Quite some time ago my wife happened to mention to me that our electric bill seemed to be rather high. This was during summer and I suspected the air conditioner was on too much of the time. Being a technology person, I decided to purchase a meter that would measure power usage for each household device in an effort to more scientifically determine what devices were running up the cost and determine if we could cut back. I learned quite a lot but the most surprising cost item was our outdoor Malibu light system. My next door neighbor had years ago told me that he was very happy that we had our outdoor lights on all night long. He went on to say that more than one drunk driver ran into and up our garage driveway negotiating a street turn. I then added the Malibu system after he told me that news. We had quite an investment in that light system so it seemed practical to switch over to LED lights and get rid of the very inefficient tungsten filament bulbs. But looking over the cost for each LED bulb seemed stupid due to cost. About $25 per bulb was the possible cost and that was Internet prices. There had to be a better, more cheap solution. It was not until I was browsing in my local electronics store that I spotted high intensity LED bulbs. I decided to buy some along with proper wire end pins and try them out. I followed two different solutions. The first was to improve upon already manufactured LED lights for automobiles by soldering gold plated pins to the ends of the LED wires. This worked quite well except that the wires would move in and out of the bulb housing when they were bent straight. I had failed to realize that the automobile bulbs used bent wires which kept them in place. When I straightened them they could slide in and out of the plastic bulb case. I then had to apply glue gun shots to the wires and case so they would no longer slide. The results with this LED rewire was most satisfactory. These bulbs did a fairly decent job of illumination.
The second solution I used was to purchase high intensity LED’s and solder them together to make more powerful lights. The wires from the LED’s were also too thin and I had to solder the same type gold plated pins to the ends of the LED leads so the Malibu sockets would properly take and connect to the new bulbs. The results were that I had made accent lights and not lights that threw out any appreciable illumination.
Parts for this project were purchased from Orvac Electronics
1648 Orangethorpe Ave.
Fullerton, Calif. 92831
Web site: http://www.orvac.com/
UPDATE: Since I wrote this article, a few companies came out with excellent LED lights that can be used for Malibu systems. I DO NOT RECOMMEND that you go to all the work I have described here.
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