Introduction: LED Concert Lighter

Picture of LED Concert Lighter

In my first instructable ever I will show you how I took a common Bic Lighter and turned it into a bright LED flashlight. I figure this is a clever idea for you concert goers, and anybody else who wants to put an LED into everything.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

First you need to gather some materials, you will need:
Needle Nose Pliers
Electrical Tape
A Bic Lighter
2 AAA Batteries
1 LED (3V)
Soldering Iron and Solder (not pictured)
Hack Saw (not pictured)
and some wire, any small gauge wire will do, I used some stuff I had laying around that was from an old phone line.

If you can strip an old phone line you will have plenty of wire, if you need to get some elsewhere you shouldn't need more then 2 feet total (I'm factoring in people making mistakes and needing to trim wires) try to get 2 1' sections of wire with different colour insulation to make things easier

Step 2: Disassembly

Picture of Disassembly

After you have all your materials together you will want to start taking apart your lighter but before you do make sure all the fluid is drained from the lighter. Its best to use a dead one but if you don't have one you can use a rubber band to depress the fuel lever, make sure to do this in a well ventilated area as a buildup of flammable gasses could cause problems.

First remove the metal Shield gently with your pliers (you need this piece intact later so don't force it off).

Then take out your striker wheel by gently prying the tabs holding it in place (also don't break the tabs they are important), when you get the wheel loose watch your eyes as the flint and tension spring will have a tendency to fly out.

Once the striker is out you can (gently) remove the fuel lever, there is a spring under this piece as well and you need that spring so be very careful.

And lastly while removing the fuel lever the fuel valve should also come out.

Step 3: Open'er Up

Picture of Open'er Up

I forgot to take a picture but after your lighter is disassembled and the fuel is drained use a hack saw to cut the bottom off of the lighter, you only need to cut about 1/4" up from the bottom, this is to remove the bottom cap that is glued in.

Once the bottom is removed you will see there is a divider on the inside that has to go, this will take some fighting to get it all out, the most important part is to remove the the spot where the spring for the flint goes, by removing this you will have a nice neat hole to feed your wires though later.

Step 4: Create a Contact Point for Our Switch

Picture of Create a Contact Point for Our Switch

Alright this next part took me a while to figure out because I wanted to make it all self contained so I came up with this.

Take the metal shield and put a small bend in the bottom of it like shown in the picture, this bend will create our contact point for our switch later

You may want to use 2 pairs of pliers for this to make it easier but I was able to get the job done with one.

Step 5: Install Our LED

Picture of Install Our LED

Next we want to install our LED after doing this I found that using something to glue the LED into place would have made this a whole lot easier as I suck at soldering but if you don't have crazy glue or something similar you can do it without.

You want to solder one of the leads on the LED to the metal shield, it doesn't have to be where I did it, but I found that it made it easier for when I wanted to connect the wire to the other lead (you will see later why)

I would also suggest you attach the shorter lead to the shield so you don't have to do any trimming later to get the shield to fit back on.

And lastly make sure that your bead of solder doesn't protrude from the bottom because this too will inhibit the shield from fitting back properly

In this step (not pictured sorry) you can also solder a piece of wire to the other lead. In both this step and the next step use about 6" of wire or more so you have plenty to work with later

Step 6: Connect Wire to Fuel Lever

Picture of Connect Wire to Fuel Lever

Next we want to connect the other end of our switch.

I found that the metal here doesn't like solder very much, now this could have been my own ineptitude because as I mentioned before soldering isn't my forte, (But that is!.....ahem...sorry...bad joke). I found that stripping the wire up about one inch and wrapping the wire repeatedly and soldering did the trick.

You want to make sure that from your solder joint back there isn't much bare wire so we don't run into any shorting problems later on (again you will see later why)

Step 7: Insert Fuel Lever

Picture of Insert Fuel Lever

In this step we want to put the fuel lever back in.

Make sure you put the return spring in too but don't put the fuel valve back in, by not having the fuel valve in the spring pushes the lever up more so it give us the space we need for our switch to work properly.

When we do this we also want to feed our wire down through the hole that our flint used to be in.

Step 8: Attach Metal Shield With LED

Picture of Attach Metal Shield With LED

Now we want to put our Metal shield back in it was at this point that I soldered the wire to the other LED lead, which I later realized made it more difficult, that's why I told you to do it earlier.

Your switch should now make contact with the bent piece of the shield and you should have wires sticking out of the bottom of your cut off lighter body

Step 9: Make Your Battery Pack

Picture of Make Your Battery Pack

I'm now going to use some AA batteries for illustrative purposes because the last bit of the assembly was alot of trial and error but you should still be using AAA batteries.

First you want to tape your batteries together side by side with opposite polarities next to each other, don't worry about the taping job being good this is just to hold things in place for now.

Next pick an end and solder a bared piece of wire across the batteries like shown, DO NOT use excessive heat make your solders quick, I'm no scientist but I do know that prolonged heat is not good for batteries.

