Little Emergency Lights

For almost 20 years, I’ve been a ham radio operator. As such, I’ve kept an emergency radio station set up in my house, just in case there’s a power outage or emergency situation. Emergency radio stations need an antenna, radio, and source of power (I use batteries).

However, it is tough to operate if you don’t have some method of lighting. There’s usually a lot of writing when you operate on the radio, especially when working in emergency operations. For years, I’d used a battery operated Coleman lantern that has a barrel connector for DC power. I made a cable that runs from Anderson Powerpoles to the right connector, allowing me to run power from the same (larger) batteries that power everything else.

Then, one day, I was walking through Ikea. In the lighting section, I found the LED disc lights that were meant to mount underneath cabinets. They plugged into a wall socket, through a box that had 6 DC outputs (1 per light). It didn’t take long to determine that the output voltage from the box was 12VDC (in fact, the specs listed the voltage). I discarded the AC power supply, chopped off the connectors on the light’s wire, and added Powerpoles. Then, it was as simple as plugging them into the Powerpoles that come out of my battery connection. This small hack provides me with lights that work the same way when the power is on as they do when the power is off. And, they’re made to look polished, mounting right under the top of the hutch on my radio desk.

These lights were a pretty good find.