Progress on the blue canary night light project

A little while ago I embarked on a search for a blue canary night light for my daughter. After not finding one, I decided to make one. Several prototypes later, I’m almost ready to sell them (at my site,

Today I got some new LED night light bases to try. They aren’t going to work for the final sale models, but I was finally (with the aid of a plug rotater) able to get a blue canary night light set up by the light switch in my daughter’s room:

The final model won’t have legs, and will be bigger (as is the current prototype), but I was glad to be able to make use of this older prototype. I think I’ll be able to get better light diffusion with the final models as well — they’ll be dyed instead of painted.

If you want to hear the story of how I moronically made sparks shoot out of my wall installing the combo switch/receptacle today, let me know in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Progress on the blue canary night light project

  1. Pottle

    Come on, Brock. You KNOW that if you post a teaser about a story, you really want to tell it. Spin the yarn; everyone will feel better.

    The nightlight looks great. I want one, just for atmosphere or something.

  2. Brock Tice Post author

    OK, so my house has metal junction boxes, and the old switch was the normal kind, pretty narrow. The new one is a bit wider, having the receptacle and all.

    When I put the new one in, I noticed that one of the hot screws was pretty close to the side of the junction box, but it looked like it had clearance, and I figured it was normal. After all, it’s a normal-sized box. So I closed everything up, turned on the breaker, and no problems.

    That is, until I started switching the light on and off to test something. I guess at some point my flipping the switch wiggled the assembly such that the screw touched the side, because it made a buzzing noise and sparks shot out from between the outlet and the faceplate. At this point I figured the breaker must have flipped, but the light was still on. So stupid as I am, I tried flipping the switch again with the same results. Finally I went downstairs (at the urging of my much smarter wife) and turned the breaker off.

    There’s now a nice layer of electrical tape between that screw and the junction box, and a scorch mark inside the box as a testament to my mistake. Now I see why they’ve started making junction boxes out of plastic.

  3. Maria

    Leaving the sparks part aside, is there anything you *don’t* do??? (Beautiful night light. Lucky daughter.)

  4. Brock Tice Post author

    Maria, sure lots of things, but I do frequently pick up little projects and whatnot.

    Kind of kills the electrophysiology focus of the blog, but so be it. Thanks for the compliment!

  5. David Bourn

    The night-light looks awesome! Are you making different colors? Your electrical experience sounds exciting although it was not virtually shocking… The wife is like mine and usually much smarter about things like that… similar to when I had sparks shooting out of a wall that I was cutting through with a saw-zall… Anyway good job!


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