The finished torch, resplendent in its Ryobi anti-theft yellow.

The finished torch. Yes, it is a bit front-heavy. Two hands recommended.

The low current parking light mode.

High-beam mode with all lights illuminated. This includes a spot-focused beam that is particularly good for spotting wildlife.

The inner workings prior to installing the cooling fan.

The custom made steel bracket constructed to mount the sealed-beam LED car headlight to the torch body using existing mounting points.

The dust chamber of the vacuum chamber being cut down to serve as a forward shroud.

Years ago I made the mistake of buying a rubbishy dustbuster thing to go with the rest of my Ryobi ONE+ 18V tools. It only took a handful of uses to decide that it was utter crap, yet I never got around to returning it.

That being the case, the next most logical course of action was to use it as the basis for a mad, unnecessary project. The final result is an obnoxiously heavy torch that uses a drill battery to power a 7″ LED car headlight. It is complete with high beam, low beam, park and an “orange” mode which is simply the indicator function run without a flasher module.

Plan A had been to mount two large eBay LED chips on a CPU heatsink and run them via a DC buck/boost regulator. Having bought all of the parts and start assembly, the LEDs proved sub-standard and I just lost interest for a few months.

After one of the LED headlights I installed in the Landy had a single diode failure, it was replaced under warranty and I got to keep the dud. Having a more robust light to work with naturally reignited the project.

The process:

  1. Test assembly of electronics on the bench to ascertain if it was even going to work.
  2. Remove motor and filter assembly.
  3. Trim plastic body of the vacuum cleaner to suit its new role.
  4. Fashion a steel mounting bracket that would fit to existing plastic supports within the torch body. A little welding and a lot of grinding produced a satisfactory part.
  5. Paint bracket.
  6. Buy and trim down M8 socket-head bolts to suit the mounting holes included on the heatsink of the 7″ LED headlight.
  7. Prune down the former dust chamber of the vacuum cleaner to become the forward shroud of the light. An 18V jigsaw and some fine sandpaper produced a nice edge.
  8. Install the buck/boost regulator and wire in two DPDT toggle switches to allow for control of the headlight’s four functions.
  9. Install a small cooling fan over the voltage regulator, wired to come on with the two high-current modes.
  10. Final assembly and possum-dazzeling tests.