I’ve owned a De Vere 54 enlarger for a few months, and in that time I have modified it several times. First I spruced up the bulb-powered condenser head by converting to diffusion and making it use a halogen reflector lamp. This proved unsatisfactory and I couldn’t get the illumination even enough. Plus it was too dim.
I picked up a cold cathode head for it. In its original state, it wasn’t really usable because the tube had a nasty flicker. Plus it looked as dangerous as hell when I opened the lid. I decided to convert the cold cathode head into an LED head. This was a success, but recently I noticed that not all of the LEDs in the array were no longer shining with equal brightness, and one or two had broken completely.
So I picked up an LED panel from an eBay seller in China which is intended to be mounted in a ceiling tile. Its 6×6″ size makes it ideal for a 5×4″ enlarger and the light is much brighter, whiter, and more even than my home-made LED array. It’s not much smaller as the photo makes it appear, but it is square rather than rectangular. I’m not sure why the original cold cathode head was rectangular either.
Finally here’s a glimpse inside the head, fitted with new LED panel. It came with an LED driver included. In the interests of future flexibility last time I worked on this head, I decided to terminate the incoming power lead with a trailing 13A socket. This time, I could have wired the LED driver directly into the incoming power lead but I decided to fit it with a 13A plug. Most of the space inside the head is empty – it used to contain the cold cathode tube, a diffuser and a huge ferrite transformer!
I will now need to do some testing with this new LED panel to determine its baseline exposure times and its contrast grade. The new LED panel is warmer white than the old array, which looked quite blue. The old array had a native contrast grade of about 4, so I hope the new one is a bit softer. Grade 2 would be nice.
3 thoughts on “Another LED upgrade to the De Vere 54”
Hello, I am in the process of replacing the lighting system of a Devere 54, I came across your article randomly from the net. Would you still have the references of the panel LED from chinese eBay seller ? Thans a lot for all these details and excuse my english (I’m french) !
Salut, thanks for your message, and don’t worry, your English is near perfect (certainly better than my French!)
I don’t know exactly which LED panel I bought, but it was something very similar to this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/332275824320
Lots of similar types are available but the important thing is to check the exterior dimensions of the panel to make sure it fits inside the case of your enlarger head. My panel was about 10mm too wide to fit so I had to cut about 5mm of aluminium off each edge and then I was able to glue it in.
Good luck with your conversion – please share pictures when you’ve finished 🙂
Oh, thank you very much for your quick response! There is very little to glean on the net, concerning this devere54, I was really delighted to come across your two articles!