Monday, August 12, 2013

Deception

What's a hangar base without lights, right? When the year began, I actually already had the idea of a hangar diorama brewing in my head, mainly because my very first ever hangar dio was a rushed bust. Simple as it was, it took me a long time to build, mainly because of inexperience. I wondered back then, as I was engaging my warp engines if I can even pull this one off, because of the lighting it will involve.

A couple of months after, March to be exact, I already had a circuit in mind, bought 5mm and 3mm LEDs, to augment the 5's and 3's and SMCs I already had on hand, as well as some two prong wafer connectors, a new soldering gun and batteries. That being said, I don't like soldering because it's too inconvenient for me, and I try to avoid it as much as possible, hence why I developed non-soldering methods. Little did I know that those purchases (and my soldering woes) would prove to be somewhat "useless" since I "discovered" something I've known and been aware of for quite some time, but, the gears in my head was on low. CD-R King has them for quite some time, but, with my mind being set on building a circuit myself, I ignored it.

In one of my sojourns to Quiapo (Hidalgo for camera stuff and Raon for electronics), hunting for parts and such, I saw an assortment of the thing I ignored at CD-R King. It was then that the gears in my head kicked into high gear, and I told myself, "why didn't I think of that sooner?"

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LED strips. They come in all sorts of color variants. This particular roll contains 60 LEDs per meter at 5 meters per roll, and can be bought at P100 per meter. Prices range from P100 to P400 depending on the type (there are multi-color and double types which of course, are more expensive), and for this particular type, the cheapest I found so far is at P100/m. They are rated at 12 volts, but they can run on a 9V battery as well with a slight (but acceptable) dimming.

With these, I can lay down a strip of lights with little soldering involved, and no worries about the overall circuitry. The strips can be cut in 3 LED sections, and each section can be re-soldered onto each other or onto a circuit. I can simply cut a strip of appropriate length, and since it is self-adhesive, is easy to mount on almost any solid surface. I've used a 120LED/m type to light the underside of the base, and will use the 60LED/m type (the one pictured above, which incidentally has a black mount wrapped in weatherproof silicone) for overhead lighting. It's a good thing I ignored my impulse to buy the LED strips at CD-R King, because the non-weatherproof type they are selling is already at P680 and the weatherproof type at P780, the only plus is, both have an AC power source included (which I won't need).

Dark Power

Now, with that out of the way, I had to figure out how to power the LEDs. I've always managed with button cells for a switch-less single or double LED setup, but with this, those wouldn't be enough. Four 3V button cells in series can power an entire roll, but since they are not made to handle high loads, the batteries got depleted in a matter of minutes. So, I opted to power them up with 9V batteries. I got 9V battery clips, easy enough to set up with the LEDs and the switches (I will till try to avoid soldering altogether by using two-prong connectors), but to ensure longevity, I'll wire two 9V batteries, either with an interrupt/interchange switch, making one battery the main power, and the other an auxiliary. Switching from main to aux will still be manual, with a main power switch.

Connecting the batteries would be simple, but I didn't want to just leave the batteries loose inside the dio, especially if time permits, I'll be rigging the diorama to a turntable (for that effortless 360° view). So, I built battery cases that will mount on the underside of the dio. At first, I cut pieces of HIPS using the battery as a guide, but I realized it was taking too long to wait for the individual pieces to mount and cure, more so, I would have to reinforce each joins, making the case too thick and heavy as I would like.

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So, I did what should have been obvious. WHIPS are more flexible and easily bendable, so, I wrapped a strip of 1.0mm WHIPS onto a 9V battery and cemented the sides with another strip of WHIPS centered on one of the longer sides of the battery, then I cemented a base on one of the ends. The battery fit snugly into place, as such I drilled a 3mm hole on the center of the base so I can simply push the battery out when needed.

More to come...

2 comments:

  1. NNNNIICCEEE,all the best on this project.

    Gonna take a look around for these someday.

    ReplyDelete

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