Introduction: Weekly Project: Cordless Lamp
Ask any interior designer to list the most despised elements of today's home furnishings and you probably won't be surprised to learn that ranking high on the list is the ubiquitous electrical power cord. In the average modern home, clean floor plans are quickly littered with power cords draped over tables, cable tripping hazards clogging room flow, and electrical wall outlets bristling with plugs, cords, and transformers.
Yes, there have been some significant improvements with wall-mounted TVs receiving both power and cable outlets out of eye view. Likewise, hollow baseboards have become cable raceways for moving cords discretely around a room's perimeter. Nonetheless, when a lamp plops on a table, a trailing power cord quickly tethers the appliance to a location firmly anchored to the case good's edge.
It's time to sever the tether. Powered portable task lighting with onboard battery systems liberate tabletops and floors from unsightly cord clutter, letting the room's main illumination come from embedded overhead lighting.
These cordless lamps, however, don't have to be campground lantern rejects repurposed for indoor use. Rather, fashionable incandescent bulb lamps can shed their two-pronged tails and accent any interior design scheme as standalone cordless lamps.
While just about any lamp can be transformed into a cordless lamp, table lamp kits from IKEA Home Furnishings are ideal for this project.
Step 1: How to Build a Cordless Lamp
Time: 2 hours
- (1) STORM Table Lamp ($9.99; IKEA STORM)
- (1) 5V DC to DC Step Up - 1xAA ($10.95; Spark Fun Electronics #PRT-08248)
- (2) Bright White LED, 5mm ($.65; All Electronics #LED-121)
- (2) 100-ohm 1/4-watt resistor ($.99/5; RadioShack #271-1311)
- double-sided foam tape
Step 2: All the Best Lamps Have LED Eyes
In a previous Instructables project, a DC step up circuit demonstrated how to make 5V DC from a single AA battery. Building on that knowledge, this project utilizes a similar product from Spark Fun Electronics. Costing less than $10, this clever little device, designed by Bodhilabs.com, is housed discretely on the back of an AA battery holder.
Create a wiring harness for the two LEDs. Begin by soldering a two foot length of red wire to each end of the two current-limiting resistors. This red wire connects to the red lead (i.e., the positive, +, terminal) of the 5V DC to DC Step Up. The other end from each resistor is soldered to the anode pin from each LED. The cathode pins from the LEDs are attached to a two foot length of black wire and this wire is connected to the black lead (i.e., negative, -, terminal) of the 5V DC to DC Step Up.
NOTE: A new AA battery called USBCell is available from Moixa Energy that can be recharged via a standard USB port. Although untested, this product might be a useful companion to the 5V DC to DC Step Up product.
Step 3: Gathering a STORM
Begin the assembly of the STORM table lamp. Omit the electrical cord from the lamp's base, but keep the counterweight, washers, and nut all in place and threaded on the end of the lamp's neck. Install the 5V DC to DC Step Up inside the base. Use a small square of double-sided foam tape for holding the step up in place.
Remove the incandescent bulb socket. Insert the LEDs into the socket housing and route all wiring down through the lamp's neck to the base. Connect the red and black wires from the LED wiring harness to the respective leads on the 5V DC to DC Step Up.
Install the paper shroud over the STORM table lamp.
Step 4: Light Âem Up
Insert an AA battery into the 5V DC to DC Step Up and adjust the placement of the LEDs for even illumination. Go ahead, take your cordless lamp and set it right smack dab in the middle of a table. No need to worry about locating a wall outlet or hiding a power cord--because it's cordless.