Can you get a useful brightness from an external rope-light?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by MisterBoy, 18 Nov 2021.

  1. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    I have a long brick wall up my drive and I have been planning to add some lights on it as it's pitch black at night.

    It has a nice capping along the top and the other day I was thinking how nice it would look with a rope-light tucked under the 'lip' along the top instead.
    But these are normally sold as Christmas decorations and the like and I can't find any information on lumens/wattage to see if they could cast a decent amount of light compared to a regular LED bulb.

    Do they exist for non-decorative use?
     
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  3. ericmark

    ericmark

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    The 2 meter long smart LED light strip from Lidi was 22 watt I used under kitchen cabinets and if anything too bright at maximum output, so there are high output versions, but most are rather dim.
     
  4. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    I've seen light strips like you mention - basically the tape with lots of little LEDs - sold by commercial sellers for wired-in rather than those £10 kits with the remote control you get on amazon, and these specify W/m I think. You can buy them on 50m drums, even. As far as I know rope lights are just the same 'tape' in a plastic tube... I suppose I could buy some light strip and some clear plastic tube but wondered if someone already sells this.
     
  5. 333rocky333

    333rocky333

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    Led rope is often 15metre lengths and can be longer and mainly 240volt, whereas Led tape is usually limited to just 5 metres long and 12 or 24 volt, google Led Rope there is a lot of cheap stuff sold around 20 quid, or there is more reliable stuff used in commercial premises
     
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  6. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    Thanks - initially searching "led rope lights" was just showing me low-voltage Xmas tat but I looked harder on your advice and found this sort of thing: https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/SK153457.html seems like what I'm after and gives a lumens rating too.

    Great :)
     
  7. big-all

    big-all

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    just be aware any greater than about 6 or 7m requires mains voltage because off transmission losses [volt drop]this is why they come in 5m length
     
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  8. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    Rather than rope light (or light pipe as it used to be known) which will sag between fixings it may be better to look at something like these:
    https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Produc...52CznueceCRCR_z8BCIK4Bnqf0tu9VKMaAixcEALw_wcB
    https://www.ledspace.co.uk/products...8LmoZ83kRyeBOjWiHTWjApax-Kfd260kaAqSnEALw_wcB
    with LED tape in them. I'll suggest using 24V tape to reduce current and hence volt drop.

    I know it will cost more than the pipe but it'll be easier and neater to install.

    For what it's worth I find the light output of LED tape to be quite remarkable now, a run along the side of a drive will very,very adequately illuminate the floor.

    3 years ago I assisted with installing some in a hightop transit, we ran 3x 2.5m strips full length, each side and middle of roof, I think I remember it being about 4watts/metre so a total of 30W, the light level virtually overpowered the 4x twin 8W fluo fittings which in turn completely overpowered the original 6x 10W interior lights. However the tape was simply stuck to the painted surface and eventually fell off. Turning the fluo lights on changed the colour render of the tape.
    Having a 2m length of aluminium channel left over from a job and enough offcuts of 14W/metre tape to fill it we fitted it in the middle of the roof a few months ago, total 28W. To say it's brighter than the first tape is an understatement, turning the flou fittings on/off makes no difference to light levels or colour.

    The vehicle is used as a portable office/control room.
     
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  9. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    @SUNRAY thanks for the idea. I've looked into that as ceiling uplighting before but not considered it for this job.
     
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  11. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    Thinking further you may not require the 14w/metre for that application, as I pointed to earlier the 2m of it is plenty to read/write under and i imagine you don't require that brightness to illuminate your drive. Last night I laid about 600mm of what I believe is 4.8W/m (290mA with 13.8V) inside my diffused kitchen false ceiling and it is enough to walk around comfortably in the 20ft kitchen but not enough to comfortably read or chop veg and certainly not half way along the kitchen.
     
  12. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    This is the prototype of a Christmas illumination. The tape is divided into it's individual sections of 3 LED element and resistor.

    The sections are controlled to create rolling patterns along the tube,

    Acrylic tube 16mm internal diameter https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/plastic-tubes/4084024/ in 2 metre lengths (


    tube ligh prototype.jpg
     
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  13. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    That looks like a fun project @bernardgreen - are you driving this via an Arduino or something, or can you buy something off-the-shelf?

    edit: oh, does each element have its own wire or are you chaining them and pulsing the supply, relying on the resistors to 'slow' it down and get the effect?
     
  14. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Driver is a home brew PCB on a PIC processor, only 3 channels used.
    prototype 4 channel.jpg
     
  15. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    My home made star, about 25 years old, made out of clear plastic 20mm water pipe - solvent welded into conduit boxes.
    Originaly housed wire ended fairy light bulbs (Push in wedge type) then torch bulbs. Changed to LED fairy lights a few years ago by cutting up a set and resoldering the shorter wires together. Sadly some absolute **** managed to wire them to 24Vac instead of 12Vdc:whistle: so now with LED tape for 3rd or 4th year. it is evenly lit but the 100Hz flicker won't let me get a full picture. Top ends of the tubes are sealed with silicon, I've left the bottom open to allow access for the various bugs:rolleyes:
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  16. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    The proper tape-lights are definitely quite bright. Some of them are dimmable, I think? Which brings me onto my next question, the Duralite LED rope-light for instance use a 3-wire design and you can buy a multi-function controller https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/SK153564.html which to me looks like I have on my various Xmas lights. How exactly does the 3-wire setup work and is this proprietary to each vendor or are these controllers interchangeable?

    I don't really want my driveway lighting to flash** but it made me wonder, could I fairly easily wire the control wires to a dimmer or even an IoT controller so I can adjust the brightness if I install it and find it's a bit much?
    **: well again if it was linked to IoT I could link it to an alarm I suppose!

    I've been looking around and the tape-lights only seem to come in 12/24V varieties, 12V typically 5m lengths before volt-drop. Whereas rope-lights come in 240V. My installation looks like being about 50m but it makes me wonder why the difference? Isn't a rope-light basically a regular tape inside a tube anyway?
    Is it possibly a safety issue, that sending mains down something so fragile is a bad idea? To clarify on the mains powered rope light, this is a hot live wire running down the rope? So for safety purposes it should be treated like a mains cable that happens to light up?
     
  17. MisterBoy

    MisterBoy

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    Just to add a bit of info for anyone else interested, they do sell this: https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/SK155085.html

    So you could avoid sag. I might be tempted to glue it if it's anywhere near passing pedestrians though ;)
     
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