Avid trekkies may recognize the configuration from TNG episodes where flashlight type devices referred to as "palm beacons" were used. I've included a couple of screen shots from a scene in TNG episode "Disaster" where Riker is using one. I found the design to appear functionally efficient and to have versatility potential thus I decided to mimic it.

Mission Objective

To create a multipurpose LED lighting device that is compact, lightweight, portable, has a construction topology that makes it comfortable for hand-held use and multi-stable for hands-free use, and has high intensity light output. Accomplish this by using a combination of repurposed materials, and readily available low-cost materials.


  • Dimmable oscillator driver circuit for the LED array.
  • Optional circuit to trickle-charge the battery from a conventional wired phone line. (yes they still exsist)

Required skills checklist:

Ability to convince yourself and others that the end result justifies the hours you spent gluing together popsicle sticks and burning yourself with a soldering iron.

Recommended skills checklist:

Ability to repurpose most things considered "disposable".
Be a master in the art of ductapeology.
Haven't outgrown your Elementary school crafting skills. (paste eating is an exception)
Ability to see an objects potential beyond it's "intended usage".
Ability to understand an electrical schematic, and basic electronics knowledge and skills would be helpful.


Materials List:

Housing Construction:
1 Toilet Paper Tube
1 Pasteboard Food Container e.g. Cereal Box
1 Clear Plastic Food Container
20 Craft (Popsicle) Sticks
All Purpose Glue e.g. Elmers Glue-All
Duct Tape
Aluminum Tape
Clear (Scotch) Tape
Electrical Tape
1 Rubber Band
Super Glue

5 Ultra Bright White 10mm LED's
24" length of 4 conductor telephone wire or similar light gauge solid copper wire
One 9 Volt Battery Clip Lead
One 9 Volt Battery
1 SPST Mini Slide Switch
One 100k Small Potentiometer
One 22k 1/4 watt Resistor
1 General Purpose NPN Transistor e.g. 2N2222
1 Ferrite Toroid Inductor Core
Optional Charging Circuit
Four 1N4004 Rectifier Diodes
1 Red 3mm LED
One 4.7k 1/2 watt Resistor
1 RJ11 Phone Jack

Required Tools:
Utility Knife
Hot Glue Gun
Soldering Iron
Ultra-Fine tipped Sharpie
3 Clothespins or Small Spring Clamps
Square Head Protractor or Combination Square
Sand Paper
Drill & Drill Bits

Make it so Mr. LaForge!

Thatdan1 year ago
This is really cool I love Star Trek
technovative (author)  Thatdan12 months ago

Glad you like it, fellow trekie. Next Gen is my fav.

You2132 years ago
how would you wire it without the transformer I am going to use a different battery
technovative (author)  You2132 years ago
If you don't use the oscillator driver circuit then I recommend you wire the LED's in parallel, wire in a 100 to 220 OHM 1/2 W series resistor, and power it with 6 VDC (4 AA or AAA cells).
okay thanks
You2132 years ago
Instead of a toliet paper tube i am goin to use a pvc pipe i have laying around and I am going to cut it in half it will be stronger
technovative (author)  You2132 years ago
I originally considered using PVC pipe for this project. Ultimately I decided for my purposes a cardboard tube was acceptable, and it is fairly sturdy when completely constructed. Please post some photos of your replication and and share your experience and thoughts.
Marty_Moose2 years ago
This is very cool man!
technovative (author)  Marty_Moose2 years ago
BlackSheep12 years ago
very nice.
technovative (author)  BlackSheep12 years ago
tigers582 years ago
I really like this Instructable! I like the layout, the attention to detail, and especially enjoy the humorous comments and section titles. I wish I had seen this Instructable prior to posting my first. Two thumbs up!
technovative (author)  tigers582 years ago
Thanks, I'm pleased you like it. I have worked on a lot of cars, and over the years I've referred to many a repair manual and appreciate the detailed instructions SOME of them provide, this was the primary inspiration for the format of this ible.
Tomdf2 years ago
Ha, that is so awesome! I love how in the future man has evolved beyond the need for handles on their flashlights. Btw those step titles are hilarous.

I've never seen that type of oscillator before and I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around it. Is there a technical name for it that I could google to learn more?
technovative (author)  Tomdf2 years ago
Thanks, yeah the Enterprise crew wouldn't embarrass themselves by showing up at a disaster to save the day wielding clunky 6V dry cell lanterns.

The oscillator circuit is similar to what has become known as a "Joule Thief". It's just a simple circuit that meets the most basic requirements to oscillate, feedback & gain greater than 1. For this project the function of the oscillator is to boost the voltage above 15V which is necessary to light the 5 LED's in series. I added a potentiometer, and chose the resistance values so that with a fresh 9V battery @ the dimmest setting the total (measured) current draw is about 13mA, & @ the brightest setting it's about 70mA. An advantage of this configuration is that even as the batteries voltage degrades the circuit keeps boosting the voltage allowing more of the batteries potential to be used when compared to a straight DC circuit.