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BRIGHT 160 lumen Prodmod Video Camera Light for under $30

ProdMod 160 Lumen Video Light

Introducing the ProdMod Night Vlogger 160!

The following project is a neat way to make your own high powered video light to attach to your digital camera or camcorder. I called it the NightVlogger 160 after I read the term on this article of someone willing to use this type of light to allow him to take paparazzi style video at night. Vloggerazzi if you will. At 160 lumen it is very bright, in fact it is brighter than a 10W Halogen! It also fits in a slim AAA battery holder using only 3 AAA batteries. It projects a wide angle flood as opposed to a focused spotlight so you don’t have to zoom in to avoid the dark circle effect.
If you have followed my previous camera light projects you might have guessed this was the logical next step. I have made a 1W LED camera light before without showing you the details, but I think this latest one is a little easier to assemble and uses a very powerful yet very small Endor Rebel from luxeon to produce 160 lumens of light at 700mA.  I also swapped the battery holder switch with a 3 position switch so that I can have two brightness levels, Low and High.

First take a look at this video to see what it can do and then lets discuss the How To.

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Upgrade: Prodmod LED Camera Light – Constant Brightness – Fixed Voltage – Flexible Battery


By using an $11 DC-DC boost circuit in the Prodmod LED Camera Light I am now able to power it with one, two, or three batteries and can use either rechargeable or alkaline and still maintain a fixed LED brightness. The brightness of the LEDs remains unchanged until the very last moment when the total battery voltage drops below 1V. The flexibility of the DC-DC boost circuit allows you to use either one or two batteries if I wish leaving room for other items in the case. It also allows you to position your mount stud somewhere else if it better suits your camera.

I tested a 5V circuit and a 3.3V and compiled the results. There is an effect on battery life but its not as bad as you might think.

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Zoom-O Ball Launcher by Blip Toys only $9.99

If you are the least bit interested in picking up a fun toy for yourself or a kid you know, give the Zoom-O ball a try. Literally go to Target and try it out. It’s a “Try me” toy you can play with off the shelf. I bet once you rev its engine and pull the trigger you will be hooked. And when you look at its cheap price you’re gonna buy it. If you can’t make it to Target or you have ADD, need instant gratification, lack self control, or are lazy, then you can try it virtually here.


Who doesn’t want a toy that sounds like that? Yeah it is frickin loud. But man, its frickin loud! Loud spinning wheel toy that shoots balls = FUN Guaranteed.

For a more in-depth review, click here

(2) two speed homopolar motor !

I found a cylinder magnet and used is as the conductive rod or nail. I still attached my disc magnet and tested out the motor.

Now I have two diameters to work with and two speeds. The cylinder gives the lower speed and the disc gives the higher speed.

It may be hard to see in the video but check it out!

One handed homopolar motor with AA battery

I found a link to a really easy to make homopolar motor using a battery, a wire, a screw, and a strong nickel plated magnet.

You can check out the evilmadscientist site for a cool video and explanation. He has some other cool experiments as well with one that moves water.

So I tried it out for myself but I used one AA rechargeable battery and a nail. I used a nail because I didnt have a screw with a sharp point.

Here is what it looked like.

I was even able to run the motor with one hand. The wire I used was stiff enough to keep touching the magnet.

Perceptive Pixel- Ted Han- way cool multi touchscreen

This is the most amazing touch screen system I have ever seen. Watch the video to see it in action

this is an older video

check out how he moves the photos around with two fingers to rotate etc.

You can also go here for a good back story on the inventor, Jefferson Han, from the magazine Fast Company

They have a newer video of a bigger screen with two users. Unfotunately you have to watch an advertisement. If anyone can find this video somewhere else please comment.

fastcompany-Remapping the Universe

Breakdancing Bboy Aranha

Ok, so its not a product, nor engineering related. Well maybe engineering and physics. But this guy is cool.

Cant seem to embed a metacafe video. so here is the link

and a standard link to the page

USBCell-AA Battery with USB Charger built in

This is pretty damn cool. Its a AA rechargeable battery (NiMH) that you can simply plug directly into any powered USB port to recharge. The charger is built in! Yup it actually has a circuit and little LED to tell you when its charging, 90% charged and fully charged. It even shuts off after a certain amount of time.

USBCell closed

The picture kind of says it all. Its got a neat little cap you pull off to expose the USB connection right under it.

The purpose here, according to the manufacture Moixa Energy, is to encourage people to use rechargeable batteries by making it more convenient to recharge without needing to carry or look for a charger/adapter etc. To keep people from buying alkalines out of convenience.

Ok, so now for the downside.

According to their website, the battery will take about 5 hours to charge up to 90% capacity from dead. And another 1.5 hours or so to “top-off” the remaining 10%. Then it shuts off automatically.

You can put them in a standard charger as long as it doesnt provide more than 600 mA of current. So these cannot be charged quickly like those 15 min chargers or 2 hour chargers. No matter what you do you are gonna have to wait 5 hrs.

Then when you are finally done waiting and you put them in your device, they are only going to last about half as long as other standard AA rechargeable NiMH.

The reason is simple, in order for it to have room for the USB connection the actaul battery part of this.. um battery.. is in fact only a 2/3 AA. So the part that stores the energy, the NiMH part, is physically shorter than your standard AA NiMH. And if you look at the specs on their site you’ll see these puppies only offer 1300 mAh. Compare that to an Energizer Rechargeable AA offering 2500 mAh, and you are looking at a conveniently rechargeable battery that last half as long as others. bummer.

