Intro: LED Lantern
Hi, this is Dan Nelson, the creative engineer at Elemental LED. For this month's employee DIY project, I decided to use some e-waste to make a lantern. I've always liked the polished aluminum housing that some of our 12V drivers have, and when one of these turned out to be faulty, I was stoked. In addition to being shiny, this housing has a lot of holes--for venting the components inside--that make for a perfect lantern.
This was very easy to make, which was perfect for a non-techy like me. All it took was:
a housing (obviously you can use anything metal that has cool hole patterns, or cut/poke your own holes)
2 x 6 inch pieces of amber High Density Flexible LED Strip Light
2 x Flexible LED Strip Light Splice Connectors
2 x 6 AWG (wire gauge) heat shrink sleeves
a 6 Watt 12V DC plug-in Adapter
one small and one medium-sized Philips screwdriver
a knife or wire stripper
a heat gun or hair dryer
Basically all I did was remove all of the guts of the driver, then stripped off some stickers from the outside. The housing has some scratches, so I could have buffed it to dull it down, but I decided to leave it shiny. I plugged the two sections of strip into the splice connectors. Then I cut the DC plug off the adapter and threaded it into the housing--it's important to do this before you make the power connections. I slipped the heat shrink sleeves (big enough to fit 3 wires) onto the adapter wires first, then I paired the + and - adapter wires to the correct wires on the splice connectors. (Since the adapter is low voltage, it's safe to figure out which wires are + and - while it's plugged in.) After twisting the wires together a bit, the heat gun sealed the connections. Then I put one strip on each side of the housing, trying to position them so they wouldn't be shining directly out of the holes, but instead would give more ambient light. Then I put the cover back on the housing. That was it!
Before settling on the amber-colored strip, I did do a test with one section of blue and one green high density strip, so maybe that will be the next lantern color. I also thought about using RGB Strip Light and the Reignbow LED Color Selector Switch, which lets you choose one color at a time from the RGB strip, but decided to just keep it simple.