Instructables
UPDATE: I have a new and improved version with 180 lumens

Ever since digital cameras took decent video I stopped carrying around my DV video camera and instead use my point and shoot digital camera to take a few minutes of MOV or MPG video here and there. The only problem is my digicam is not equipped with a light to brighten up the videos I take indoors. There are some small LED lights you can buy online that attach to the 1/4" hole under you camera, but they cost from $30 to $40 and create a spotlight on your subjects. They also use SIX coin cells and only last 4 hours. I'd rather have a small light that uses rechargeable AAA's and lasts longer. (this one can last about 12 hours!)

So I decided to make my own using parts for less than $2.
The goal was to construct something simply and cheaply.
This is not the most efficient want to drive LEDs but it works very well for the price.
It requires some drilling and soldering skills but its pretty easy.

The only parts are
4xAAA battery holder with switch- $1.39
http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=2093
3 White LEDs 60 deg viewing angle (you can also try 4 LEDs) 12 cents each
http://www.buy-leds-online.com/560mw7c.html
10 ohm resistor - 5 cents
http://www.allelectronics.com/matrix/One_Quarter_W_Resistors.html
Phillips head 1/4-20 aluminum screw 3/8" long 10 cents - Hardware store

You can probably get all these parts from you favorite online electronics store, but if you want the same wide angle LEDs I used or just want to save some bucks on shipping you can buy the entire kit here.

This project will continue to evolve on my site so check it out for updates in the future.

Tools:
*5mm drill bit or #9 drill bit - for LED holes
*If you dont have that you can use a 3/16" size and work it bigger.
*Drill
*Soldering Iron

Here is a video to show how it lights up my bathroom (its the only room where i can block out ambient light)


NOTE: I have a new and improved version with 180 lumens
 
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wokwithme4 years ago
Nice. I'm going to built a Single AA powered one using a 2 cell battery holder. Hopefully it will last at least 3 hours. Should cost about $3 with shipping included.

*Housekeeping: Your should check your Links. Some don't work.
Shipping kills the deal. Might check eBay and Dealextreme. That's where I'm getting my stuff.
Ranie-K4 years ago
Hi! Your idea seems great -here's my take on the same problem:
www.instructables.com/id/Cheap-video-light-from-a-cap-light/
Stick-it-on-and-turn-on-the-light.jpg
pandyaketan5 years ago
Alternately, you can stick a Pak Lite on top with a rubber band or epoxy (a drop of hot glue) !

reg
ketan
they sell this at the make store now
piper12346 years ago
i think i saw something moving behind the toilet :O
imarzouka6 years ago
You can also use this calculator to calculate your resistor value if you got LEDs with different specs. http://ledcalculator.net
kill-a-watt6 years ago
The $2 $15 LED Camera Light for Video and Photos, at least when you figure in minimum orders and shipping prices. Of course, it's absolutely free if you have all this junk around already.

I think the single resister with all the LEDs in parallel is considered a bad practice unless you match the voltage drop of the LEDs carefully. To fix this, however, is a small rewiring job and 2 more resisters.

Otherwise, looks good. I have a "DOT-it" LED area light that has the exact same circuit. They run about $5-10 each, come with batteries, and could be salvaged for everything but the case/switch and screw.
prodmod (author)  kill-a-watt6 years ago
I agree with your comment about using one resistor per LED. I tried to imply the circuit wasn't optimal when I said "This is not the most efficient want to drive LEDs but it works very well for the price" but I could have at least given the option. I can try to add the circuit later. I too have one of these DOT-it LED lights and that is where I first saw the circuit using one resistor. Then I also saw it on a cheap USB light. In fact the LED legs were just simply soldered together with no PCB. I adopted that method because of its simplicity and lack of PCB. The soldering is a bit trickier but in the end it has fewer parts. I talk more about this on my site in step 5. But I should add the note to this instructable too. Thanks for the feedback, please keep it coming. I am still updating this project with better features as time permits.
Realistically, it may only be important when you run the LED at the edge of it's performance window. The idea is that perhaps one of the LEDs has a slightly lower voltage drop and ends up taking more than it's fair share of current. When it blows, the remaining two each get to shoulder a higher current rate, and fail by themselves too. The Sylvania DOT-it light is either under-driven, or the manufacture counts them as practically disposable, or more likely both. It was a pain in the @$$ to get my little LED light apart enough to even change the batteries, let alone trying to tweak the aiming of the LEDs (I found the light too narrow a beam for my intended use, although it does seem to make a nice flashlight)
prodmod (author) 6 years ago
I just realized I did put a disclaimer on step 5 about the better way to protect LEDs using one resister per LED. But anyway, agreed. Its an easy fix. You can use the same LEDcalc link to figure it out. Just go straight to the main page and type in the parameters. For this circuit at 4.1V it suggests a 47ohm resistor to keep each LED under 20mA. But if you buy the LEDs I list above or in my kit you can run them a bit over 20mA.
GREAT job, looks a bit complicated, but it looks awesome, and it fits perfectly on that camera, amazing Instructable, nice job.
gamer6 years ago
very nice instructable! i love it and i plan to make it soon, my sister sold me her old camera, and it takes great video, but not in the night. one thing i say to every instructable that involves LED's, put a claculated resistor on each of the LEDs to protect them. very nice instructable though. -gamer