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Adding LED Lights to Your Tools

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Blog entry by Matt Snyder posted 02-11-2019 07:13 PM 775 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Having good focused lights is essential on many tools and often your shop lights just don’t cut it. Adding an LED light on an adjustable neck is cheap and easy and, with a little modification, you won’t have to use up any more outlets.

I bought four of these lights on Amazon for $10 each

They have a magnetic base so they can attach to your tools and give you the light you need where you need it.

Modifying them to use your tool’s power is fairly simple.

First cut off the plug as close as you can for maximum cord length. You can cut it shorter if you know you won’t be moving it.

Unplug the tool and remove whatever cover is hiding the power switch or remove the switch mounting screws.

Drill an access hole if you can’t find an easy way to feed the cord in to the switch and insert the cord.

Tie a simple knot in the cord to keep it from pulling out, making sure to leave a couple inches to work with.

Next strip the wires on the LED light cord and twist the copper wires. They need to be joined with the wires on the side of the switch coming from the wall. There are several way to do this depending on the type of switch.

This first one is on my 1946 Delta drill press.

I used crimp on ring connectors and screwed them on the switch with the white and black wires from the wall. The polarity doesn’t matter so hook them up however you want.

On my HF 1” belt sander and my Ridgid bandsaw I was able to attach it to the power wires at the female spade connector where the power cable connects to the switch.

I just pulled the clear insulators back and fed the LED wires through. I then pried back the tab that crimps to the power wire and crimped it back over the LED wire. Replace the insulators and reinstall on the switch.

Replace the cover and plug it back in. Some tools are aluminum or plastic and the magnet won’t work. In this case, the lights I ordered came with self-adhesive metal plates. If you need more they can be ordered from the Interwebs for cheap.

Just place them in convenient places on your tool.

-- - I learn more from my failures than my successes.



7 comments so far

View Davevand's profile

Davevand

110 posts in 1197 days


#1 posted 02-11-2019 07:58 PM

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

452 posts in 949 days


#2 posted 02-11-2019 08:17 PM

I use the gooseneck magnetic base with an LED flashlight on it. Works great and no cords.

M

View Matt Snyder's profile

Matt Snyder

16 posts in 115 days


#3 posted 02-11-2019 08:25 PM

My benefit is that the light is now part of the tool and rolls with the tool. It also needs no battery.

-- - I learn more from my failures than my successes.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

9240 posts in 1500 days


#4 posted 02-11-2019 08:29 PM

Good post Matt. I have 3 of those lights but I believe mine are the larger version. One is on my drill press, one on my bandsaw and the 3rd one “floats” between various sanders as needed. They are excellent work lights for machines lacking one at a great price!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Matt Snyder's profile

Matt Snyder

16 posts in 115 days


#5 posted 02-11-2019 08:29 PM



I use the gooseneck magnetic base with an LED flashlight it. Works great and no cords.

M

- Madmark2


This isn’t a bad option. A little more expensive but still a good option.

-- - I learn more from my failures than my successes.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

452 posts in 949 days


#6 posted 02-11-2019 08:48 PM

The magnetic base more-or-less attaches to the tool and rolls with it without that warrenty voiding mod. Also you really shouldn’t run 110v wire thru a rough edge metal hole. You need a grommet to prevent fraying and electric shock hazard.

Batteries on the flashlight last forever with infrequent use. Use the one on the drill press all the time – haven’t changed batteries in over a year.

Besides what shop doesn’t stock, AAA’s, AA’s, 2032’s etc.?

Also I can grab the mag base and move it to another tool in seconds.

M

View rpete's profile

rpete

54 posts in 3376 days


#7 posted 02-14-2019 07:04 AM

Thanks for posting this! Trying to find more ways to add light in my shop. This is a great idea!

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