Preparing for a calamity or planning to go camping in the vast wilderness? Make an ultrabright emergency light in less than 5 minutes! It glows 360° and is completely WATERPROOF!. In addition the jar's lid can be detached from the jar turning it into a compact flashlight! This is a simple project that uses a 3W LED and a BL-5C (Li-ion) Nokia battery. Macgyver's style!

It's completely rechargeable, via USB or wallwart (5v), only takes an hour to fully charge the lamp. If you remember my previous project "DIY Portable USB Solar Charger", you can charge the jar using a solar panel. Guys, it's free and renewable energy!

Top 10 Practical Uses (Must Read):
1st.) Portable Emergency Light
2nd.) Camping Light/ Lamp
3rd.) Floating Pool Lanterns
4th.) Nightlight (Sidetable Lamp)
5th.) Constant Camera Light
6th.) Waterproof Rescue Lights!
7th.) Solar Powered LED Lamp
8th.) Garden Props & Ornaments
9th.) Replacement for gas lamps
10th.) Halloween Lanterns (Modded Version)

Real Life Scenario (My Experience):
(11/8/13) - A Category 4 typhoon has entered the Philippine area of responsibility. Codenamed: Yolanda
(11/8/13) - The president declared a state of calamity, told to brace ourselves.
(11/8/13) - My parents told me to charge all our lamps, unfortunately 2 out 4 emergency lamps were broken.
(11/8/13) - I made a simple "Jar Emergency Light" in just 5 minutes!
(11/9/13) - Typhoon reached our area with extreme rain and winds.
(11/9/13) - 1:00am The Blackout Started, my 1st time to use the LED Jar :D
(11/9/13) - It feels so cozy to light up a whole room as if there was electricity!


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rimar20001 year ago
Always awesome, Casimiro!
ASCAS (author)  rimar20001 year ago
Awesome instructable!! It's really clearly written, especially considering the circumstances of construction :) Hope you guys are ok in the Philippines!
ASCAS (author)  Mercurion9251 year ago
Thanks! And yeah, the storm's gone :D I hope the people in the provinces are okay.

So young and so clever! Very impressive. You are to be congratulated on your methodology. Your instructable is very clear, concise, informative and useful. Very well done.

dacarls2 months ago

I cannot find the schematic. Where is it?

Here's my version:
I used a scavenged headlamp LED set and removed the charging LED from the picture. My charger is 6v and the battery is an old phone battery.

Where did you find a bored that held leds like that

It was just from an LED headlamp. I just took it out and the LEDs were on it.

ASCAS (author)  basementhacker1 year ago
Neat! I can see you used 5mm LEDs. I bet they stay cool all throughout its operating time :D
Yes! But now I'm having trouble charging the battery. Could my circuitry be off? It's just the charger in parallel with the battery and lights. It was barely shining yesterday, so I plugged it in, and now the battery has no charge at all.
ASCAS (author)  basementhacker1 year ago
Do you have a rectifier diode installed (ex. 1N4007)? Diodes prevent the back flow of electricity. If yes, then try to check your diode's polarity.
No, but I can most certainly install one. Where does it connect, and does the size matter?
ASCAS (author)  basementhacker1 year ago
You can refer to the schematic from above.

Not exactly, but to be sure, attach a 1A rectifier diode (1N4001).
killer51502 months ago
Is there any way that you can post picture of the one with that safe charger one?
krecik2 months ago

Try to put a strip of white paper inside, around the jar, it'll diffuse the light (LED is really bright so can blind u sometimes). Connecting LED directly to battery is not a good idea ;) resistor will drain some power but it protect the LED from too high current. Also if u want to make it really really waterproof - mount wireless charger at the bottom and use magnetic switch to turn on :D.

Anyhow, nice idea :) keep it up!

loachridge2 months ago

You know what I love most about this instructable??

The PDF at the end. Thank you for passing something genuinely helpful along.

spark master2 months ago

Lovely project , but please make one out of plastic jar and lid. More forgiven with a drop to the ground. Peanut butter jars are good, stiff plastic ones are great as well.

If old fashioned nicads are used (metal hydride as well I think) you can charge in the sun with a small photovoltaic cell set up.

Rip apart an old HD and walla 2 neodids for free. glue them on the top for a light that can be stuck onto magnetic metal surfaces. Or, put one on the lid and the other on a small cap that allows it to be "hung" on a tent wall, but just as nice you can leave both on the bottle top and just keep the metal cap handy to sandwich the tent wall between the cap lid and the jar lid.