Step 10: Inserting Battery Pack

Picture of Inserting Battery Pack

Your project should look something like this now, you should have your wires from your led sticking out from the bottom and your battery pack taped and soldered at one end.

Now you want to take your battery pack and insert it with the already soldered end in first so that your un-soldered end is sticking out from the bottom.

Only put the battery pack in up to where you taped it as the tape will make the batteries too big to put in so we want to remove it.

Now that our battery pack is partially inserted we want to cut the tape off.

Step 11: Finalizing Battery Pack

Picture of Finalizing Battery Pack

Now that our Battery pack is partially inserted and the tape is removed we want to solder our wires from our LED to the battery.

It is important that the wire coming from the long lead of the LED goes to the Negative terminal on the battery because if you get the switched around the LED will not light.

Once you have the wires soldered to the Battery you can push the batteries all the way into the lighter taking care so that you push them in evenly now that they aren't taped together so we don't break the solder joint at the other end of the pack.

Depending on how much of the Divider you were able to remove earlier will denote how far in you can push the batteries.

NOTE: Once those batteries are in there you cant get them out without damaging them so make sure your light works before you push the batteries all the way in.

Step 12: And You're Done

Picture of And You're Done

And that is all there is to it!

At this point you could glue the bottom of the lighter back on, I didn't as I didn't think ahead and I tossed the bottom piece out after I cut it off.


SOME SIDE NOTES:

After doing this I figured there were a few small things you could do to round out the look.

First you could colour the LED or get a yellow/orange LED to begin with so it has the Lighter look to it but I wanted it more as a flashlight.

Second if you feel like it you could use a small piece of shrink tubing on the wire that is soldered to the Long LED lead at the solder joint so that it insulates and you can put the striker wheel back in and not worry about shorting anything by accident.

Please leave comments and suggestions as this was my first instructable and I hope it will not be my last.

Comments

MostlyDemonic (author)2010-06-12

i tried to soldier my batteries together but everytime it just came off again... how did u do it??

Try to rub your batteries with a sandpaper

ssevan (author)MostlyDemonic2010-08-13

I would sand the battery contacts just a bit, that always works for me.

BOBMUNZ (author)MostlyDemonic2010-06-12

First is to make sure you use enough solder, and the second is that you have to heat the contact on the battery up a bit too, that is why I cautioned people that you need to be careful, if you heat it up too much it can cause the battery to burst or leak. If the part you try to solder isn't heated up at least a bit as soon as the hot solder touches the metal that isn't hot enough it will solidify and not bond properly. Another possibility is that the solder you are using does not have flux in it. Flux helps clean the contact of contaminates and allows the solder to make a stronger bond. If the solder you used does not have flux in it you may need to find some flux that you can apply (has a small brush in it) to clean the contact prior to soldering. Not sure where to get it as all the solder I have ever used since highschool has it already inside.

MostlyDemonic (author)BOBMUNZ2010-06-14

yeah, i tried several times and it just annoyed me.. so atm im usins a paper clip which is bend into place and held by electrical tape :D just a comment on the whole thing thou: did u use a resistor for the circuit?? cause i know some leds just blow up on 3Volts of power. and if u ever make another lighter light, might i suggest a laser lighter?? cause thats wat i did and hell is it fun to confuse people :L

gregod43 (author)2010-03-10

soldering batteries?!?! dude, you might wanna warn people that this could be pretty dangerous, that is unless you're a fan of battery acid

BOBMUNZ (author)gregod432010-03-10

Already mentioned before about being careful when soldering batteries, and if you aren't confident that you should use conductive adhesive or another means to connect them.

oud25 (author)2009-12-29

did u solder the wires to the bottom of the batteries
and wich battery goes to which contact of the led

BOBMUNZ (author)oud252009-12-30

The long lead is negative, thought I put that in there but now that I have looked it turns out I didn't.

And yes I soldered the wires to the battery, when doing this be very careful not to get the battery too hot as this can cause some problems. If you are not confident in soldering the wires to the battery you can try a conductive adhesive.

anche33 (author)BOBMUNZ2010-01-10

The long lead on an LED is the positive side.  the negative side is shorter and there is often a notch taken out of the side of the LED.

BOBMUNZ (author)anche332010-01-11

You are right sorry, Positive is long.

Glockenator (author)2009-11-25

not bad.when im in the woods i have to use a lighter when im moving around sometimes and i dont like wasting the butane in my lighters that i have made to have a 4 inch flame.this is awesome

GlueyMcGee (author)Glockenator2009-12-29

 safer but a lot more useless

LIGHTer what are you going to light with an led ?

(except illuminating things)

Glockenator (author)GlueyMcGee2009-12-31

thats kinda of the point. to illuminate things

GlueyMcGee (author)GlueyMcGee2009-12-30

 i know i was just responding to what alex2712334 said. This is a good instructable

BOBMUNZ (author)GlueyMcGee2009-12-30

If you spend any good amount of time in the bush you use a wind proof lighter to light things, and most of those don't cast much light.

