I suppose this could be called a “night light” and would also probably be good lighting for parties if you’re on a budget. As mentioned on my last component scavenging article, I was given some LED path lights by a relative. He was probably a bit surprised that I seemed quite excited by these even if I wasn’t that interested in their intended purpose. My first idea was to make a solar version of the LED throwie that I decided to over engineer in another post.
As it turned out, when disassembled (see pictures after the “Read More”) the solar panel was glass and the rechargeable power supply was the size of a AAA battery. For the most part, it was pretty easy to take apart, as it used standard Phillips head screws. The actual panel had to be cut/pried out since it was glued. This assembly wouldn’t have been impossible for throwie use use with a large magnet, but it probably wouldn’t fit inside a ping-pong ball.
What I decided to do instead was to place the LED assembly inside of a light diffusing foam cube that I bought some time ago, and had in my garage apparently just for the occasion! A 3/4 inch hole was drilled partially through the cube with a paddle bit, then vacuumed out to get rid of excess material. The components, including the LED, cutoff circuit, and power supply were stuffed into it, then the photovoltaic cell was pushed down on top. The cube was just soft enough that with a firm press it could be seated level on it’s own indention. Glue could be used as well to secure everything, but I might swap out the LED or something eventually.
To prepare everything to be inserted, I stripped everything not necessary off of the LED, and soldered the apparent rechargeable battery directly to the positive and negative wires. For some reason it had an actual battery holder on it as well as a switch, to turn it on or off. Since it turns off when the sun is out, this seemed unnecessary. It could probably use some electrical tape as well to keep everything insulated. Check out the video below of it turning on and off with the garage door letting in more or less light:
If you would like to build your own, I’m not sure if these are the exact same lights, but light from Amazon should work for your purposes. If you try this, be sure to let me know – if you want to send me a pic to possibly put up, even better!
Just FYI, after I wrote most of this, the device stopped working. I’ve kept it inside for the most part, so that could be the problem, but I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of it. Edit: After an afternoon of sunshine, it’s working fine!