As hurricane Sandy was nearing the New York area, I gathered up all of our flashlights including the cheap giveaway ones like this Mets flashlight.  I made sure they all had batteries, but one flashlight had a bad bulb even though I had plenty of C batteries to use in it. I thought of a way to make my own LED replacement bulb using the base of the burnt out bulb, some LEDs I salvaged from some yard lights and a corner of a PC board.

Step 1: Yard Light

When we bought our house, there were a bunch of these lights all over the yard. Only one of them still worked, so I tried to fix the rest of them. It seemed like they wouldn't charge, and I guessed it was because the plastic over the solar cells had become hazy and light wouldn't shine through anymore. I tried sanding the plastic, but it turned out to be a thin coat of resin that the cells were set in. A little rubbing with some fine sandpaper went right down to the cells and they were useless. The haziness never cleared up, and the cells were catching on the sandpaper. Luckily, I was able to salvage the LEDs and a few of the rechargeable batteries. The rest of the parts went to the recycling center.
<p>Instead of fine sandpaper for that resin I'd use some toothpaste OR a car headlight polishing kit. Never tried it though. Besides, I have a feeling it's a problem with the resin not being UV resistant.</p>
<p>Good idea. I'm sure I'll come across more damaged solar panels since they are so common lately.</p>
I did something similar right before Sandy. Was charging all the cordless tool batteries, and realized I had a flashlight that came with an old 9.6v drill. The clutch on the drill bit the dust, but the 2 batteries were still fine. Bulb was burned out on the flashlight, so I found 3 big LEDs in the parts box, which happened to have a voltage drop of 3.2V each. Wired them in series, and used that flashlight for the entire 2 weeks we were without power and didn't even make a dent in the first batter. <br> <br>I did not think of the idea to reuse the old bulb base, though. I believe I'll go back and make that change.
Your salvage instincts are great, Nice project. Bulbs use up batteries so fast they are not economic to use any more.

About This Instructable




More by JmsDwh:Upgraded Helping Hands Quick Soaking Wood Chips for Smoking Meat Easily Print an Unusual Shape 
Add instructable to: