LED Concert Lighter

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Intro: LED Concert Lighter

In my first instructable ever I will show you how I took a common Bic Lighter and turned it into a bright LED flashlight. I figure this is a clever idea for you concert goers, and anybody else who wants to put an LED into everything.

Step 1: Materials

First you need to gather some materials, you will need:
Needle Nose Pliers
Electrical Tape
A Bic Lighter
2 AAA Batteries
1 LED (3V)
Soldering Iron and Solder (not pictured)
Hack Saw (not pictured)
and some wire, any small gauge wire will do, I used some stuff I had laying around that was from an old phone line.

If you can strip an old phone line you will have plenty of wire, if you need to get some elsewhere you shouldn't need more then 2 feet total (I'm factoring in people making mistakes and needing to trim wires) try to get 2 1' sections of wire with different colour insulation to make things easier

Step 2: Disassembly

After you have all your materials together you will want to start taking apart your lighter but before you do make sure all the fluid is drained from the lighter. Its best to use a dead one but if you don't have one you can use a rubber band to depress the fuel lever, make sure to do this in a well ventilated area as a buildup of flammable gasses could cause problems.

First remove the metal Shield gently with your pliers (you need this piece intact later so don't force it off).

Then take out your striker wheel by gently prying the tabs holding it in place (also don't break the tabs they are important), when you get the wheel loose watch your eyes as the flint and tension spring will have a tendency to fly out.

Once the striker is out you can (gently) remove the fuel lever, there is a spring under this piece as well and you need that spring so be very careful.

And lastly while removing the fuel lever the fuel valve should also come out.

Step 3: Open'er Up

I forgot to take a picture but after your lighter is disassembled and the fuel is drained use a hack saw to cut the bottom off of the lighter, you only need to cut about 1/4" up from the bottom, this is to remove the bottom cap that is glued in.

Once the bottom is removed you will see there is a divider on the inside that has to go, this will take some fighting to get it all out, the most important part is to remove the the spot where the spring for the flint goes, by removing this you will have a nice neat hole to feed your wires though later.

Step 4: Create a Contact Point for Our Switch

Alright this next part took me a while to figure out because I wanted to make it all self contained so I came up with this.

Take the metal shield and put a small bend in the bottom of it like shown in the picture, this bend will create our contact point for our switch later

You may want to use 2 pairs of pliers for this to make it easier but I was able to get the job done with one.

Step 5: Install Our LED

Next we want to install our LED after doing this I found that using something to glue the LED into place would have made this a whole lot easier as I suck at soldering but if you don't have crazy glue or something similar you can do it without.

You want to solder one of the leads on the LED to the metal shield, it doesn't have to be where I did it, but I found that it made it easier for when I wanted to connect the wire to the other lead (you will see later why)

I would also suggest you attach the shorter lead to the shield so you don't have to do any trimming later to get the shield to fit back on.

And lastly make sure that your bead of solder doesn't protrude from the bottom because this too will inhibit the shield from fitting back properly

In this step (not pictured sorry) you can also solder a piece of wire to the other lead. In both this step and the next step use about 6" of wire or more so you have plenty to work with later

Step 6: Connect Wire to Fuel Lever

Next we want to connect the other end of our switch.

I found that the metal here doesn't like solder very much, now this could have been my own ineptitude because as I mentioned before soldering isn't my forte, (But that is!.....ahem...sorry...bad joke). I found that stripping the wire up about one inch and wrapping the wire repeatedly and soldering did the trick.

You want to make sure that from your solder joint back there isn't much bare wire so we don't run into any shorting problems later on (again you will see later why)

Step 7: Insert Fuel Lever

In this step we want to put the fuel lever back in.

Make sure you put the return spring in too but don't put the fuel valve back in, by not having the fuel valve in the spring pushes the lever up more so it give us the space we need for our switch to work properly.

When we do this we also want to feed our wire down through the hole that our flint used to be in.

Step 8: Attach Metal Shield With LED

Now we want to put our Metal shield back in it was at this point that I soldered the wire to the other LED lead, which I later realized made it more difficult, that's why I told you to do it earlier.

Your switch should now make contact with the bent piece of the shield and you should have wires sticking out of the bottom of your cut off lighter body

Step 9: Make Your Battery Pack

I'm now going to use some AA batteries for illustrative purposes because the last bit of the assembly was alot of trial and error but you should still be using AAA batteries.

First you want to tape your batteries together side by side with opposite polarities next to each other, don't worry about the taping job being good this is just to hold things in place for now.

Next pick an end and solder a bared piece of wire across the batteries like shown, DO NOT use excessive heat make your solders quick, I'm no scientist but I do know that prolonged heat is not good for batteries.

Step 10: Inserting Battery Pack

Your project should look something like this now, you should have your wires from your led sticking out from the bottom and your battery pack taped and soldered at one end.

Now you want to take your battery pack and insert it with the already soldered end in first so that your un-soldered end is sticking out from the bottom.

Only put the battery pack in up to where you taped it as the tape will make the batteries too big to put in so we want to remove it.

