In PComp this week we’re tasked with finding a use for a switch. In fabrication we’re tasked with building a “flashlight.” I thought this would be a good opportunity to combine projects and create a flashlight with a switch.

I went over to the ITP junk shelf and found an old iPod with a missing back. I’ve always found old electronics fascinating as they go from being prized possessions to trash so quickly. I thought it would be fun to use the iPod interface to build my flashlight.

At first I couldn’t get the circuit board out, but then, miraculously, my tools order from Adafruit came in and I instantly had the perfect sized screwdriver. From there the disassembly was really fun.


When I got the iPod taken apart, I was surprised that the iPod button didn’t have any spring to it. But, amazingly, the button in my kit fit perfectly into the backside of the iPod button.


While putting the circuit together I realized I should have a stronger resistor than I used in my previous circuit exercise because I was using a 9V battery instead of the 5V Arduino input, so I tried to apply Ohm’s Law. And failed. (I couldn’t figure where to get the R from, or what the resulting number actually implied.) So, I tested out the circuit with the 220 ohms resistor and it worked fine. I figured it was good enough and I would ask about Ohm’s Law in the next class.

I went back and forth about whether to learn to solder to put my circuit together, but my breadboard fit almost perfectly in the iPod and decided I’d just use the board. It still was a bit big so I learned to use the sander and saw in the shop and fit the breadboard to the iPod.

The next steps would be to get the potentiometer working on the dial and maybe build a nicer back as that’s all just gaffer tape for now. Either way, I think Sir Jony would be proud :)