The BicLite

     You just took some absolutely brilliant pictures of a sunset at the beach, and now you go to crop and edit the photos on your book.  You power up your trusty PB 3400 and open the files up, edit, cut, paste, give the pics a minor neon glow effect, and go to "save as..." to put the documents away.  Until now, everything has gone smooth as silk; the trackpad is a wonderful device.  But now you are asked to type in a new name for the file, and you hunt and peck away, using the delete key for every other letter.  Grab your mag light, quick, before you get too frustrated.  Oh, no!  The batteries are dead!  What are you going to do?  You gotta save the files, and your battery time is getting shorter and shorter...

     Pull out your BicLite.  Plug it in to your ADB connection.  Now we're in business...  Your keyboard lights up like Vegas at midnight.

(Note:  the BicLite is plug and play, able to be plugged in with your book on or off.)

This is the prototype of the BicLite, an ADB powered light for seeing your book's keyboard in the dark.  It is a 125 mAmp incandescent bulb from Radio Shack ($1.50) connected to an old ADB cable and encased in a bic pen.  I got my cable at the local thrift shop for 99 cents, and the pen was out of ink, just taking up space on my desk.  Total cost: $2.49.  To build yours, just follow the directions below...




     1.  Remove the ink refill and end cap from your bic pen.  Examine them closely for alternate uses, then throw them away after not thinking of any.
     2.  Using your wire cutting tool, cut the ADB cable to the desired length; I recommend at least 12 inches or so.
     3.  Strip the outer casing of the cable back about 1 inch, exposing the woven wire "shield" and 4 colored wires.
     4.  Using the continuity checker, find the two wires that connect to the top two pins on your ADB connector (see pictures).  In mine they were brown and black.
     5.  Cut off the other 2 wires; they are not used for the BicLite.  All we want is raw electrical power; if the other wires are used your ADB devices will act funny and piss you off.
     6.  Test the bulb to make sure it works by twisting the 2 power wires to the 2 bulb wires and plugging in the cable to your book.  The bulb should light up.  Unplug the cable.
     7.  If you opt to solder, solder the bulb's wires to the 2 ADB cable power wires.
     8.  With the bulb wires and power wires tightly twisted together (or soldered), wrap the exposed wire with the electrical tape.  Make sure that the tape is used in such a way that the 2 exposed portions will not make contact, which would short them.
     9.  Insert the bulb and a 2 inch portion of the cable (and the tin foil, if used) into the pen casing.  Oh, did I mention above that the bic pen HAS TO BE ONE OF THE ONES WITH THE SEE-THROUGH CASINGS?  Oh.  Sorry.  Now I have.  The tin foil, if used, can diffuse and direct the light, keeping your BicLite from shining in your eyes and directing the light across the entire keyboard.  If you decide to include it, go to the trash can and get the ink refill back out; it can be used to prod the tin foil into the pen casing.  OK, now throw it away again.
     10.  If you are happy with your light at this point, then you are done.  Plug it in to test it, and enjoy.  If you opt for a more solid device, break out the superglue.  Glue the end of the pen where the cable goes in, so the cable won't go in or out of the pen.
     11. Superglue the paper clips to the pen casing; this gives your BicLite an adjustable stand or a clipping device to keep it put above your book's keyboard.

     That's all there is to it!  Now you can save those files under a name like "sunsetpicsatbeachmodified.jpg" in the dark and still type it in under 10 minutes.

Submit pic's of your BicLite to me at; I will post them here with your name and Powerbook model...

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