A couple of months back (April if I recall) I was bored and looking for a nice project to kill some time in a rainy saturday. I decided to build a nice night light for my bedroom. I had a set of restrictions put in place so that I would be pleased with the final result, these were:
- Must run on AAs
- Adjustable intensity
- Small and cute
- Should be built entirely with parts that I had on hand
The first challenge was to find a nice enclosure, since this was going to be used as decoration it couldn’t just be a bare protoboard with some LEDs or a boring project box. While looking through the pile of stuff (most people would call trash) I had stored in various places around the house, I found a couple of cubic flower pots made in various materials. I thought the ceramic one would fit my bedroom quite well, so that part was done.
The next thing would be to find a diffuser to cover the LEDs and and give a more uniform light. My first idea was to use acrylic or something like that, but sadly I didn’t have any on hand so I had to improvise. Again I went looking through my stuff and found an empty Ferrero Rocher enclosure (I knew I would use it some day), all I had to do was sand and cut it so it would fit the flower pot.
The last and most boring part was to solder all the LEDs, they are in a series parallel arrangement, with 9 parallel groups of 2 in series so that I could use a 9V supply. For driving them I decided to build a simple constant current sink with the two NPN transistors in a feedback configuration and designed it in such a way that it would be adjustable up to 100mA.
If you want to see more pictures of the whole process they are all available in this album: