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Thread: On/Off switch for homemade light?

  1. #1
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    Default On/Off switch for homemade light?

    Ok, I came here today to ask which single 123 battery flashlight would be appropriate for a Luxeon Star. InTheDark beat me to it.

    Apparently the answer is, the E1e or nothing. I don't want to shell out the money for an E1, just to cut it up, so....

    I think I'm going to try to make one out of plumbing. I think I can make a light out of a single diameter piece of pipe. I was messing around with my Brinkmann LX the other day and I noticed that the barrel with the 123 batteries in it, is exactly the right diameter to fit the LS optics in the end. If I can find a piece of pipe that diameter, I can probably get the whole thing in a single piece...

    But, my big problem is: How the heck am I going to turn this thing on and off? I want this it be as small as possible because I want to EDC it. I also would like some sort of water protection, even if it's just enough to keep it working in the rain.

    So, I could use some sort of tail-cap switch, but I don't think I'm going to find one for a 123 sized barrel aside from the Brinkmann LX switch (which is almost as big as another 123 battery) or there's the Surefire LOTC, both are too much money, and I don't know how big the Surefire cap is.

    There's a twist on/off head, but I don't think it's necessarily going to have a head to twist, and I'm not sure I could pull off the machining necessary to make a twist on head that doesn't leak.

    And then there's a switch in the side of the case. I think I like this idea best, but I don't know what kind of switch to get, or where to get it. Anybody done something like this before (Elektrolumens?) and have a recommendation on where to get a suitable switch?

    My best idea, so far, is: I have one of those LED-LENSER LED lights that runs off 3 LR44 batteries. It's a piece of junk, and I don't use it for anything. But, it has click on/off switch in the side of the barrel. It has a rubber dome over the top that is just held in like a grommet in the side of the light. It's really cheezy, but would probably do the trick, and I would probably only need to drill a hole for it in the side of my light in order to make it work.

    Does anybody have any advise about something like this that they could share? I've never done a "from scratch" flashlight. Only modifications to existing lights, and I'm kind of in unknown waters here...

    Thanks,
    -Kevin

  2. #2
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    I was wondering when other people were going to start looking for a single 123 light. Anyway, I was in the same situation as you, looking for a switch that i could use on a homemade light, but unfortunately, there aren't that many switches out there that would work. So far, I think the best option is to buy a cheap flashlight and cannabalize the switch mechanism off of it. Some of the ones I was looking at were the Garrity rubber coated flashlights (they have a tailcap switch integrated into the body) and some Rayovac ones, I think. Those have a similar feel to the Maglights and DB energizers, but they only cost about $3, so you won't have to trash an expensive flashlight to get a switch. The only place I found selling similar switches wanted $3.50 apiece, so it's acutally cheaper to get the whole light. Anyway, good luck.

  3. #3
    Farewell our Curmudgeon Administrator Roy's Avatar
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    Check out Silviron's Pipe Lite on this forum:
    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/cgi...&f=14&t=000007

    He might have your answer.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    Well, the more I think about this, and examine the switch from that LED-LENSER light I was thinking of using, the more I fear that the 300+ mA I plan to draw through it might melt it. I don't think it's going to work. I guess I'll have to keep searching at Digi-Key and make a few trips to the electronics shops...

    Silviron: where did you get the switch you used?

    -Kevin

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Silviron's Avatar
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    That switch in my CPLS1 is probably too big for your purpose- there is an inch or so of the mechanism inside the pipe. Easy to find though- Radio Shack.

    They also have one that looks very similar but is a little shorter(by about 3/8 inch), but have only seen one, one time at my local RS. (They have "tons" of momentary switches, but that isn't what we want.)

    There was a thread about small switches a month or so ago- It is very hard to find a decent, small push on - push off. I've searched "everywhere" and not found what I want inexpensively.

    The smallest durable ones I have found are at Mouser- Haven't gotten around to ordering any yet though, so can't really say if they are good or not.

    Check out the earlier thread for instructions on finding the Mouser switches:HERE

  6. #6
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    I have played with the idea of using a magnetic reed switch. The switch itself would be mounted inside the light. The actuating magnet would be mounted on the outside of the light...maybe some sort of sliding trak?

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Silviron's Avatar
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    I've used reed switches in a lot of oddball applications- Never had any real problems with them in "stationary applications" but you really need to get your engineering and execution done very well in portable applications.

    Losing your magnet because you dropped your light up on the mountain or down in the cave can really $)(^. Probably better to use a NC reed in portable applications, since at least it will be stuck in the ON position.

    JMHO

  8. #8
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    Thanks for the info guys... I'm still not sure what I'm going to do. Maybe I'll just cut a Brinkmann LX down to a single battery length and shove the LS in the end.

    BTW, I don't know if you've seen this StuU, but here's a magnetic switch in a homebrew flashlight: VersaBrix

    -Kevin

  9. #9
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    I don't know if you'll be able to cut a brinkmann LX down to a single battery configuration. I was thinking the same thing, but the body is narrower in the middle where the rubber grips are on it, so I don't think there's enough material to cut new threads, and if there is, it would be really thin. I think most switches should be able to handle 300+mA, that doesn't seem like a lot of power. Someone mentioned the Mag switches are capable of handling 2+ Amps, and even then, it's probably pretty conservative. Check out the replacement Mini-mag tailcap switches Mr. Bulk was ordering, those look pretty good. I don't know if you wanted a tailcap switch or not, I think it might take less space than a switch on the barrel of the light. If you put it on the side of the body, it would have to be in a space where the batteries aren't directly behind it, because I don't think there would be enough space to run the wires to the switch. That's one of the reasons Mags have so much empty space in the head of the light.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    This might not fit but I've used it in a few bike lights and it's worked well. The downside would be it's about 0.6" square that would have to fit in the light. However on the plus side it would only take up about 3/8" inside the body. It then has a lockring and rubber switch cover that screws on. Not water proof but probably weather resistant.

    on digikey.com the part numbers for the switch and cover are:

    switch = 512PB-ND
    ruber cover = 513PB-ND

    I'm not sure if the switch housing could be modified at all to fit in a smaller area, I've never taken one apart.

    Image of the catalog page with switch image is at:
    http://info.digikey.com/T022/V2/0731.pdf

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* DSpeck's Avatar
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    On that same page are some round rocker switches. You could put one of those in the tailcap, which would add a little to the length of the light, but likely less than the switch in the side would.

    Doug.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: On/Off switch for homemade light?

    Thanks for the reed switch info, signals.

    I have used the rocker switches several times. Some of these are extremely! durable. One switch from RS has lasted me 12 years as a replacement power switch on a stereo-and used daily. Another flatter rocker was not so good. However, these switches are as Non-waterproof as it is possible to get. You could probably run a garden hose through the middle of one.

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