But still, its pretty cool and convenient. As the site suggests these are especially convenient for computer or video game users who have wireless devices like a wireless controller for example. wireless controller You can leave these plugged in all day if you want and when your battery in the controller is low, you just swap the dead ones out and put the new ones in.

One device I know I would NOT want to use these is in a in a digital camera. I hate when my batteries are dying at the worst moment, so I would rather have AA with tons of mAh, a USBcell would be a step backwards.

So its still got its uses, and I think they deserve an A+ for mechanical design and concept. Wish I would of thought of it.

And I bet down the road maybe the short 2/3 AA will have more mAh.

By the way they are about 4x more expensive than the average AA NiMH, but that’s what you pay for convenience I guess.

$20 for 2 (You can get 4 AA for $10 most places)

They are shipped from the UK, where the company is based, for only $3.

And they have a “No Quibble” 30 day refund policy. Cant beat that, right?

I havent bought them yet but I am considering to try them out. I will let you know how I like it, or not.

Take a look at their other batteries. They even have a AAA with a USB plug that folds out. How’d they do that?

USBcell AAA fold outUSBcell AAA fold detail

I just found a great link to a video demonstation for this device given by the Moxia CEO and founder Simon Daniels.
Thanks to nafcom for finding it.

The CEO of USBCELL brings up another “advantage” where he can put a different chip in the battery to “communicate” with the customer while the battery is charging in your PC. A message can pop up on your computer screen to encourage you to recycle. He also envisions bundling it with digital cameras and promoting a photo print service etc. Great so now when I charge one of these things I will have to battle with some annoying pop up ad. Just call it what it is, you are advertizing through hardware, you are not “communicating” you are annoying the customer.

All that said, I still think its great technology and I am jealous of Simon Daniels!

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Trudeau Crumb Bug Vac

I came across this lil cutie while looking for a vacuum. It’s made by Trudeau (which makes other interesting devices) and is sold at BedBathandBeyond for only $9.99. So of course I had to pick one up, see if it works then see how.

When I got it I was pretty skeptical. The bristles looked like they were just for show and the fan didn’t look too menacing. Not to mention the small motor and 2AA batteries it was driven by.

So I got some crumbs off a Thomas’ English muffin and dropped them on the floor and gave it a try. At first I lightly passed it over the surface and it didn’t pick up much. But then I applied just a slight down force to bend the bristles and bring it closer to the surface and it sucked everything right up. You could hear the crumbs wacking around in the thing. So I was impressed. Not sure if I would actually use it, or why you need one but it works and works pretty well. Clean up is easy you just pull off the bottom and dump it.

Here is a quick video to see and hear it pick up the crumbs

And here is a video of me openning the vac to show the crumbs inside. I promise its not a camera trick. The original file was too long so I split it into two movies.

Ok now here’s a look inside the product so you can see how it works. My favorite part.


First a shot of the packaging. Pretty simple and affective, you can see what I paid for it.

crumb bug package

It actually came with no instructions. Nada. I guess you dont need em. Well you first have to figure out how to open it. You know 2 AA batteries have to get in there some how.







Crumb bug open top

.The first thing I did was I tried ot twist it open. By doing that I was able to remove the top cover. Then you see the battery holders







crumb bug open bottom


Then I realized there are two tabs on the sides you use to unlatch the bottom cover brush part. I was able to see the impeller and the cup that holds the crumbs.






crumb bug battery close-up

Here is a close up of the Battery holders. You can also see the electric motor which is a simple brush electric motor. You might find these motors in any small toy car. They are very cheap but work very well, and are easy to find.

You can also see how the switch is designed. Its a simple set of thin flexible metal strips that are close to but not touching the contacts on the base. When you push the white plastic button on the top housing it makes the contact and completes the circuit. This was a smart way for them to save cost and assembly time as compared to using a small momentary switch which has to be mounted and soldered to wires.



crumb bug open half

Here is a look at the impeller housing and bottom housing to see how they interface eachother.








Trudeau Crumb Vac impeller cover removedThe impeller cover is easily popped off in 4 places revealing the impeller. The impeller rotates in a clockwise direction in this view.






Part Scavengability:
I guess there are a few parts here to take, but its so small you might just want to add to it instead of taking parts away from it. Here is a list.

  • Mini Vaccum – About 3″ diameter
    • Motor – low power/high speed
    • Impeller – I havent tried to remove it yet, but you should just be able to pull it right off
    • Filter
    • Switch – Simple metal contacts
    • Battery tabs
    • Battery holder- 2AA
      • battery tabs
      • wires
  • Bottom housing, round
    • Bristles
  • Top Housing, round
    • button – round




I think its a great design. Its simple, cheap and it actually works!
For 9.99 you get a motor and impeller assembly.
I think its hackable.


Power- medium suction.
Noise – a bit noisy and whinny

Modification Wishlist

  1. I would like to replace the motor with a quiet high efficient one.
  2. I want to make a simple low power floor vac that scurries around and picks up dust and crumbs. I think this mody can be used together with another drive motor, wheels and some logic.

Potential value adder- Original cost $9.99

  1. I would pay an extra $10 for it to be quiet.
  2. I would pay $30 to $50 for a wheeled floor crumb cleaner.

Can you think of another use for these parts? Or another mod to this product.

Sumbit your prodmod idea in the comments below!

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