Ultrabright LED Emergency Lamp (Rechargeable!)





Introduction: Ultrabright LED Emergency Lamp (Rechargeable!)

About: Hi I'm Angelo! I am a college student taking my engineering majors in BS-EE/ BS-ECE at the DLSU. I use my course as an inspiration for making my current projects! I've been posting projects here ever since I...
Preparing for a calamity or planning to go camping in the vast wilderness? Make an ultrabright emergency light in less than 5 minutes! It glows 360° and is completely WATERPROOF!. In addition the jar's lid can be detached from the jar turning it into a compact flashlight! This is a simple project that uses a 3W LED and a BL-5C (Li-ion) Nokia battery. Macgyver's style!

It's completely rechargeable, via USB or wallwart (5v), only takes an hour to fully charge the lamp. If you remember my previous project "DIY Portable USB Solar Charger", you can charge the jar using a solar panel. Guys, it's free and renewable energy!

Top 10 Practical Uses (Must Read):
1st.) Portable Emergency Light
2nd.) Camping Light/ Lamp
3rd.) Floating Pool Lanterns
4th.) Nightlight (Sidetable Lamp)
5th.) Constant Camera Light
6th.) Waterproof Rescue Lights!
7th.) Solar Powered LED Lamp
8th.) Garden Props & Ornaments
9th.) Replacement for gas lamps
10th.) Halloween Lanterns (Modded Version)

Real Life Scenario (My Experience):
(11/8/13) - A Category 4 typhoon has entered the Philippine area of responsibility. Codenamed: Yolanda
(11/8/13) - The president declared a state of calamity, told to brace ourselves.
(11/8/13) - My parents told me to charge all our lamps, unfortunately 2 out 4 emergency lamps were broken.
(11/8/13) - I made a simple "Jar Emergency Light" in just 5 minutes!
(11/9/13) - Typhoon reached our area with extreme rain and winds.
(11/9/13) - 1:00am The Blackout Started, my 1st time to use the LED Jar :D
(11/9/13) - It feels so cozy to light up a whole room as if there was electricity!


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Step 1: Gathering Tools & Materials

Since this was a "Macgyver" type of assembly, the parts needed to come from recycled parts. Most of them came from my scrap radio on the other hand my 3W LED came from an old 220v LED Bulb.

- 3W Ultrabright LED (Radioshack or AC LED Bulbs)
- Red LED Indicator (Recycled Parts)
- BL-5C Nokia Battery (Old Nokia Phone)
- 1N4007 Recitifer Diode (Recycled Parts)
- 470 ohm Resistor (Radioshack or Recycled Parts)
- On/ Off switch (Recycled Parts)
- DC Power Jack (Recycled Parts)
- Scotch Mounting Strips

Tools & Equipment:
- Soldering Iron
- Hot Glue Gun
- Leatherman
- Portable Drill

Step 2: Scavenging for Parts

I was in a rush when I assembled my lamp since the storm has already entered our country. Since I'm a Macgyver fan, I like to make things with existing parts around me. BTW I made two lamps, one made from brand new parts and one from scavenged parts.

Where To Scavenge Parts (Macgyver Style):
  1. Broken Radios, CFL Bulbs, Toys
  2. Busted Flashlights, AC LED Bulbs
  3. Old Nokia Phones (I have no use for my Nokia)
  4. Home Inventory
Things You Get From Them (For Free):
  1. Resistors, Switches, DC Plugs, LED Indicators
  2. Some Working High Powered LEDs (cuz it's in series)
  3. Li-Ion Batteries (ex. BL-5C)
  4. Glass Jar, Utility Knife, Tape, Gluegun

Step 3: Hot Glue the Parts in Place

1st.)  Drill two holes (6mm) for your "Charger's Plug" and for the "Slider Switch"
2nd.) Solder two wires to your BL-5C's positive and negative terminals.
3rd.)  Hot glue everything In place!
4th.)  Use a small strip of Scotch's mounting pads to mount the 3W LED (BTW, they don't melt)

Want To Make It Waterproof?
Don't drill holes, just hot glue the socket and switch inside the jar/ lid. Just unscrew the lid to charge!

