Satco PAR30 LED Spotlight Teardown

One of those LED spotlights may have barely outlasted its worthless warranty, but not by much, and has been languishing on the back of the bench with “Flickers hot” scrawled on its side.

The metal base didn’t respond to twisting, so I slit the threads with a cutoff wheel:

Satco PAR30 - thread slit
Satco PAR30 – thread slit

Applying the screwdriver removed the base to reveal a silicone rubber casting:

Satco PAR30 - thread silicone
Satco PAR30 – thread silicone

The small wire emerging near the edge of the plastic case seems to be the neutral contact to the shell, with a poor enough joint to suggest it might have been why the lamp flickered when it got hot.

Some brute force snapped the silicone off at the bottom of the plastic case and broke the two wires bringing AC to the PCB:

Satco PAR30 - thread silicone base
Satco PAR30 – thread silicone base

Digging around inside produced a debris field of silicone crumbs, broken resistors, torn caps, and various other components, with zero progress toward removing the shell:

Satco PAR30 - silicone extraction
Satco PAR30 – silicone extraction

A little lathe work converted a chunk of PVC pipe into a crude mandrel supporting the mangled case:

Satco PAR30 - base cutting setup
Satco PAR30 – base cutting setup

A few millimeters of sissy cuts released a silicone O-ring sealing the shell against the reflector:

Satco PAR30 - O-ring seal
Satco PAR30 – O-ring seal

Continuing the cuts eventually revealed the three screws holding the shell to the reflector and the two wires powering the LED:

Satco PAR30 - reflector separated
Satco PAR30 – reflector separated

Chopping off the screws with a diagonal cutter freed the shell and revealed the top of the PCB:

Satco PAR30 - electronics top
Satco PAR30 – electronics top

It really does have a surprising number of components!

Those three screws connected the LED panel / heatsink to the shell through the back of the double-walled reflector. More brute force peeled the outer shell away and released the panel:

Satco PAR30 - lens assembly
Satco PAR30 – lens assembly

Each of the 5050 packages contains a pair of white LEDs with 5.2 V forward drop for the pair, at the very low test current. They’re all in series, so you’re looking at well over 60 V total forward drop:

Satco PAR30 - LED panel detail
Satco PAR30 – LED panel detail

Note that the wiring, which nobody will ever see, follows the electrical color code of white = common and gray = hot.

Perhaps I should turn the lens into an interesting art object

10 thoughts on “Satco PAR30 LED Spotlight Teardown

      1. So true. Take a look at nearly anything on Amazon these days and notice some of the crazy company names for similar products. It’s almost like a random word generator is being used.

        1. A random two-letter prefix on a random six-letter word explains most sellers; judging from their listings, they’re all shipping out of the same container parked just off the dock in Oakland or LA.

          The only reason they exist is because Amazon makes money on every sale, regardless of eventual customer satisfaction. Wasn’t that way at the start, but here we are.

          1. I think Amazon converted over to “Buy ‘n’ Large” a while back. It was gradual thing and now it’s The Borg.

          2. I get an amazing amount of orders from different (so they say) companies that all ship out of the same building in Las Vegas.

            I had a Defiant(tm) motion detector flood light in the (closed) sunroom. IR doesn’t penetrate the acrylic window glazing, so the motion sensing of minimal use. OTOH, the power supply/controller portion started to crap out. One light would not go to full brightness for a few days, then the entire unit went bonkers. This is one where a red LED shines behind the sensor for that creepy “Gort sees you” effect, but everything was blinking on power up, then all went to mostly dim. OTOH, a medium power LED bulb in a salvaged indoor fixture is a worthy replacement.

            Couldn’t persuade myself to salvage the LED floods. They might be the only part that’s working, but I have too much to catch up on already. (Started physical therapy; balancing on the right foot for 30 seconds is an aspirational goal, though it’s barely achievable–sometimes–on the other foot. Sigh.) Initial goal is to strengthen the quad muscles. They’re generally not bad, but the outside muscle is lagging.

            1. The winner for me: ordering something from eBay and having it arrive in a new Amazon bag with the return address of an Amazon warehouse. The seller must run combined ops of which Amazon is unaware.

              Or, perhaps, as long as Amazon gets paid for whatever’s going on, it has no reason to become aware.

  1. I once opened a PAR30 LED that had a red diffuser lens.
    As I removed the red lens I found a PCB with white LEDs on it.

    1. Soooo, let’s generate blue light, run it through a “phosphor” to get enough yellow-ish light to look kinda white, then filter out the blue and yellow-ish wavelengths.

      I suppose if a company already makes a zillion white lamps, adding a filter is the least costly way to sell a red lamp. The claimed LED “efficiency” must rest on a razor-edge assumption, if it has any relation to reality.

      1. I don’t know the chemistry for the white LEDs, but the high-brightness red lamps were fairly exotic for the time. Back in the HP red-LED calculator days, they budgeted one minor explosion in the crystal growing area per month. Major explosions were rarer–maybe annually. [grin/wince] Neither the Palo Alto nor (later) the San Jose fire departments liked us much.

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