Instructables
Picture of Stylish Half-bottle LED Lights
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Hello everyone!

I want to show you how I converted some daily used objects into a stylish array of four LED lamps that can be used anywhere in the house. I made them for the kitchen table, and they look so good that I will make another set for my desk.

These are not capable to replace your standard bulb and only add some light above the place you hang them on. They will add a stylish touch to any room.

I have tried to make lots of photos to avoid reading long boring texts, so if you need more info, just tell me! Check out my photos and instructions and leave your comment. I will be glad to hear what you have in mind!
 
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Step 1: Use Reuse Recycle

Picture of Use Reuse Recycle
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I have tried to use only stuff that was laying around the house, we all want to be sustainable after all.
  • Glass bottles
  • Phone charger
  • Bottle cork
  • Nail polish
How would you use your old phone battery charger?
Do you always recycle glass bottles?
What about wood material such as cork?
Where do people bin the nail polish that they don't need?
How many energy saving lights do you have at home?

Answering these questions shows where my inspiration came from. I was just thinking about daily life sustainability ... all items which come in shiny packaging and when we don't need them ... we throw them in te bin.



What you may need to buy is:
  • LEDs (I used 32 white 5mm LEDs)
  • Resistors (fixed and variable)
  • Cables
  • Prototyping PCB
  • Switch


You also need some tools like:
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Wood carving kit
  • Soldering iron and wire
  • Glass cutter


Don't forget!
  • Safety glasses

Step 2: A Special Brightness Control Feature

Picture of A Special Brightness Control Feature
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I have used a bottle cork and built a switch and a potentiometer inside.

The switch turns all lights on/off and with the potentiometer you control the brightness.

You can see the switch on the side. The lower part below it can be rotated clockwise to make the lights brighter and counterclockwise to make them dimmer.
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spylock12 months ago
Love the half bottles cut high like you did,they look so much better than the Mason jars that you see a lot of people using.Did you consider using the small candle type bulbs,or was the LEDs always your intention?
ragnotis1 year ago
One oh the best instructables ever seen!!!
Just some question that may help me understand the whole thing: what did you use to join the 4 ligths cables with the regulation one? Did you use some kind of external box joined to the ceiling? And, OK for the phone charger, but how did you bring the CC to the ceiling? Thanks in advance for your answers (and be patient with my poor english...).
kukubee (author)  ragnotis1 year ago
Hi!

I used just two pieces of shrink tube. I soldered all connections on one spot, then put the shrink tube on top and heated a bit with a lighter.

And all the lights and cables are hanging on a piece of wood attached to the pipe that is the exhaust pipe from the flat heating system - this is a plastic NOT hot pipe.

What do you mean by CC?
I've done it!!! Tnx Kukubee for inspiration. I've followed your instructions for the electrical side of your Instructable. But I've put together some IKEA (God always bless them) stuff to build the rest. In the pictures you see how it looks like.
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Sorry, "CC" is the italian for "DC" current.
Awesome idea, I love it.
I did something similar using coke bottles and colored water check it out on my page!
JFabor1 year ago
Super cool! I'm totally going to get down with this instructable!
ZaneEricB1 year ago
seriously.....awesome..

but, could you incorporate this http://www.instructables.com/id/Phone-line-powered-flashlight/ into the design??
kukubee (author)  ZaneEricB1 year ago
That would make it run on free energy. I have never thought about this, thanks for sharing :)
valcider1 year ago
Nicely done!I cheated and bought pre-wired led arrays from AllelectronicsI also used some Japanese soda bottles that were already pretty decorative so I skipped a lot of steps but still came out well.
kukubee (author)  valcider1 year ago
I'd love to see how you made it! Post a picture in the reply here.
Awesome!! Very Creative and nicely explained.
kukubee (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya1 year ago
Thanks!
Broom1 year ago
Lovely and brilliant. It bothers me that you didn't sand down the edges - sooner or later someone will pay for that skipped step.

