DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

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irrationalsolutions
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Re: DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

Postby irrationalsolutions » Mon May 11, 2009 2:50 pm

i like the new one!
“Do or do not... there is NO try.” Yoda

Luke "Whats in (out) there?" Yoda "Only what you take with you."

Luke "I can’t believe it." Yoda "That is why you Fail.”

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zelph
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Re: DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

Postby zelph » Mon May 11, 2009 6:06 pm

[quote="mememememeitsme"]I bought a load of those solar garden lights myself, not for this application but for fun. The problem with them is that the solar panel is a bit weedy, it charges a single AA cell, and the LED it drives is really low power. For an average summer day they probably charge the cell enough to drive the LED for 4 hours or so.

I cast my light in resin using an ice cube tray. I reversed the orientation of the power socket so it's on the back. I actually had a bit of a problem with this one so I decided to test the resin cast for durability by throwing it around and carving it up, so it might look a bit battered in the picture! I bought enough parts to make 5 of them so I'll have another ready for this weekend when I next go camping.

quote]

Looks good!!!! Good idea the ice cube tray as a mold. What kind of switch you got for power on off-on?
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realityguy
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Re: DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

Postby realityguy » Fri May 15, 2009 7:48 pm

Okay..got my outdoor solar lights..4 of them for $6 so I did okay on that deal.A lady friend that hunts up stuff for me wants one for her yard..so I have to give her one(read "bribe" :mrgreen: )..I'll see if the others charge up and what they will do before dismantling them..Hey I got three left so something's got to work!
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Re: DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

Postby realityguy » Fri May 15, 2009 9:22 pm

Okay..the yard lights all work fine use two 1.2volt 600mah batteries per unit.can probably be cannabilized into a nice flat solar unit about 3-1/2" in diameter with a 180 degree prism on the bottom about 1-1/2" high that weighs pretty light... :DB: :DB:
Says 8-10 hours worth of light.I think these are better than ones others have tried.I'm hoping 1.5 batteries will work as well..gotta test one withthose..fit the same battery holder.
One bright LED light..can read within 18" of the light..would be able to see around a tent for a good 3'..By golly I think it might work with only minor work!The existing batteries hold a good charge.
Brand Hampton Bay..255 992.."2-pack Solar LED Landscape Lights..all aluminum fins( good stovie pieces.. :mrgreen: )The prism is a tube about 3-1/2" long x2" diameter with a full concave prismatic bottom hidden inside the lower aluminum.Solar cell unit is 3-3/8" acrossxabout 1/4" or less thick..led/battery holder unit is2-1/4" by about 1-1/8" deep..Sould be enough interlocking parts to assemble a nice smaller lightweight camp light without too much cutting.Top has some locking tabs that unlocks the bottom from the top..top dome aluminum piece snaps off the top and seems to be the weak spot with a couple plastic clips holding that on(could be glued together,nothing in there but the soldered wires to the solar cell...
I've charged the thing in the sun for probably 15-20 minutes and it's dying out after about that long out of the light..so it looks like they'll charge up and hold a charge well.These units are dated 2007 so the batteries are a couple years old already.They do have an auto-sensor to come on when the light gets slightly dim.
Original price on these was $29.95 but were bought on a closeout (originally) for $15 by someone.
Making them into a camp light maybe as simple as unscrewing the struts that hold them together around the prism..cuttimng down the prism to a smaller length and screwing some of the pieces back together again for a top and bottom plate with a prism out the sides and out the bottom hoepefully.Everything electrical is in the top unit,the bottom only holds the prism and a base thread for the screw on yard stand of aluminum conduit with threads.
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Re: DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

Postby realityguy » Fri May 15, 2009 11:43 pm

Okay..easy quick cut job...
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I cut the bottom down to bare minimum,cut the prismatic lens down to a shorter height,used only one set of the side studs(premade,didn't have to recut,6 studs provided in two different lengths)..The bottom prism..isn't..It's actually like a flashlight reflector cone without the bulb hole in the middle,convex up to throw the light out.I tried making a spot down with clear plastic..cuts out too much side light so put the cone back in.I changed the batteries to my 1.5s and got a lot more light out of it.You can read,close up to the sides and could probably see around the tent okay to find stuff and manuever...The fixture needs to be hung to be efficient..maybe upside down with a chain or something from three spots.I didn't mess with cutting down the top because that portion is very easy to undo,change the batteries,etc..as it is and holds the solar panel,batteries,and everything well.The bottom prism and portion comes off with about a 1/8 turn to access everything.
With the 1.2 battteries it came with weighs about 6-1/4oz..with the 1.5 2600s it weighs 7.5 or so..
I don't know if it will charge the 1.5volt ones yet,will find out tomorrow.
If someone wanted to,they could probably take the inner works and build an entire new setup and drop 2-3 ounces of weight and cut the overall size in half...maybe.....
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irrationalsolutions
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Re: DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

