LED Shop Light ...

Several years ago I modded this WoodRiver LED Dual Power Shop Light (Item #149727, available from Woodcraft for $33) by using a severely under-driven P7 LED (200mA). But that light has not been "enough", and I knew that with a plastic head I was limited to how much current I could feed the LED.

So I decided to make my own metal head for these lamps so that I can get more use of them. I started from a solid piece of Al:

I added some cooling grooves:

And using the Nichia 219's I made two prototypes:

I am using a frosted narrow and a frosted wide 20mm lens - how do they work?

With their flexible neck I can get the light where I need it, but this time I get plenty, beautiful, 4500K 92CRI light:

Here I am using one of them to cut more of the heads:

Since these work so well, I made some more for me, and a few more just in case:

I took 4x of them, sand blasted them, and then coated them with Moly Resin semi-gloss back:

Drill holes for LED wires:

And they are all done, ready for assembly:

I have been using these for the last two days, and they are working great. The surface temp (via IR temp measurement) hovers between 100-110F, with an ambient temp of about 80F. So they are definitely warm to the touch, but not hot enough to burn you when re-adjusting their aim. As a point of comparison, my Electrix 50 watt incandescent gets to about 135F with the same ambient temp - you can't keep your hand on that one for long!

By the way, although I used the Nichia 219's here, I did build one LED Shop Lamp using the Cree XP-G Warm White (the Cree has a more throwy beam although both have the same narrow frosted optics). The exposure is stepped down (these are fairly bright!). Here you can see them side-by-side: the one that looks "white" is the Nichia:


Wow. Thats some nice work there! What got me into led flashlights was DIY led lighting for around the house and leds for hunting lights. These kind of projects make want to do more leds for the RV and around the house. Thanks for the post and great looking work.

Wonder if that new 3xml pilotptk has made would work in one of these? That would be one heck of a work light then! Been drinkin and thinkin. Lol
Once again sweet build!

I honestly don't know, but you would be limited by:

- input power - direct drive this is about 0.8Amps

- heat - an XP-G / Nichia 219 is perfect even after hours of continuous use. I would imagine that anything with more power would dramatically reduce the life span for the LED(s) and also be way too hot to hold on while moving adjusting for various operations.


One thing I neglected to do was to post "before and after" pictures so that folks can see the dramatic improvements.

Stock light on the left, upgraded light on the right - stepped down exposure so that you can see the beam, but camera on manual exposure so that you can compare the relative brightness. First the stock lamp - the beam is horrible and uneven:

Then the upgraded lamp - much, much better beam profile, plus much brighter as well:

Now the lights are aimed at the chuck on my lathe. Again, camera on manual exposure. First the stock lamp:

Then the upgraded lamp - again, much better coverage and much brighter:


Nice, I had already seen your thread on CPF. :p Have you thought about putting some form of multi-mode driver in it with an xm-l?

Not really. Power-wise this is as much as I can handle touching/moving after an hour of use - I mean, 100F-110F is still tolerable on the new light. Any more power will basically mean the LED head will get too hot to move and re-adjust, which happens very often on a shop/machining light - that is the whole point of having the goose-neck adjustability.

As to the multi-mode, you are either using it to help you see something better, or you don't need it. True, having adjustability is always nice to have, but it is strictly not a requirement on this type of application. 99% of the time, on a shop light, you want it either ON or OFF.


Didnt think about heat and being able to touch it. Had quite a few adult beverages when that idea popped in my head . Lol

Very nicely done, Will.

Much nicer than my light-in-the-mouth setup....

Thanks man :D

I made a short tutorial on my website as to how to build/assemble these:



Thanks for that - very generous of you to document/post everything.

You are welcome :D

I used to post more of these DIY/step-by-step at the CPF's, but their site is down so much, that I decided to document more and more of these in my own website, which is hardly ever down


those are really very pretty lights, both in form and function. I also love watching people use things they've made to make more things :) Is the power supply a basic transformer or similar? You mentioned direct drive, but I only really understand that in the context of a single li-ion battery.

one day, when I get my own house and garage, I'm going to town on LED lighting, spot, flood and directable

Like with any/all direct drive project, the concept is to work with the voltage sag in the particular power source. If you are using a single LiIon cell, as soon as you put a load (LED) across it, the cell will sag accordingly, and then it will start a discharge phase which will be quick or gradual depending on the actual load. If the LED's vf and current draw are a good match for the cell in question, you don't need an LED driver per-se as the cell can't give more power than what it has (of course if something works with an 18350 cell, don't swap it for an 26650 cell - the larger cell has much more power capacity and will sag much less than the "little cell").

In this case, I am also taking advantage of the sag, but not on a "cell" but on the AD-DC power supply that comes with this LED light. The power supply is a simple AD-to-DC black box that plugs into the AC outlet and gives you 4.5V at 500mA. So then you put a larger load (like the XP-G or Nichia) the output voltage sags down a volt or so, and provides a little bit more current, and settles at about 800mA in direct drive - which is "perfect" for this particular application. And this was of course after the head was warm (since the vf of the LED's go down, get smaller as they warm up).

I did not know before I started this power supply would work. I just tested it and tried out - I simply got lucky that after testing 3-4 of them that the current in direct drive was a steady 800-820mA, even after several days of non-stop usage (hours at a time). I just got lucky!


You are a true craftsman Will, nice to have you over here. Thanks for the info and the link to your site. Trig

ah, that's really neat. There are 100s of those things lying around in charity shops for 50c-$1, it wouldn't take much effort to get a few to test. I have a spare XP-G in my bits box and a friend is going to pass on his ancient mini lathe when he moves, so this would be a really cheap way to make a work light :) I would think that any modern LED at that kid of current would provide more than enough light to work with.