Step 4: Optional: Adding a USB Lithium USB Charger

Trickle charging isn't the best way to charge lithium batteries. When overcharged, they have the tendency to explode, that is if you forget to unplug it for an hour. If you plan to use this in long terms, I would recommend to attach this module for safety. To install this circuit, simply connect the Bat+ and Bat- parallel to the battery's respective terminals. 

You can buy it here for $1.70! "1A Lithium Battery Charging Module - Blue"

Red Light = Charging
Green Light = Fully Charged

Step 5: The Schematic Diagram

One thing you must know BL-5C batteries, they have a voltage protection circuit inside them. You can trickle charge these batteries at 5 volts, just limit the charge time for an hour. If you want to take precaution, there are Lithium battery chargers available out there.

How Does The Circuit Work?
This is a very simple circuit that doesn't require circuit boards. All it does is trickle charge the battery, a rectifier diode was added to prevent the backflow of current. I added a LED charging indicator just to show whether the jar is charging or not.

Step 6: Solder Everything in Place

Just follow the circuit diagram and you are good to go! A perf board isn't necessary but if you insist then go ahead.

Step 7: Charge Testing

Cool! If you've done it right, the jar should glow red when the charging. You can also charge this with my previous project: the "DIY Portable USB Solar Charger".

Step 8: You're Done!

How about let's go camping!

Step 9: Dentita's Version

Dentita, a fellow instructable member, made his awesome version of the Jar.

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150 Discussions

Awesome instructable!! It's really clearly written, especially considering the circumstances of construction :) Hope you guys are ok in the Philippines!

1 reply

Thanks! And yeah, the storm's gone :D I hope the people in the provinces are okay.

I like it! That is what inspired me to make this.


6 months ago

Is there an alternative aside from the BL-5C Nokia Battery that could be used?


6 months ago

What charger did you use to charge this one?

Dangggg!!it's so awesome! I'm also from the Philippines, interested in anything electronic and LED related. Nice instructable


1 year ago

Thank you for the free PDF

I just tossed together a simple version of this.. a Talenti Gelato jar (plastic cover & jar), a 5mm White LED, a 3V Lithium coin cell holder salvaged off a dead motherboard, and the 3V Lithium coin cell.. Simply poked the pins of the battery holder through the plastic lid, soldered the LED to the pins, closed the jar, and simply click the battery into place.. I Though, I like your version! the larger battery will definitely give longer life, and the 1-Watt LED, more light!

1 reply

... and just published it.. Not as water-proof, but simple enough.

You really are genius...but I have a problem...imagine: you are an elder woman with no electric education, but still with biiiiiig desire to make such thing. Would you be so kind and make instructions for dummies like: this solder here, that put there (or even with photos), connect this part...would you? I suppose many people are like me, but they will not say :).

1 reply

I second that request! I love the idea, would love to make several, don't have a stash of used parts, not sure what to buy...or where to even start. You're an amazing young man! How about a video of this project?


2 years ago

nice job!

I think a small current limiting resistor in series with LED will add safety. This 3W LED tend to go for thermal runaway due to heating up.

An even simpler, cheaper area light that I have used a number of times is to place a couple of handfulls of dirt (or similar) in a white translucent shopping bag (the type supermarkets are phasing out). Sit a tealight candle on top of the dirt, in the centre of course. Light it & hang it in a tree. While not as bright as a Cree LED it gives ample light for moving around the campsite

buying a few solar lights at a dollar store might suffice ... for longer time one can replace the aaa/aa battery with a higher ma type. and if you are good with iron then replace the led with brighter one. dollar store also sell mini lanterns sometime or glow it the dark items . enough of them can provide some light.

or you could set fire to your tent... which would give ample light for camping.

Great little light, I particularly like how you scavenged parts... very MAD MAX & cool.

Great post... Thanks!


2 years ago

when im connecting it to the adapter the diode in the circuit is heating up! is it normal.
what's gone wrong?