Introduction: LED-desktop / Workspace / Keyboard Lamp (IKEA Tertial Hack)

About: I like to make / fix / improve "things"...

This instructable will show you how to easily convert your old-fashioned IKEA Tertial desktop lamp into a more contemporary, energy efficient and better looking workspace, desktop or keyboard illumination device.

Note: This is my first instructable and I have done this conversion when I did not know instructables, so there are no THAT detailed photos of each and every step.
But its not that complicated to reproduce, if you know how to use a screwdriver.

Please do also note, that this instructable contains a little work on devices which conduct current, so only follow these steps at your own risk and if you know what you are doing, I am not responsible if you hurt or even kill yourself or burn down your house...

Step 1: What You Need...


an IKEA Tertial Lamp, some aluminum pipe with an inner diameter of 8 mm (length depending on the length of the LED-bar), an LED-bar kit including a transformator (discounter, hardware store, internet..., I got mine at "Aldi" in germany for cheap) (sorry, no original picture), some tiny (M3) PE-washers (metal washers should work, too), some self-cutting screws (usually equipped with the LED-bar kit).


metal saw, drill, screwdriver, combination pliers, optionally some wire

Step 2: Ok, Go...

Let`s get it on...

First cut the cable of the original tertial lamp somewhere between the switch and the lamp itself. Make sure you unplug the lamp before you do this ;)
Now unscrew the lampshade and pull the cable out of the arm of the lamp. Store the lampshade with the cable for future projects.

Now you can cut off the part of the lamp-shade-holder with the two boreholes on a little sheet of bended metal by using the metal saw. Cut it as close to the little oval bended metal sheet as possible. Optionally you can detach it from the "arm" first.

Now you have a bolt which perfectly fits into your aluminum pipe.

Shorten the aluminum pipe to the desired length (depending on the length of your LED-bar) and optionally and carefully squeeze the one end (where you will fit in the bolt) a little with your pliers to make it fit closer to the bolt of the lamp-arm.

Choose the places for the clips / holders (which came with the LED-bar kit) on the aluminum pipe and mark them. Drill some holes which are a little smaller than the selfcutting screws you hopefully received with your LED-bar kit.

Use the PE-washers to align the flat-bottomed holders to the round pipe and screw them in place carefully.

Step 3: Connecting...

So, after you prepared all this, here comes the little tricky part...

If possible, unscrew the secondary (low-voltage) casing part of the transformator, unscrew the wires and be sure to mark the positive and negative wires before, since LEDs are only working "one-way".

If you have no possibility to open the trafo, cut the wires of the secondary (low voltage) circuit and mark the polarity as i mentioned above. Later you can use an insulating screw joint (!) (and not some duct tape!!) to put them together again.

Fumble the wire through the parts of the arm of the lamp where the old cable ran through. Be patient! ;)

Optionally, to protect yourself from total frustration, use some wire, push it through the "skeleton" of the lamp arm from the other side, make a loop and attach it to the wire of the LEDs and PULL it through the arm.

After you successfully fumbled that darn wire back through the arm, you can attach it to the transformator again. By screwing it in place again or by using an insulating screw joint if you had to cut the cable before. If you use the last mentioned method, you will have to strip off the insulation of the ends of the cables... Nevermind.

Attach the aluminum bar to the sawn bolt firmly, put the LED-Bar in its place (the clamps), connect it, turn on the power and enjoy ;)

Step 4:

Now you can light your whole desktop,  only your keyboard (very useful for gaming in a dim room), precision work area, all without reflections on your monitor.

Or swivel it behind your monitor for a comfortable ambient light while working at your PC.

Have fun, thanks for your attention!

Greetings, ConFu

Be sure to check out the next step for a very useful UPDATE!

Step 5: UPDATE: Added One Degree of Freedom

One of the major drawbacks of the design so far was that the LED bar was aligned straight to the arm. You could move it up and down or tilt it, but not turn it relatively to the end of the arm.
In order to place the light in a straight line above my keyboard, I had to fix the arm "a little away" to the right side of my desktop.
And there was no way to move the light towards you and still have it in a straight line in front of you.

Today I stumbled upon some cross connectors I found on a flea market years ago and which had proven to be extremely useful for (temporary) (lamp) installations with 10 mm diameter aluminum pipes.

I still wonder why I didn´t ever think about using these for my desktop lamp for about two years now.

But eventually it hit me like a lightning ;)

I just turned the bolt of the "tertial" arm downwards and attached the cross connector to the bolt and the pipe.
For a more accurate fit I sawed out a little piece of 10 mm diameter aluminum pipe to match the diameters of the bolt and the cross connector. It works without it, but it´s a little unsteady.

Almost perfekt now ;)

Joby Transform It! Challenge

Participated in the
Joby Transform It! Challenge

Holiday Gifts Contest

Participated in the
Holiday Gifts Contest

Sugru Life Hacks Contest

Participated in the
Sugru Life Hacks Contest