Mains Powered White LED and Grand Prix Starting Lights circuit

Posted on Feb 7, 2014

Did it ever occur to you that an array of white LEDs can be used as a small lamp for the living room If not, read on. LED lamps are available ready-made, look exactly the same as standard halogen lamps and can be fitted in a standard 230-V light fitting. We opened one, and as expected, a capacitor has been used to drop the voltage from 230 V to t

Mains Powered White LED and Grand Prix Starting Lights circuit
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he voltage suitable for the LEDs. This method is cheaper and smaller compared to using a transformer. The lamp uses only 1 watt and therefore also gives off less light than, say, a 20 W halogen lamp. The light is also somewhat bluer. The circuit operates in the following manner: C1 behaves as a voltage dropping resistor` and ensures that the current is not too high (about 12 mA). The bridge rectifier turns the AC voltage into a DC voltage. LEDs can only operate from a DC voltage. They will even fail when the negative voltage is greater then 5 V. The electrolytic capacitor has a double function: it ensures that there is sufficient voltage to light the LEDs when the mains voltage is less than the forward voltage of the LEDs and it takes care of the inrush current peak that occurs when the mains is switched on. This current pulse could otherwise damage the LEDs. Then there is the 560-ohm resistor, it ensures that the current through the LED is more constant and therefore the light output is more uniform. . This circuit reproduces the starting light sequence currently used by FISA for Formula One racing. It could be used with slot car sets (such as HO scale AFX/Life Like/Tyco sets) or radio controlled cars. IC1, a 555 timer IC, is used as a clock pulse generator. Its output is fed via NAND gates IC2a and IC2c to IC3, a 4024 binary counter. IC2b inverts the O4 output of 4024 binary counter IC3. Initially, IC3 is reset and all...

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