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DIY Battery Ring light

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Harry Pallenberg
DIY Battery Ring light
on Apr 15, 2012 at 6:40:47 pm

I’ve wanted a battery powered ring light - but most are either WAY too much money or they are built for DSLRs and are too small. I was at Pep Boys (auto parts) and saw that they had these little battery powered LED lights and my quest to build a ring light was on.

I realized I should look elsewhere, so I went to FRY’S Electronics and found a better LED light - the Trend Sources Group 24 LED 2 pack for $19.99. They are basically 24 LED lights in a rubber casing that can be cut after 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 or 21 LEDs to adjust the size. This is great because no matter what size hood you have you can cut this to the size you need.

Not sure if the photos are all working - here are a few links:
https://www.onlinefilefolder.com/2sEuTxtaCZLMxa
https://www.onlinefilefolder.com/2sfPqHnhneEl6E
https://www.onlinefilefolder.com/2st5AVzwEDokXg





I started by chaining two of 9V batteries together to power them and discovered that one 9V worked but was much dimmer... hmmm... built in dual brightness settings.

My soldering skills are about zero and I was starting to cut the wires shorter and shorter as I tried different things so I stopped into a Radio Shack to see what they had as far as ways to connect wires (I went with crimp connectors)... but more importantly I found the ENERCELL AC to DC Adapter with Battery Backup for $60 bucks. This thing has multi volt settings (3, 4.5, 5, 6, 7.5, 9 and 12) so I can still get my 9 vs 12 volt dimming, it can power up to 15 watts and best of all a built in battery if there was no AC outlet around.



So now I could run the lights with AC power or from the battery pack. The unit also can charge devices via a USB port as an added bonus. On my first test it ran both light strips for over 2.5 hours and it only takes 2.5 hours to charge - so if you bought 2 you could go all day. It comes with your choice of plug adapters (the white thing on the end of the cord) and Radio Shack has all you need to connect the other end to the LED wires.

I used a large rubber-band to hold it on the lens hood for now. I’m still working on this part and have ordered an extra hood so I can experiment. I think I’ll go with some white camera tape first to work sort of like umbrella (there is a lot of light leak out the back and sides), then black tape over it all so it looks better, matches the color of the lens hood and does not get dirty.

So far in testing it is pretty good. Always do a white balance. I’m thinking of adding another 2 strands to make it brighter. The ‘famed’ ring look in the eyes can only be attained by being REALLY close to the lens and it is more of a rounded rectangle - but from a distance it throws a great little catch light / twinkle in the eye. In a totally dark room form about 4 feet away with 5db gain I was able to get a usable image. Closer was obviously even better. The LEDs are not painfully bright to look at, especially if the subject is looking slightly off center. I'll get some video up ASAP.





Thanks,
Harry

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Todd Terry
Re: DIY Battery Ring light
on Apr 16, 2012 at 2:51:15 pm

Very cool, Harry...

Few years ago I cooked up a homemade flo ringlight out of an old matte box I had laying around and an aluminum cake pan. It works like a charm, is dimmable, and has both daylight and tungsten-balanced tubes. I painted and trimmed it out fairly slickly so it even looks semi-legit (even put a fake logo on it).... BUT, it is tied to AC power. It sure would be nice if it wasn't, and this project has me thinking about re-working it...

Thanks for the inspiration!

T2

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Harry Pallenberg
Re: DIY Battery Ring light
on Apr 16, 2012 at 3:59:40 pm

Video up: https://vimeo.com/40457058

I'll probably go get another 2 strings of LEDs to get more omph out of it.

Thanks,
Harry

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Harry Pallenberg
Re: DIY Battery Ring light
on Apr 24, 2012 at 1:45:53 am

Found a better / cheaper / brighter / 96 LED string here:
http://www.superbrightleds.com/cgi-bin/store/index.cgi?action=DispPage&cate...

only $23 for 96 LEDs rather than $20 for 48 LEDs !!! This also means less wire splicing to get a longer string - so now I have a double ring.

Also I used the Enercell device to charge up my iPhone and it is still running the 96 LED for over an hour straight!

Thanks,
Harry

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Todd Terry
Re: DIY Battery Ring light
on Apr 24, 2012 at 2:34:50 am

Nice find, Harry... and I see they are available in both tungsten and daylight color temps (well, at least in the neighborhood).

I sense a project coming on....

T2

__________________________________
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Creative Director
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fantasticplastic.com



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Harry Pallenberg
Re: DIY Battery Ring light
on Apr 24, 2012 at 3:29:12 am

Here is the 96LED... I actually used 9 additional LEDs from the 1st set to make it reach all the way around twice. It really throws out a decent amount of light.



Thanks,
Harry

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