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Author Topic: "Refrigerator" light switch?  (Read 8539 times)
Gideon Wrayburn
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« on: September 16, 2009, 01:07:06 am »

I'm hoping to put together a small medicine box in which to contain a mysterious fluorescent substance.  The box is small; only 6" x 4" x 2.5".  I have a feeling that this might actually be too small for this kind of project.

I want to install a few UV LEDs in the lid, with a switch that will activate the LEDs when the box is opened, thus illuminating the mysterious substance.  Basically a tiny wooden refrigerator with UV lighting.  Smiley  The electronics will be concealed by a leather lining, and the jar of fluorescent liquid will rest in the box proper. 

The problem is I'm not sure how to accomplish this.  Has anyone here attempted something like this before?
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Herr Klinger
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2009, 01:22:40 am »

You can use just about any push button momentary switch. I used one years ago in high school, and whenever my locker opened a disco ball would light up and spin while music played(NOT disco). Micro momentary switches aren't that hard to find, hopefully you get one that fits your needs!
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2009, 01:41:45 am »

It's very simple all you need is a normally closed push-button switch that is pressed when the lid is closed.
Pressing a normally closed switch will break the connection and releasing pressure on it will close the switch and complete the circuit Smiley
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Gozdom
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2009, 05:42:06 am »

What you need is called an "opening switch", as opposed to the more prevalent "closing" switches. Be careful not to select one that stays in position after a push. I guess R. Shack has these (we don't have that chain here, unfortunately). Or you can easily make one with a little bit of copper or steel band and wood chips. One section is stationary, the other has a small handle (like a clock screw) attached so that it is pushed away from the other by the lid.
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Zwack
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2009, 03:08:54 pm »

Another option would be a normally closed reed switch.

Reed switches are usually glass tubes with a wire sticking out each end.  In the middle one of the wires becomes a bit thinner and is usually made of a different alloy so that a magnet can be used to pull it open/pull it closed.  In this case you want one that a magnet holds open.  You embed the switch in the lid with the rest of the electronics and you hide the magnet in the lower portion nearby.  As soon as the lid is opened the magnet will release the contact and the light will come on.  They are also used in Burglar alarms but those ones tend to be bulky.

The advantage of this is that you can actually conceal both the switch and the magnet so that the entire mechanism is mysterious.

Z.
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Special_kaye
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2009, 05:04:07 pm »

Another option would be a normally closed reed switch.

On this note, think of the little plastic gizmos that control the intruder alarm on houses. Most of the switches are simply hall effect type reed switches. In that, a magnetic field will make or break the connection. BTW, they sell these little two piece replacement switches at quite a few locations for just a dollar or two each. Most major hardware stores and home improvement box stores stock them. Simply break the reed switch out of the plastic and hook it up. The magnetic part can be played by just about any magnet, even a magnetized latch to hold the box closed. You could get a two for one effect: Use a hidden magnet to mysteriously hold the box closed but also to trigger the LED's when it's finally pulled open.

Or, if you're at a thrift store and find an old thermostat, they have mercury switches that operate by tilting. Simply hook this up so that the contact is made when the lid is tilted back. I think I would hide this in a brass/copper tube. You could even make one of these steampunked by using a brass ball in a tube or channel attached to the top of the box, in plain view, that adds to the charm. Be ye warned, if you use mercury, it's toxic. Even though, as a kid, I remember one science teacher letting us play with it. May hap, that's is the problem....
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arcwelder
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2010, 12:19:34 pm »

Our refrigerator light is not working anymore but we still use our refrigerator.

Thank you for that highly interesting and informative necropost. Wink
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JennyWren
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2010, 12:27:43 pm »

"ITS ALIVE"
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H. MacHinery
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2010, 01:44:38 pm »

There are actually kits for drawer lights, that do just what is needed - a quick Google should find one.
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Jemima Annabelle Clough
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2010, 02:10:06 pm »

spam removed Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2010, 03:29:20 pm »

spam removed Smiley
Be sure to put it back in the refrigerator when you're done!

 Grin
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Der Tinkermann
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2010, 04:39:40 pm »

.and don't forget to turn off the light  Tongue
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Dr Alexander Sanguinarius
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2010, 07:18:47 pm »

An interior light switch as found in most car front door pillars, should do what you want.  There are many different designs from modern ones with rubber bellows to 1950's ones with are all metal (on the side that can be seen) the older ones are also smaller the the later ones that I have found.
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DrArclight
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2010, 07:56:45 pm »

I think specifically what you are looking for is called a "Cherry Switch" http://www.blackdiamondlines.org/construction_zone/Switch/chery.jpg  (at least in the electromechanical pinball repair trade.)  I keep an eye on the trash cans where I live and if I see a microwave oven waiting for the trash men, I grab it and harvest all the internal parts.  You'll usually find at least 2 or 3 cherry switches in a single microwave oven, along with other nifty parts.  You can pull some really strong magnets out of the magnetron tube, and the HV transformer and capacitor come in handy for building Tesla coils.
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