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Author Topic: LED Lights on a Sawmill  (Read 4098 times)

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Offline ChadH

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LED Lights on a Sawmill
« on: November 17, 2016, 10:12:22 am »
Hey I have seen a few posts about installing work lights on sawmills, but has anyone actually done it?

I've been researching LED lights and the electrical system on my LT35.

My altenator is 105 amp, my battery is 880 CCA and 4-5 LED lights  will only draw between 6 - 10 amps depending on which brand I use.

I would likely wire them to the battery for a more consistent draw and to not overload the altenator.

The hydraulic motor has less than a 200 amp draw.

I don't plan on working till midnight as the wife will kill me. But during the winter it sure would be nice to get an extra hour of cutting some days. With out dragging around a generator and portable light units. And this is mainly for my portable jobs. When I'm cutting at my yard I have access to power so that's no t an issue.

Auxbeam sells some nice looking lights and I estimate I could get what I need for about $150 and then my switches and wiring for another $75.

A generator and portable lights will cost me more then $225.

Just wondering if any of you did this already and had some ideas on wiring.

Thanks!
Chad H
Westcoast Custom Timber

Wood-Mizer LT35 Hydraulic sawmill
Stihl 090 X2 in running order
Stihl 460 36" bar
Husqvarna 345 18" bar
Granberg Alaskan sawmill

Offline barbender

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2016, 10:43:07 am »
I've been wanting to do the same thing on my LT40 Super, and going with the LED's because of the low power draw. I have bought a bunch of LED's off of Amazon, they're really cheap and work great. I put some on my skid loader and my atv, and they are holding up well.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline ReinkeFandS

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2016, 11:11:17 am »
This is funny that you ask this, must be the shorter days, but I was thinking of asking the same thing.
It would be cool to see some pictures of anyone who has some that work well.
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Offline Luke_Eames

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2016, 12:05:16 pm »
I don't have any pictures of lights but plan out the positioning.   I used to saw under flood lights and I put 4 lights around the mill pointing right to the center.  Doing this I eliminated most of the shadows that the head, log and myself caused.   It was easy to move the lights where needed but if you're looking for mounting on the mill, watch the shadows.   :o
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2016, 02:55:39 pm »
 Heres a couple of shots of my lights.

  

In this one you can see all 3 of them.

 

One has an LED lamp in it now. The others will get swapped as they burn out.
I have a 30 amp relay running them.
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
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Offline GDinMaine

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2016, 08:18:38 pm »
Just so it happens I have been thinking of that same thing. It would be great to extend the winter days by an hour or two especially if it means finishing a road job a day earlier.
My mill has a Kubota engine that has two alternators.  The large one 120Amp installed by Woodmizer and another small one driven by the fan belt. I can only assume the small alternator around 20-30Amp was on the engine from the Kubota factory and it was left on by Woodmizer to keep the fan belt tight. I was thinking of hooking up three or four LED light to be run by this alternator.

Bandmill Bandit,
How did you hook up the lights? Direct to the battery or to the alternator?
It's the going that counts not the distance!

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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2016, 08:30:48 pm »
I think I did the power feed off the alternator and then ran a #14 gauge switch leg to switch the 30 amp (breaker protected)  relay back through the conduit to the panel. The light switch is in the board return hole in the console. Used #10 copper for supply to breaker/relay.

FYI; I have a piece of 3/16ths nylon cord in my conduit that stays there to pull (in or out) cables as required.

I used one of the switching wires for uninstalled options to pull the nylon cord into the conduit. There is quite a bit of room in the conduit. I am fairly certain everything I have added has a relay/breaker to protect it and draws load off the line between the alternator and battery which is a #6 cable on my mill.

I originally installed 3 x 50 watt halogen high output combine lights, and I am switching them out as they fail to 500 lumen LEDs  cause they fit my rubber lamp holders with out mods.

May actually end up doing a mod to the mod as there are LEDs available now that produce ridiculous lumens for less amp draw.

Good light is indispensable.

PS I just discovered some 2400 Lumen LEDs.
I feel a mod of the mod coming on!  Imagine 3X2400 versus 3x500. WOW!  28 Amps per lamp to be exact.
 
