The next step is to disassemble the NEXTEC LED work light and see if we can use it to adapt the old Dustbuster to lithium-ion power.
The wish list of the disassembly operation are:
- Battery compartment: If we could use the battery compartment of the work light, don’t have to reverse engineer the dimensions of the battery pack and the slots needed to clip the battery in place.
- Battery connector: If we could use the battery connector of the work light, we don’t have to reverse engineer the precise location and dimension of the metal contacts for drawing power from the battery.
- Battery over-discharge protection: Unlike Ni-Cad batteries’ tolerance of discharge, over-discharging lithium-ion cells could cause permanent damage. As a result, most lithium-ion devices have a protection circuit and I’d like to pull that in.
The things we don’t care about:
- LED array: There are plenty of LEDs of all color and brightness on every electronic tinkerer’s workbench. One fewer array would not be missed.
- Switch: The work light’s switch is the type where a press closes the circuit, then another press opens the circuit. This is the right behavior for a light but not for a vacuum. Also: this switch was designed for a low-amperage LED and while it looks sufficiently beefy, it might not tolerate the amperage draw of a Dustbuster motor.
With these goals in mind we start with the obvious task of removing the four visible screws. After the screws were removed there was one more fastener: a small metal C-clip holding the two halves together near where the pinkie finger rests while holding the light. The clip was designed to require a specific tool for a clean removal. For people who are unconcerned about cosmetic damage, it could be persuaded to abandon its post with pliers.
Looking at the disassembled light, we see we can easily re-purpose the battery compartment and associated battery connector for the project. The third item on the wish list – the over-discharge protection circuit – is unfortunately incorporated onto the LED circuit board and not an easily separated part. We’ll just have to be careful when using the upgraded Dustbuster and not discharge it too much.
Having the battery compartment and electrical contacts is great. It bypasses a lot of iterative CAD work and 3D printing to pin down proper dimensions to fit the battery. The next step is to join the two devices together.
(Cross-posted to NewScrewdriver.com)