Hacking the IKEA Luriga night light (no soldering!)

It has been a while since I wrote my last post. Unfortunately I have been much too busy with life and work to write things on this blog, especially since my little girl was born. But that very fact led me to do some modification to standard IKEA stuff. Now, IKEA is awesome, and I really appreciate their simplicity and quality of goods, as well as the little things that just show how well thought out their products actually are. From simple stools to LED night lights for children and from dinner table lamps to multi-functional bedding, they are absolutely awesome and their service is excellent too! Two thumbs up for IKEA.

However, sometimes they also just simply get it wrong. Usually in the first versions of electronics they bring out they missed something that sometimes is quite obvious. Such as the Luriga series night lights for children. It’s a wonderful product! It’s sturdy, portable, rechargeable and very cute. But it has just one flaw: It’s way too bright, and way too white. From the picture you have no idea how bright it really is, until it’s completely dark in the middle of the night and you turn it on. It will wake you up for sure, and the baby alike. In my opinion it could be half as bright, and preferably not white but red, as white light contains the blue spectrum as well, unnecessarily messing with your melatonin production. And that is exactly what I achieved, making the baby, but especially mommy, really happy.

So, as the title suggests, I managed to do this without even touching a soldering iron and it is actually quite easy to do. All you need is a little Philips screwdriver, a spudge like a guitar pick or something similar, and some el-cheapo nail polish in the color you want your night light to be. Just simple plain nail polish, no metalic stuff in there, the kind that you would smear on a connection to isolate it on a PCB.

The first thing you need to do, is get rid of the batteries by opening the lid and removing the batteries. And then if you look closely, you will be able to see the rim between the battery compartment and the soft rubber that is around it. This is not glued, providing good opportunity to get it out of it’s skin. This can be a tough job though and might require some patience. However the inner part is sturdily build and there is little change of breaking it unless you exert unnecessary force on it.

It is easiest if you first get the lip out of it’s form as is shown here on the right. Once you manage this you are already halfway there. The next step is to stretch the rubber a bit so that the rear part of the hedgehog goes out of it’s skin first. Don’t try to get the nose out first, this will not work and you might break the shell if you do.

This is the situation you are looking for. The rear part out first. Once you have it like this, you can keep going until you get the complete inside out.

At this point there is still no special tools needed, just a little strength and patience so that you won’t break anything. I am quite sure you voided the warranty at this point though, so if you still want your warranty valid, well, too bad.

So when you managed to get the rubber skin off, it will look like this. It basically consists of a foot where the batteries go in, and two half shells that clip together. The two half shells are glued to the foot unfortunately, so there is no easy way to pick this apart clean. If you want to however, you can run a hobby knife along the base and force it through the glue, but it is not really necessary to do this step. What needs to be done now is unclip the two clips that are on top and make sure you have your spudge in between so that the clips don’t shut again while you are fighting it. You only need an opening of like a centimeter wide.

With that opening, it looks like this. Please click on the image for a larger view. What you will notice is that everything pretty much stays in place. The green led that basically hangs there on it’s wires, you might have to cram back into it’s holder when putting things back together. But the main part you are looking for is already red: the main led.

In your version, this led is still yellow and is the one responsible for giving off that harsh white light. desoldering this one and replacing it is simply a pain in the behind, and since I wanted the light to be a bit less bright as well, I decided to take some nail polish and paint the led red like you can see in the picture. Just a little will do: the thicker the nail polish, the less light can get through, so you do not want to put too much on it. “The bigger the gob, the better the job”, definitely does NOT apply here.

Once you have that little dab of nail polish on it, you can put it back together and test it out. It should look something like this on the right. Now, that might look a bit iffy, but here is the thing: the rubber skin around this, also works as a diffuser of the light and gives it it’s nice and equal spread of light. At this stage you can simply cram the innards back into the skin (nose first!) and you will end up with a nice custom cool night light in the color that YOU like. And because it’s dimmer it will also not wake you up at night!

Happy hacking!

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