So, next time, just use an emery board if you don't have sandpaper handy. From your manicure in one of your shots, I'm betting you have some of those around!
neat bananas
DeeRilee1 year ago
I love this!!! I've got some bottles that I love the shapes of....this would be an awesome way to enjoy them!

Very well-written Instructable!
londobali1 year ago
HA!!! The cork dimmer-power is a fantastic idea!!
thanks for sharing!
kukubee (author)  londobali1 year ago
Thanks! Please vote for me in the contests that I have entered if you liked the instructable.
:)
kostya kukubee1 year ago
Thank you, kukubee! My vote is yours.
done!
with pleasure.. :D
If other Half of the bottle sticked and bottle filled with soap water, it glow as frosted (milky) bulb. May become more useful.
kukubee (author)  Sanjay Limbore1 year ago
Hi, I tried to do this to see how it looks. The result is like light through milk.
kostya1 year ago
Nice instructable! Thanks for sharing. I have a few phone chargers and would like to build small grow LED lamps. Could you answer some questions? 1.Can I use red LEDs or should I add more red ones in parallel due to the fact that voltage drop is lower across a red LED?2. If I remove a potentiometer, should I substitute it with a 8K2 resistior?
kukubee (author)  kostya1 year ago
Hi!

You can put red LEDs instead of the white ones, this is not a problem. A problem could come if you wish to mix different colours (and use this schematic that I use) because they have different voltage drop. If you mix colours each LED should have its own limiting resistor.

Best way is to put some resistor, say 2kOhms and power the LEDs with 5V DC. If they burn right away, put a bigger resistor. Then measure what current flows through one individual LED and choose such resistor to limit the current to around 15mA. Overcurrent may damage the LED and it will shorten its life.

If you wish to remove the potentiometer, remove the 8.2kOhm resistor below it too. Leave only a resistor between the supply and the chain of LEDs - I think around 1-2kOhms. Experiment with bigger values of resistors and measure current, then try different resistors.

Any other questions, please ask me!
A great project and well documented. Using a tile/marble saw I was able to cut jaegermiester bottles and the water lubed 10" blade made smooth cuts. The green glass is appealing.

A great Instructable! Thank you.
rfburger1 year ago
This is excellent, keep it up
jjaminc1 year ago
Loved this one! Will be doing this one very soon!
kukubee (author)  jjaminc1 year ago
Nice! If you post pictures of your bottle LED lights here in the comments you will get a pro membership code from me as a reward!
c-face1 year ago
Great Idea, I think the LED lights I have available in my town, kind of blow.
Making my own, might be the better route.
One of the things I worked out, because I usually tend to hate the bullshit with the current regulation circuits, and the fact they can cost like $20 to limit the power to $5 worth of LED's is this:

IF you operate LED's at their maximum voltage, they go into thermal run-away, where their resistance drops off and "unlimited current" flows through them and they burn out.

But - and here is the clever bit, LED's have their own inherent resistance, which is voltage dependant, AND when they are UNDER driven on the basis of voltage, their own resistance, limits the current flow.

The under driving means that they are only a little less bright, than when driven at maximum voltage and current - as their discernable brightness is only slightly brighter, than when self limited, through their own resistance.

The self limiting works like this (in simple terms).

Assuming we have say 10V and for the purposes, or as far as the LED's are concerned, we also have unlimited amps.

We have 5 LED's all rated at a maximum voltage of say 2V.

The theoretical natural electroharmoic is to run 5 LED's in series to give the maximum power through them, but this gives them too much electrical pressure and the current flows through them with very little resistance - and without current limiting, in the form of a resistor or a power supply, they burn out.

The ideal situation is to run them at about 80 - 85% of their natural peak voltage, which simply means adding some more LED's in series, to increase the natural resistance of the circuits, and to keep the LED's below their thermal run away point - where the resistance drops off and they burn out.

