The article describes a very simple homemade emergency light circuit that can be used during power failures and outdoors where any other source of power might be unavailable.
The circuit uses LEDs instead of incandescent lamp, thus making the unit very power efficient and brighter with its light output. Moreover, the circuit employs a very innovative concept especially devised by me which further enhances the economical feature of the unit.
Let’s learn the concept and the circuit more closely:
What an LED Requires to Illuminate Optimally
The concept: We know that LEDs require a certain fixed forward voltagedrop to become illuminated and it is at this rating when the LED is at it’s best, that is voltages which is around its forward voltage drop facilitates the device to operate in the most efficient way.
As this voltage is increased, the LED starts drawing more current, rather dissipating extra current by getting heated up itself and also through the resistor which also gets heated up in the process of limiting the extra current.
Increasing LED Efficiency
If we could maintain a voltage around an LED near to its rated forward voltage, we could use it more efficiently.
That’s exactly what I have tried to fix in the circuit. Since the battery used here is a 6 volt battery, means this source is a bit higher than the forward voltage of the LEDs used here, which amounts to 3.5 volts.
The extra 2.5 volts rise can cause considerable dissipation and loss of power through heat generation.
Therefore I employed a few diodes in series with the supply and made sure that initially when the battery is fully charged; three diodes are effectively switched so as to drop the excess 2.5 volts across the white LEDs (because each diode drop 0.6 volts across itself).
Now as the voltage of the battery drops, the diodes series are reduced to two and subsequently to one making sure only the desired amount of voltage reaches the LED bank.
In this way the proposed simple emergency lamp circuit is made highly efficient with its current consumption, and it provides backup for a much longer period of time than what it would do with ordinary connections.
T1 = BD140
The design presented above can be also made using a transformerless supply as shown below
PCB Layout for the above circuit (Track side view, Actual Size)
R2 = 10 ohm 1 watt
R3 = 1K
R4 = 33 ohm 1 watt
D1---D5 = 1N4007
T1 = 8550
C1 = 474/400V PPC
C2 = 10uF/25V
Z1 = 4.7V
LEDs = 20ma/5mm
MOV = any standard for 220V application
Emergency Lamp with Automatic Day Night LDR Activation
In response to the suggestion of one of our avid readers, the above automatic LED emergency light circuit has been modified and improved with a second transistor stage incorporating an LDR trigger system. The stage renders the emergency light action ineffective during day time when ample ambient light is available, thus saving precious battery power by avoiding unnecessary switching of the unit.
Emergency Lamp Circuit with Low Battery Cut-off
The following circuit shows how a low voltage cut off circuit can be included in the above design for preventing the battery from getting over discharged.
Power Supply Circuit with Emergency Backup
The circuit shown below was requested by one of the readers, it is a power supply circuit which trickle charges a battery when AC mains is available, and also feeds the output with the required DC power via D1.
Now, the moment AC mains fails, the battery instantly backs up and the compensates the output failure with its power via D2.
When input Mains is present, the rectified DC passes through R1 and charges the battery with the desired output current, also, D1 transfers the transformer DC to the output for keeping the load switched on simultaneously.
D2 remains reverse biased and is not able to conduct because of higher positive potential produced at the cathode of D1.
However when mains AC fails, the cathode potential of D1 becomes lower and therefore D2 starts conducting and provides the battery DC back up instantly to the load without any interruptions.
Parts List for an emergency light back up circuit
All Diodes = 1N5402 for battery up to 20 AH, 1N4007, two in parallel for 10-20 AH battery, and 1N4007 for below 10 AH.
R1 = volt/charging current (Ohms)
Transformer Current/Charging current = 1/10 * batt AH
C1 = 100uF/25
Using NPN transistors
The first circuit can be also built using NPN transistors, as shown here: