Introduction: Fun and Easy Battery Powered LEDs

While we're stuck in quarantine, my robotics team and I found a way to bust our boredom using these super easy battery-powered LED's. They are great for parties, science experiments and boredom busters. They also make cool photo shoots!! They're great for kids, just make sure to have parental supervision, knowing the LED can be sharp.

When I was smaller, one of my friend's parents used to give us a button battery and a small LED at nighttime during their parties. We assembled them together and they glowed up the night. My Robotics team taught other younger kids how to assemble these at our local park, and they loved it!!

We used to always make these things with small button batteries. They were fun to play with and lasted a couple days, sometimes a week. Since, our Lego robotics team goes through AA batteries very fast, our coach keeps several huge bags of used batteries he claims are still good. We know from Lego Robotics that 1.5v batteries when new are a little more than 1.5v, and as they degrade they lose voltage. We monitor this in robotics with a multi-meter to see when we should replace them in competitions, but we have a lot of 1.3-1.45v AA batteries which are no longer optimal for contest, but perfect for other projects. We decided to see how long the LEDs we used with button batteries would last when paired with a grouping of the used AA batteries. So, we worked out a way to complete a circuit with everyday stuff. Zip ties are universally good for many things. Paired with rubber bands we got these creative blobs.

I have provided different types of supplies you can use, but in general you will be needing batteries and LEDs. Use what is readily available and convenient for you. Just have fun with it.

This Instructable will show you how to make a battery-powered LED with stuff you probably have around your house. I recommend reading through it before starting. And remember...have fun!!! (Excuse me, my camera is pretty bad)

Supplies

For this project you will need:

  1. Batteries (I will show you how to do it with AA batteries, D battery, and a 3V lithium button battery)
    • If using D batteries, you will need two batteries
    • If using AA batteries, you will need four batteries
    • If using a 3V lithium battery, you will need only one.
    • Any combination of household batteries which approximate 3V.
  2. Mini LED lights (you can find them on aliexpress.com or amazon.com)
    • Make sure LED forward voltage is 3.0v so you can avoid using resistors.
    • Our LED specifications are in attached picture.
  3. Zip ties (at least 2) (larger/smaller, depending on battery {if you have only smaller, you can connect them})
  4. Copper wire/Penny (depending on battery)
    • Copper wire if you use D batteries
    • Penny if you use AA batteries.
    • For the button battery, you can get away with just the LED leads.
  5. Rubber bands (at least 4/large enough to hold your batteries)
  6. Scissors (optional, for cutting off excess zip ties) (I did not use)

Teachers: If you want to do this as a science project, I recommend seeing how long the light will last on different batteries.You can test the voltage and resistance to calculate various metrics. As a science project, you will need a multi-meter and the knowledge of how to use it. Fortunately, most of the stuff you need to know can be found online.

Step 1: Step 1: Tying the Batteries Together

FOR AA BATTERIES: Bundle the 4 AA batteries, such that half of them are positive and half of them are negative. Secure with 2 zip ties. This part can get a little tricky, but don't give up. If it is too hard, you can always ask for help from others. Start by creating a loop larger than your battery cluster and slipping it over the batteries before tightening it. The second zip tie should tie on with no problem.

FOR D BATTERIES: When tying the 2 D batteries together, use a long zip tie or tie the ends of the short zip ties. Similarly bundle the batteries in an alternating pattern (positive and negative). Secure with two zip ties.

If you are using button batteries, skip Steps 1,2 and 3 and go straight to Step 4.

Step 2: Step 2: Placing on Copper Wire/ Penny

If you are using a D batteries use the copper wire, because it reaches across and touches both sides of the batteries. To start preparing the copper wire for the D battery, curl the sides of the copper wire in order to get full connection (see photo of D battery).

FOR AA BATTERIES: I placed the penny over all four of the batteries. When wrapping rubber bands around the AA battery, I had to change rubber band because they were to big (I recommend: getting an assorted pack of rubber bands). You will cross the two bands over the penny. For safer outcome, make sore the penny is on top of all for batteries.

FOR D BATTERIES: Start by preparing your copper wire. You are to take your rubber bands, and place the two rubber bands over each battery (like in the picture above). Make sure the curls at the end of the copper are touching each of the batteries and then slip on the bands. If they don't touch when you put on the bands they are easily adjusted so, just place it back in.

Step 3: Step 3: Adding the LED

OKAY, WHAT I'M ABOUT TO SAY IS CRUCIAL TO NOT GETTING HURT: LED are sharp and pointy be careful. One of the two pointy pins is a bit longer than the other this is the anode or positive input, the shorter pin is the cathode. LEDs have polarity which means the way you connect them to the battery matters. But easy to remember if it doesn’t work one way, just switch it around, you might just have it backwards. We like the blinking LEDs which blink and shift color, they seem to last longer than non-flashing leds, they will slow down and get less bright over time, but the linger for a long while. Be Careful! The extra umphf of the D batteries gave some of the LEDs we used heat problems.

Okay so, for the D battery I'm going to take my CLEAR LED and spread each of the legs out. Then, place the legs under the rubber bands and it should light up the LED. IF NOT, either your copper is not touching, your battery is dead, or your LED is not touching.

Be extremely careful with these, because I burned myself two or three times so...You are going to bend the CLOUDY LED in a fork shape, and place it into the rubber band. BAM!! You have a fun little light, in only three steps.

For both of these you wanna make sure that the LED is touching both of the sides. You may have to jiggle it a little in order to get it to work.

Step 4: Step 4: 3V Lithium Battery LED Light

This one is so simple and easy it will blow your mind. I know right, why didn't I just start with this one? It would have saved me so much trouble! Sorry 'bout that. Enjoy!

Ensure that you know where the shorter side of the LED is facing the negative (or what seems to be the rougher side of the battery). The longer side of the LED is to the positive side of the battery. Sandwich the battery between the LED and tada!! A 3V lithium battery-powered light. LEDs have polarity, which means if you connect it in backwards it won’t light up, so if you see it not working spin it around. The negative has to the cathode, and the positive has to go to the anode.

Step 5: Links to Get Stuff

If you need help finding where to get any of this stuff, here are the links/places to get these supplies:

Batteries: If you don’t have alkaline or lithium batteries available at home, you can buy them at many discount, grocery and big-box stores. Here’s a link to a big package of AA batteries at Costco: https://www.costco.com/kirkland-signature-aa-alkal...

LEDs:

Clear: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1656736779.html?sp...

Colorful: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000404660730.html...

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075RY1GX2/ref=sspa_dk_d...

Amazon 2: https://www.amazon.com/Diffused-Lighting-Electroni...

IF YOU SHOP ELSEWHERE: make sure to differentiate clear from fuzzy LEDs. THANK YOU!!!

Zip ties: Target, Home depot, Walmart...Etc. Target zip ties: https://www.target.com/s?searchTerm=zip+ties

Copper wire:Here are your options.: https://www.amazon.com/Copper-Wire/b?ie=UTF8&node=...

Penny: I don't know where you can buy a penny...um...go to the bank?...or look for one on the floor?..I don't know. Make sure it's clean.

Rubber bands: Readily available at any office supply store, wrapped around some produce or other groceries, etc.

Target link: https://www.target.com/p/7-4oz-rubber-bands-assorted-sizes-u-brands/-/A-16603894

Step 6:

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