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Young Artist with question about LED's for installation

Discussion in 'LEDs and Optoelectronics' started by SX0T, Jun 9, 2010.

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  1. SX0T


    Jun 9, 2010
    Hi, I am a young artist (25) and I am in the conceptual stages of a piece I want to make, but have a few questions that require the aid of some knowledgeable electricians. Hopefully I can present my project and get some answers without too much confusion.

    What I am looking to do is find a way to suspend a tube light (fluorescent, LED, whatever I can use or works best) in space using string. The problem, is that I want it to be lit, but not have to be attached to any sort of huge fixture like the ones on my ceiling that typically get long tubes put into.

    Is there a way to power a tube lightbulb, (florescent, LED, or otherwise) without it being attached to a fixture, and without some crazy wiring that would need to be done.

    For reference, I have a picture of the general idea that I am trying to convey:

    So, I need to know - is there a way to power an LED Tube light (or even a Fluorescent, I just assume it would be easier with LED) without a huge ballast using some kind of battery, or even a regular plug for a socket on a wall?

    If so, how?

    I should also note, in case this matters, that I would be covering the tube with a colored light gel to color the tube a very specific color.

    The closest I have found is something like this,
    which is battery powered (3 AA) but frankly, it looks kinda dumb and the tube isn't as large or bright as I would like .

    So I guess to rephrase the question in a more effective way, I'll start here. I included a drawing of what I am shooting for here in the end with 2 possible solutions (unless something better comes up) One solution on the left is to plug the light into a wall. Second solution on the left is to plug it into some sort of battery. There may be other solutions (ie smaller batteries, or whatever). What I want to do is suspend these 2 fluorescent or LED tubes at different degree's of angles from the ceiling (which is why there cannot be a large ballast mount). I want them to be about the size of a regular fluorescent tube (same in circumference around and about 36" in length). I have also found a link to something that may work, so I'm wondering if this will spark any better ideas.Plain LED Light Strip 36 Inches Long RED or Blue

    I'm wondering if something like that, that can be plugged into a wall (these can only use a cigarette lighter adapter can be slid down into a frosted tube.

    Maybe this new info will spark some more ideas - and thanks for all the help I've been given so far. Here is the drawing:
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    Unless you co crazy-strange, you'll need 2 wires per light. Depending on your construction, you can use the wires for support as well (so they're kinda hidden).

    For the same power, thinner wires mean you have to operate at a higher voltage, which means you need to consider safety.

    I would recommend a moderate voltage (say 24V) and efficient lighting to minimise both risk and power requirements.

    In your diagram, the 2 supporting cables would be wires connected to the power supply.
  3. SX0T


    Jun 9, 2010
    Awesome, thanks for stepping me in the right direction - sorry if I'm completely dumb about this stuff -

    But I guess the next questions are how?

    How/where do I get the wires? What kind of bulbs are you talking about (fluorescent, LED) and how do I wire them up to a source? What am I using for a power source even?
  4. SX0T


    Jun 9, 2010
    I think I should narrow down my questions as some things seem to have gotten a bit lost in all the answers and posts (which I greatly appreciate all the info I've been given - so much further now than when I tried to get these questions answered a few months ago).

    What I want:
    36" light that can be suspended from the ceiling - invisible wires a plus, but not necessary
    Can be Fluorescent, LED, or otherwise
    Would like to be battery or DC or outlet powered

    Can I wire a fluorescent bulb to run from an outlet?
    Can I wire a fluorescent LED bulb to run from an outlet?
    Is there an option that I have not explored yet?
    Is it possible to use LED strips and run them to an outlet/battery?
    With what option can a create a nice even glow (like that of a lightsaber?

    Thanks again for all the help everyone, you are all helping to eventually make this art installation possible for me!
  5. florinanghel


    Jun 14, 2010
    The easy way: use glow sticks. The problem with this is that once turned on, there's no way back... and they'll last for 8 - 48 hours usually (depending on the product).

    The harder (but still pretty easy) way: make your own "lightsaber" with LEDs and a semi-opaque colored tube. Put a battery and a switch at one of the ends and voila! I guess you'll manage to do that by your own, it's not hard at all.

    P.S. Whatever you'll try, you won't be able to make LEDs glow as cool as a real fictional lightsaber. :)
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  6. Sally


    Jul 12, 2010
    LED display

    Hope you have solve the problem. I think for big stages, LED display will be better, for it can give spectacle background and colors. Maybe you can have a try in the future, If you need background for stage you may contact me by

    And we have the engineers help you in technical and installtion guide.Then you would have no such problem. :)
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