And besides this isn't a project of practicality but a project where you use old unused things to make something new

alex27123344 (author)2009-11-13

 Awesome idea! Much safer than a lighter. =) Thanks for this great idea and for explaining it so clearly. Great first instructable!

kaynegabe (author)2009-11-04

What does it mean if someone has the word "Pro" beside their name on Instructables?

octavian234 (author)kaynegabe2009-11-07

They bought a membership

Cimarron_warrior (author)2009-10-14

Very interesting idea.  For being your firstinstructableI think you did a very good job of explaining the stepsand filling in with info later that would help others on their attemptsat making this handy flashlight.  I am thinking about makingseveral and giving them out for gifts this christmas, because they canbe kept in the car, by the bed, in a first aid kit, tackle box, or justabout anywhere for that matter for emergencies.  You made thecomment about using a yellow or orange LED for a simulated flame,I'm thinking of trying to figure a way to use the flickeringLED from a flameless tealight candle.

Its a very cool idea and a very good first instructable,but i would be p***ed if you gave me one for christmas.

C,mon
Cheapskate
:p

BOBMUNZ (author)Cimarron_warrior2009-10-15

Speaking of tackle box, you could do a few things after you run thewires to waterproof this project like hot glue the openings and perhapsmake it buoyant to prevent any accidental fumbles.

SGplayer (author)2009-10-14

wow thanks! my school doest allow open flames so when we have concertswe are forced to use cell phones. but this changes everything! i made abunch for everyone! ill have to post a picture of one of the crowds at aconcert! looks cool! 

BOBMUNZ (author)SGplayer2009-10-15

Hope to see a photo soon, I had no idea when I came up with this that itwould be such a hit, Its definitely a motivation to think up something else.

SGplayer (author)BOBMUNZ2009-10-15

that would be great! mabye a strobe light style one? LOL JK 

The Animated Turtle (author)2009-10-12

or you could put a pin in the bottom release valve

I figured a controlled release would be better then a rapid release of pressure, but really you might as well use an empty lighter to save yourself the trouble, there is certainly no shortage of spent lighters around bars

casemaster5 (author)2009-10-10

sweet instructable i just made this and itss awesome!!!!!!!!!!! btw if u grind the striker wheel with a file to make part of it a straight edge it helps alot so u can put it in without interfering with the wires

Anyway this is awesome and a real inspiration thanks!!!!!!1

wingsgtrfrk (author)2009-10-03

This is very cool! I made it over the past couple days and it works great! I actually used a LED that flickers a bit and a 3V button battery. Thanks for the idea! B-)

BOBMUNZ (author)wingsgtrfrk2009-10-05

Glad you liked it and glad somebody else tried it. The only reason I didn't use a button battery is because I was looking for something that would last a bit longer then button batteries. If you have any suggestions to make the process easier don't hesitate to post them.

Colonel88 (author)BOBMUNZ2009-10-07

Lol glad to know someone who plays TF2 other than me. That IS where the "The cake is a spy!" thing came from, right?

kaynegabe (author)Colonel882009-10-07

Team Fortress 2 is the best game ever. To answer your question I believe "The Cake is a Spy" term is sort of a parody off of Portal's "The Cake is Lie".

Colonel88 (author)kaynegabe2009-10-08

IF anyone wants to know my ingame name is Colonel88 so friend me :D.

I only play on TF2 Newbies only servers.

kaynegabe (author)Colonel882009-10-08

Mine is the same, Papa Sprinkles.

wingsgtrfrk (author)BOBMUNZ2009-10-06

Oh that would've been smart to consider before I finished. Oh well maybe if I make it again ill think before closing it all up. I cant think of anything to make the process any better this is a great instructable! :)

toasty87 (author)2009-10-02

sweet keep up the great work!!!!

laxap (author)2009-09-27

Very clever! and less hazardous than a fame.

Kiteman (author)laxap2009-09-27

Many things are less hazardous than fame..

Lithium Rain (author)Kiteman2009-09-27

But few things more so.

KnexFreek (author)Lithium Rain2009-09-28

man u comment everywher!!! omg !

Lithium Rain (author)KnexFreek2009-09-29

Haha.

KnexFreek (author)Lithium Rain2009-10-01

it think ur username is awesome my friend made my account for me and my user sucks :(

Lithium Rain (author)KnexFreek2009-10-01

Haha, thanks! Change it then! I did mine. :)

KnexFreek (author)Lithium Rain2009-10-01

how do u change it???? omg plz tell ! thanks, kevin

Lithium Rain (author)KnexFreek2009-10-02

Search for the forum topic posted by robot on changing your username, then post your request there.

KnexFreek (author)Lithium Rain2009-10-02

ok thanks

KnexFreek (author)Lithium Rain2009-09-29

lol u do tho!

Kiteman (author)KnexFreek2009-10-01

Haha, now Lira has a new friend!

KnexFreek (author)Kiteman2009-10-01

is lira lithium rain?

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