Shop Lamp

IMG_5106-1000I really needed a good lamp.

I had some of those halogens from a hardware store (Canadian Tire, American Tire). They suck. The bulbs burn out continually. I thought I was being a smart aleck when I got a box of those long skinny bulbs but the darn lamps themselves burn out too. Then I bought some cheap desk lamps from China but that was a comedy of cheapness and fail.

Michael gave me one of these cool super power LEDs so I decided to make a lamp from it (50W High Power LED Driver AC85-265V (1DL730), LED DC-LE14181 50W Warm White High Power LED Panel 4000LM 50 Watt Lamp Light).

This thing worked out great. It looks yellow on the photos but it gives really nice bright white light. I think it’s running a little hot so I may add a fan.

Wiring to 120V

Diagram of North American plug from Dummies.

There are three wires coming out of this thing. But the wire colors didn’t match any of my scrap cords I salvaged. Here are two tables I found on the internet (sorry can’t find the link at the moment): European wiring vs. American wiring: Brown to black, yellow to green, blue to white

Wiring of 110V circuits: European vs. USA (Ground, Hot, Neutral):
Europe: Green/White or Green/Yellow, Brown, Blue
USA: Green, Black, White
USA-plug : round, small flat, large flat

I was able to wire the LED driver to the LED itself and it worked (positive to the single hole of the LED and negative to double hole).

Heat Sink

The base of the LED was about 44x45mm so I ordered a matching heat sink. I drilled and mounted it to the LED using thermo-couple paste.

I did a quick test run and found that it still heats up quite fast. I added some aluminum angle to help with heat dissipation (more thermo-paste). I figured it was no big deal since the bolt that holds it all together could become the mounting bolt.

That seemed to work but the back of the heat sink was reaching over 90C. I don’t know if that’s too hot or not but I added a fan. With the fan it’s down to about 57C.


I made a cheap fixture out of hardboard that uses a wing nut to set angle of the lamp. Works great.

What Next?

Perhaps a shade based on one of the snowflake patterns I recently worked on. Or perhaps some sort of remote control pan and tilt. Or add sensors. Here are some ideas:

  • A lamp that turns off when one falls asleep.
  • Flexible mounting system (clamp, base, etc.)
  • Variable color/temperature.
  • Adjust from ambient, directional and spot.
  • Auto adjust to ambient light.
  • Remote control pan and tilt.

What would you make?


I’ve got a fairly good solution for general lighting in my main workspace. I’ve got these inexpensive 250 and 500 Watt halogen lamps.

The downside is they burn out often. I know you’re not supposed to touch the bulbs when changing but has anybody found a way of having them last longer or another good solution for their workspace?

By the way, the rainbow effect was done by photographing one of the lights through a diffraction grating. I’ve got some of that on hand for another project.


to “Shop Lamp

  • Nice, i just got the same driver and led module to make a lamp. So this is very helpful, Thanks. Great pics and I can’t wait to see your finished lamp.

  • I got it wired up and attached to an old CPU heat sink+fan. It is so bright. here’s a pic on facebook –

    Thanks again for the wiring tips. you made it very easy!!!

  • Thomas, how’s your lamp coming? I just finished mine. I made a little base out of hardboard.

  • I’m noticing that right under the heat sink (from the bottom the temperature is as hot as 95C. And the lower part of the black heat sink is 60C. Is that too hot?

  • I installed one of these into the aluminium casing of an LED road “stud” and the thing got crazy hot.
    I think if I were to use this for other than occasional testing, I would install a small fan and much larger aluminium or steel heatsink.

  • Yeah, I think I’m just going to add a fan..

  • Where did you get the heatsink?

  • I got it in ebay for like 5 bucks. It matches the size of the LED base so I figured it was perfect but I hadn’t realized how much heat these things generate.

  • I just added a fan and the temperature at the back of the heat sink is down to 57C.

  • Fan failed. 🙂

  • Hey Darcy, yea my daughter took the pic and uploaded to her fb account so here it is on my public server. I run a fax broadcast service so that’s why it’s hosted there. Anyway it’s a great lamp but does need a fan. This is a pic of it wired up with only cpu heat sink. I did install the fan and put the led in a coffee can kinda like a stage light attached to mic stand with a flexy gooseneck. It’s so bright it burnt my left eye a little bit before i put it in the coffee can. I had to wear an eye patch for a couple of days. But when i’m building a giant rack mount server and putting in big long telephony cards and tons of little jumpers and connectors everywhere it’s great. These rack mounts are so big it’ls almost like working in a cave but the led lamp easily illuminates everything. No more having to hold a flashlight or move a little lamp around. I’ll post a pic of the finished product after i paint it up some.

    • Thanks, I see the picture that’s just the light but I can’t see the lamp itself..

  • Sorry, i don’t take too many pics during the process cause i don’t have a cam on my phone but once it’s done i will. here is a pic of my desklamp using peach can that is very similar except the LED module uses a bigger coffee can. i use this desklamp everynight and it’s great because it uses about 3 Watts. it’s arduino controlled with a PWM dimmer. we are getting so efficient the electric company came by yesterday to check the meter and transformers outside our office.