I made a jar light just for house use and in a black out it was nice to have non fire sourced light, (candles). I used the old flash camera circuits boards. and batteries to drive a CF lamp off a battery.

Additionally, you can use lawn walk way ights on a stick that charge in the sun. When fully charged pull out the bats so you use one or two lights at a time. You could build a simple circuit with a switch to feel the battery, ands give it an on off ability.

Nice project , just in thyme fer the hurrycane season. chuckle

No find plans for alky stoves, at (zenstoves.net), and rocket stoves (wood burners), and a primer for how to bake with dutch oven type cooking. All good to have when the stinky brown stuff hits the whirley-bird thing!

I understand whipping something together. Expanding on +saif8897's comments and notes for better quick builds and for anyone pre-building this (aka before the storm comes):

- Don't mount the LED to the battery. 3W LEDs will generate a notable bit of heat. Localized heating of a rechargeable at best mucks up their life, at worst causes a hazard.

- On that note, spread the LED heat. LED life decreases notably the hotter they run, so try to create a thermally conductive heat path (e.g. a metal mounting bracket) to the lid

- As you noted, use the correct charging device. LiPo are a bit more touchy on their energy needs. Even better, for emergencies, use primary cells (Alkaline AA/LR6 for instance) that could be swapped out quickly for fresh, if needed, or for rechargables. Though that does bring me to my next note

- Control the current through the LED. Your circuit, like LED throwies, depends on the internal resistance of the battery for current limiting. This is not a good fixed number, and will vary with load, charge, life, and battery pack. Too much current will notably shorten the life of an LED. And if you use a primary cell with rechargable swap option, you would assuredly need some sort of limiting for the primary cells.

All of the above are for long-term use, and with some additional options. For a quick-n-dirty, this is a great start.

saif88972 months ago

cool project.

some suggestions:

Instead of clear glass bottle use a frosted one or put a bit of crinkcled tin-foil at the bottom and top. This way you will get a better 360degree light.

The LED would need some form of heat sink. A closed bottle will just build up the heat for both battery and led. try to create one that transfers the heat from the LED to the metal bottle top. If the top gets too hot, you may just put a pvc tape on the side of the cap to hold.

Because of the charger socket and the switch, the bottle will not be waterproof. Actually it will be very difficult to make this waterproof without the use of inductive charging etc. But you can make it reasonably water-resistant by creating some rubber flap to go over the two open points. maybe with a bit of sugru...

CurtR saif88972 months ago

Why not make a 90 ° cone out Al foil and put it on the bottom of the jar, pointing up, to reflect the light out.

nmccrackan2 months ago

Great job

e5frog2 months ago

If you have the charge connector and button inside the lid it would be waterproof.

kevin_283 months ago


ChandanZ3 months ago
Nice, Awesome project.
Hapis made it!5 months ago
Thanks for the tutorial.
lanzky.galan made it!8 months ago

if i were to make my own charger module, can i use this circuit diagram?,,please reply..thanks

charger20 KB
lanzky.galan8 months ago

if i were to make my own charger module, can i use this circuit diagram?, please reply..thanks

charger20 KB
pmroyo859 months ago
great instructable, I will try it. what about if you turn on the switch while charging?the led receives 5V, can be damaged?
CarlGemarino11 months ago

Hi, I'm from the Philippines also. I would like to ask whether the USB Lithium Charger uses microUSB or miniUSB?

Ren5171 year ago

Is it possible to use USB cables for charging the lamp??

Please Reply ASAP Thank you :)

joaqi8231 year ago
This helped me since storm #glendaph is here. We have the same hobbies! Because I also like speakers and quality audio and working on other ways to improve and harvest energy from other sources
Ben Thomas1 year ago

That is great and simple! To get some mood lighting, drop some marbles in there :-)

michaelgc1 year ago


imhusain981 year ago
Igor221 year ago

Those 3w LED lights are prone to heat up pretty quick,and also tha recharchable battery doesnt like extra heat (either from charging itself+ the LED heat output),better thing would be to separate them from each other if possible.
On the other hand,its a great a fun project to do.Keep up the good work!

will it work for 2000 mah power source?
ASCAS (author)  aalexander261 year ago
anmar061 year ago
Didn't have time to look thru the comments but wouldn't it be better to attach the solar panel on the top and frost the jar so it has a brighter glow?
ASCAS (author)  anmar061 year ago
Yes! I wouldn't recommend mounting the solar panel inside the jar. It's better of outside :D
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