DIY Your Own LED Trouble Light 12V Corded Under $16 (Guide Included)
A portable LED trouble light is sometimes more than useful, especially if you end up on the dark and need to inspect your car at a roadside.
But, in order to have a practical lighting device in handy, you don’t need to go out and purchase a flashlight.
You can easily make one on your own, by using the 27 LED Light from Harbor Freight (now only COB version is sold by Harbor Freight Tools).
Why choose this particular option? Because it contains 27 LED lights, this small device can provide light that is very bright, even if the batteries you’ll use are not that great.
Before we even start the mod process, I want to mention that you should never use this device with AC power sources! This runs on DC power only, so don’t put your safety to the risk!
Tools and materials will be used during making
- Ultra Bright LED Portable Worklight/Flashlight
- 100 in. Battery to Lighter Socket Extension Cord
- DC Power Jack
- Soldering iron and solder
- Step drill bit
1. Open its case and take apart its pieces – DIY Your Own LED Trouble Light
This will not be a hard task to achieve, as the device is put together with the help of 3 little screws. These screws can be located on the back of the device, so you will need just an adequate screwdriver. You will also notice there’s a small magnet there as well. Use it to keep all the screws in one place, as you’ll need them later. After the outer case is removed, take the batteries out. Next, you have to unscrew the circuit board holding the LED lights. Once the circuit board is set loose, manage it with caution, so you won’t damage its thin wires.
2. Work on the center area – DIY Your Own LED Trouble Light
For safety, start by removing the wires found in the center area of the battery section. If you take a close look, you will see a peg. With a step drill or even regular drill, if you have a very steady hand, you will have to drill a hole in the peg, in order to remove it completely. Then, with an appropriate knife, make the hole large enough to fit the future jack that will be installed here. The whole idea is to avoid the plastic from getting cracked, so work with care. Then, below the new cutout you made, you’ll see a thin plastic wall. Here you will have to carve out a little half-moon shape, for the wires.
3. Make the new hole for the jack – DIY Your Own LED Trouble Light
If you enjoy symmetry, use the mold line that appears on the surface of the plastic to align this future hole. Then, use the hole you made earlier to center the future one. Again, make use of a knife to create a small indent where you will use the drill’s head. This will improve your precision. Drill with care, so you won’t end up with a hole larger than the jack you’ll use. Use the jack to check the fit and, if needed, use the knife to make any necessary adjustments. You can temporarily fit the jack in with the help of needle nose pliers, which will keep the lock nut in place. Before you fix the jack for good, you will have to solder the wires and use heat shrink.
4. Installing the new jack – DIY Your Own LED Trouble Light
Start by using solder on the ends of the wires. Then solder these wires to the new jack and fix everything with heat shrinking tubing. Now it’s time to fit the jack in the hole you just made. Then fix the lock nut on the existent wires by threading it. Decide upon the ideal length of the wires and cut them adequately, soldering them to the negative and positive connections of the device. Ideally, when fixing the wires, it is good to put them around the posts of the screws. This will prevent them from crashing into each other. It’s not certain whether the polarity matters here, but to ensure success, it is recommended to install the wires as they were originally installed.
With everything in place, it is time to put the case back together. Again, be gentle when screwing in the fixing screws, as the plastic is rather thin and can break. You can use any kind of batteries to test if your new device is working. But, do not forget to remove the AAA batteries that come with the device, before connecting it to an external power supply! Most probably your new portable lighting device will work on batteries ranging between 6 and 12 volts.