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4.
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2016, 09:43:03 pm »
The alternator's job is to keep the battery charged.  I would definitely use relays. Tap power off the battery.  Find where the battery cable runs and see if you can connect there.  LeD lights will definitely use less power and last longer.  Do you need to know how to wire them up(relays, fuse block, switches)?  I put a bunch of LED spot and flood lights on my forklift.  It's the same thing. 

It's very important in my opinion, to use the very best electrical connectors/method, so you don't have corrosion issues in a year or two frustrating you.  I use the solder and shink weather tight connectors from Del city. You don't need a solder gun.  There is a solder sleeve in the connector and when you use a heat gun or small butane torch it melts the solder sleeve and heat shrinks and seals the plastic sleeve at the same time.  I use their wire too...and their relay block and fuse block.  Again, if we need to go through this... say so.  If anyone doesn't understand how relays work or the wiring, it's easy enough to explain.
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2016, 09:47:26 pm »
what Brad says X10

Those are the details failed to mention cause that is just how I do things anyway.

DO it right the first time and if you don't know how to do it right, ask here and you will find out fast! FYI there are few "right ways" to do it and lots of wrong ways. The wrong ways ALWAYS cost more at the end of the day.   
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4.
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2 Logright 36 inch cant hooks and a bunch of stuff I built my self

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2016, 05:46:26 pm »
Relays act like a "remote control" to turn the light on and off.  They are used so that you don't have to run the full power of the light directly through the switch.  Using a relay also reduces the wire length that full power runs through from the battery to the light.  In other words you route almost straight to the light instead of diverting it to the switch and then to the light.  In vehicles this added distance adds more resistance. Every wire has some resistance to it which dissipates a little bit of the power as heat.  The longer the wire, the more resistance and heat. Also when a wire starts to get hot, it develops even more resistance and will get hotter.  Ways of reducing resistance/heating are by shortening the run, upsizing the wire (which costs more), or using better wire that is more conductive (also more expensive).  It's best to have the proper sized wire in the shortest run you need.  This allows the switch wires coming from the relay to be far smaller. 

Relays are a switch for a high power accessory like headlights, horn, spot light, fuel pump etc.  The switch gets thrown on and off by a small, remote, low power switch, like a manual toggle switch.  You connect the two high power terminals of the relay in line with the power wire coming from the battery and going to the accessory/light etc.  Then you run your toggle switch wires to the low power terminals  of the relay.  Then you typically have a ground wire.  That's it. 
   
Often on a piece of equipment like my forklift, or a sawmill, you want to run relays neatly, and have a fuse in line with their power wires. If you have 5 accessories (5 relays) you don't want 5 wires running to your battery.  It would be messy.  You want a single larger wire that will run to a junction block or fuse block with multiple fuses for multiple accessories/circuits.  They also sell relay blocks so that multiple relays are mounted neatly.  It's good to leave room for expansion if you think you could ever add anything.  If the fuse or relay block are sized for 6 circuits, but you only have 4 accessories, that's good to have two extra spaces for expansion.

You do have to look at the power draw for each accessory and make sure all the wires are sized appropriately.  If the accessory gives it's power draw in Watts, and you know the voltage (like a 12V system), then you can calculate Amps by dividing Watts by 12V.  For example 12 Watts/ 12Volts = 1 Amp.

There are charts online for sizing wire as to how many Amps it can handle.  Don't forget to give yourself some margin of safety also.  If you calculate 1 Amp, add 20 or 30 or 50 percent to be safe because the wiring, due to it's resistance, will add a little additional draw.  Once you know the amps for all your accessories you can add them up in order to size your main power wire from the battery to your junction or fuse block.

Earlier I recommended the easy solder connectors.  Crimping connections does not give as good of conduction as soldering.  Crimping only connection will add some resistance to the circuit.  Soldering whether through the connectors I mentioned, or manual soldering, will give conduction and hill help prevent corrosion at that connection.  Manual soldering can take some time to do, and then a manual heat shrink sleeve must be shrunk on right after.  The connectors I mentioned - that only require a heat gun or torch, have a built in solder sleeve and heat shrink tubing all in one that make a quick weathertight soldered connection.  They are more expensive, but worth it in the time and future headaches they save.  There are many wiring diagrams and wire size charts images on google.  Here are a couple.

