Picture of Desktop energy seed lamp
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Hello everyone,

Today I will show you something very interesting. It is not a killing robot or skynet (not yet).
It is a desktop ambiant light that use dead alkaline battery to power itself. This design can hold up to 15 batteries. It use a single joules thief circuit to power 50 LED!

The idea came when I was surfing

and found this

The designer of that concept idea is Sungwoo Park and Sunhee Kim.

You are about to see how I made that lamp using common material and simple technique to build it.
I did try to make this lamp very simple to build, I though about all the people out there that don't have all the tools and skill to build complex stuff. I when with the moto "KISS" Keep It Simple Stupid.

I did a lot of planning before making the design. I tried to visualized the design in my head, I did some sketchup drawings, I made a lot of paper drawings. I sort of had only one shot at this and had to make it work the first time.

When I first saw this device, my brain started working and trying to figure out way to make it. These ideas where keep in my head. One month ago I saw the contest about environmentally friendly design. The first idea was to build a solar power ipod charger. A few second later I remember that energy seed and said, that is it, I am building a table top version of that! Back home I started drawing and taking notes about ideas. At the end of this intructables, you will be able to see those drawings I made.

By the way, I am doing a intern at and I am having a blast! They have a laser cutter and I sort of fell in love with that machine, it really get your creativity going. Now I really want one :)
I will be a the MAKER FAIRE this May. I am presently in Alberta. I am going back to school (summer semester ) at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec and then will leave for California!

PS - I really love yanko design because I get ideas and inspiration from that website.

Have fun!

ps- I guess I should say desktop lamp instead of table top and I should of said "Table top energy seed LAMP" in my title. You can't have everything right! :-)

<edit March 21, 2009>
I thought the deadline for the contest was MARCH 19 and not APRIL 19!
I work like crazy to get that thing done "in time". I have now time to make a other instructable! :D

<updated: April 2, 2009>
You guys rock! I got 4.5 on 5 stars! That is SO NICE! THANK YOU SO MUCH! This is really motivating to see people reaction and comments. This makes me happy! :-)
I got 18390 view and 3528 view today, that newsletter did his magic! Thanks again!
I really appreciate it!.

<updated: Sept 14, 2009>
The video was featured on Daily Planet! :D
I also have a website now

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Abadon1255 years ago
 Looks great so far, 1 question though.  What is the bead and homemade transformer for?  What does it do?

robomaniac (author)  Abadon1255 years ago
the bead is the transformer core. Like any other transformer, you have a core to make the magnetic field move from the primary to the secondary.
is this a ac-dc trans. or will it pump up the voltage ??????????
is this a ac-dc trans. or will it pump up the voltage ??????????
Cyborg20043 years ago
I didn't had any problems with mine :D all this light with an almost depleted battery :D
mg99903 years ago
does it have a power switch or do you just take the batteries out? I don't know very much about power switches. I saw a page labeled power switch, and i looked at the pictures and read it, but wasn't really sure about it...
I must get myself a nibbler how thick of metal can it handle?
What is the diameter size of the heat shrink that you used?
d2j53 years ago
this thing is awesome! but can it be made to use different types of batteries such as AAA or C?
Munchys d2j53 years ago
Sure! You have to make some adjustments for them though
ruaidhriodj3 years ago
am i right in thinking that if you un-plug the lamp it will short out the batteries?
Zem3 years ago
Hey, great job on this. It was easy to follow, and understand! I really liked how you saw the design, and basically made it work! Again, great job, 5* :)
oanderson3 years ago
Just a thought, and it's not nice but probably true. I think that some nasty people are going to put cigarette butts in where the batteries should go. :(
sbulleit3 years ago
You should seriously think about getting a patent for that and selling it!
FrozenIce4 years ago
UNIT_A4B14 years ago
This minus the LEDs plus mintyboost = charger
UNIT_A4B14 years ago
Would a PN2222 transistor work (instead of a 2N2222)
(full text :
W 83)
a PN2222 transistor works as well as the 2 cited above
alenoe19744 years ago
Very good project, it's beautiful, witty, decorative ... what else? EXCELLENT!
Chaos Cat4 years ago
beautiful idea and instructable! c:... i always had lots of batteries i can't use anymore, so this is really useful... i love u. :)
jpcborce154 years ago
does this have a schematic and foil layout?
Sandisk1duo4 years ago
What if you implemented a VU meter chip?

Basic Idea:
As the room gets louder more levels of leds light up.

You would also need to use an amplifier too
I'm worried about the power consumption from the LEDs. It seems that when I try this, all of the LEDs in the circuit get dim. I would like them brighter. Anyway I can do this? I'm thinking a more powerful transistor....
Roxy 1434 years ago
Double Awesome!!!!!!
EdurusFas4 years ago
I'm planning on using the circuit for various types of batteries - some may be spent more than others. With that in mind, I am worried about having too much power from all the batteries. Do you have a suggestion for that (maybe an additional resistor in the circuit someplace)? Thanks!
EdurusFas4 years ago
I can totally understand why you'd say "Screw it": I have made two circuits and neither one works for me. I have been trying to see if there is any way to verify the transformer is working - but since I am a novice, I don't know how to make sure it is working so I can rule that out as a problem. But, I won't give up - I'm still going to try again, and gain, and again :)
I got it!!!!:) It took me a while, but I finally got the tranformer to work :)
richardcole4 years ago
very very very very very nice tutorial... <3.. is fun and useful ... thanks to provide us.. your ideaaaa.........
EdurusFas4 years ago
Is there a subsitiution for the ferrite bead item? I'm trying to make this by using stuff from junked components, and I don't have any ferrite bead items. (I have junked walkman version cd players for parts - but haven't seen any ferrite bead items in them). Thanks
robomaniac (author)  EdurusFas4 years ago
I seen people use a nail! You will have to wrap the wire over itself or something.
Thanks! I was able to find one. In cigarette phone chargers that have a light, there is a ferrite bead. After getting this piece, I realized that the circuits I have from junked items do not have the proper transisitor on them. So, I have to look a bit more for the parts. I cannot wait to make this item. Thanks Again for such a nifty instructable :)
arvee19914 years ago
the ferrite bead is can get it out of an old cfl lamp
TheChemiker4 years ago
How long does it run on a full set of dead batteries?
robomaniac (author)  TheChemiker4 years ago
I did not test it yet. I normally power the thing with 1 AA battery for the entire night and then turn it off during the day. I did not try using more then 1. I will try it out now. I will put 4 battery with 1.35V each.
robomaniac (author)  robomaniac4 years ago
HAHAHA! I went to put the batteries and it was already FULL of batteries! I think my DAD had some fun with the lamp! ok the lamp was powered on at 11h15 PM monday. average voltage is 1.35V green and white LED are ON (very bright)
robomaniac (author)  robomaniac4 years ago
OK we are saturday night and the light is VERY dim that is 5 days!

It was powered for 120Hours! AMAZING!
  • battery #1 = 1,32V
  • battery #2 = 1,10V
  • battery #3 = 1,84V
  • battery #4 = 0,82V

I plug the 1,32V battery alon in the lamp and everything light up nicelly! I will let the battery rest for a few hours.

I am sort of filtering the good battery from the bad. battery #1 and #2 seems to be very good! I should do the same with new battery.
You just filled it all the way up? Wow, well now you can test it.
robomaniac (author)  TheChemiker4 years ago
I just added 4 battery only. I don't know where all the dead batteries in the house went...
Now you have an excuse to use up the power in all of the battery powered things in you house!
TheChemiker4 years ago
You and your stupid laser you had on hand!
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