Ultrabright LED Emergency Lamp (Rechargeable!)

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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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rimar20005 months ago
Always awesome, Casimiro!
ASCAS (author)  rimar20005 months ago
Mercurion9255 months ago
Awesome instructable!! It's really clearly written, especially considering the circumstances of construction :) Hope you guys are ok in the Philippines!
ASCAS (author)  Mercurion9255 months ago
Thanks! And yeah, the storm's gone :D I hope the people in the provinces are okay.
Igor221 month 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!

aalexander263 months ago
will it work for 2000 mah power source?
ASCAS (author)  aalexander263 months ago
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.
ASCAS (author)  basementhacker4 months 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)  basementhacker4 months 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)  basementhacker4 months ago
You can refer to the schematic from above.

Not exactly, but to be sure, attach a 1A rectifier diode (1N4001).
anmar064 months 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)  anmar064 months ago
Yes! I wouldn't recommend mounting the solar panel inside the jar. It's better of outside :D
jo'dell14 months ago
use glass etching cream to make the light diffuse might then be even more bright in a localized area
ASCAS (author)  jo'dell14 months ago
That's a brilliant idea! I'll try to find one in our local hardware store, if I do I'll add photo of the finished product together with my next update :D
D4v04 months ago
Waoo, something really simple and useful and isn´t dificult to do, i just have one question, the power source how many amps do you use ?? less than 500mA ???
ASCAS (author)  D4v04 months ago
950mah :D
bhvm5 months ago
very practical and useful! write up is good as well. please put a decent heatsink on that led. and putting it onto Battery is worse! they heat will destroy everything.
ASCAS (author)  bhvm5 months ago
I did, I'l post an update this Saturday :D
bhvm ASCAS4 months ago
Waiting mate.
BTW i've posted some LED and other instructables. Check them out and let me know how do you like it?
ASCAS (author)  bhvm4 months ago
I'm so sorry :)) last week was our term exam. I'l post it tonight.
vprasad5 months ago
Dear Angelo
in future you will become a good scientist
its really nice kindly tell the power led make & datasheet
ASCAS (author)  vprasad5 months ago
Thanks! Here:
vprasad ASCAS4 months ago
thank you
BOBCAPATAZ5 months ago
Dear ASCAS, My compliments on this Instructable --- and Thank You for sharing such a useful item with all of us. Keep up the good work.
jacobpv5 months ago
cool..really simply..hidden...idea
ASCAS (author)  jacobpv5 months ago
Hangfire5 months ago
Excellent instructable!
ASCAS (author)  Hangfire5 months ago
ASCAS (author)  Hangfire5 months ago
vectieba5 months ago
Awesome Instructable! Have you checked how long it lasts on that battery?
ASCAS (author)  vectieba5 months ago
Unfortunately mine lasted for only 2 hours, probably because the battery was too old and the LED consumed a significant amount of electricity. You could get more usage time by adding 2 more batteries in parallel.
wobbler ASCAS5 months ago
Adding batteries in parallel is never really a good idea. If left alone they will self discharge through each other. It also can cause issues with charging. It might be better to use an appropriate switching LED driver chip but this will add to the complexity (and cost). Another option would be to use a lower power LED. A 1W LED should last 3x longer and depending on the LED may not actually be noticeably dimmer. You could even use two LEDs with a switch, one a low wattage for background/ambient lighting, the other the bright LED. Alternatively, put a switched resistor in series with the LED to control the brightness. Although you will lose current through the resistor, the battery will last longer.
ASCAS (author)  wobbler5 months ago
I guess the most practical way to get more lighting-time is to use those low powered 5mm LEDs
wobbler ASCAS5 months ago
Those 5mm LEDs aren't really too bright so I'd still maybe consider using a 3 way switch to switch in the low or bright light. As LEDs are pretty linear though, it still makes sense just to add in a dropper resistor with a 1W LED.

If you want to get even more time from the battery you could use a pulse width modulator (PWM) rather than the resistor, which will use the current from the battery much more efficiently although at a slightly greater complexity of the driving circuit. It might also be diifficult to find a circuit that works at 3v.

ASCAS (author)  wobbler5 months ago
How about a 3W LED joule thief! :D You can search that in google.
wobbler ASCAS5 months ago
Good point. You could try a Joule thief, but most of the ones are for smaller LEDs. There are some shown using 3W LEDs though. Jewel thieves tend to be used to allow a smaller voltage battery to drive a higher voltage LED, but it would be interesting to see if you could modify one to work in your lamp to get a longer light.

To some extent, this will depend on the voltage characteristics of your cell. If a cell has a linear drop of voltage over time when being used, a joule thief will stabilise the voltage and allow the light to stay at equal brightness throughout the burn. However, nothing comes without a price, so it will actually be using power quicker (despite what it might appear from lasting longer). It only lasts longer because it is able to get at the remaining power left in the battery that couldn't normally drive a LED.

However, if the battery characteristic is such that it remains at a stable voltage until close to the end of a discharge, then it will only have an effect at the very end of the cycle and may not benefit much. From what I can find on the web, lithiums seem to fall into this category and only drop voltage significantly in the last 20% or so. As a consequence they may benefit more from controlling the current rather than using a Joule thief.
vectieba ASCAS5 months ago
Sounds about right, don't think you will get much more time with that battery.

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