Introduction: The Lantern of Many Voltages

About: Hi, we’re Dane & Nicole, two makers that create stuff, which we happily share with you!

A lantern powered by a bunch of semi-dead batteries. Doesn't that sounds nice?



  • Barricade Light
  • Tape
  • Wires
  • 20W Adjustable DC Converter with Display
  • Alligator Clips
  • Wire Stripper
  • DC Power source between 2.5v and 230v, 12v aa battery hold in this article
  • Hook and loop

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Step 1: Project Video

Step 2: The Lantern Itself

Our battery depleting project starts with one of those lights you can usually spot at roadworks, a barricade light!

A barricade light is perfect for our idea, because it's incredible robust, and energie efficient, with the added bonus of a nice amount of light. You can even read under it!

There are a bunch of variations out there, from in-build solar powered, too super odd ones, so just take your pick.

With that being said, generally speaking there are at least four bits; a chonky battery, a logic board, a light and last but not least, a casing

To see all these beautiful parts, go ahead and open yours up. For reference, ours had both a bolt and a click system guarding it's treasure.

Once opened, mark down the voltage of the battery, and the placement of the + and - on the logic board. We'll need them later on, to attach our own component.

Step 3: Making Some Changes

The most important bits of our project are the DC Buck Converter and some decent electrical wiring.

First we wire the power source to the IN section of the converter. You can pick any electrical wire, we popped on two crocodile wires, it makes attaching all the different batteries a tad easier. Make sure the plus(+) of your power source goes to the plus(+), and the minus(-) to the minus(-) of the IN section on our chip. Once screwed in place wiggle the the wires a bit, this makes sure your connections don't let go when moving components around.

For power we go with a 12v AA battery holder, filled with some purgatory batteries.

Once wired up, you'll see the screen light up and display the current incoming voltage. Follow these steps to calibrate the chip to the voltage written down in the step before.

Last but not least we connect the logic board to the IN section of our DC Converter chip. It's important to have the poles correct. Match the minus(-) from the DC Converter chip, to the minus(-) of the lanterns logic board. The same goes for the other pole, the plus(+). As an extra, we also added a little bit of hook and loop to the inside and each individual component, to stop things from rattling around too much.

Step 4: And the Numbers Are In!

Now the final moment, grab any dc power source with at least 2.5v left, press any buttons if need be, and feast upon the energy otherwise locked away forever!

Some fun facts, with 12v as input, ours lasted about 12 hours. Other fun fact, by lowering the output voltage of our DC Converter Chip, the lantern is dimmable. This als works when the powerhouse runs low, the light slowly dies, hooray!