LED Lantern

If you like camping or have other good use for regulated rechargeable LED lantern with solid output and lifetime, this might be instructable for you.

The regulator allows for changing the output from "candle" to proper reading light or more, depending what LEDs are used.2x 1W provided plenty of light for usual tent night activities like book reading or card playing.

Output can be scaled based on LED selection and quantity - you can connect them in parallel. Battery lifetime can be extended by use of multiple cells. You may need check component specs, to make sure you stay within operating parameters (voltages, amps...).

All components are easily available and inexpensive, totalling at about $9. I got most of them from usual Chinese eshop.

Step 1: Components

  1. LEDs - I used two old 1W Cree SMDs, each having 4 LED on chip ~$0.40 e.g. link
  2. 18650 LiIon battery, preferably with internal protecting module ~$3.00 link
  3. Cradle for 18650 battery with leads ~$0.50 link
  4. Battery management board for 18650 LiIon battery ~$0.40 link
  5. 1-5V to 5V DC/DC step-up convertor ~$1.50 link
  6. PWM regulator ~$1.35 link
  7. Micro 1-pole switch ~$0.00 link
  8. Heat sink ~$1.44 link
  9. Shade - I used spherical shade from defunct LED bulb
  10. Enclosure - I used aluminium box from nivea cream, which ticked many boxes - easy to work with, lightweight, easily maintainable, dissipates heat

Total about $9. Links will not work forever, but you should be able to search for an alternative based on item descriptions.

Step 2: Tools and Other Material

You will/may make use of following tools/materials:

  1. Soldering iron
  2. Glue gun
  3. Dremel
  4. Wires
  5. Double-sided heat conductive tape

Step 3: Wiring

Wiring is basically soldering of wires from component to component as per the sketch. Some components may have screw terminals.

Step 4: Enclosure

This is left for your creativity and what you find by the hand. I chose simple alu box from nivea, which is conductive so I paid extra attention not to create any electrical contact.

Few cutouts were easily done using drill, pointy knife and dremel grinder. Components are fixed by small screws and hot glue.

LEDs are taped to heatsink with double-sided heat conductive tape, heat sink is taped to box with the same.

I should have cut one rib from heat sink to bring LEDs lower in the box and get rid of the dark patch on the shade.

In general, I am happy with the result, I hope it will make for a nice little project for somebody else.

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