I finally finished my amusing but rather hard to figure out mod of a rayovac kids lantern I bought from walmart for about $6. I ripped out the incandescent bulb and torn a energizer doublebright apart to swipe the CCFL and circuit from it, torn a party 3 color led wand apart for 3 3mm leds (red,blue,yellow), stole 4 white LEDs from a cheap flashlight and swiped a blinking circuit from a blinking tie pin.
The finished product now has 4 modes:
1)flourescent light. perhaps one of the dimmest flourescent lanterns but the smallest and light is bright enough to read by and has a very useful flood to it.
2)4 white LEDs driven at 40ma ea with 6v input, not as bright as the CCFL but about 1/2 the current draw and useful as a long term area light.
3)party light. the 3 colored 3mm leds can either be run seperately, two at a time, all at one time or randomly flash on and off. this is interesting light. I drilled a hole to use to pushbutton and use silicon grease to keep water resistance. Pretty neat looking.
4)find me blinker. I wired a bright 3mm red LED into the back of the switch knob with a 5k ohm resistor. should run for weeks I figure.
First victim, the shell of an energizer doublebright I got for $10, I figured if I couldn't put better LEDs in it I would use the CCFL for my lantern. Seems they glued this thing together so taking it apart all but destroys it.
the dissasembled lantern
the ccfl ballast/circuit. reaming out the holes on the board slightly let it fit perfectly on two risers that were not being used on the lanterns battery cage.
I took the CCFL tube out and went to lowes and bought some water tubing that was clear and used some plastic off a package for the top and base. the tubing has a slight curve to it but it doesn't affect the light. Seems like the diffusing cylinder sides are not perfectly vertical they tilt inwards making the hole smaller at the top than the bottom so it was a little loose.
here is the bottom side of the wiring for the LEDs.
Top view of LEDs 4white 5mm, 3 colored 3mm with hole for CCFL top wire.
slightly blurry pic of some of the wiring including the two circuits to drive the colored/blinking LEDs and the selector switch. I used a 12 position switch I tore apart and ground with a dremel to fit the plastic shaft of the lantern.
I tried to take some light shots but they ended up too blurry and the batteries are now on the charger for the digital camera. I ended up having severe problems with the circuit boards powering the colored and blinking LEDs the wires I soldered to them pulled off the foil when I tried stuffing all of this inside the lantern. I originally wanted to put a variable dimmer in also for the LEDs and/or a nightlight mode but haven't found the right variable resistor and knob combination to keep the seal of the light intact. The light is designed so all circuits can be unplugged. I used the pins from a 9pin female serial port kit I got from Radio shack instead of soldering things. Heat shrink over the pins made them about right to push on the switch and I used cutoff leads from 2 watt resistors for the CCFL ballast and a 3 pin block from a VCR I salvaged.
I doubt I will make another one of these this same way but is was a lengthy learning process of what mistakes to make.
If I make another one I plan on using 8-12 white LEDs and the find me blinker and nothing else as I doubt I can find a cheap place to get the CCFL tube and ballast.
I will try to add some light shots later today or tomorrow if I can get the funky digital camera to focus right.
Total cost of the mod
9.24 energizer doublebright CCFL
5.88 rayovac kids lantern
1.00 4 LED from flashlight
1.00 3 colored LEDs + circuit from party wand
free blinking circuit for 3mm red LED
1.00 bright 3mm red LED from flashing LED circuit in blinking ball
18.12+tax= $19.66 + a zillion hours of labor at $0
Re: Rayovac flourescent LED kids party lantern mod
Everything on the little lantern works and the flashing find me light that is built into the switch (it flashes through the clear knob) works, the colored LEDs work also and it is fun to watch it. You can rotate through the colors from red,blue,yellow to all combinations and then the it has a setting that turns them on and off in order like a slow strobe. The white LEDs put out decent light... I am estimating about 1/3 the brightness of the CCFL at approx 150ma (Overdriving them to close to 40ma each).
Since you asked I will try again to figure out this obstinate digital toshiba camera... it is rather clunky and focusing manually really is a task.
Oh, mini lantern 2 is in the works, I already have the host for it (prodigy II) and two CCFL units I pulled from coleman micro CCFL lanterns. I plan on putting white LEDs in it also, not sure about the colored and findme mode but I did come across another wand with the colored LEDs in it at the dollar store and have another red blinking LED/circuit.
I have taken out the 4AA battery holder on it and am trying to figure out how to use multiple battery options... I can see making this a mini 4C lantern or 5 subC or 4/8AA or ?
with a battery connection system I could use anything that would fit and may even have an external power jack for operating off of...... 6/12v systems....