Hacking A Cheap Disco Light For UV Effects

Back in the early days of disco, filament bulbs were all the rage. Whether tungsten, halogen, or other obscure types, party lighting involved lots of watts and lots of heat. These days, the efficiency of LEDs makes everything a lot cheaper, lighter, and lower power. [Big Clive] decided to dive into a cheap moonflower-type disco light from China, replacing the insides along the way.

The final effect particularly shines when used on fluorescent materials.

The light originally consisted of an 8×8 grid of LEDs, driven by shift registers for a simple chase effect. Surprisingly, the power supply and other hardware inside seemed to at least make an attempt to meet UK regulations. However, [Big Clive] had other plans, whipping up a replacement PCB packing 64 UV LEDs. The video is informative, showing how with a few simple passive components, it’s easy to drive these LEDs from mains without excessive circuitry required to step down to more usual DC voltages.

The final result is a neat UV grid light that would look excellent through some fog on the dance floor. We’ve seen [Big Clive]’s teardowns before, too – like this nefarious CAN bus interceptor found in a Mercedes. Video after the break.


21 thoughts on “Hacking A Cheap Disco Light For UV Effects

      1. I figured that “excessive circuitry” meant the proper AC/DC step down converter board that he removed from the case, rather than the capacitive dropper the BigClive used.

        Of course, the capacitive dropper circuit is much simpler, but only works for low currents and has poor regulation.

      1. Rossmann makes that joke almost every time he uses the UV laser to cure conformal coating: ‘everyone look away from your screen, this is bad’

        I wonder how “No UV at all” / “more of a LED black light” works.

    1. There are many different LEDs, including plenty in the violet-UVA range, that look just like that. Without actually measuring the spectrum of that exact type, you have no idea whether these are really UV or not.

    2. Whilst he has videos pointing out many fake “germicidal” devices that use LED’s are clearly not UVC, technically, the 395nm LEDs, “purple” are in the UV spectrum as it ends at 400nm. So, yes, UV(A). Not UVC. Also, how did you get hold of his LED’s to measure with your spectrometer?

  1. I love how Clive keeps alive the fun part of electronics. it reminds me the simple projects froms old magazines and such.
    Also, thanks to him i learn that you can use 10ohm resistors to start fires!

    1. Damn, which video is that…
      He’s an entertaining guy with a great fascination for mostly all things.
      I was pleasantly surprised to see the cheap (20$) chinese disinfectant usb salt thing working, same tech in hospitals used for surface cleaning.

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