The Itsy-Bitsy USB Lamp

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

It plugs into the USB port and is just the shot for checking motherboard switch and jumper settings. Many readers will remember a commercial product of a few years ago, the `Itty Bitty Book Light`. It was designed to clip over the top of a book to give just a tiny light on the page when, for example, you were reading in bed and didn`t wish to dist

The Itsy-Bitsy USB Lamp
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urb your partner. Times have changed. Now we`re all working with computers. Many`s the time I`ve been trying to look deep inside a computer and wished it was a bit brighter so I could read type numbers, see plug and socket orientations, check board seating, and so on. Sometimes, even a torch won`t work because it`s too big to get really deep down. You can`t get that light where you really need it. Well, here`s the answer. We`ve called it the Itsy Bitsy USB Lamp. It is such a delightfully simple idea we`re wondering why no-one ever thought of it before. It started life (and continues) as a student project at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand - and in fact was submitted to us by the lecturer, Stan Swan. When we say simple, we mean it: just a USB plug on a suitable length of cable, a super bright white LED and a series resistor to limit LED current. The LED and resistor are housed in an in-line fuse holder (without its innards!) which makes a superb little "wand" and also protects the electronics, such as they are. In all modern computers, you will find at least one, usually two and often four USB ports. USB stands for Universal Serial Bus, and is one of the latest incarnations of methods to get information in and out of your computer. We`re not particularly interested in information transfer as such. But we are interested in the fact that the USB port offers power to external devices - +5V is available on pin 1 (0V...

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