Toothbrush Goes From Mouth-Whitening To Room-Brightening

Some of the hacks we see make us wonder why they aren’t already a commercial product, and this electric toothbrush turned rechargeable flashlight is one of them. Sure, these things exist, but we haven’t seen one with a dedicated charging stand. They usually just take micro USB or whatever, so it’s on you to remember to plug it in. How great would it be to have a fully-charged flashlight always at the ready, especially one in a position to illuminate the room? Although [wannabemadsci] makes it look easy, this conversion took quite a bit of doing.

Perhaps the most amazing part is that [wannabemadsci] found a halfway decent flashlight at the dollar store. Better than average, this thing has a main light, a side light, and takes 3xAAs instead of a couple of AAAs. The only issue is that the toothbrush batteries don’t quite put out enough voltage for the flashlight’s LED, so [wannabemadsci] used a booster board.

Of course, there’s a lot more to this hack than sawing off the USB connector from the boost converter so it fits. The toothbrush handle had to be modified to accept the flashlight guts, and the threads relocated from the flashlight. Since the battery charge indicator shines through the momentary button on the toothbrush, [wannabemadsci] wanted to reuse it, but it required a small board that converts it to a latching push button. Finally, the flashlight bezel had to be painted white. Paint is such an easy thing to do, and this detail makes all the difference in how professional this looks.

There’s a lot you can do with a functioning electric toothbrush as your base, like brute-forcing the pins of a lock with vibration.

18 thoughts on “Toothbrush Goes From Mouth-Whitening To Room-Brightening

  1. These exist as rechargeable emergency torches (flashlights). Some double as night lights (with PIR sensors) and/or emergency lights (on when power is off) while in the cradle. Most have charging contacts, but some are wireless.

  2. Yeah, I have a couple of emergency flashlights from a hospital in my garage, they are mounted in a charging cradle, can be set to be used as a nightlight with both a light sensor and a PIR for motion, turns on a red location LED when power goes out and so on. (sadly they are so old they are Halogen bulb and NiMh batteries)

    They probably costed the hospital $50 each, and I got them when they were replaced for being too old, I have used them for years and sadly the batteries are gone in all of them, ant they are hermetically sealed for hygienic reasons.

    I would love to find something similar but modern, with LED’s and LiPo on the market to replace them.

    I also had a Military headlamp with red LED’s so you would not ruin your night vision and a hyper bright halogen bulb with white light that I would love to find a modern replacement for

  3. Flashlights are rapidly headed for the same fate as the camera and the compass and the mp3 player and the gps unit and the memo recorder. Good riddance to all that antique junk.

    1. Call me old fashioned then, as I always keep a penlight in my EDC. Nothing beats a flashlight when you need it in a pinch, rather than fiddling with your smartphone to turn on the flash.

      1. Hard to use your phone as a flashlight while also using it as a phone, or when the phone’s battery is dying or needs to be conserved during an emergency. Same with MP3 players and compasses. My compass doesn’t need any power at all which is important when you’re camping and are far from cell service or a phone charger, and my MP3 player lasts months on a single AAA battery.

      1. I converted a 2xAA Maglite to LED using this Instructable:

        What I liked about this conversion was that it used a generic 3mm LED and a driver IC. All the commercial “LED upgrade” kits seem to use a ridiculously bright LED so you only get a couple of hours from your AA batteries, even on the “low” setting. Whereas the setup from this Instructable should last for 18+ hours. I’ve found that it’s still plenty bright enough to find your keys, find the bathroom, read a book etc. You could also tweak the resistor value on the driver to get exactly the brightness/battery that you want.

        I’m not the author, but I had been looking for something exactly like this for years, and the author was even kind enough to convert the PCB to Kicad for me!

    2. The mobile phone is a good backup that is generally there, but it more or less sucks in all of those applications. It don’t beat my camera with better optics and zoom. It needs batteries when my compass doesn’t. It doesn’t have the sensitivity or duration that my 15 year old GPS does, and in that I get 18 hours with two AA batteries and it works great in winter. My small light PK-PL2-Ti02 Pocket Burner flashlight sure beats the phone in light output, ‘range’ and convenience.

      If I drop my phone, the screen cracks or its batteries run out, its not the end of the world, since I still have to other things. Some of us don’t put all of our eggs in the same complicated and delicate basket, and actually wants good tools for the job.

      The mobile phone is a good backup for those things. It doesn’t really replace them.

  4. What a great idea! A person could sell things like this.

    I can brush my teeth without a battery, but I can’t make light with my fingers. At least not at the present time.

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