This lamp is TOO bright. There has to be a way to fix it. Right?
August 7, 2018 9:51 AM   Subscribe

We bought this lamp. It is an LED lamp that doesn't take a bulb; the LEDs are just part of the lamp itself. Unfortunately, it turns out that this lamp is brighter than the sun itself. Help.

It's so bright it's hard to look at. It's so bright you instinctively shield your eyes when walking into the room. It's so bright it's almost funny. No one would willingly have something this bright in their home, right? This is madness. The description states that it is non-dimmable.

Is there anything I can do? Could I... remove some of the LED-things from the lamp, or is that dangerous/not going to work? Anything else? I actually really like the look of the lamp and would prefer to alter it rather than return it.
posted by millipede to Home & Garden (13 answers total)
Do the covers come off easily? Can you post a picture of what the innards look like inside the globes?

If they're discrete LEDs it's possible that crushing a few of them with needle-nose pliers could do the trick. Or breaking one could kill them all.

Do the globes get hot when the lamp is on for a while? If not, my first try might be wrapping something around them in a way that doesn't look silly (if that's possible).
posted by supercres at 10:04 AM on August 7, 2018

You can't really alter an LED lamp to make it dimmable, not easily anyway. They're electronic rather than straight-up electric like old school lamps, so there's like a transformer and diodes and such in there and everything needs to be just right or it won't work at all.

What I'd suggest doing is finding a way to block some of the light. Find a way to coat the insides of the globes with something semi-opaque. Not sure off the top of my head what I'd use to do that, but that's where I'd start.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:06 AM on August 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Could your particular lamp be busted? I only ask because the page you link to says 1200 lumens per light, which I assume means 2400 lumens total. This *should* be equivalent to one of those double-reading lamps with two 75-100 watt bulbs. So it being that bright maybe means something isn't right, and maybe your first step (if possible) should be exchanging it for a different one?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:12 AM on August 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

My brain also went to coating the inside of the globes with something, if you can get them off. Or even doing the same on the outside, which may be easier. Glass spray paint is a thing and you can get pretty even coating. Get translucent glass paint, do one coating, test lamp, do another coating if still too bright, test lamp, lather, rinse, repeat?
posted by sailoreagle at 10:19 AM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you can get in the globes you could tape in some Neutral Density which is used for film to cut down brightness without changing the color. Your local theatrical supply shop would have some or you could buy it from here.
posted by Uncle at 10:58 AM on August 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Unless you really know what you're doing removing some of the LEDs is not going to work. Like supercres says, removing one could stop all of them from working, or removing one might shunt the power over to the other LEDs which will cause them to run too hot which is bad.

Uncle's idea is really solid.
posted by gregr at 11:16 AM on August 7, 2018

Thirding Uncle's idea. I use these from Amazon all over the house to dim all those little lights on microwaves, fridges, etc. Maybe use the film to make a cylinder that fits over the LEDs?

Can you use an external dimmer like this one? That looks like the easiest solution that doesn't have you taking the lamp apart.
posted by NoraCharles at 12:44 PM on August 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

If they’re not explicitly sold as dimmable LEDs, you can’t just plug them in to an external dimmer. I don’t KNOW that it will fry your lamp, but it definitely won’t work.

I came to suggest theatrical gel as well. Lee makes some hi-temp varieties that might fare better inside the lamp (but put it closer to the globe part, not right up against the LEDs. They don’t get as hot as incandescents, but there will be some heat and better safe than sorry).
posted by Weeping_angel at 1:23 PM on August 7, 2018

Another thought: if you’re okay with changing the color of the globes, you could paint them. There’s another theatrical product that we use to paint light bulbs blue for backstage (there are other colors as well) - Rosco Colorine Paint (That’s an eBay listing; it’s discontinued because they had trouble sourcing materials). We dip light bulbs that are 40W or less. I bet you could paint the outside of your globes and it wouldn’t get hotter than a 40W incandescent.
posted by Weeping_angel at 1:33 PM on August 7, 2018

A sharpie on every-other LED or so would cut down on the brightness. The sort of current driver in an LED like this is resistant to a dimmer's behaviors. There will be some additional heat load on the fixture, but not enough to significantly alter the lifespan.
posted by nickggully at 1:34 PM on August 7, 2018

Some sort of "gobo" arrangement? Theatrical screens that block/alter the light source, but can be seen as decorative elements in your room?
posted by Chitownfats at 6:48 PM on August 7, 2018

Return it.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:25 PM on August 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's not uncommon for budget filmmakers to save on diffusion filters by using grease-proof baking paper. You may find that diffusing the light helps avoid some of the harsh shadow effects that are making it unpleasant to the eye, and if it's not enough you can double or triple the stuff up to block more light on its way through.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:28 AM on August 9, 2018

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