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Old 01-30-2021, 09:41 AM
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dubby dubby is offline
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Default LED target lighting--ideas?

I've wanted to do a night shoot for a few years with my 22lr club, but the timing has never really worked out. It has to be dark, it has to be early enough that folks aren't shooting until midnight, it has to fall on a weekend, and we have to avoid the desert chill. I've finally planned a date that all this will be theoretically possible--March 13th before the time changes again.

We have held night shoots before with other disciplines, whereas most of the shooters have night vision or weapon mounted lights. These kids and their rifles are not set up for that. Illuminating the entire field isn't possible (and wouldn't be much fun anyway). So I'm wanting to do something similar to Cosmic Bowling--where everything is lit up with black lights. The florescent paint is the easy part. Putting lights where they're needed is where I'm needing some help.

I've looked at just buying a buttload of the cheap chinese flashlights, mounting them to a pole off to the side of the target and calling it good. I don't feel like I need a whole lot of light, but I want to avoid as much extra light as I can. Someone suggested building a small LED target light with an individual battery using diodes--and now it's kinda consuming my mind.

I don't know how to wire them though, or where to source them cheaply. I can design and 3d print enclosure boxes for them and have got that part figured out already. In looking for cheap lights, I found these "strip lights" on Amazon (pictured). The strip can be cut to length in sections of 3 bulbs. With 600 pieces available I would think I could make a lotta little target lights and adjust the amount of them to get the proper amount of light on each set of targets.

1) Is this possible?
2) How much power would I need for each unit?
3) I understand I'd likely have to add resistors and such, what type?
4) Is there a more cost effective way to make such a thing?
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  #2  
Old 01-30-2021, 10:12 AM
Scratch Scratch is offline
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First off, great idea! Gives me some ideas for my range.
Second, I would think that since that power supply on that light strip unit is 12VDC coming out, you may not need any resistors and might just be able to hook a 12VDC battery directly to the cut lights.

In fact, you might want to try hooking a small section of lights up directly to a 9 volt battery and see how long the lights last. If they last long enough and are bright enough, that would be super easy to buy that light strip unit, cut them up into small strips, buy a bunch of 9 volt batteries and an Amazon pack of 9 volt battery connectors and voila... Bobs your uncle.

I used to do a lot of low voltage stuff since I was an alarm system installer for ADT for 16 years, and I would often temporarily power some 12 volt devices with 9 volt batteries for testing.
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Old 01-30-2021, 10:41 AM
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I like scratch's idea of a 9v battery to power. That is what I use to test automotive bulbs and LEDs. The batt connectors will have to be acquired.

A deep cycle 12v would probably power them all night. Just wire in series/parallel, whatever works best/brightest. I see the LEDs becoming targets, though...
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Old 01-30-2021, 02:04 PM
Scratch Scratch is offline
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I just remembered that we put those same style of LED lighting behind the cabinets in my daughters camper this summer and instead of cutting the extra, we just coiled it up behind, in case we decided to move them. The camper is in my pole barn right now.

I can cut off a few lights on the end of the strip and see how it works on a 9v battery. Give me a couple hours to report back...

Edit: found a good video for you That does exactly what I was going to test for you. He talks about 12v LED strips at about 5:52.

https://youtu.be/kwSX3O0J1Uo

Last edited by Scratch; 01-30-2021 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 01-30-2021, 02:45 PM
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How about using those chemical glow sticks...? They make different intensities that glow for different times spans.
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Old 01-30-2021, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scratch View Post
First off, great idea! Gives me some ideas for my range.
Second, I would think that since that power supply on that light strip unit is 12VDC coming out, you may not need any resistors and might just be able to hook a 12VDC battery directly to the cut lights.

In fact, you might want to try hooking a small section of lights up directly to a 9 volt battery and see how long the lights last. If they last long enough and are bright enough, that would be super easy to buy that light strip unit, cut them up into small strips, buy a bunch of 9 volt batteries and an Amazon pack of 9 volt battery connectors and voila... Bobs your uncle.

I used to do a lot of low voltage stuff since I was an alarm system installer for ADT for 16 years, and I would often temporarily power some 12 volt devices with 9 volt batteries for testing.
That's kinda what I was wondering myself. I have access to LOTS of free small batteries, I just wasn't sure what size I'd need for this application. A 12v source would be a bit harder. There will be roughly 20 targets spread out over a football field, so wiring them all together could be a real challenge. I could likely group those that are close to each other in that manner but if each one was individual it'd be best. Sometimes we have to move the targets on the day of the match to clear any line-of-sight obstructions. Having to change up wiring to make that happen wouldn't be the fastest.

As to the glow sticks, I'll be requiring every shooter to wear one or two clipped to their person for the entirety of the match. Depending on what colors I can find, I could possibly use them on targets as well. But ideally I want to eliminate any confusion about a body being down range as possible. "If you see a glowstick, don't shoot" is a pretty solid communication point.
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Old 01-31-2021, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dubby View Post
That's kinda what I was wondering myself...

As to the glow sticks, I'll be requiring every shooter to wear one or two clipped to their person for the entirety of the match. Depending on what colors I can find, I could possibly use them on targets as well. But ideally I want to eliminate any confusion about a body being down range as possible. "If you see a glowstick, don't shoot" is a pretty solid communication point.
Great idea.
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Old 02-01-2021, 03:45 AM
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Yup, something like that would be the only way I could swing it as an option.

Another issue is that we mark each individual stage targets with a particular color. The florescent paint options are plenty to give me a good range there, but a glow stick might could be worked in to the plan as well. I won't know exactly how many targets or groups I'll actually be trying to light until the last week of February, which won't give me much time to adapt if something needs to be changed in a hurry.
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Old 02-01-2021, 05:50 AM
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How about using small pieces of metal or mirrors, situated to reflect light from leds in front and/or below? Shoot for the reflected light, which would "extinguish" when hit, but leds are saved for the next round of shooting. Or, just illuminate conventional white targets with the LEDs (original plan?).

1) Is this possible?
2) How much power would I need for each unit?
3) I understand I'd likely have to add resistors and such, what type?
4) Is there a more cost effective way to make such a thing?


1. Easy... sounds like fun.
2. First determine how many LEDs are needed... they require very little power, even the bright ones.
3. Resistive requirements can, easily, be determine after picking LEDs.
4. Cheaply achieved.

If you can work out dimensions of the range, and type of the targets, I'll be happy to help with the project. (But, my son told me to stay out of Texas, until Covid is over.) :-)

Last edited by Gadgeteer; 02-01-2021 at 06:00 AM.
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2021, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadgeteer View Post
How about using small pieces of metal or mirrors, situated to reflect light from leds in front and/or below? Shoot for the reflected light, which would "extinguish" when hit, but leds are saved for the next round of shooting. Or, just illuminate conventional white targets with the LEDs (original plan?).

1) Is this possible?
2) How much power would I need for each unit?
3) I understand I'd likely have to add resistors and such, what type?
4) Is there a more cost effective way to make such a thing?


1. Easy... sounds like fun.
2. First determine how many LEDs are needed... they require very little power, even the bright ones.
3. Resistive requirements can, easily, be determine after picking LEDs.
4. Cheaply achieved.

If you can work out dimensions of the range, and type of the targets, I'll be happy to help with the project. (But, my son told me to stay out of Texas, until Covid is over.) :-)
Consider using a handful of these, already made with 3 AAA batteries inside, available cheap at HF. I use these all the time, and have not needed to replace any batteries, yet.
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