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New Led Lights for Zelda

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For any of you who are interested in my on going up-grade project on my Ult, Zelda, I'm proud to announce that  I've built an LED light for her.  I bought a number of LED components on line and just finished fabricating a light consisting of three Cree XTE - 3-up for her.  The light assembly mounts on the bottom side of the head, and straddles the presser foot/needle bar assembly.  The light platform is made from 16 ga aluminum sheet stock, and also acts as a heat sink for the LED's.  The wires are strung through holes I drilled in the platform and come together on left side of the head and are routed up and under my Intellistitch "hood".  The driver for each LED star is located under the "hood".  The light assembly is attached to Zelda by way of a number 10  bolt.  I originally intended on drilling and tapping a mounting hole on the underside of Zelda's head, only to find out that there isn't enough room to get any drill I own in place to drill a hole, as well as insufficient room to turn the tap.  Fortunately APQS provided a hole on the underside of the head close to the presser foot bar. and I managed to match it's position on the light platform and drill a corresponding hole.  Taking the side cover off allowed access to the upper side of the head base and I simply fed the small bolt through the holes, put a lock washer and a nut on it, and tightened it down.  Since the base plate straddles the presser foot/needle bar assembly the single bolt holds it in place.


I positioned one LED star assembly on each side of the presser foot/needle bar assembly, and one in the center behind it.  To direct the light where I wanted it (I hope it's where I want it, I haven't actually sewed with her yet), I added a Carclo 3 up frosted wide optic (lens) to each Cree star.  The unfocused light disbursement of the Cree XTE stars is 140 degree which seemed too wide to me.  The options available were between 12 degree narrow lens through the 37 degree wide that I chose.  The narrower ones seemed way too focused to me.  I also like the fact that the optic sits atop the LED's and offers a bit of protection for them.    The optics sit in holes in the star assembly and I set them with 5 minute epoxy to make sure they stay in place.  The needle now seems to be well lighted.  Each star is advertised to produce 300 lumens, so the three of them produce a lot of light.


I originally intended on either wiring another switch for the LED's, or using the original light switch used on the Intellistitch up-grade.  But after thinking about it, I've decided to use the switch I installed for my vertical channel lock instead.  I recently installed a vertical channel lock on my Gammill Classic, and I used a wireless remote switch to power it.  It has worked out so well, that I've decided to install one on Zelda.  The remote switch will allow me to eliminate the wires that run loose under Zelda, which I've never really liked.  They've worked flawlessly but I don't like the way they look, and I am fearful that someday they might catch on something and cause me a problem.  For the time being I'll keep the original florescent lamp that the Ult2 came with.  I might discover that having two lights is good or that I don't really like the LED's (heaven forbid!).  Maybe a black florescent would be good.  If I finally decide I don't want the florescent any longer I'll then disable it. 


The LED's I chose are 12v DC lights.  When I built the magnetic channel locks, I installed a remote 12v DC power supply.  It has adequate power to drive the lights as well as the channel locks.  I've got several wires running for various power supplies (the 120v AC, for the machine, 12v DC, for the channel locks and LED's,  and a 5V DC for the bobbin/pantograph cameras and monitor), and I'll try and clean up their routing one of these days (I've got them taped together now)


The parts I bought including the remote switch (which hasn't been delivered yet) cost me about $85.  Not cheap, but not too bad.  I had a scrap of aluminum that I used for the base/heat sink, and the 12v DC power supply was already in place.  If you had to add those, it would push up the cost a little.  If I stop using the original florescent light, I'll eliminate burning myself on the bulb (not really burning-just uncomfortably warm).  I look forward to getting the new switch and finishing up the wiring.  If anything turns up that I'm not happy with when Zelda is up and going again, I'll let you all know.  Jim   

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I had a chance to use Zelda with her new LED light today.  I have to say it was a pleasant experience.  The new light really gives me light!  It's like working in sun light.  I could even see the eye of the needle clearly so threading was easier.  I don't know whether it's the amount of light, or the quality of the light, but it sure is an improvement.  I think my bobbin cam even likes the quality of the LED light better than the florescent.  The image on the monitor seemed sharper.  The LED's I bought are "warm white" (2700 K I think). maybe that's at the heart of the difference.  Whatever it is, it's a nice improvement.


I'm glad I decided to use my vertical channel lock switch for the light, and replace it with a wireless remote switch.  I've attached the remote switch to the top of the original light, and it's placement is much more convenient.  Getting rid of the wires under the machine that powered the switch was nice too.  A nicer installation.


I mentioned that I wanted to clean up my power supply wiring.  Well, I took the opportunity to do that when I was installing the new remote switch.  What I did was to buy some 1/2 inch heat shrink wire insulation.  I ran all the power cables through the insulation and heat shrunk it tight so now I have a single power cord for all my devices.  Got rid of the tape and the zip ties.


I'm really happy with the up grade.  I would encourage anyone thinking about an LED up grade to do it.  If you don't want to build one yourself, I'm sure that APQS's retrofit, or the one mentioned else where here on the forum would serve as well.  It makes more of an improvement that you would first think.  Jim

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In the first photo I posted, you can see each of the three 3-up LED's I used, with the lens covering it.  One's on the right side, one's on the left side, and one behind the presser foot bar.  You can also see the mounting plate/heat sink I mounted them on with the screw I mentioned earlier attaching the assembly to Zelda.  You'll see a bit or red wire between Zelda's head and my Quiltazoid bracket.  That's the power wires for the light.  They run up the left side of the head and under the Intellisitch "hood".  The photo was taken from the table top looking up.  The second photo is of the side of the machine.  The red button on the black Intellistitch "hood' is the switch.  The black wire running down the back side of the machine is the power supply cable.  I had to add this addendum to my post because I couldn't see the photos when I posted them - had to go back and look at them.  Sorry.


They really provide a lot of light.  I still have the original florescent light on the machine.  I turned it on the other day with the LED off.  It didn't even seem like the light was on.  That's how much different the two are.  Jim

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