by Craig Anderton
When I saw my first light powered by a USB-port, I was smitten. Whether trying to get work done on a plane without disturbing the grumpy person sitting next to me or running a live laptop set in a dark club, I had found the answer. Or more realistically, almost the answer...it used an incandescent bulb, drew much current, weighed a lot, and burned out at an early age. I guess it was sort of the Elvis Presley of laptop accessories.
Mighty Bright introduced a single-LED USB light a few years ago that fulfilled the same functions, but much more elegantly. And now, unlike Scotty in Star Trek they actually can give you more power—with their new 2-LED USB Light.
What You Need to Know
My only concern is the weight—not because it weights a lot, but because USB ports aren’t exactly industrial-strength. However if you plug into a laptop’s side USB port and bend the light in a U so the top is over where the USB connector plugs into the port (Fig. 1), then it becomes balanced and places little weight on the port itself.
Fig. 1: Optimum laptop positioning for the 2-LED USB Light.
Once you have one of these things sitting around, you’ll find other uses. Given how many computers have USB ports on the back, plug this in and you’ll be able to see where all your mystery wires are routed. I take the 2-LED USB Light when I’m on the road, and combined with a general-purpose charger for USB devices, the combo makes a dandy night light—helpful in strange hotel rooms when the fire alarm goes off in the middle of the night, and you don’t want to trip on your way out the door. Also, lots of keyboards have USB ports and assuming it’s not occupied with a thumb drive or similar, the 2-LED USB Light can help illuminate the keyboard’s top panel.
Considering the low cost and long LED life (100,000 hours, which equals three hours a day for 90 years), I’d definitely recommend having one of these babies around. You never know when you’re going to need a quick light source, and these days, it’s not too hard to find a suitable USB connector to provide the power.
Musician’s Friend Mighty Bright 2-LED USB Light online catalog page ($14.00 MSRP, $11.99 “street”)
Mighty Bright’s 2-LED USB Light product web page
Craig Anderton is Editor Emeritus of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.