Introduction: 5-Minute USB Workbench Lamp
Ever thought your workbench was just SODIMM? (Get it?) Well, do I have the solution for you! With just some adhesives of your choice, an el cheapo old LED light, a soldering iron, a USB cable, a knife, 5 minutes of time, and a brain, YOU, yes YOU ladies and gentlemen, can build your very own USB-powered LED desk lamp. (Hey, you told me to make something other than dangerous radiation, so take it!) If you liked this project, please vote for it!
Step 1: Find a Scrap Light
You will need any old battery-powered LED light that's fairly bright. I used the main LED bar from this: http://www.walmart.com/ip/GE-Motion-Sensing-LED-Wall-Sconce-White/16821195 but a lot of things will work.
Step 2: Rip It Apart!
Unscrew every screw on your scrap light and pop it open. Find the LEDs, cut them out or desolder them, and remove any casing or housing to expose the bare LED lights.
Step 3: Get Smoky!
Pull out your soldering iron and turn it on. While you wait for it to heat up, grab your knife and wire strippers and cut off one end of your USB cable (the one that doesn't connect to the power supply). Then, cut off about three quarter inches of insulation from the wire. 2 to 5 smaller wires should be inside, and possibly some metal or fabric fibers. What we're looking for are the red or orange wire and the black or blue wire. The red represents positive (+) and the black represents negative (-). Now strip back those two wires, cut off the rest, and, using your soldering iron, solder them to the leads of the LEDs. If there are multiple on a circuit board, the 2 connections to the board should be marked in white. If it's just one LED, it probably won't work - but just in case, the longer leg is positive, and the shorter negative.
Step 4: Test It Out!
Time for some testing! Plug in your USB cable to a power supply, like a phone "block" or a power bank. If the LEDs get hot, begin to smoke, or begin changing color, unplug them immediately. This means there is too much electricity and these LEDs are not compatible with the USB supply. If they don't turn on at all, you gave them either too much or too little voltage, or you just wired them wrong. Check the connections for shorts or reverse polarity then try again. If they work perfectly with no sign of problems, you're good!
Step 5: Mounting the LEDs
This is real simple. You can use anything - hot glue gun, super glue, or tape - to stick the light anywhere. Make sure to stick it where the cord will reach from your power supply. Congrats! You just made your own LED desk lamp in a few minutes! And yes, that is a phone covered in molten metal on my desk. That's what happens when I get bored.
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