Introduction: USB Powered RGB Light Stand

   This instructable was inspired by my disdain of having to buy batteries for things. Among the things I don't like buying batteries for, is a rgb light stand I picked up at one of the friendly neighborhood dollar stores. I bought it to light a crystal souvenir from New York. The alternative to batteries ? USB power !
   Everyone has usb cables laying around the house, so it's pretty applicable to other things around the house that require ~ 5 volts.

Step 1: Materials: (Things You'll Want Before Starting).

Materials you'll need:

1)  Light stand
2)  USB cable ( I'm using the mini B type)
3)  USB breakout board (I purchased mine from Sparkfun.com)
4)  Two pieces of wire. (I prefer braided)
5)  Soldering iron
6)  Solder
7)  Dremel Drill Bit Set
8)  Marker
9) Two small screws (self tapping work great)
10) Small phillips screwdriver

Step 2: Prep Battery Cover for Breakout Board

In order to prep the battery cover, from the light stand, follow these steps:

1) Remove battery cover from light stand
2) Place the flat side of the breakout board on the battery cover. The breakout board will end up being on the outside of the batter compartment. (You can embellish here).
3)  Draw the outline of the board on the battery cover where it will work best for you. I positioned it so I can plug the wire into the breakout board without having to modify the light stand much.
4) Also transfer the location of the mounting holes onto the battery cover using the marker. Also transfer the location of the VCC and GND contacts.
5) Remove the breakout board from the battery cover and now drill the mounting holes and also drill the VCC and GND holes. The holes for the wires allow the breakout board to sit flush on the batter cover with the wires neatly extending into the battery compartment. These holes must be larger than the wire gage you are using.

Step 3: Attach Wires to Breakout Board

In order to attach the wires to the breakout board, follow these steps:

1) Cut one piece of red wire approximately 6 inches long.
2) Cut one piece of green wire approximately 6 inches long.
3) Strip only one end of each of the two wires that you've cut
4) Secure the breakout board so that the wires can be soldered to the breakout boards.
5) Thread the stripped red wire through the back of the breakout board, through the hole that corresponds to VCC.
6) Thread the stripped green wire through the back of the breakout board, through the hole that corresponds to GND
7)Solder both wires to their corresponding contacts
8)Clip the excess lead when the solder has cooled.

Step 4: Attach Usb Breakout Board to Battery Cover

To attach the usb breakout board to the battery cover:

1) Take the two free ends of the green and red wire and insert them through the battery cover. The wires should end up in the battery compartment.
2) With the breakout board now sitting flush against the battery cover, attach screws to secure the breakout board.

Step 5: Attach New Power Supply to Light Stand

This will walk you through prepping supplies prior to soldering

1) Remove the underside of the light stand. This is the battery compartment. I used a simple can opener to unlock the two halves and seperate them.
2) Do not yank the two halves away from each other or you will damage the switch or its wires.
3) Orientate the batter cover as if you were going to close it, but don't close it yet. Not until threading the red and green wires through a small access hole in the molding. (see pic. 1)If there is no way to get the wires through to the battery terminals in the light stand you possess, make one. Take a small drill bit and make an acess hole or two.
4) Measure the length of wire needed to get to the positive and negative terminals without there being too much slack and without the wires being too tight. The wires will still need to be cut and stripped. (see pic. 2, wires have already been cut, stripped, and attached to terminal posts)
5) Cut and Strip the two wire ends.
6) Drill a small hole through the positive and negative terminals to help secure the wires coming from the breakout board.
7) Attach wires to appropriate posts through the hole.
8) Solder.

Step 6: Enjoy

Once the wires are soldered in place, the thing left to do is:

1) Secure the battery cover to the battery compartment.
2) Secure the two halves together by snapping them back secure.
3) Plug usb cable into power supply, (can be pc usb powered or wall wart usb charger).
4) Plug mating end into the usb breakout board.
5) Press on/off button to turn on the light stand.
6) Add favorite crystal souvenir to the top of the light stand and enjoy.
7) No more batteries needed.

Hope you enjoy.

Comments

author
arbita2 (author)2011-06-04

good

author
bud_weiser (author)2011-04-24

Thank you all for your encouraging comments.

author
cybernal (author)2011-02-03

nice..

author
Earths_hope (author)2010-12-16

Good Job!

author
erfrusy (author)2010-12-09

Very smart idea! Congrats!

author
noname420 (author)2010-12-08

HA I use that same thing for other projects, the "display light." Take it out de-solider the LEDs and re-solider them into an object/objects

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