Review: Elektor’s "candle2light" Peltier lamp kit

August 17, 2017 | 11:16
An appetizing midnight feast
with the Peltier lamp. Image: H.Hennekens
The ElektorLabs Peltier reading lamp published in the latest edition as "candele2light" uses a surprising principle: light up an LED reading lamp with the energy from one candle. The USB LED lamp itself comes from Ikea. The idea of this project is original and its implementation is not commonplace but eye-catching: the case, entirely transparent, is made of panels of Plexiglas (Perspex; acrylic sheet). The whole is supposedly conceived as an easy-to-assemble kit.
That’s what I wanted to find out.

Starting off

Before unpacking, you need to download and preferably print the latest version of the assembly instructions available in Elektor’s e-store. These are neat and well illustrated. Examine the photos well to give yourself an idea of the construction process. I emphasise this, because I didn’t, and wasted some time… There are two versions of the lamp, one cubic and very sober, the other a little more free-form, but their assembly is exactly the same, as are the instructions. It seems logical to me, before starting, to read or re-read the article that appeared in Elektor magazine. There you will note the technical information on the Pelter modules, how to use them, their possibilities and their limits. Along with some crucial explanations of the switch which supplies the lamp. We’re here to have fun, if possible without setting the house on fire!

Essentially a hardware kit

In the cardboard box, well wrapped separately in plastic bags, we find the following parts and accessories:
Unpacking the kit.
  • the pre-cut Plexiglas panels
  • Tea-light candles
  • Transparent stickers
  • Plastic spacers
  • metal threaded rods
  • Wire and heatshrink tubing
  • Metallic coloured radiator
  • Black radiator
  • USB LED lamp (model Ikea Jansjö with gooseneck)
  • Peltier elements and thermal paste
  • Printed circuit board (interconnects the Peltier modules and the LED lamp)
  • Cylindrical brass spacers
  • A (very small!) fan)
  • Brass screws, nuts and springs
  • Screw terminals, a USB socket and a mini-switch
  • Other screws, nuts, spacers and washers

And no glue? No, because it’s a solid mechanical assembly, screwed together, and you can take it all apart again. No electronic components, apart from the Peltier module and naturally the PCB, on which you only have to solder the terminals and the USB connector. So its essentially a mechanical kit, but no less interesting for that.

The stated time for assembly is around two hours. Generally I allow more time than that given, especially when I’m having fun….
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