I love to read in bed.
This is one of the true pleasures in my life, and I begin and end every day doing it. One day, I was reading an article about living off-the-grid, which seemed like a neat idea, but also a real stretch for a production home suburbanite like myself. But then the author suggested taking just one room off the grid
, as a small start, a way to act, a way to learn.
I realized that the bedroom was the best candidate here. We plug in only an alarm clock and a reading lamp in here. What's more, I frequently fall asleep while reading, shutting the lamp off only the next morning.
I first tried a battery-operated book light, but was underwhelmed. It kept getting in the way and the light fell inconsistently on the page. Call me crazy (and I'm sure you will) but the best place for a reading lamp is about a foot up and over your left or right shoulder.
My next attempt was tape-mounting a wind-up flashlight up and above my right shoulder, but it was a graceless attempt and prone to falling. Also, you had to un-tape the flashlight to wind it up. I'm not even going to repeat here what my wife said when she saw it.
So I decided to combine the two ideas - wind-up power with a headboard mounted reading light. A form factor change that uses zero electricity from the grid (and in Ohio, our electricity is still, inexplicably, coal-fired) and had the added benefit of shutting itself off after 30 minutes or so.
This instructable is how I built my wind-up headboard reading lamp. Be forewarned: I'm not an engineer, nor a designer. I'm not even particularly handy. I'm just a guy in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio who wants to do right by the Earth and still read in bed every night.