Big Clive recently reviewed a cheap cloud-shaped nightlight from China, and later recorded a video showing how to convert it to use color-changing RGB LEDs:
I wanted to build one myself, and already had the LEDs, so I ordered a cloud nightlight from China. It was a little less than $2.00 USD shipped and arrived approximately 5 weeks later. Right away I had problems with it as it was damaged; the plug and circuit board were both loose. I was worried the screw that holds the plug might be stripped, but fortunately it was not and I was able to repair it. With everything in place, I tried it out, and it looks very nice:
I checked the current going through the stock LEDs, and it was around 8-9mA with the light connected to 120VAC @ 60Hz. That’s well within spec for the RGB LEDs.
I ran into a second problem though – Clive’s nightlight has a through-hole circuit board, but mine is SMT. The LEDs are not. I posted about this on Clive’s Patreon page, and heard back from the man himself. He suggested soldering the LEDs sideways across the SMT pads and folding them upwards. So I soldered them:
And folded them:
And it worked! Except for final problem: After I installed the cover, I noticed that my nightlight have three distinctive “hot spots” where the LEDs are:
That’s because I didn’t use diffused LEDs like Clive, a detail I had failed to notice. I could order diffused LEDs, but coming from China it will take another 4-6 weeks, and I didn’t want to wait. So I dug through my tool chest for ideas, and came up with a solution: A Dremel with a small wire wheel brush. I used light pressure with my Dremel set to its lowest speed setting, and very careful roughed up the top half of the LEDs. This gave them a diffused output that makes the nightlight look much more like Clive’s.
Sweet! Those with a keen eye with notice that I also cut the leads going to the light sensor as I want the light to run any time it’s plugged in. Here’s a video of my finished light in action:
This was a fun and very simple project to complete, and I love the finished product. Thanks to Big Clive for the idea!