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Keychain Light

A keychain light with white LED comes in handy to help you at your front door or search your valuables in the dark. The intensity of white LED is 4000 to 5600 mcd (millicandela) at forward voltage of 3.6V and forward current of 20 mA.

Keychain light circuit

Fig. 1: Circuit for key chain light
Fig. 1: Circuit for key chain light

Here’s such an LED light circuit for key chains. It comprises a toroidal transformer and two complementary transistors, and is powered by a single AAA cell. Transistors T1 (BC547) and T2 (BC558) form a relaxation oscillator with capacitor C2 (0.01 µF) in the feedback loop. The feedback is controlled by the time constant of timing components R1 and C2, which controls the frequency of operation.

The toroidal transformer steps up the oscillator output to a sufficient value to flash the white LED. The values of R1 and C1 need not be precise. Use of surface mount devices will make the unit more compact.

 Fig. 2: Suggested enclosure for key chain light

Fig. 2: Suggested enclosure for key chain light

A single 1.5V AAA cell gives enough brightness. For more brightness, connect two such cells in series. A good-quality white LED from a reputed manufacturer is highly recommended.


The white LED beam, when viewed directly, can harm the eyes.

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The article was first published in November 2003 and has recently been updated.


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