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Old 01-30-2011, 12:21 PM   #1
txoof
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Hardware Hack - a DIY lighted cover

I'm working on a DIY lighted cover for a Kindle 3. I have the majority of the light and cover designed for a prototype, but I don't have access to an authentic K3 lighted cover to reference for the metal binding hooks. I posted over on an accessories thread looking for some help, but haven't gotten any bites.
What I need is a good picture of the upper clip so I can fabricate my own. So far I've managed to copy the lower clip from an image I found via google, but the upper clip is too badly distorted me to copy.
If there's anyone out there that would be willing to take individual pictures of both clips, I would greatly appreciate the help.
An image similar to the one below that has a mm scale included would be fantastic.


(the above image is my best guess as to what the bottom clip looks like)

For fellow hardware hackers, you may find this information useful:
  • Power ports provide ~4V
  • Top clip is positive
  • Bottom clip has two fingers that must both be displaced to enable power

Last edited by txoof; 01-30-2011 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 01-30-2011, 02:46 PM   #2
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Minor Success and Proof of Concept

Minor Success:
I've managed to craft some temporary clips out of light weight aluminum. It won't do for holding together a light, but it definitely proves the concept.

It's a little tough to make out what's going on, but the black wire is the ground and the red wire is pulling +4V from the top port.

P1040795 by txoof, on Flickr

All together, the two 3mm LEDs are pulling down just over 0.01 mA. A third light brings it up to right around 0.01-0.02. My multimeter isn't terribly sensitive though so it could be slightly more. I'm currently using 1K Ohm resistors, plopping in something around 50 Ohms makes the light almost unusably bright and draws down around 0.2 mA.

I'm still looking for a quality image of the clips if anyone can provide them. Also, if you have any suggestions for this project, I'd love to hear them.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:10 PM   #3
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Some quickies. As you probably know the top one is spring loaded and moves downward against spring force, then the notch aligns and when the spring is released, it notch engaged the k3's case.

The bottom is curved so you load the k3 an angle and then rotate up and to the left.

Their case is nice since it is all one piece with the light internal until pulled free. A light off the top center might be more even. I, at least, cannot read the letters on the graphite keyboard with the current light. It might be nice if it could illuminate the keyboard a bit better.
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:13 PM   #4
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And rather than edit with photos attached. I have always wondered why Amazon did attach the light at the corner - maybe out of the direct field of vision
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Old 01-30-2011, 03:32 PM   #5
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Thank you! Those pictures are perfect. I can print them out and use them as templates!

I found some thicker stainless steel that I can use to craft some tougher clips from. I need to find a dremel tool for working with the stainless though. The chintzy files I have right now aren't doing much against it.
The challenge now is to design a system that latches to the side of the reader and a nice setup for holding the lights to the cover.
I don't think I'll get as fancy-pants as amazon's engineers, but something simple and hooded just above the page will serve my needs. Now that you mention it, I might want to add a switch for high and low power lighting incase I need to see the keyboard. That would be pretty trivial.
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txoof View Post
Thank you! Those pictures are perfect. I can print them out and use them as templates!

I found some thicker stainless steel that I can use to craft some tougher clips from. I need to find a dremel tool for working with the stainless though. The chintzy files I have right now aren't doing much against it.
The challenge now is to design a system that latches to the side of the reader and a nice setup for holding the lights to the cover.
I don't think I'll get as fancy-pants as amazon's engineers, but something simple and hooded just above the page will serve my needs. Now that you mention it, I might want to add a switch for high and low power lighting incase I need to see the keyboard. That would be pretty trivial.
If you're feeling fancy maybe you could use an analog pot (and include a way to turn it more easily). That way, you don't have to stick with just two colors!
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kranu View Post
If you're feeling fancy maybe you could use an analog pot (and include a way to turn it more easily). That way, you don't have to stick with just two colors!
It'd be more work but doing PWM will give you better control over brightness and waste less power than just putting in a variable resistor. One of the tiny 6-8 pin uCs like a PIC with a small FET would be more than capable of doing this.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiersten View Post
It'd be more work but doing PWM will give you better control over brightness and waste less power than just putting in a variable resistor. One of the tiny 6-8 pin uCs like a PIC with a small FET would be more than capable of doing this.
True, but make sure it has a high enough clock speed. LED's with bad PWM can give you more of a headache than just reading an LCD screen.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:39 AM   #9
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Wow, those are all great ideas. I was thinking of just using a DPDT switch that moves between 1K and ~200 Ohm resistors.
Right now I'm struggling to figure out how to mount the stainless steel clips onto the cover and then route the wires sanely so they don't break after a week of use.
I'll post some pictures once I get my hands on a dremel tool to properly cut the stainless. Cutting with a coping saw with wood blades and lousy files is breaking me. It's really hard to find good DIY hacking materials where I'm at right now.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:41 AM   #10
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Well, good luck with your project! Hopefully you can post a nice step-by-step of what you did when you finish.
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:48 AM   #11
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Yes, I'd like to see the results. I would not mind finding another light system that powered off the k3 - I'm interested in an easel case of some kind or even a simple stand but a light without more batteries to worry about would be nice.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:37 PM   #12
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I'll post an instructable once I finish the project.
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Old 02-25-2011, 05:00 PM   #13
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Ok, here it be! My DIY Lighted K3 Cover.
Check out the instructable over here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Kindle-3-DIY-Light/
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:22 PM   #14
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Welcome back. I will have to see the instructions. But the measurements worked reasonably well? And connection is solid?
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:36 PM   #15
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Cool! I was just thinking about doing something like this the other day.

To the Laboratory!
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