Intro: Solar Powered Street Address
Parties are fun in the winter but in Minnesota dark falls before the guests arrive. I have gone to friends houses and the only clue that i am at the right address is the porch light is on. I wanted to make it easier for my friends to identify my house.
My hundred and thirty year old home does not have a light outside to illuminate the address numbers. I was thinking a light up street address would do the job. i can put it in my porch window.
My initial thinking was to use a Light Bright(TM) but i don't have an outlet in a convenient place. I wanted something that doesn't plug in.
A couple weeks ago i was at the local big box building supply store and the holiday garden lights were $1.99. I bought one and made this lighted address box with stuff i had at home.
I made this on Thanksgiving weekend. I am still surprised each time I walk up to my house in the dark. My address is boldly displayed. I know i am at the right place.
Cheap solar garden light (Holiday ones are already on sale)
Flip top shoe box is the easiest to modify but any container will do with extra work.
Pencil or pen visible on box
Step 1: Solar Unit
Remove the 1.2v solar cell and battery unit that twists off the top of the garden light. The rest becomes doodads for a future projects.
Step 2: Cutting the Address
Draw the address on the shoe box flap. I had to switch to a silver Sharpie because the white pencil and blue Sharpie were not very visible.
Cut the address out using a utility knife or Xacto knife. I had some trouble cleanly cutting through the corrugated cardboard of the box. If I wanted fancier type i would use a press-board shoebox instead.
I cut a piece of carboard to hold under the lid for stability after I cut through from the E to the 2 and had to tape it together.
Step 3: Line With Foil
I tested the illumination by poking a hole on the long side attached to the hinged lid and inserted the LED to test the illumination. Not so bright.
Line the box with foil. The standard size of foil from the grocery store is a perfect fit. Dab hot glue in the corners and then add a line along the edge. Fold the foil over the box edge and trim to close to 1/4 - 1/2 inch and tape it to prevent it curling and ripping.
Step 4: Mount Solar Unit
Reinsert the solar unit in the hole and trace around it. Create a hinge by NOT CUTTING a 1/2 inch of the traced line opposite the lid hinge. The goal is to have this circle be a platform that lets the solar unit dip into the box at slight angle facing the foil wall.
For colored address put a piece of tissue over the inside of the lid.
Step 5: Oatmeal Box Version 2
This is the fist one i made.
I cut the numbers in small segments because the cereal box cardboard tends to warp if not supported.The address window is two lids, one inside the other . I can change the color of the address with out having to use tape to hold the tissue. The press-board was easier to cut too.
This one used an oatmeal cylinder, and an empty tape roll to hold the solar unit in place.
OK So the last thing i have been testing is recharging the solar unit. My porch has a goofy metal awning that blocks direct sunlight. The solar light requires direct sunlight to recharge. It ran for two nights with the initial charge. Now I have been recharging it at a south window during the day.