it makes pulses through an inductor so more
amps at less volts come out as more volts as fewer amps.

I'd start here:

Cheap mass produced devices with boost converters that maybe could be
adapted to your purposes include those LED flashlights that run on a single
AA or AAA cell (market price for a 1-watt 1-AA flashlight seems to be about
$20) and those single-AA "emergency" cell phone chargers.  I have no idea
how much power they can handle or how long they can run.  But they are cheap
at places like Fry's and EBay.

If I was doing it, I'd get a 1-watt 1-AA flashlight and user optical fibers
(get a 1970's "light sculpture" at a thrift store) to deliver the light to
many little points.  That way you don't have to deal with the electronics at
all.  Unless you want them to blink or something.  In that case an Arduino
and and an inductor and a capacitor would let you do both the blinking and
the boosting under programmatic control.

BTW, for people looking for a lot of light in a small flat package for
pretty cheap, halted has 12V 1-watt pre-built circuits for $9.95.  They are
less than one square inch.  Add one of those little sub-AAA 12V camera
batteries and you have a lot of light in a little package.  I bought one in
white and one in red at the Santa Clara store.  Hours and locations:
http://www.halted.com/commerce/info/contactinfo.jsp  You might also be able
to get them online.

Best Regards.

On Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 12:06, meredith scheff <satiredun at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'd like to do a soft circuit scarf or three, but I'm always running up
> against the problem of power. I usually use fairly low power LEDs
> (<2v) driven by a 9v battery or one of sparkfun's LiPos.
> I've heard tell of somehow being able to power more, but I'm still learning
> this EE stuff. Could some kind person point me in the right direction?
> Meredith
> --
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