 

 

Note that the 12 V keyed power to the low power toggle switches is not necessary, nor is the master relay for those low power toggle switches.  It's the installers preference.  For one of my forklifts, I routed power for those toggles through the keyed ignition switch.  For my other forklift that has only a starter button, not an ignition switch, I ran power directly from one fuse of the fuse panel to the toggle switches.  This means they keep power to them unless I turn off the battery master switch(that was already on the forklift).
 
 

 
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Offline Kbeitz

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2016, 06:27:30 pm »
Relays is one of my favorite toys to play with.
I have a cabinet in my basement that I bet has
around 500 different kinds of relays. I also have
around 100 nema switches and a box of solid state
relays. Steppers are also fun to play with.
Here is a toy I made when I was around 18 years of age.
The stepper relay inside has 27 steps. I have a bigger
one I wanted to show your but I cant locate it.

 

 

 

  
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Offline Ianab

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2016, 07:31:19 pm »
Another thing with LEDs is that you may not need to run a relay at all. 

12W of LED is a lot of light, like a 100W incandescent. But it only draws one amp. This means that it will work quite happily off a length of 18 gauge and a simple switch. Even 3 lamps around the mill is only 3 amps. Get a switch rated for 10A, put a 5 amp fuse in the circuit for protection, and light em up.  Looking at Brad's colorful chart, 5 amps for 25 ft is fine on 18 gauge.

Doing that with incandescents might mean 20-30 amps, so you would want to install a relay to both reduce the heavy cable run, any voltage drop, and allow a lighter wire and control switch some place more convenient.  So from the chart, that same 25 ft run would need 10 gauge.
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2016, 08:14:34 pm »
Brad you are a very good instructor. You have given a very good seminar on basic electrical principles that we all know will be very much appreciated by a lot of members. 
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4.
2007 Woodmizer LT40HDG28 almost Super
2 Logright 36 inch cant hooks and a bunch of stuff I built my self

Offline Kbeitz

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2016, 08:45:19 pm »
Brad you are a very good instructor. You have given a very good seminar on basic electrical principles that we all know will be very much appreciated by a lot of members.

Yes ... It would be great to have him for a neighbor.
Collector and builder of many things.
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Offline Bluejay27

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2016, 10:05:58 pm »
For anyone with the spare alternator, you can simply tap into the existing ignition (IG or however it is labelled) wire on the 150A alternator and connect it to the appropriate terminal on the 40A alternator. Add + and - wires to the other alternator and you're good to go. I tested this on an LT40 Super and got the rated amperages from each. Once the voltage sags enough, both just go full field, so at lesser loads it is possible that I'm full fielding the smaller alternator more often. But worst comes to worst is it burns up and works good as an idler pulley again.

And I would wire the lights directly off the alternator. The battery is meant to store energy and intermittently supply peak loads (i.e. the hydraulics) while the alternator is meant to supply power to the average loads (lights, feed, recharging the battery, etc). Running wires from the battery just makes the actual electrical path longer, especially since the alternator moves up and down with the lights.
'98 Wood-Mizer LT40HDD42 Super, '08 LT40HDG28, '15 LT70HDD55-RW, '93 Clark GPX25 Forklift, '99 Ford F550

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2016, 10:20:18 pm »
I checked my electrical additions and they all feed from the line that goes from alternator to battery. I spliced into the line about 12 ish inches from the alternator with a short #10 wire run to a 40 amp breaker that feeds to the 30 amp relay to run the lights. Its never kicked out on me yet running the halogen lamps.

Each lamp is supplied by a #12 wire about 18 inches long.   
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4.
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2 Logright 36 inch cant hooks and a bunch of stuff I built my self

Offline Kbeitz

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2016, 06:21:56 am »
For anyone with the spare alternator, you can simply tap into the existing ignition (IG or however it is labelled) wire on the 150A alternator and connect it to the appropriate terminal on the 40A alternator. Add + and - wires to the other alternator and you're good to go. I tested this on an LT40 Super and got the rated amperages from each. Once the voltage sags enough, both just go full field, so at lesser loads it is possible that I'm full fielding the smaller alternator more often. But worst comes to worst is it burns up and works good as an idler pulley again.

