I recently found and purchased an antique Ray-O-Vac lantern. For a fun and useful project, I'd like to convert it to a rechargable lantern that doubles as a phone charger. There are a zillion DIY boards available for my type of project. But since it has been more than 45 years since I have read more than a basic ciruit diagram or done much of anything with electronics, I need some help determining what to get. I hope I can find some help here. So, thank you in advance.
Here are some details about the project and the questions I have.
- The lantern case will easily hold 22 of the 18650 batteries, but I anticipate using less than half that number.
- I would like to be able to recharge the batteries from different sources (solar, generator, USB charger).
- So, obviously I will need a charge circuit that is flexible and have over-charge protection.
- I would like the light to be as bright as reasonbly achievable and be either stepped or dimmable.
- I do not have any depth of knowledge regarding the modern LED (Cree?) bulbs, so I will certainly need some help with this matter.
- Are they dimmable? If not, for stepped illumination, can it be achieved with one bulb or does one use add additional bulbs for additional brightness?
- In short, I'll need help determinging how best to get optimal brightness that can be varied from low intensity to high.
- In addition to powering the light(s), I would like to be able to use the battery pack as a USB (phone) charger.
- Since I have a Samsung Galaxy, a 'smart' charger would be great.
- Obviously, for the light and charger functions, I'll need circuit(s) that have over-discharge protection (or a separate discharge protection circuit).
- I would like to have pass-through (?) charging.
- For example, have a solar panel sending current to the unit while it is simultaneously charging my phone.
- How do I best accomplish balanced charging?
- Is it best to have batteries with charge/discharge protection built-in or is it fine just to have it in the boards?
So, that is the project. I will appreciate all the direction you can provide. I do not mind doing my own homework, but with all the different options avaiable I really do not know where to start.