Now that our battery pack is partially inserted we want to cut the tape off.

Step 11: Finalizing Battery Pack

Now that our Battery pack is partially inserted and the tape is removed we want to solder our wires from our LED to the battery.

It is important that the wire coming from the long lead of the LED goes to the Negative terminal on the battery because if you get the switched around the LED will not light.

Once you have the wires soldered to the Battery you can push the batteries all the way into the lighter taking care so that you push them in evenly now that they aren't taped together so we don't break the solder joint at the other end of the pack.

Depending on how much of the Divider you were able to remove earlier will denote how far in you can push the batteries.

NOTE: Once those batteries are in there you cant get them out without damaging them so make sure your light works before you push the batteries all the way in.

Step 12: And You're Done

And that is all there is to it!

At this point you could glue the bottom of the lighter back on, I didn't as I didn't think ahead and I tossed the bottom piece out after I cut it off.


SOME SIDE NOTES:

After doing this I figured there were a few small things you could do to round out the look.

First you could colour the LED or get a yellow/orange LED to begin with so it has the Lighter look to it but I wanted it more as a flashlight.

Second if you feel like it you could use a small piece of shrink tubing on the wire that is soldered to the Long LED lead at the solder joint so that it insulates and you can put the striker wheel back in and not worry about shorting anything by accident.

Please leave comments and suggestions as this was my first instructable and I hope it will not be my last.

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    78 Discussions

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    MostlyDemonic

    8 years ago on Step 9

    i tried to soldier my batteries together but everytime it just came off again... how did u do it??

    4 replies
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    ssevanMostlyDemonic

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 9

    I would sand the battery contacts just a bit, that always works for me.

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    BOBMUNZMostlyDemonic

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 9

    First is to make sure you use enough solder, and the second is that you have to heat the contact on the battery up a bit too, that is why I cautioned people that you need to be careful, if you heat it up too much it can cause the battery to burst or leak. If the part you try to solder isn't heated up at least a bit as soon as the hot solder touches the metal that isn't hot enough it will solidify and not bond properly. Another possibility is that the solder you are using does not have flux in it. Flux helps clean the contact of contaminates and allows the solder to make a stronger bond. If the solder you used does not have flux in it you may need to find some flux that you can apply (has a small brush in it) to clean the contact prior to soldering. Not sure where to get it as all the solder I have ever used since highschool has it already inside.

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    MostlyDemonicBOBMUNZ

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 9

    yeah, i tried several times and it just annoyed me.. so atm im usins a paper clip which is bend into place and held by electrical tape :D just a comment on the whole thing thou: did u use a resistor for the circuit?? cause i know some leds just blow up on 3Volts of power. and if u ever make another lighter light, might i suggest a laser lighter?? cause thats wat i did and hell is it fun to confuse people :L

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    gregod43

    8 years ago on Step 11

    soldering batteries?!?! dude, you might wanna warn people that this could be pretty dangerous, that is unless you're a fan of battery acid

    1 reply
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    BOBMUNZgregod43

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 11

    Already mentioned before about being careful when soldering batteries, and if you aren't confident that you should use conductive adhesive or another means to connect them.

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    oud25

    8 years ago on Step 12

    did u solder the wires to the bottom of the batteries
    and wich battery goes to which contact of the led

    3 replies
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    BOBMUNZoud25

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The long lead is negative, thought I put that in there but now that I have looked it turns out I didn't.

    And yes I soldered the wires to the battery, when doing this be very careful not to get the battery too hot as this can cause some problems. If you are not confident in soldering the wires to the battery you can try a conductive adhesive.

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    anche33BOBMUNZ

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 12

    The long lead on an LED is the positive side.  the negative side is shorter and there is often a notch taken out of the side of the LED.

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    Glockenator

    8 years ago on Introduction

    not bad.when im in the woods i have to use a lighter when im moving around sometimes and i dont like wasting the butane in my lighters that i have made to have a 4 inch flame.this is awesome

    4 replies
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    GlueyMcGeeGlockenator

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

     safer but a lot more useless

    LIGHTer what are you going to light with an led ?

    (except illuminating things)

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    BOBMUNZGlueyMcGee

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If you spend any good amount of time in the bush you use a wind proof lighter to light things, and most of those don't cast much light.

    And besides this isn't a project of practicality but a project where you use old unused things to make something new

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    alex27123344

    8 years ago on Step 12

     Awesome idea! Much safer than a lighter. =) Thanks for this great idea and for explaining it so clearly. Great first instructable!

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    Cimarron_warrior

    9 years ago on Step 12

    Very interesting idea.  For being your firstinstructableI think you did a very good job of explaining the stepsand filling in with info later that would help others on their attemptsat making this handy flashlight.  I am thinking about makingseveral and giving them out for gifts this christmas, because they canbe kept in the car, by the bed, in a first aid kit, tackle box, or justabout anywhere for that matter for emergencies.  You made thecomment about using a yellow or orange LED for a simulated flame,I'm thinking of trying to figure a way to use the flickeringLED from a flameless tealight candle.