How to Make a LED Dynamo Flashlight

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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How to Make a LED Dynamo Flashlight
Unlike conventional flashlights, a dynamo-type LED flashlight never needs batteries. (flashlight image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

An ordinary flashlight requires an incandescent bulb and batteries to power the light. You can make a "dynamo-type" flashlight that will generate electricity every time you shake it to light up an LED bulb. You will need a few items from a hobby shop and some experience in using a soldering iron. Adult supervision is required if you are underage.The dynamo-type flashlight will never need batteries and the LED bulb will last far longer than an incandescent bulb while providing a bright light to illuminate the way.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • 35mm plastic film canister
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Duct tape
  • Copper wire spool
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Bonding glue
  • White LED
  • Two neodymium magnets

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place a sheet of newspaper on a table. Stand the 35mm plastic film canister upright on the newspaper. Remove the lid.

  2. 2

    Draw a circle around the canister 1 inch above the bottom with the pencil. Draw another circle around the canister 1 inch below the top with the pencil.

  3. 3

    Cut two 6-inch strips of duct tape lengthwise with the scissors. Wrap one strip around the circle at the top of the canister. Wrap the other strip of duct tape around the circle at the bottom of the canister.

  4. 4

    Measure 8 inches from the end of the copper wire. Place the copper wire at the 8 inch mark against the duct tape on the bottom of the 35mm plastic film can.

  5. 5

    Unwrap the copper wire from the copper wire spool so that you can wrap the copper wire above the duct tape and around the 35mm plastic film can. Continue to wrap the wire upward around the canister. Stop when you reach the duct tape at the top of the canister. Wind the copper wire around the bottom of the top line of duct tape. Continue to wrap the wire downward around the canister. Stop when you reach the duct tape at the bottom of the canister.

  6. 6

    Repeat the process of winding the copper wire up and down the sides of the canister an additional two times.

  7. 7

    Cut two 6-inch pieces of duct tape lengthwise with the scissors. Wrap a strip of duct tape around the top and bottom pieces of duct tape circling the canister to secure the copper wires to the side of the canister.

  8. 8

    Heat the soldering iron for six minutes. Solder the end of the copper wire that is at the bottom of the canister to one of the two pins attached to the bottom of the white LED. Let the solder cool for a minute. Solder the copper wire at the top of the canister to the end of the other pin attached to the bottom of the white LED. Let the solder cool for a minute.

  9. 9

    Cut a 1/2-inch wide notch in the side of the lid and a 1/4th-inch hole in the centre with the utility knife.

  10. 10

    Push the white LED through the hole in the lid from the inside. Apply bonding glue to the sides of the hole where it meets the white LED. Let the bonding glue set for an hour.

  11. 11

    Drop two magnets into the canister. Put the lid onto the top of the canister. Push the two wires attached to the white LED into the notch so that the excess wire is inside the canister.

  12. 12

    Turn off the lights. Shake the dyanamo-type flashlight you have made in an up and down motion to light the white LED.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use different coloured LEDs for your dynamo-type flashlight
  • The dynamo-type flashlight will not work if you use the wrong type of batteries

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