Joule Thief Night Light




About: I like instructibles!

Well, since everyone is raving about the joule thief, I though I would hop on the band wagon and give it a shot. I ended up building a little night light for my little brother. and making a very big mess later for me to clean up : )

In the End I am very happy with the outcome. I am giving it to the little bugger soon. hope he like it.

JUST A heads up, i am starting the project with an already built joule thief. I could just copy a link from another instructible but that would be too easy...

Also this is my first instructible hope you all like it.....

Step 1: Set Up/ What You Will Need

For the Joule Thief Night Light you will need......

-1 joule thief circuit ALREADY BUILT!
-some type of craft wood
-old light bulb (preferable already burnt out-more green that way)
-some type of switch
-table saw/hand saw
-wood screws/glue
-battery holder AA
-goggles (safety First)
-light bulb holder (where you screw it in)
-electrical tape/liquid tape/hot glue
-hinge ( with screws)

-music for motivaton
-medical attention standing by (MOTHERS OR WIVES!!)

Total Cost<10 dollars.
switch-.45 cents
old light bulb- free
leds- 50 cents (25c/1)
wood- free for me, maybe 6.00??
light base- 3.05
screws- free

TOTAL COST =10 dollars or less

Step 2: Making the Box

I started with trying to figure out what i needed to fit everything in. i ended up cutting the pieces twice because I didn't measure right...

for those back in the states i made a 4.5 x 4.5 x 3.5 box (L x W x H)

I will try to explain what i did and maybe follow along on my crude picture of what I did. i am no artist do not critique my boxes....

1. I cut the 2 bases first.
2. I cut 2 longer side which i set ON TOP OF the bottom base
3. Then I cut 2 SMALLER sides which would find their way Between the ends of the first 2 sides and then would be ON TOP OF the bottom base
4. I then used a drill to cut the hole in the middle (about ) of the top base. they SHOULD be the same size so normally it would not make a difference so just choose one of the bases and get a hole in it. After the pilot hole i started with a chisel around the hole and just started breading wood with prying and using a hammer. the smarter thing to do here would be to just drill it out but i didn't have a big enough drill bit soo....... that is how the chisel came in.
5. I added a hinge for easy opening for changing of the battery's and repair if need be. hopelfuuly not.

6. Make it personal. Around this time I added my brothers name to the top base on the outside right next to the light bulb slot..

Step 3: Light Bulb

Well what I did probably was not the correct way for this but to take apart the light bulb what I did was use a pliers and "peeled" off the copper bottom circle. then there is a glass(?) bottom that insulated the copper and i just used my dremel with a drill bit and drilled through and then broke the rest of the glass away at the bottem and took out all of the insides. I left the white power inside the bulb.
I got how i did it from here...

After that I put "liquid Tape" inside metal for insulation purposes. hot glue or electrical tape could also be used.

Step 4: Test Run/Put It All in the Box

I opted for a awesome blue switch and would be mounted outside the box. I used my trusty Dremel again and made a hole and then just kept working it on the wall with the mini saw bit that i have. it took about 5-10 minutes until the hole was big enough and it had a snug fit. you can also opt for mounting inside but i thought an outside switch was easier for a 10 year old to find in the dark and then he would accidentally mess up the wiring.....


After a day and a half I am done. By the way I did have to go to school for a good portion of the day.... so it was really only about 13 hours?? can that be right? well it took me awhile to cut the wood evenly.. the end reult is better than i expected and my little brother loved it and it is now sitting on his bed. I hope my first instructable was descent. if you have any questions just send a comment and i'll write back. the possibilities are endless for these Joule Thief Night Lights and any shape size color could be made. .



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    35 Discussions


    5 weeks ago

    Here is my version, has a ultrasonic sensor to turn the light on, and a timer to turn the LED off after a set time. Also, uses joule thief type circuit so that on single AA battery needed.


    3 years ago

    Oh got my name on ze box. :)


    8 years ago on Step 5

    hey email me i need to know how to make the joule thief every one elses pic arent that good

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    When it took a nasty spill down the stairs, did it subject itself to further school absences?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Well Done! Tidy Job. Like you say, you are not a cabnet maker. Your kid brother is lucky to have you. My son tries to get his kid brother to try nine volt batteries on his tongue!

    2 replies

    nice. i have tried that before but then i couldnt taste anything for a few minutes. thats why one should always have a 9v with them just in case mom or wives think they want to create something new in the kitchen. just make sure you eat it up in the first few minutes. . ..

    LMAO - YOU ARE FUNNY DUDE - I love the medical attention standing by comment and of course the wood comment. that was a good one. I want to make one, but im fairly 'special' and don't know how to do junk like this. Looks like heeckkkkka fun though. Thanks for the instructoid :) keep up the good work.


    as for the c/d cell I dont have anything that runs on those but I am sure it will work with those battery's as well but just make sure you are getting out the correct voltage for what you want to be running.


    I am not totally sure about the length. i guess it would depend on how charged your "dead" battery is and how well you wound your coil. but i would probably say a week maybe more. I will have to test it out to see.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Rough and ready instructable, does exactly what it says on the Tin. I didn't know what a joule thief was (or even thought about it) so well done for the inspiration. Might be a good idea to mention what one is - for those who don't, it seems to be a way of squeezing the last dregs of your battery. Very eco friendly (but you should use rechargeables for all your battery needs and you can't use rechargeables in Joule thief projects because mostly they can't be completely discharged without damaging them...)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    umm Why dont u Mitre the box edges No offense but it looks petty Scrappy the box If you mitered the edges and dowelled jonted it it would look good N anyone can do it Im only 12 and i can do it


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    So, pretty much exactly what I just said then... I will repeat it for you: The joule theif is the current source, via a "dead" battery. google it. In other words, the joule thief is the facilitator for the current to flow, from a source which otherwise would not provide enough power. I did however get current and power/voltage mixed up. Sorry. It should read "is the power source"