CFL + Bugzapper = Battery Operated Camping Light


Knowing different ways of generating light is a great skill to have, so go ahead and add this one to your arsenal by combining a Bugzapper with a CFL Light Bulb.

Sure a CFL(Compact Fluorescent Lamp) works just fine on its own if you have AC mains, but what we’re talking about here is getting the light bulb to work off of a single D battery. We featured a similar hack a few months back by using a Joule-Thief to get the high voltage for the fluorescent tube, but if you can’t get your hands on discrete components, [Jan] shows us another way by gutting a tennis racket bugzapper for its booster board. Knowing that the bugzapper steps up the 3V to about 2000V, he decided to see if that same circuit would run off a single 1.5V D battery and achieve the voltage required to drive a CFL tube. After carefully removing the electronics from the CFL housing, [Jan] was able to directly connect the booster board to the electrode wires of the fluorescent tube, and voila; he now has a D-Battery operated camp light that has a run time of over 200 hours.

It would be interesting to see how this hack compares to the Joule-Thief method in terms of brightness and run-time. Before you go and scrap the parts out of the CFL light bulb, make sure you check out this detailed breakdown of popular CFL light bulbs.

Compact fluorescent grow light


Spring is on the way for our friends down under. With that in mind [x2Jiggy] built this compact fluorescent grow lamp to help start the seeds for his garden. He used materials that are easy to find, and multiple bulbs means that you can mix and match their color warmth in order to get the wavelengths of light best for plant growth.

He started by building the box out of MDF. It is lined mostly with a reflector meant to go in your car’s windshield when you leave it in a hot parking lot. He sealed the seams of the reflector using what he calls flashing tape. This is the rubbery type of stuff used as soft flashing around windows.

The bulb sockets came from an old string of party lights. Wiring is run through plastic junction boxes which keeps the setup code-compliant. Each of the CFLs draw 20 Watts for a total consumption of 160 Watts. Combine this with a DIY hydroponic tent and you’ll be eating fresh greens year round.

Continue reading “Compact fluorescent grow light”

Using incandescent bulbs to compensate for a slow start cfl

[Dick], like most of us, likes some pretty strong light in his workshop. He’s using CFL flood lamps to save a little energy. Unfortunately, he found that they gradually become brighter instead of that instant light he was accustomed to with his previous incandescent bulbs.

Not wanting to wait around for the lights to reach full power, but still wanting to save electricity, he devised a plan . He would install an incandescent bulb along side the others and fade it out slowly as the others became brighter. He acknowledges that he could have just put a 5 minute timer on it, but the transition would be abrupt and unpleasant. Instead, he built a circuit to get the exact result he wanted.

Just so you don’t miss it, the actual build is available to download at a link toward the bottom of the page.

[via HackedGadgets]

CFL Breakdown

Reader [Jay] was inspired by one of our earlier articles and started digging around the web for some more information, and found a handy web page with tear downs and schematics of popular compact florescent lamps.

Schematics are provided to 15 fairly common models including bigluz, isotronic, luxtek, maway, maxilux, polaris, brownie, Phillips, Ikea, Osram, and eurolight. Also, just in case you were ever interested in these little packages but did not want to open them due to sharp glass, mercury vapor, or phosphorus powders, photos are provided as well.

So if you need a few hundred extra volts to pack a little spark in your next project, need a 63rd way to cook your goose you should check this page out.

PCB light box in a scanner shell


[Kizo] repurposed a flatbed scanner to use as an exposure box for making printed circuit boards. Exposure time is controlled by an AVR ATtiny2313 microcontroller. The device is connected to a separate display board to control four 7-segment displays using one shift register for each. Time is set in ten second increments and once started, switches on the lights with a relay. Once the right exposure time has been reached, the lights are switched off and a piezo speaker is buzzed. There’s no mention of they type of bulbs he’s using but they look like compact fluorescent with tin foil beneath as a reflector.

If these are just CFL bulbs, how will the performance compare to a light box based around a UV light source?

[Thanks Jake]

Nixie Plasma ball


This one came out over a year ago and we missed it. [Daqq] has made a plasma ball out of a nixie tube.  All that was required was the transformer from a cold cathode meant for computers and a nixie tube. He did have to do a tiny bit of modification to the power supply, which you can see on the project page. This isn’t the most useful project, since you can’t really see much of the plasma, but it is really cool nonetheless. We think this would make a really neat button. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

Continue reading “Nixie Plasma ball”