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DIY LED Pin Spotlight

| February 5, 2018 More

Mini LED Pin SpotlightWhile I was doing a little shopping online the other day I came across some neat looking little LED spotlights. Having no real need for them, I naturally bought several. At less than $3.00 each, how wrong can you really go?

These are 1W LED lights with a swivel head and they each come with their own LED driver. I thought just maybe they could be useful in my model photography somehow so I ordered a pair of the warm white and a pair of the cool white versions. Unless you’re buying temperature specific (and more expensive) LEDs, terms like cool white and warm white are relative, but you can always fiddle a bit with temperature by using little gels to adjust color.

When my lights arrived I was surprised by the heft of these little lights. When I ordered them I figured they were all plastic, but surprisingly the LED housing and the base are actually metal. The swivel action in the head is achieved by a press-fit plastic washer in the base of the light and for what it is, it works pretty well.

The LED driver is housed in a little plastic box, molded to appear a bit more techie that it really is. It looks like the manufacturer was going for a cooling fins / terminal screws visual on the outside, but these are just decoration. The actual driver is on a tiny PCB inside the box, not connected to the case at all so it does flop around inside the case. Funny.

Not having any use for the bases, I cut a notch in them to remove the wires. The plugs on the end were just a bit too big to slip through the base. This is when I realized the little buggers were made of metal instead of plastic!

At this point you can just plug the light in and go but I wanted an easy way to position the lights overhead when I’m taking photos. I remembered I had a couple of cheap reflector holders I bought on another late night shopping trip over at AliExpress a few years ago. The gooseneck holders were very weak, wouldn’t hold much weight at all but fortunately the heads of these LED spotlights are very light. Even though they’re made of metal, they are tiny!

I used a Velcro strap to hold the driver box and a few plastic micro clamps to hold the wires to the gooseneck. As this is an AC input LED driver, I added a 2-prong plug to the 18 gauge input wire I added and that’s it, a little adjustable pin spotlight. I was going to dress this piece up a bit, make it look a bit slicker, but it does just fine for what it is.

In order to get a narrower spotlight I made a little snoot out of a piece of black foam sheet material I had in a parts box and just slipped this over the LED housing.  It does a respectable job of tightening up the spot.

For a $3.00 LED and driver combo, a $9.00 reflector holder (price when I bought it) and a $1.00 plug, this might be a useful little photo accessory. Of course you could use these LED spotlights as is for some good backlighting behind buildings or scenery on a layout.

Article Links

1W LED w/ Driver
eBay Lights

Gooseneck Reflector Holder
AliExpress Seller

Velcro Straps
AliExpress Seller

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Category: Useful Tools

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