Sustainable Light

Eli Whitney Museum

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Change is just around the corner. Experiment with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), the cool light revolution that will change the future of electricity consumption. Master a simple circuit that controls energy flow. Reverse the polarity!


Step 1
Brush a little glue into the slot in the base, and slide your back board into place. Nail it in tight.

Step 2
Tack two foil strips near the left and right sides. You may need to cut off some extra length. Don't push the top tacks in all the way because you'll be adding wire to them later.

Step 3
Build your switch. Fold over one end of a foil strip so that it makes a square. Start this off in the slot and wrap around the edge toward the drilled hole. If the foil is too long you can cut it off or fold it back so that the hole remains exposed.

Step 4
Dab one of your dowels into the glue, then push into the switch hole. Push the whole assembly through the base back-to-front so that the dowel protrudes. Leave the switch block facing top-to-bottom, in the "off" position.

Step 5
Slide the spring over the dowel and push the wood button up over the end. The fit will be tight! Twist the button on carefully so that the spring keeps pressure on the switch block.

Step 6
Begin the light assembly. Push your remaining dowel into the drilled hole on the bottom of the light block.

Step 7
Test your LEDs on the battery. You want to make sure they both work before moving on!

Step 8
When you have them held so that both light up, turn one around to pair a positive and negative feed wire. Ply these together starting halfway down the wire so that they can be pulled apart to fit the light block later on.

Step 9
Add one of your wires to this combined end and ply it into the mix. Repeat with the three wires on the other side.

Step 10
Tack the wires in place on either side of the light block and use a pencil to coil the dangling ends.

Step 11
Drop the light assembly into place on the base.

Step 12
Curl the exposed ends into hooks to make it easy to "grip" the tacks you left loose in step two. Pull them down around the tacks' stems and push the tacks in the rest of the way. To help ensure a good connection, make sure that none of the insulation catches under the tack.

Step 13
Push your button cell battery into the battery slot. Either way is fine.

Step Done
Push in on your knob and turn the switch to flat on one side, then the other.

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