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[December 15, 2012]


I bought some Cree XM-L T6 3-bulb LED lights in a MR-16 packaging to install as new landing/taxi lights on the RV. The HID's now don't have a great mounting and I want to go LED anyways. However, the one problem with LED's is they do give off some heat, so I needed a way to keep them cool. I decided to make my own heat sink. To do so, I bought some 2" diameter, 1" thick 6061 round bar.


I hollowed out the center with a 1.5" hole saw on the drill press and put a slit in the middle to be able to have it clamp down on the LED light enclosure.


Speaking of the LED light, here it is. This thing is BRIGHT!


There aren't many mounting options for this light.


This round bar seems to fit snugly.



Here is my test bench.


At 14.5V, the LED light was only consuming 1.47A - or 21 watts.


The output is awesome, but it heated up really fast. Time to improve the heat sink.


I used a cutoff wheel to put a bunch of fins in the aluminum.


The result was slightly better, but it still got too hot and shut itself down. I think I might need some sort of air flowing over it to keep it cool.


I decided to work on the LED landing light project at home since there was still plenty of daylight. I added yet another stabilizer to the GoPro mount. Hopefully this removes some of the vibrations....


I went for a quick test flight (0.6 hours). While I was warming up, a private jet joined me in the warmup area. The result of the flight was a little disappointing - the vibrations are still very visible in the GoPro.


When I got home I put a computer fan by the landing light and that seems to really control the temps. I think I need to figure out some way to integrate a fan into the wingtips to keep these guys cool enough.

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Last Modified: September 4, 2017