So if we increase the amount of LED's from 5 in series, to 8 in series, each will then be driven at 80% of their rated maximum voltage.

This way, they are only discernably less bright and they now last almost forever, and you avoid the hassles of complex current regulators, and wasted power with resistors.

The other benefit is that while they are running "slightly less bright" - is that there are MORE LED's providing the light.

You can vary the string, from each LED getting about 80% of the voltage, by adding or decreasing the amount of LED's in the string, in this case, by one.

An extra LED will start to dim the string, and one less LED will brighten the output, but I'd say that increasing the voltage per LED, from about 80%, to 90% will start to put the LED's into the area of thermal run away - and thus they unshine.

But about dividing the voltage to about 80 - 85% seems ideal.

If you cannot get fairly accurate voltage division, and one LED either way, will either lower the voltage between them to about 75% or up to about 90% or higher, then go the lower divided percentage.

Beyond about 75% divided voltage they start to dim a fair bit...... but there are more LED's - but there is also a threshold when the lighting is for a necessary application like ones study desk etc.

The only thing to be careful of, is to have a reasonably stable voltage as the supply, for instance if you have a lead acid battery, hooked directly up to a SMALL solar panel (LED lighting only - or you boil your battery dry quite quickly) , with no voltage regulation - and simply use a blocking diode on that circuit, then your voltage can rise to about 17V (or higher) and you might be running your lights off that, with your LED's holding stable on say 14V divided into about 90% of the available peak voltage of the LED's, from the battery, and the increased voltage in the circuit from the panel, can drive the LED's into thermal run away.

The other idea is to have a day and night switch to switch in an extra string of LED's for the day lighting, and to switch them out for night use, on the primary lighting string of LED's.
heibert1 year ago
What about using plastic bottles? Its easy and safe. I'm sure we can find enough beauty bolttles :-)
kukubee (author)  heibert1 year ago
Yeah, and easy to cut and .... maybe heat bend also? That's the option for those that don't want to mess with glass.
Excellent all around. Great 'ible, with great results.

The LEDs could put off more light if you buff them up with sand paper first. Maybe on the next set.
kukubee (author)  mr.incredible1 year ago
Thanks for the advice, I never knew this.
amaze1 kukubee1 year ago
Indeed, the light amount is the same, but is more diffused all around, more like classic incandescent bulbs. Also you can find diffused LEDs ready for use (look for "frozen", "milk" and "diffused" LEDs).
Your LED luminaries act more like spot lights, so you have good light under them.
I did the same in my kitchen, used 36 LED for each spot, parallelizing 12 series of 3 white LEDs to use existing halogen lamps 12V power supply. Current limiting resistor needed of course.
amaze1 amaze11 year ago
Sorry, I forgot: Very very very nice instructable.
Like both the bottles and the (lovely) cork switch!
BTW, how you solved the sharp borders problem ?
kukubee (author)  amaze11 year ago
Thanks, what I will do is try to buff the LEDs now as they are soldered already.

I actually tried to diffuse some of the light to the sides by bending the LEDs just while soldering. So they are soldered a bit sideways and emit to the side.

The sharp edges you ask - well I have not sanded them to make them safer, what I did is to put nail polish on the edge. This makes it better in two ways. 1st you see the edge, 2nd you paint over the sharp bit slightly. I know this is not the correct way, but I am doing this for the first time and I have never worked with glass ... it is safer to give the bottles to an experienced glass cutter I would say.
onrust1 year ago
Love your photos. For me, the cork switch takes the show. That's just smooth work. Two thumbs up to you!
kukubee (author)  onrust1 year ago
Thank you, I'm glad you and the others like the cork switch.
conmac8631 year ago
Very nice project. Great look !!
As maybolicious requested do you have any information on how you connected the 4 lights, switch and power adapter?
The instructable was great and well written. Just missing that one part.
Thanks and again Great Job !!
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