Lantern Made In Preparation Of Zombie Apocalypse

DIY Lantern

[BenN] was at his local hackerspace one day when a friend stopped by and offered him a used 5AH lead acid battery. As any good tinkerer would, he jumped on the opportunity and immediately started looking around for a project to use the battery in. One of [BenN’s] recent other projects involved 12volt landscaping lights, the same voltage as the battery he was just given. At this point it was clear that he had a good start to making a lantern. This lantern project also supports [BenN’s] obsession with hobby of preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

A lantern needs an enclosure. Over on the hackerspace’s spare-parts rack was an old ATX power supply. All of the internal electrical components were removed to make room for the battery which fit inside nicely. The landscaping light just happened to be slightly larger than the power supply’s fan cut outs. Once the grill was removed from the metal power supply enclosure, the lamp fit in nicely and was secured using silicone glue which can tolerate any temperature the bulb can produce.

The feature that separates a lantern from a flashlight is the top-mounted carrying handle and this lantern will receive one made from the wiring removed from the ATX power supply. The electrical wiring is fairly straight forward. The battery is connected to the landscaping light by way of the original ATX on/off switch. The two terminals of the battery were also wired to the power supply’s AC input connector. This allows [BenN] to connect a DC battery charger to two of the three pins in order to charge the battery. Although this is a creative way to re-use the AC connector, it leaves quite a bit of potential to accidently plug in a 120v AC cord!


30 thoughts on “Lantern Made In Preparation Of Zombie Apocalypse

      1. Rule #1: Everything that can happen will happen
        Rule #2: All energies always exist in some form and can become any other energy.
        Rule #3: Everything that Hasn’t happened has, and vise versa.

  1. I would be careful of using a switch like that to turn on and off incandescent bulbs of any kind. Those type of switches tend to have a low DC current rating, and those type of lamps tend to have a very high inrush current as compared to their operating current.

    Learning to use MOSFETs for low voltage DC switching applications or TRIACs for low voltage AC switching applications. That will make your project last a whole lot longer.

    An alternate antern case might be an emptied and dry paint can or spackle bucket.

    Or maybe some christmas lights stuffed into an empty soda bottle or milk jug.

      1. Dude.

        20Amps – 100Amp inrush for THIS 100Wbulb:

        The example was an 11W halogen, so expect 2 -10Amps, at least. That switch will fail in no time, it’s probably not even rated to carry a DC current.

        The only thing worse than the inrush current for a Halogen / Incandescent is the inrush current for a fluorescent lighting ballast.

      1. It’s a zombie trap, of course.

        Zombie can’t see, so uses lantern.
        Lantern battery goes flat.
        Zombie plugs lantern into mains supply (because, being a zombie, he doesn’t know not to do that).
        Lantern explodes.
        Zombie dies (for real, this time).

        See? A simple trap to rid yourself of a zombie.

  2. I would secure the lamp by bending two steel wires (~3mm) to fit the lamps outline and screw them in place… …I dont trust silicone glue…
    Also a build in charger(-circuit) and a pair of banana jacks for use as emergency power supply would be great.

  3. I would just use some bended steel wires to protect the lamp from falling out, because I dont trust silicone glue xD

    Also an internal charger(-circuit) and a pair of banana jacks as emergency power source would be great

  4. Wot, no LED’s? A *thermionic* lamp? Almost SteamPunk Watson.

    I have a long list of stuff through my workshop blown up by using mains connectors for low voltage. You get away with it until the day you don’t. Bad idea.

    An in-built charger (and LED retrofit) sound like good ideas.

    1. Improvement #1 – replace the power pig incandescent with a couple of 3W LEDs on star heatsinks. Sure, it’ll cost around 10x what the incandescent cost, but your battery will last 3x as long.

      And isn’t long life (battery or otherwise) important when fighting zombies?

  5. DO NOT MIX mains and low voltage connectors. It would be safer to use a ‘chocolate block’ connector than this, however the wiring may or may not be arranged. Plugs and sockets are cheaper than a life.

  6. This is something you might build *after* the zombie apocalypse, because you’re forced to make do with what’s on hand. Which is how [BenN] describes it:

    “We also happened to be talking about Zombie movies and TV shows, when it all clicked – I have the skills and materials to build an electric lantern from scratch using just the materials that are right here!”

    Unfortunately [Rich] chose to misrepresent it as something built *in preparation of* the apocalypse instead. Which unfairly biases readers from the start to expect something very different, leaving them disappointed when those expectations aren’t met.

  7. zombies…
    but isnt it the BATTERY you need to invent?
    after everyone has been eaten execpt you,
    you look around during the day and say

    there isnt a single charged battery in any store in the entire country,
    BUT there are tonnes of blood-stained flashlights with dead batteries!”

    1. get a phonebook and look up a shipping warehouse that happens to ship batteries. One that just haaapens to be in the middle of nowhere,
      chances are, whoever already raided the place ONLY took what they could fit in one or two trucks!

      there might be several truckloads left.

    2. Yeah, I imagine there’d be a lot of dead batteries when people don’t have the means to charge them. What you really need is a power source. A stirling engine generator would be nice, it could take solar energy or burning matter.

  8. a few months back I got tired of dealing with yet another store bought rechargeable lantern dieing on me (seems the charging circuits start charging the battery in reverse polarity). So I went to the auto store bought a couple of aux lights (rectangle ones) and bolted them to a piece of slotted angle iron and I use a rechargeable cordless drill battery to power them. Works nice. Just got a couple of my rechargeable cordless drill battery packs I have to deal with some dead cells in them.

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