ExtraBrite LED, Power Supply update

Roombox Lighting with  ExtraBrite LEDsRoombox lighted with LED striplight 

  

 

Someone called and said ” my roombox LEDs are flickering.  Why?” and I had to say “I don’t know”… My wife’s least favorite words!  It means I’m about to spend an evening in the workshop messing around with scraps of this and that, mocking up a dollhouse display of some sort to test or do a demo.  And that’s what happened here.  

Of course, I had another question about the brightness of an ExtraBrite LED strip in a Roombox that was all black inside, wondering if the output was enough.  Ha! I can answer two questions with one demo:  Life is good! 

ExtraBrite and light support

ExtraBrite LED and E-215 Support

ExtraBrite LED and E-239 Connector

ExtraBrite LED and E-239 Connector

I built a simple roombox, painted the inside black, and mounted a strip of ExtraBrite LEDs on some E-215 light support material, which I attached inside the roombox with double sided tape. 

The ExtraBrite LEDs are bright

The figurines in the roombox above are illuminated with one strip of ExtraBrite LEDs the full width of the roombox, mounted behind the top trim.  In this case, I did the wiring with solidwire because I wasn’t going to add any fixtures later.  I used the E-239 connector (another question on my StickyNotes), and wired it up to an old CirKit 1009B 5 watt Power Supply I had laying around. 

Sure enough, the lights had a just-barely-detectable flicker.  

Now, I have done many many displays with ExtraBrite LEDs with nary a flicker… what’s different here?  When I switched to a Power Supply from a CirKit Large House wiring set which was close bye, the light was steady and perfect.  

The Next Generation of Power Supplies

I called my friend Vern at CirKit Concepts to get the lowdown on Power Supplies.  Vern is an electrical engineer and designer, and explained the difference between the old “analog” style of transformers, and the new “switching” transformers, also called “electronic” transformers, which are more efficient and give a steadier output.  CirKit’s new transformers are electronic and they are “DC”, which is the difference that I was seeing. 

"Output: 12V DC"

As of today, CirKit’s CK1009A (10 watt), CK1009C (20 watt), and CK1009D (40 watt) transformers are electronic DC power supplies (in time, all of them will be).  These are the power supplies in the Deluxe Wiring Kit and the Large House Wiring Kit that Real Good Toys sells.  

I have done lots of LED displays with both AC and DC power supplies, and never before noticed anything; but it’s clear to me now that, for the most consistent and best results, DC is the way to go.  Look at the nameplate on a Power Supply you intend to use for the “Output: 12V DC” tag for the best performance with your ExtraBrite LEDs.  

Gary

One Response to “ExtraBrite LED, Power Supply update”

  1. RD Wolff Says:

    That’s the issue I noticed today when I hooked mine up, a faint flicker, so I reversed the wires and they still ran and still flickered- according to what I read they only work one way + to + and – to – and not the other, then I looked at the transformer from cir-kit and noticed it was 12v AC so I thought oh… I bet these are supposed to run on DC and decided to check here, sure enough that’s what I thought- DC.
    I was not able to get the press-on wire connectors to work at all despite the instructions, after messing with them several times I was able to get one to work but it didn’t seem like it would be a good connection so I decided to just solder the wires on.