Introduction: Recycled LED Night Light (Project for Newbies)
In this Instructrable, beginners will be able to learn through a vary basic but fun project, how LED, circuits, and wiring works. The end result will be a very awesome and bright night light. This Project can be easily done by kids of 7years+ but parental guidance and supervision should always be present in projects that involve electricity like this one.
Some of the Basic things you need to know (and for the newbies, I will teach it in this slide) for this project, include:
LED (Light Emitting Diodes)- are diodes that release energy in the form of light. These little awesome things have two legs in which current will pass through. The long leg is the positive side of the LED. The small leg is the negative side of the LED.
Voltage- is the potential difference between two points and is used in all electric things. It is measured in Volts. LED have varying voltage, but they are usually below the 3.4 Volt mark
Amperage- is the SI unit for measuring electric current. 5mm Leds like the ones we will use in this project normally have an Amperage of 20 mAmp
Candelas- the SI unit of luminous intensity, or simply how bright something is. The brightness of LEDs can be measured in this unit (mcd) and bright led usually fall in the above 8000 mcd range.
Copper Wire- A wire made of copper which is a great conductor of electricity.
Battery- Batteries are sources of elecricity in a circuit. AA and AAA batteries usually have 1.5 voltage. This is not enough for powering an LED. All batteries have a positive and negative side. Since one battery is not enough for powering the LED, we will use two batteries by connecting the positive side of one battery to the negative side of another, thus increasing the voltage of our source to 3 volts. Enough for our awesome LED!!!
This is mostly what we need to know before we begin the project. Wish you all good luck doing this!!!
Step 1: Materials
So what do you need to start building your awesome battery powered night light:
1) 1x 5mm White LED (preferably over 13000mcd)(I recommend these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/271016787878?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649#ht_3822wt_1037) (pack of 50 about $3.99 inc Ship)
2) 1x Toggle Switch (ON and OFF) (about $1 in your local hardware store)
3) about a foot of Speaker Wire (about $1 or $2)
4) 2x AAA batteries or 2x AA will also work
5) Lots of Insulating Tape
6) Something where you can mount the project. I reused a Mexican Candy Container
These are all the Materials you need for your awesome Night Light
A good place to find all of these materials are the STEREN stores
Step 2: Building Our Source
To start up with our source follow these steps:
1) Join both batteries with insulating tape right in the middle to make future steps easier.
2) Get your speaker wire and Separate the cables that are sticked together.
3) Get three speaker wire (about 5 inches) and remove the outer coating from both sides so that only the conductive copper cable is revealed.
4) Tape the now revealed copper wire to a terminal in the battery as shown in the picture. Repeat this in every Terminal in the battery with insulating tape.
After this your source is ready to add all other components!!!
Step 3: Adding Our Toggle Switch
Now we are going to add our conductive Toggle Switch. This switch permits us to turn the circuit on and off without having to disconnect any cables, in comparison of how it would work without the switch.
I am going to briefly explain how the toggle switch works before explaining what we are to do. We will connect 2 cables to our toggle switch: A Positive and a Negative, to two different conductive metals in our toggle switch. When the Toggle Switch is in the off position, these metals are untouched, thus electricity does not move between both, the circuit is not completed, and the batteries are not joined yet. But when we turn the toggle switch to the ON position, we are really toggling a conductive metal inside the component that touches both the positive and negative terminals of the switch, thus creating sort of a bridge of electricity between the positive and negative terminals, completing the circuit, and joining both batteries (thus getting us the required Voltage of 3V we need for our LED).
So now what we are going to do with the project is connecting our battery to the Toggle Switch. Most Toggle Switches are somewhat different but most of them follow a basic guideline.
Always Connect a Cable in the Middle and a Cable on one of the sides on 3 terminal Toggle Switches.
If the switch has screws to fasten the copper cable, do this. If it doesn't just fasten the cables with the insulating tape.
The pictures above should help you understand this a little bit more
Once we have added the toggle switch the voltage of our battery becomes 3 Volts when switch is on. MAKE SURE TO NOT LET THE OTHER POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE WIRE's Copper Touch or a Short Circuit Will occur causing heat, possibly smoke, and in rare cases Battery Explosion
Step 4: Adding Our LED and TroubleShooting
Now we are going to add our LED
As I said before an LED has a short and a long leg. The short leg is the negative and the long leg the positive.If we mistake them the LED will not turn on.
Before starting, we want to spread the legs far apart to prevent our copper cables from touching each other thus causing short circuit, heating of battery, possibly smoke, and even in rare cases battery explosion. ALWAYS DO ALL THESE STEPS WITH THE TOGGLE SWITCH IN THE OFF POSITION
So now we'll start: Keep in mind that when we say "Connect to LED" we mean make a spiral with the copper cable on one of the legs of the LED and then put insulating tape in top of it and cover ALL the copper cable with the insulating tape to make sure the possibility of the cables touching each other in the future (+ and -) is impossible
1) First connect the cable from the Positive terminal of the battery to the long leg (positive side of LED)
2) Now connect the cable from the Negative terminal of the battery to the short leg (negative side of LED)
After connecting the cables to the LED, turn the toggle switch on to make sure everything works. If the light turns on, AWESOME!!!. If it doesn't, the cause could be several things including:
1) A copper cable is not making contact with the battery correctly or probably moved. Check the batteries
2) A copper cable is not making contact with the LED correctly. Check it out
3) The Copper Cable is not making contact with the Toggle Switch
4) The batteries are completely out of charge
5) There is a Short Circuit on the LED because you accidentally made the positive and negative cables touch. ACT FAST TO SEPARATE THEM
6) If you have a 3 terminal toggle switch make sure you turned the switch to the correct side.
7) Make sure your batteries are 1.5 volt batteries
These are all the possibilities of error
Step 5: Putting Everything in the Container, Conclusion, and Final Thoughts
I am not going to go very deep in this step, since I would like to let room for customization, but instead I am going to show pictures of what I did.
Thank you all for reading this, my first instructable, and I hope everything went well with your project. Please leave feedback and if you can pictures of your awesome Results!!! Thanks
AND YES with 4 batteries you can make it a 2 LED night light