Have you ever shined a flashlight around the house and noticed how beautiful it looks under a glass of water? Now you can capture that beauty in a water bottle of your choice! So, build your AquaLight today!
AquaLight is a portable flashlight you may use around the house to gently light up an entire room. It may also be converted to plug in to a wall outlet, and thus be used as either a low-powered lamp or beautiful night-light. The best part is, it's so cheap and easy that anyone can build it, so build yours TODAY!!
Step 1: Parts and Tools
Cheap 3x AAA flashlight - $1 (Any dollar store should have one - it's preferable to have one with a tail, click switch rather than side, slide switch since the slide switches are usually mechanical in cheap ones and will be difficult to use.)
2' of Wire - Free (I used 22 guage)
High Powered LED - <$5 (This is an essential part of your AquaLight. Mine was from an $11 flashlight here of which I used the LED for this project and the flashlight case to house a high powered laser. I believe this might be just the LED inside, and higher powered ones may be found here, though some may require a circuit driver, so do your research.)
Water Bottle - <$1 (Brand is of course your choice.)
Alligator clip - <$1 (Optional - helps connect to negative case of flashlight.)
Tape - Free (I used clear tape so it's less visible. Or, you may use epoxy or SuperGlue for something more permanent. I do NOT recommend using hot glue since in my experiences, the LED's star heatsink may get hot enough to melt through the glue and detach from the bottle.)
Paper - Free (Used to keep 3x AAA holder in place.)
Soldering Iron w/ Solder
Step 2: Disassemble Flashlight
You should be able to disassemble the flashlight.
1) First take out the batteries and look down towards the tube towards the LEDs.
2) If there is a thin metal film around the perimeter, remove it using pliers.
3) With very cheap flashlights, chances are you have to push the LEDs out through the front (take a hammer and a long object and hit the LED assembly out through the front).
Each flashlight may be different, but in the end, it should look something like this:
Step 3: Solder the LED to Battery
Next you must take your two feet of wire, strip the ends, and solder one end to the LED. The other end will have one wire going to the positive connection of the battery holder, and the other wire going to the alligator clip for negative connection for later.
Then take a thin piece of paper and keep it on the side of the battery holder as you push it back in to the battery compartment (refer to pictures 5 and 6 below). It should be a tight fit and keep the battery holder in place. Lastly, connect the alligator clip to the negative flashlight case and test that the LED works.
Step 4: Tape the LED and Turn It ON!
This last step is short and simple. Take a few pieces of tape and mount the LED to the bottom of the Water Bottle. Whichever LED you chose should be flat enough that it would fit in the slightly raised gap under the bottle. Then, your wires should be able to fit through one of the concave ridges and slide through the back, allowing the flashlight to stand full-upright without any part sticking out.
Then, POWER IT ON!!! Have fun with your AquaLight. Turn the lights out and gaze into it. I'm sure you'll find that the AquaLight mysteriously attracts your gaze.
Step 5: Customize It!
The AquaLight may be customized in many ways. You can:
- Use thinner wire to make it less noticeable.
- Power it using any 3V-5V Wall Outlet Transformer for long time use, or for use as a night light.
- Use a LED powerful enough to suit your needs (perhaps less for a night light, more for a small decorative lamp, and somewhere in between for a flashlight).
- Install a small lens at the bottle cap so that most of the light gets focused rather than dispersed at the cap.
- Use different color LEDs (perhaps make a rainbow of bottle lights.)
- And of course, you may use a water bottle from a company you love :)
What makes the AquaLight such a fantastic project is that it is so simple and easy to build, yet the reward is so great. Make it with children to teach them a little about electronics. Make it a beginner's project where they can learn to solder.
Lastly, share your AquaLight with everyone by posting pictures in the comments. I'd be glad to see others take on this little project and express the AquaLight within them.