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Thread: New here, playing around with PVC and LEDs

  1. #1
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    Default New here, playing around with PVC and LEDs

    I have been toying with the Idea of putting LED Strips inside PVC Pipe, I had some sticks lying around from a previous project

    I need honest opinions on my tests with Clear PVC, I want to outline the Top Bar of my Gazebo 8'x12' so the LEDs will be shining up
    The strip shown in the Video will be under the Bar Top.

    This strip is in 1/2 inch Clear PVC Pipe.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCS__tXnUL8


    This one I used 200 Grit Sandpaper to defuse it, clear LED's on strips are annoying sometimes
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxwY4yYzFuI

  2. #2
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    Default Re: New here, playing around with PVC and LEDs

    I am new to this as well. My opinion is that you shouldn't use clear PVC as then you see each individual LED. Use white PVC instead. Sharkbite is very popular. I just bought one last weekend and still have to try it out. Just looking at it, it seems a bit less opaque than the Apollo. I also bought some from McMaster which I almost like the most but it's not the cheapest option, especially after adding shipping (unless you are in Southern CA). Also the thicker the pipe is the more diffusion you get. I have some 2" pipes and 3/4" pipes and it makes a significant difference (it also looks much larger, obviously). The only reason why I probably won't use 2" pipes for arches is because they take up too much storage. For a Gazebo 3/4" to 1" is probably ideal.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: New here, playing around with PVC and LEDs

    I tried that, but it tends to diminish the brightness, because of where they will be, I am not as concerned with seeing the LED than I am with the hot spots they create on the ceiling
    of the gazebo. for the Bar, the spot look shining down on the front of the bar is not a big deal.

    I want a bright glow on the ceiling but was wondering if there are alternatives.
    My son make these really cool, high quality Light Sabers and he uses a clear halogen cellophane and you cant se the LEDs but the glow is really nice. I may try that inside of the clear PVC

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New here, playing around with PVC and LEDs

    For years the folks from LOR have put up a tree at Expo that is made up of strips inside clear PVC tubing. It looked great.
    Not everything needs to be diffused.

    It is your choice.
    Live, Laugh, Love.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: New here, playing around with PVC and LEDs

    I've got 1" sharkbite, and I am less than 100% satisfied with the diffusion. However, it's a tradeoff: diffusion vs. brightness. What's killing me right now is PEX pipe's shape memory. I wish I could heat these up and have them stay in the shape I want.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New here, playing around with PVC and LEDs

    "Polyethylene Cross Linked" (PEX) hides a lot in it's name. Strands going in opposite directions tend to try to pull itself back into its original shape. Unless you have some physical way to hold it in the shape that you want (such as in bracing for a prop), it will pull on itself in directions you may not want (as you have seen.)

    I'm waiting to see what the effects of it being in sunlight for long periods of time are. There are several write-ups in the plumbing sights due to this. Translating it to what we do, though not as demanding, is worth keeping up to date on.
    Live, Laugh, Love.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New here, playing around with PVC and LEDs

    Uh...I'm getting some translucence through regular 1 1/4" Charlotte PVC pipe. I did NOT expect that.... It's not the greatest, and I would not put pixels in it, but if you're using PVC anyway and you put some solids in it (probably fairy lights), it could look really good. Wrap some lights around it, but also put some lights in it to give it a dull blue glow. This has got me wondering what's the thiinnest regular PVC pipe out there. This has potential....

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New here, playing around with PVC and LEDs

    I think the thinnest I've ever seen is Schedule 20. Most of the time you have to order it.
    At that thickness you will get somewhat good results. Not the best, but as you described - "good".
    Live, Laugh, Love.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: New here, playing around with PVC and LEDs

    I see there is a schedule 10, but not sure how practical that is, for multiple reasons.

    I observed that the 20 likes to pass through the low ends of the light spectrum. Red glows wonderfully. Blue, not so much. Green glows ok, and I can make a respectable yellow. If I put in purple, I get red out. I can work with this--PEX's diffusion is far superior, but regular PVC's shape memory and coupling is so much better.

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