Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Solar Book Light

I once worked for a very great personage in the yacht industry who confided in me that he had really never invented anything. One credited with so many advances in sailing systems and materials modestly reported that each was actually an existing idea he adapted. To whit, I would say that modesty makes great men greater in my esteem.

Anyway, here's a combination of established and readily available ideas I'm presently experimenting with. No greatness. Just a new slant on collecting some sunlight and pulling it out later for entertainment purposes!

1. One well used loved "LightWedge" book light (www.lightwedge.com) which after many years succumbed to corrosion. If you have not tried one of these, here's the concept: light from 2 small LED bulbs is refracted through an acrylic wedge and distributed over a book page with less loss to less desired directions than with typical booklights. Perfect for those who enjoy reading about things that happened outside, and know that authentic surroundings enhance the experience as ambiance does a good dinner.

2. Two solar garden lights. You know the type. Available at any hardware store for a few $$. They charge a nicad battery during the day and switch on at night with a little photo-cell. I've already made much use of them for other decorative and practical purposes.

3. A few odd tie wraps and miscellaneous bits of string and such.

1. One cordless drill, preferably charged by solar and wind power!

2. Old fashioned duct tape and bailing wire, Rube Goldberg type horse sense.

Strip away the defunct elements of the lightwedge until the basic acrylic lens itself alone remains. Drill the edge holes from the original LED bulbs large enough to accept those on the garden light. Remove the lens and mounting post from the garden light until all that remains is the top part- in which are housed the solar cell, battery, switch and LED bulb. Drill more holes in the edge of the acrylic wedge such that tie wraps can be used to secure the garden light tops to it. This is where the horse sense comes in. The only wrong way to complete this attachment is one that blocks sunlight from the solar cell. Attach a light fishing line such that the whole works can be hung in the sun with least shadows cast on the solar cells.... or just stand it up outside.

Mine's outside getting powered up as I write. Try it and let me know how yours works!

Coming soon to a blog near you....The solar bilge pump - for the optimist who knows it is more often sunny than rainy, in most places anyway.

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