Postby irrationalsolutions » Sat May 16, 2009 2:02 am

there was a guy on youtube that was talking about using them in his house for emergency situations. he was going about it about that same way. we talked about it and i told him that i didnt see why you couldnt just take everything off it and flip it upside down.
“Do or do not... there is NO try.” Yoda

Luke "Whats in (out) there?" Yoda "Only what you take with you."

Luke "I can’t believe it." Yoda "That is why you Fail.”

realityguy
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Re: DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

Postby realityguy » Sat May 16, 2009 2:32 am

Actually..at one point I was thinking of just hanging a hook off the bottom to hang it with the solar cell down..however..it would be better to hang it right side up so during the day you could just hang it outside the tent to charge..or hang it on your pack to charge with the solar cell in the upright position.The biggest problems with these is they have a couple small clips that hold the top aluminum piece to the plastic piece underneath that houses the battery pack and light circuit board.A person needs to twist the things pretty hard to take off the bottom prism,which breaks off the plastic tabs holding the metal clips of the shade..It's a terrible system that could be redone with bolts if needed..more weight..OR it could just be siliconed together.I have to already fix one but want to add hanging clips outside the solar cell area,maybe use the bolts and hanging clips combined.
I'll probsbly try to totally redo the thing and drop the weight down farther..maybe use some plasticlightweight container as a housing for the solar cell, led circuit board, and battery holder.I need quick access to the batteries though,in case I need them for the digital camera..so I've got some things to work out.
I think I can silicone the solar cell to a top of a lid for a snap on plastic bowl with the battery setup underneath and have that snap over a bowl with the prism in the middle..something..got some ideas for dropping some of the weight and hopefully making it more compact and lightweight.
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irrationalsolutions
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Re: DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

Postby irrationalsolutions » Sat May 16, 2009 2:45 am

i have been thinking about this myself but the weight is making me think that its a home use thing for emergencies. leave it outside to do its job and when needed bring it in and flip it over. then the next day take it back out. if you get the weight down it could be used for hiking but it runs into the same problem as hte freeloader (i think that what it was called). during the day where i hike it wouldnt be in the sun enough to charge it. as soon as i find some cheap ill play around with them but it most likely wont make the trips with me because of not being able to charge it. i do thing that it would work great for car camping though.
“Do or do not... there is NO try.” Yoda

Luke "Whats in (out) there?" Yoda "Only what you take with you."

Luke "I can’t believe it." Yoda "That is why you Fail.”

realityguy
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Re: DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

Postby realityguy » Sat May 16, 2009 2:56 am

Several of my hikes this year are going to be on wide open beaches with a few spots I need to go overland through forest on some impassable points by beachside..so they should work well there.I don't know how long a person will really need the light but they do say 8-10 hours..which is way beyond my needs.I'm also going to add a switch to override the cell,otherwise they will be on all night as they discharge now in the dark.I think adding the switch will keep them more fully charged for the most part,and they won't need to charge nearly as much or as often.I figure I'd only need them an hour or so per night...don't see any reason why they wouldn't work in shady areas also if they maintain the charge....
Another thing I might try is adding another bubl to brighten one up..should work well then for reading and that but also cut the time factor in half.I could live with just a couple hours or less so that shouldn't really matter that much...Only further experimenting will tell.
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irrationalsolutions
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Re: DIY Ultra lightweight camping lantern

Postby irrationalsolutions » Sat May 16, 2009 3:05 am

are you thinking about putting a switch on it so you can turn it off ot does it already have one?
“Do or do not... there is NO try.” Yoda

Luke "Whats in (out) there?" Yoda "Only what you take with you."

Luke "I can’t believe it." Yoda "That is why you Fail.”


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