Recycled Spotlight for Camping (12V DC)

Not too long ago, I bought a cordless drill from Goodwill and morphed it with half a set of jumper cables in order to have a mobile drill at camp (see it here!). That project turned out really well and left me with the remaining half set of jumper cables, which aren't good for much by themselves.

Luckily, I soon stumbled across another cordless treasure that had been tossed to the wolves. This was a Cyclops flood light and I happened to be right there when it was rolled out of the back and hefted onto a bottom shelf. I pounced on it immediately but found that it was the kind you have to plug in and charge. No adapter was included. I'd be willing to bet the behemoth was given the old heave-ho either because the adapter got lost or the battery stopped holding a charge. I would bet on the former, because this still has all the new stickers, including one that runs across the power button. I popped open the waterproof battery compartment and found that it runs off a 12 volt battery! This could be what my sad, half set of jumper cables has been waiting for.

My Goodwill find was $20, which is WAY more than I usually spend on anything there. Before shelling out that kind of dough, I looked the model up on my phone. It's a Cyclops C15MIL Thor Platinum halogen model, rated at 15 million candlepower. New, they run about $70. So the Goodwill price was better, obviously, but didn't include a warranty or adapter. Given that it's 12 volt, however, I was willing to gamble 20 bucks.

Step 1: Get a Flood Lamp

Here's mine

Step 2: Inspect Power Supply

You need 12 volts

Step 3: Remove Battery and Strip Wires

I cut the battery free and stripped about an inch off the red (positive, I hope) and black (negative) wires. The battery can't be thrown in the regular trash. I'll have to figure out what to do with that.

Step 4: Jumper Cables

Next, you'll need a pair (or half a pair) of jumper cables. I see these at junk stores all the time for around $5. I had half a set left over from an earlier (drill) project. I stripped the ends of the red (positive, I know) and black (negative) cables.

Step 5: Inspect Battery Compartment Hatch

I found a foam block glued to the inside of the battery compartment lid. This popped off easily and was discarded.

Step 6: Ingress

We need some way for the jumper cables to enter the battery compartment. I found a drill bit that was the same diameter as the cables. I drilled two adjacent holes in the compartment hatch. I then snipped out the piece of plastic between them and smoothed things a bit with a knife blade.

Step 7: Feed Jumper Cable Ends Through New Hole in Battery Compartment Lid

Simple enough

Step 8: Making Connections

Using wire nuts, I connected the red lamp wire to the red jumper cable. I then connected the black lamp wire to the black jumper cable. I then wrapped each connection in electrical tape before wrapping it all together and tucking it into the battery compartment.

I don't plan to swing this thing around by the cables, but it's not unforeseeable that the cables might get tugged at some point. To keep the connections from being jerked up against the compartment lid, I cinched a zip-tie around both cables, a couple inches beyond the electrical tape.

Step 9: Plug N Play ... Or, More Accurately, Clamp N Play

Wrapping up, I re-installed the battery compartment hatch and slowly drew the cables out until the zip-tie stopped any further progress. Then I sealed the hole with silicone, making the unit waterproof again.

Now the floodlight sits comfortably in the SUV until needed. At camp or roadside, I can pop the hood, clamp the jumper cables to the battery, and have an awful lot of light at my disposal.

Glovebox Gadget Challenge

Participated in the
Glovebox Gadget Challenge

Make it Glow!

Participated in the
Make it Glow!



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    8 Discussions

    Nice, I've always wanted more lights while I'm camping. Specifically when I camp in the dark. I'll go outside of my Class C and need a light for a storage unit and when it's lit up I can find it.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nicely done! But rather using the same old fashioned Halogen lamp, I would prefer this to replace by 10/20 Watts white LED with a 12V DC LEd driver, so the battery lasts longer ( more than 6 hours approx, depend on LED wattage) than previously running Halogen lamp only for an hour approx.

    BTW, great job!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I've done the same changes to mine but i've also changed the bulb to a xenon replacement kit (6000k)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job, have you thought of use the sigarette lighter in your car instead of the battery clamps?

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    This is a possibility, the only thing to watch out for is the amount of current that your device is drawing. Assuming that Amazon is correct with saying that this lamp draws 130 watts and if you are running it on 12 vdc (like this great instructable is recommending) the lamp will draw around 10.83 amps. The only problem with that is most cigarette lighter ports are only rated for around 10 amps.

    Just something to watch out for if you decide to run off your cigarette lighter.

    Great 'ible!! I love these types of hacks!

    The starting current on the bulb is much higher. I've done this with a 100W light and it will trip the 25A breaker on my bench supply.

    If you use a pwm dimmer to turn it on slowly, you won't have any problems as long a you have a 15A fuse.