Introduction: Two AAA LED Book-lights for Around $10

Picture of Two AAA LED Book-lights for Around $10

Like to read, but don't feel like paying too much for LED book-lights? The cheaper ones feel like just that, and usually take the expensive circular batteries. Here I show you how to make two AAA LED book-lights for around $10, and about a half hour of time. It is meant to be functional, not pretty. If you want it pretty, there are some modifications you can make, but it will never be as pretty as store bought.

Step 1: Materials Needed:

Picture of Materials Needed:

All materials were purchased at Radioshack. $10 price tag does not include and equipment that you may need.

2 AAA Enclosed Battery Holders
1 Pkg of 2 5mm high brightness White LED
1 Pkg of 2 DPDT Submini Slide Switches
2 paper binder clips
Glue or Epoxy

Amended: It would be easier to go with a SPST switch instead of a DPDT switch (thanks jonslilbro!)

Tools needed:
Soldering iron
Solder

Step 2: Binder Clip Preparation

Picture of Binder Clip Preparation

Remove one side of the silver tab on the binder clip. This will make it easier to glue/epoxy on later. You could possibly use a paper clip in substitution of the binder clip.

Step 3: Cut Your Wire to Length

Picture of Cut Your Wire to Length

Gauge how long you need the wire to be to attach it to the switch. I chose to epoxy the switch near the top of the AAA batter holder where the wires come out, so I needed the positive wire rather short.

Step 4: Solder the Switch

Picture of Solder the Switch

Expose and Solder the wire to the closer terminal on the switch. Which row doesn't matter. Next, expose and solder the remaining end of the red (positive) wire to the center terminal. Which end terminal you use is arbitrary. The switch connects the center to either end terminal depending on switch location. I won't go over soldering techniques, for there are many instructables for it.

Step 5: Solder the LED

Picture of Solder the LED

Cut the wires to matching lengths, expose the ends and solder them to the LED. This is CRITICAL: make sure the red (positive) wire is soldered to the longer LED wire, and the black (negative) is soldered to the other. LED's only work when current is flowing in the proper direction. If you solder it wrong, it won't work, but it's an easy fix.

Step 6: Glue/Epoxy the Switch and Binder Clip

Picture of Glue/Epoxy the Switch and Binder Clip

Glue or epoxy (I chose 5 min epoxy) the switch onto the back of the battery case (the side that DOESN'T open), and glue or epoxy the binder clip directly under it. You will need to hold them in place for awhile, especially the switch. The picture actually shows the finished product after the epoxy is set. Make sure to use A LOT of epoxy or glue to attach the binder clip, because the torque it creates when opening can pop it right off the case.

Step 7: You Are Done!

Picture of You Are Done!

After the glue/epoxy is set, it is essentially done. Use the binder clip to attach it to your favorite book with the case opening facing out. Turn it on and Enjoy! From the materials I made two of them.

Here are some modifications/notes:

1: The LED contacts should stay separate, or it will drain the battery and not work. You can use glue or some other substance to insulate the metal terminals. Brush-on electrical tape works well. However, this is not necessary. The LED leads will stay separate on their own.

2: The wires won't stay in place well on their own. Some well placed scotch tape can do the trick, and is what I did in the picture. You could tape in some pipe cleaners for ultimate flexibility. Once again, this wans't meant to be pretty, just functional.

Comments

ecologicmart (author)2014-09-23

Wow, it's so good work, so the costs is not only for parts, the time consuming and the durability must taken into account.

'll like see options www.ecologicmart.com

DangerousTim made it! (author)2014-09-01

Great idea! I took yours a step further, cos 1 led wasnt enough. I ended up with a 18 LED board, which was actually bright enough to be a torch! It works well though...

That looks pretty badass! I see a 9 V, and am guessing you added some resistors to the mix. I know that "technically" you are supposed to always used resistors with LEDs, but the required resistor in this case was so small that figured the resistance of the wires was enough. Well done!

No I actually used 2 AA batteries. The LEDs are quite bright, and don't even attain full brightness with the batteries. So putting resistors isn't a good idea. Also the batteries last long enough. I've been using it for a week continuously...

Ahh, I see that now. The holder looked, for a moment, like a 9 V from that angle. That's the beauty of LEDs! I really like the arm as well! As definite improvement!

jonslilbro (author)2009-06-14

All in all an okay instructable. A few things, first $10 is really expensive for 1 led, 2 AAA's and a binder clip with a switch. 2nd You really should use a resistor just to make the LED last that much longer, and 3rd, you REALLY don't need a DPDT switch, you're only using 1 pole and 1 throw, so use a SPST(single pole, single throw) switch. Other then that, not bad instructions.

xAxrules (author)jonslilbro2009-06-20

white and blue LEDs are VERY expensive, I live in england, my local electronic store, 2xultra bright RED LEDs and 2x White Ultra bright's is £7 which is something like $10.

crazyndhed03 (author)xAxrules2009-06-22

Wow. Sorry to hear that. Here they are not that expensive. Radioshack will sell them for about $2 a pair or so. Could you get a better deal on them over the internet? I am not sure what shipping costs might be.

xAxrules (author)crazyndhed032009-07-26

FleeBay (eBay) would be my best bet, or buy a pc fan with blue leds in and steal them xD. I can get a pack of 80 yellow, red and greens in assorted sizes for £5 though, so if I wanted to do this, I'd use them.

crazyndhed03 (author)jonslilbro2009-06-14

I can understand that. Unfortuantely, Radioshack isn't the cheapest of places to go, but was the quickest. If I were patient, I would have gone with someplace like Digikey, which is much cheaper. I did get two book lights out of it, and not just one, so it would be about 5 bucks a piece. What Ohm resistor would you recommend? The only reason I used the DPDT switch I was in a hurry and didn't see the SPST. Thanks! If I do this again in the future, I will certainly take your advice!

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