Shake It Like a Tic-Tac!




About: Space Monkey Pirate Robot

Rechargeable led flashlight powered by magnets housed in the obligatory mints container.

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Step 1: Parts


150 ft. 30 gauge enamel-coated magnet wire
4 1/8" rare earth magnets
4 rectifier diodes (IN4007 MIC)
Resistor (22 ohm)
White led
Some sort of small rechargeable batteries

Ballpoint pen
2 plastic washers or doodads
Tic-Tac container
Hot glue

Step 2: Make Magnet Tube:

This part could really be made from anything (i.e. stiff paper), I used the pen because the magnets just fit inside the tube.

Cut your tube a little smaller than the length of the Tic-Tac box. Find some washers or plugs to use as end caps, these could also be made out of paper. Mine were plastic gears with the teeth sanded off.

Stick all 4 magnets together and put them in the tube. Glue on your endcaps being careful not to get any glue on the magnets.

Step 3: Wind the Coil:

Cut a slot down one of the endcaps.

Leave 3" of wire hanging out of this slot and begin carefullly winding the coil. Winding this coil is probably the biggest pain in the ass of this project. I had many failures. There is a ton of information on the web about coil winding, but my best advice to you is go slow. The neater and tighter the wire is wrapped the more effective it will be.

When you get to the end of the coil tape your wire off and leave about 3" hanging off the end.

Step 4: Modify Top:

Remove label from the Tic-Tac container and take out the top.

Cut off about 1/4" of the bottom leaving 1/8" lip. Save the scrap.

Drill a hole big enough for the led to poke through.

Step 5: Make Mount for Switch:

Cut off enough of the scrap to make a plate for under the lid. Use little pieces of scrap to shim the plate so it is level.

Cut out a slot for your switch in the plate.

I used super glue to tack these pieces in place.

Step 6: Glue Switch in Place:

I just hot glued the switch to the plate. I also glued the led in place at this point, but it's not in the picture.

Step 7: Circuit:

This is the circuit:

Step 8: Solder It Together:

This is all free hand soldering, hopefully yours will turn out less messy than mine.

Step 9: Attach Top to Case:

Now just slide the top along with the circuit into the case. I think it helps to epoxy the top on, but you could probably just superglue it.

I ended up painting the inside of the case white for that crisp look, but I think I like it better clear.

Shake for 60 seconds and enjoy!

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    625 Discussions


    5 months ago on Step 8

    Yeah, I like the idea but the instructions sorta got less in depth after you cut the tic tac lid and your pictures are small and not too visible on what to connect what to what. please ad step by step with he circuits and soldering please.


    2 years ago

    Would a joule thief be helpful in conjunction with this circuit


    As I was walking home from school, I thought of something like this, but used the motion of walking to generate electricity. The problem is, I want it to be small enough to fit and look decent on my shoe. I did a couple of test runs but i think maybe I didn't use enough coil. The magnet wire only covered about 1/4" high and 1/2" long. Is that enough to generate any current, or is that not the problem? I also tested with the voltimeter and got nothing... I am using 3mm by 1mm neodymium magnets in two stacks together.


    12 years ago on Step 7

    A few people have mumbled about using a capacitor in this project rather than a battery, simply because it's easier to get. I was told by some guy at a battery store that something like a 1000 uf capacitor should be able to power an L.E.D. for a couple of minutes. I don't remember all my stuff about analog electronic and I'm too lazy to dig up my notes to do the math so I have two questions. First, would a capacitor (of 1000 uf or higher) be something worth trying in this circuit? And secondly, if it is worth trying, how should it be hooked up? I have a feeling that just hooking up the capacitor straight to the DC input and having the switch cause it to discharge wouldn't work (of course with the correct resistors to drop the voltage), but I don't really know.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Step 7

    I tested this theory, I used Jamicon WG105°C 16V 1000uF capacitor, 4,7k resistor and a red LED. Supplied 12 volts for a moment and it light it only for 10 seconds of useful and 30 seconds of visible light. I suggest try to use a 1F capacitor for this purposes, as the capacitor is only thing that doesn't need charging controller to operate many thousands charging cycles and doesn't get damaged from overcharging, left uncharged or deep discharging.


    Reply 12 years ago on Step 7

    I am beginning this project today with a cap instead of the battery. I'll post how it goes. It should turn out to be similar, since a battery is in essence a capacitor.


    4 years ago

    How much amp you can make with this?


    Reply 5 years ago

    The problem with capacitors is that their energy density is extremely low compared to batteries, so your light will only stay on for seconds instead of minutes after charging it.

    sorry about all the questions but also where did you get plastic washers that fit and/or what brand/type are they


    5 years ago on Introduction

    hey I am only 12 so I was a little confused,why can't you just put one recifitor diode on the posotive and one on the negative instead of bridging them? And will it still work if the recifitors are 1N4005 instead of 1N4007?

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago

    Hello makershaker, is great that you are interested in this stuff at your young age! The only difference between the 5 and the 7 is their reverse breakdown voltage, which doesn't matter for this project. Your other question can be answered by Goggling "full-wave vs bridge rectifier." Basically, using two diodes instead of 4 saves you some power but it requires a special center-tapped input. You could actually do this since you are making the coil anyway, but it would be harder to do.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Holy crap. 621 comments!!!

    I'm glad some warnings and modifications are being suggested. Will get around to reading at least some of these comments.

    I just took apart an old audio tape-head de-gauser and found it to be a coil with a rod in the center. The channel also happened to fit nicely with some standard neodym magnets I have (though I may need more). But perhaps before I tinker further, I may have to hunker down with these comments.

    There is another makezine plan for a "vampire" LED flashlight, using a toroid and a Joule Thief circuit. This allows lower voltage to run an LED. I might try merging these two plans.

    absolute zeroTekaito

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    You can. You'll need a super capacitor if you want to keep it small and power the light for any significant amount of time. Any cap with a voltage above the minimum voltage for your LED will work though, but it's not going to last very long at all.

    How would the capacitor charge? It is my understanding that the cap will only charge to if a higher current is being fed into it, so if the shake light is only capable of producing x amount of volts, then the cap will only charge up to x amount of volts. It doesn't trickle charge and gain more energy potential like a battery. Or so is my understanding. Please, let me know what you found out.

    That's a good point, I didn't consider that. I'm not sure about the specifics of the voltage output by the coil but I hypothesize you could have a small dc-dc boost circuit to charge the cap, similar to a camera flash circuit. It charges a very high voltage cap with a single AA cell.