Introduction: Automatic LED BBQ Light
With winter being upon us, the desire to hang around in front of the BBQ (with ale in hand) has been replaced with a fleeting dash from the warmth, out to turn the sausages and then a hasty retreat back inside (to a warm cocoa).
The issue with this is the need to turn on the BBQ light each time you venture outside. Obviously I could just leave it on as this is neither very environmentally friendly nor very creative! A technical solution must be found!!! (yes my wife couldn't understand why I didn't just turn it on and off with the switch each time either...)
Read on to discover the joys of an automated light that delivers a golden glow of illumination to your sizzling sausages everytime you open the hood of your BBQ.
In all seriousness, this is a simple project that you could use to teach kids about different switches that can be used and how they can be applied to real world problems (yes, yes, it isn't really a huge problem but you get what I mean!)
Step 1: Materials and Tools
This is an extremely basic project and hence a minimum amount of components are required. You should be able to source all the materials for less than five dollars.
The light was purchased for about three dollars from Dollarama. It has already lasted for a couple of years before its big upgrade... It has a clip on one end that I clip onto the handle on the BBQ lid to illuminate the tasty treats below. The tilt switch was a little less, I stole it from out of my son's auduino kit! However, there are multitudes of options on ebay, all for only a few cents each. I did try to make my own but was unable to get a reliable switch contact. It would have been good enough as a sensor on a microprocessor but not as a switch within a circuit.
- Tilt switch
- Clamp lamp
- Heat shrink
- Soldering iron
- Hot glue gun
Step 2: Disassemble
Have a look at where the battery compartment is on your light and how best to gain access to it. Mine was located within the clamp and was the best place to break the circuit and insert the tilt switch. You may find that it is better to do this in the head of your lamp or wherever the switch is located.
The clamp was disassembled to give better access to the wires and the wire cover removed. I was lucky and found excess wire coiled up which was long enough to run to a suitable location for the tilt switch.
Be careful when taking any clamps apart. There is usually a large spring and you want to avoid this flicking out and hurting you
Step 3: Add Tilt Switch
Cut the battery wire in a suitable location. Slide some heat shrink over the wire and then solder onto the tilt switch contacts. Slide the heat shrink up and apply heat.
Find a suitable location for the tilt switch. It needs to be somewhere that is vertical when the hood is open and tucked away so it can't be damaged. I was lucky enough that it could be located directly under the pivot point for the clamp.
Once you are happy, use the hot glue gun to secure the tilt switch into place.
Reassemble the clamp. This is actually the only "difficult" part and I needed a hand to insert the pivot bolt while I compressed the spring (insert frustrated noises and swear words here).
Step 4: Enjoy!
Attach the lamp onto your BBQ and enjoy the benefits associated with not having to switch the light on each time you lift the lid. What is just as enjoyable is watching the bemused (and tolerant) look that you will now be getting from your spouse / family / friends / dog. Its an instructable thing!