And I would wire the lights directly off the alternator. The battery is meant to store energy and intermittently supply peak loads (i.e. the hydraulics) while the alternator is meant to supply power to the average loads (lights, feed, recharging the battery, etc). Running wires from the battery just makes the actual electrical path longer, especially since the alternator moves up and down with the lights.

I would not think you could tie two alternators together. Putting out AC
how would you keep them in sync ? The cycles would fight each other.
I know it's very important in power plants when starting up two alternating
gen-sets that they are in sync before they are connected or very bad things
will happen.
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Offline Bluejay27

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2016, 10:49:48 am »
Quote
I would not think you could tie two alternators together. Putting out AC
how would you keep them in sync ? The cycles would fight each other.
I know it's very important in power plants when starting up two alternating
gen-sets that they are in sync before they are connected or very bad things
will happen.

For AC, the phase matters, but 12vdc alternators actually generate 3 phase and rectify it (make the negative voltage swing positive), so the output at the + and - terminals are +12vdc and 0 vdc, respectively and relative to ground.

The 3 phases mean that if you put an oscilloscope on the alternator, you would see 6 humps in the voltage per revolution of the alternator (2 voltage peaks per phase per rev). Adding a 2nd alternator, the only phase related issue is that when both are in phase, the humps keep the same amplitude. If they were out of phase, you'd have 12 small humps at a lower amplitude.

The only big issue is that if one voltage regulator is set at a higher voltage, it'll be fully on before the other alternator and wear out sooner. If this was the smaller alternator, it might run heavily loaded constantly and take on most of the average power demand. If the larger one is set higher, the small alternator isn't contributing normally (no big deal if it wasn't hooked up before) and would only take some load off the battery when the hydraulics are run. In small part, this would keep the battery voltage higher when running the hydraulics, making them somewhat faster, maybe even 10%
'98 Wood-Mizer LT40HDD42 Super, '08 LT40HDG28, '15 LT70HDD55-RW, '93 Clark GPX25 Forklift, '99 Ford F550

Offline GDinMaine

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2016, 12:12:54 pm »
For anyone with the spare alternator, you can simply tap into the existing ignition (IG or however it is labelled) wire on the 150A alternator and connect it to the appropriate terminal on the 40A alternator. Add + and - wires to the other alternator and you're good to go. I tested this on an LT40 Super and got the rated amperages from each. Once the voltage sags enough, both just go full field, so at lesser loads it is possible that I'm full fielding the smaller alternator more often. But worst comes to worst is it burns up and works good as an idler pulley again.

And I would wire the lights directly off the alternator. The battery is meant to store energy and intermittently supply peak loads (i.e. the hydraulics) while the alternator is meant to supply power to the average loads (lights, feed, recharging the battery, etc). Running wires from the battery just makes the actual electrical path longer, especially since the alternator moves up and down with the lights.

I would not think you could tie two alternators together. Putting out AC
how would you keep them in sync ? The cycles would fight each other.
I know it's very important in power plants when starting up two alternating
gen-sets that they are in sync before they are connected or very bad things
will happen.

Good catch Kbeitz, but I was not trying to tie them into the same system.
 I just thought I would run nothing but the lights off the small alternator so I would not tax the big one any more than necessary.  I any case. I checked the output on it and to my disappointment it does not seem to function. It only produces 0.6 volt for some reason. I don't know why Wood-Mizer left it on the engine. I wonder if they disabled it in some way?
It's the going that counts not the distance!

WM LT-40HD-D42

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: LED Lights on a Sawmill
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2016, 12:38:28 pm »
Hey GD
DO you know what the model and make that alternator o nthe engine is? It is probable that it is disabled and may have a the voltage regulator disabled. I am doing some checking right now.
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4.
2007 Woodmizer LT40HDG28 almost Super
2 Logright 36 inch cant hooks and a bunch of stuff I built my self