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.
We have all at some point have made a flashlight. It used to be a staple of childhood electronics, the screw-in bulb in a holder, and a cycle lamp battery. If you were a particularly accomplished youthful hacker you might even have fitted a proper switch, otherwise, you probably made do with a bent paperclip and a drawing pin.
So you might think that flashlights offer no challenges, after all, how many ways can you connect a bulb or an LED to a battery? [Peter Fröhlich] though has a project that should put those thoughts out of your mind. It uses a power LED driven by a TI TPS61165 boost driver, with an ATTiny44 microcontroller providing control, battery sensing, and button interface. The result is a dimmable flashlight in a 3D printed case housing both control circuitry and a single 18650 cell which he sourced from a dead laptop. Suddenly that bent paperclip doesn’t cut it anymore.
The result is a flashlight that is the equal of any commercial offering, and quite possibly better than most of them. You can build one yourself, given that he’s published the physical files necessary, but probably because this is a work in progress there are as yet no software files.
We’ve featured a lot of flashlights over the years, but it’s fair to say they usually tend towards the more powerful. Back in 2015 we published a round-up of flashlight projects if it’s a subject that captures your interest.
If you remember old computer magazines (or browse them today), you’ll see that back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, you weren’t always sure what you were going to do with a computer. Games were a staple, but they weren’t very exciting. Visionaries talked about storing recipes, writing Christmas letters (to send via snail mail), and keeping home inventories. You probably don’t do any of those things with your computer today, unless you count e-mailing instead of sending Christmas cards. We think sometimes 3D printers fall into that category today. Sure, you want one. But what are you really going to do with it? Print keychains?
That’s why we always like seeing practical designs for 3D printed items. Like this 100W flashlight. The electronics part of the build is simple enough: a 100W LED module, an off-the-shelf driver board, plus an old PC cooler and some batteries. But the 3D printed parts makes it all come together and it looks great!
Continue reading “High-Power LED + 3D Printer = Mega Flashlight”