With a little help from your cat, easily convert a $14 desk lamp from Radio Shack into a powerful Lego light with many uses. Additionally, you can power it by ACorUSB.

I was buying parts to add lighting to a Lego model when I found this by accident. It worked so well that I thought I'd share.

Parts & Tools:
- Lamp from Radio Shack
- Lego bricks!
- Fingernail clippers
- Soldering Iron (the soldering in this project is very simple)
- Small Phillips screwdriver
- Small wire cutter and stripper
- Glue gun or other glue

Safety Notes:
- Electricity: This project runs on 5 volts, and the wall adapter is pretty standard. The actual lighting element uses a higher voltage, so don't touch it (or any wires) while the lamp has power.
- Heat: The place where the wires meet the light gets a little hot to the touch, but not enough to melt plastic.

Step 1: Get the Lamp

The Radio Shack USB Desktop Lamp can be purchased from Radio Shack stores (as of Sept. 25, 2007), or online with this link:


Note: If the link doesn't work, then this product may no longer be available. Here's the info, so you can try to locate one:

USB Desktop Lamp
Model: 61-126 | Catalog #: 61-126
Manufacturer: Presidian

  • Lamp tube: cold cathode fluorescent tube 1x8.5cm U-shape
  • Long usage life for around 15,000 10,000 hrs
  • Powered by USB or AC adapter

What's in the box

  • Desk lamp
  • USB cable
  • AC adapter

The electronics, power switch, and a small red LED are all in the base. It comes with both AC and USB connectors, which is handy.

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all your base are belong to us
I figured out how to keep my cat from going after my Legos, it might work for you... I have to admit that I am a little bit of a starwars nerd, so I got a Lego AT-AT. It looks good, but the head is barely held on and falls off randomly with little help ( walking past, earthquake, gust of wind, etc.). I kept it on the floor by my door cause its the same size as my cat and he for a while thought it WAS another cat. One day, he got brave, and came in and was sniffing at the body with no problems. Worked up to the head and started sniffing and the head fell off... I have only seen him move that fast once before, and that was when he found out that one of his mousies squeaked if you pounced on it from on top of the couch... Sounded like a herd of elephants running through the house and left a smoking trail of carpet behind him.
love the cat.
Are you sure the lamp elements are LED's?, looks like Cold Cathode Fluorescent element(High Voltage) the small transformer on the driver board is probably a High voltage flyback type circuit.
You're correct that it's cold cathode, and that's mentioned in Step 1. Looking at the text, the only mention of LED is "I was buying parts to add LED lighting to a Lego model when I found this by accident." Since that caused confusion, I'll revise it. Thanks for the feedback!
Congratulations on making your first instructable!! (Or should I say, 'welcome home?') So nicely detailed, even a cat can do it. I definitely need to see your awesome lego model that is getting such levels of detailed work.
The tech in this instructable is over my head but I did enjoy reading the steps that involved your cat and looking at the pictures of her. Cats are always so helpful.
Beautiful cat!

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