Lighted Fan Pull Saves You From Flailing Around In The Dark


Like many people, [yardleydobon] had a hard time locating his ceiling fan’s pull chain at night when his room is completely dark. Rather than continue to flail around blindly grasping for the chain, he decided to find a way to illuminate it instead.

He started off by disassembling a solar garden light, retaining the solar cell, photoresistor, and batteries. After paring down the electronics to the bare essentials, he mounted them inside a plastic battery storage case which he attached to the outside of the fan’s lamp. [yardleydobon] then ran a pair of wires from the electronics box down to end of the chain, where he added an LED and a translucent pull to diffuse the light.

He admits that it’s not the nicest looking modification around, but it does the job in a pinch. He has some ideas that he may put into play if he has the time to revise the design, and we bet that many of you do as well. If so, be sure to share them in the comments.


25 thoughts on “Lighted Fan Pull Saves You From Flailing Around In The Dark

  1. I would have just used a tritium capsule. They can be found online in a variety of colors, and glow for around 10 years on their own power. I use one on my key ring in order to find them in the dark.

  2. Put a clapper in it.

    When you clap twice it turns on the LED for 30 seconds so you can find it and turn the light on. This will save you from having an annoying glowing blob when you are trying to sleep/watch TV depending on where its located.

  3. No not the prettiest thing in the world, but quit staring at it. Personally I would have rearrange the parts to fit between the space above the light globe and the fan blades, unless the camera perspective it fooling me their appears to be enough room to do so. Using a less intense LED or putting or simply covering most of the original, should help those whose mind are incapable if ignoring it. In the end it it a simple clever hack, that can be easily modified to fit most persons desires.

  4. I solved the problem in a different way. I re-wired the room so that I have two switches near the entrance instead of one. One is for the lights and the other is for the fan. Most ceiling fans come with the option to wire them this way. All I had to do afterward is replace a bit of plaster, patch it, and repaint.

  5. Idea for improvement of the lighted pull – hollowed out mini-paracord, with the core replaced with a pair of 30 gauge wire. For nearly any reasonable length fan pull, that will be sufficient size for the LED. Include a very small power supply in the area of the switch. Pulling on the pull will trasfer the motion on the outside of the miniparacord to the switch, and leave the wire hidden lighting the pull. Almost all fans will have sufficient space in that area to put a small (think cell phone charger size, or smaller) power supply in the connection area in the bottom.

    1. Must be what I do. I dont have a problem finding it. Even when its pitch black. I know where it is, even if I cant see it. Blind people do it all the time. So the non-blind can too. Spatial awareness. Its like (SA) Situational awareness. Maybe even related. Since I have a very good sense of SA. 20 years in the military tends to do that to you.

  6. Nope nope and nope. I got an arduino and a wifi board and a motion sensor. The arduino goes on the net and looks for keywords in my facebook and twitter posts and adjusts the RGB led’s color to match my mood. Normally the led is off, but when it detects motion it lights up the light. Then when I pull on or change speed it automatically updates my facebook status and tweets about it. Then the motion sensor monitors movement and when it detects I am asleep it backs the speed of the fan down as since I am asleep I don’t need it running anyhow. Then it updates my status and tweets that I am asleep and not to be bothered, so it sets my phone to vibrate only. Unless I get an incoming phone call from an authorized person on the list and it reactivates my phones volume, updates my status and tweets about the call I am receiving. As a bonus, there is a real time calendar in the arduino and depending on the time of year and temperature it talks to the electronic thermostat and gets the status of the heat/cool switch and runs the fan clockwise or counterclockwise.

    Or…I just went to the big box home improvement store and bought a glow in the dark pull chain knob…

  7. Isn’t this just medicating a symptom of a greater problem?

    I mean think about it: You need to turn the light on because its dark, and then you need to flail around to find the light switch. The real problem here is that it’s dark in the first place.

    My solution would be to rig up a system that predicts where you’re going and turns the lights on and off autonomically without your input. Networked motion detectors & lights and a known house layout would certainly be one solution to this.

  8. Those GLOW IN THE DARK STARS stickers you find in college head shops and hot topic. Put a few of those on the dongle and it charges them up during use. They glow pretty decently for about 6 hours and last for years and are cheap and don’t require continuous feed of electricity. I say this only because I too, am a “hurricane mode ceiling fan” lover when I sleep, and remember my how it had already been solved in my parents old house. I guess I should give props to Mike, the kid that lived there before me lol.

  9. Thanks for all the feedback everyone. I too thought of using a tritium vile, but I had this idea first and wanted to try it out. Do your eyes need to be dark adjusted to see the tritium glow?

    For safety reasons I hung it outside the diffuser bowl and because it was just a hack I didn’t care what it looked like. However, I’ve done some further investigation and I think I’ve come up with a way to put it in the bowl and make it look much better. Check back in later to see the improved version.

    1. I had the same idea. I tested it out by simply crouching near an outlet and aiming a laser pointer at the pull chain handle. It worked well. I didn’t pursue it any further because I figured the laser would get knocked out of alignment easily when anyone disturbed the outlet. It’s a neat idea though.

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