Motorized Device Helps Swap Out Hard-To-Reach Light Bulbs

High ceilings can make a residence feel open and airy, but they often come with difficult-to-reach light fittings. To better deal with that, [mattwach] built a motorized light bulb changer which makes the job much easier.

Light bulb changers already exist, but they typically need to be used on-axis with the light fitting, which for chandeliers and many other lights, can be difficult. Instead, [mattwach’s] design allows the device to be used at 90-degree angles, and motorizes it for added ease of use.

A 12V gear motor does the work of turning the contraption, and has more than enough torque to get the job done.  A flanged coupling is used to attach the motor to the light bulb changer itself. An ATTiny85 microcontroller is then used to control the motor via an L293D H-bridge driver. A PS2 thumbstick is hooked up for user input, and all the electronics is mounted on a broomstick along with the light bulb end effector mounted at a right angle.

Changing a bulb is then as simple as slipping the end effector over a bulb, and flicking the thumbstick in the direction to unscrew the light. It can then be removed, and then replaced with a fresh bulb, screwed in by pushing the thumbstick in the other direction.

Normally, such a task would be quite a sketchy proposition when done on the top of a tall ladder. Instead, it becomes an easy job done from the safety of an overlooking walkway, completed in less than half an hour when changing a full 15-bulb chandelier.

Incidentally, if you’re swapping out your bulbs, you might be interested in the special royal lights you’re not allowed to buy. Video after the break.

25 thoughts on “Motorized Device Helps Swap Out Hard-To-Reach Light Bulbs

    1. If you like incandescent lamps but don’t like changing them, hurry and buy some Aero-Tech 20,000 hr bulbs before they’re gone. They were made for applications like traffic lights, where the cost of changing lamps outweighed the disadvantages of using a more expensive and higher-wattage lamp.
      These lamps have life-extending features like better filament stays, krypton gas fill, etc… but most of the life extension comes from a thicker filament which produces less light per watt. You can do a cheaper version of this by purchasing 130V lamps instead. TANSTAAFL.

  1. That’s a really good idea. But I wonder if it would of been easier to install a chandelier crane. My in-laws have one and that things nice it lowers the fixture to the floor and keeps the fixture powered making bulb changes easier and safer as you can’t drop a bulb or fall off a ladder.

      1. You lower the bulb all the way to the floor, unfasten the bulb, raise the chandelier, roll the bulb out of the way, roll the new bulb into position, lower the chandelier onto the bulb, fasten the bulb, raise the chandelier.
        Soooo easy :-D

  2. Addison Electronic makes a similar device, but I like how yours works with the downward angle. One thing that you might consider for further development is to tie a micro-camera into the head area so you can see those hard to reach bulbs. If it was connected to a raspberry Pi or something like that, it could transmit it to a wireless or Bluetooth device. As a engineer for a Major Brand hotel, we would buy something like that.

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