Picture of A simple, low voltage inverter for fluorescent lamps up to 15 watt
Thankyou to Burak Incepinar for letting me document his design. This is his website if you want to check out more awesome designs.

This Instructable will help you run any fluorescent light off low voltages, It has been tested to run Compact Fluorescent Lights and Fluorescent tubes up to 15 watt.

Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts
Things you will need:
  • 25mm x 20mm x 5mm ferrite core.
  • AWG28 (~0.3mm) Magnet wire.
  • AWG32 (0.2mm) Magnet wire.
  • 2x 22nF unpolarised capacitor, I used ones out of a camera flash.
  • 22 ohm resistor (red red black gold) OR a variable resistor.
  • 470 ohm resistor (yellow violet brown gold) OR a variable resistor.
  • A BD243C or similar NPN transistor.
  • A fluorescent light to drive.
  • A battery or power supply of your choice.
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Malish135 months ago

would this work for EL wire? (have been looking every ware for a DIY inverter cant seem to fined one at all.)

Electrospark11 months ago

this is great! but, is the secondary windings clockwise too?

raftech11 months ago

nice one .but i want ask dose the transistor need heat sink?

Wow, what a great circuit. It was my first time winding a transformer and it worked on my first attempt. I first used 2SD882, cfl blinked for a bit but didn't ignited. Then i used D313 and it worked, the brightness is low compared to the pictures you have here but i believe its 70% bright. I tried adjusting the ferrite core but it is already on its peak, any more further adjustments to it will only decreasing the brightness. I made the exact number of turns as exactly you described. I think the only thing i missed is wire gauge. I got the secondary winding wire by dismantling the transformer itself. I believe it is awg32, but the problem was awg28, i didn't had that, tried asking it on the market and they refused to give it to me. Then i desmented another transformer from a dead cfl. It could be either awg31 or 30 or 29 but its not 28 that's for sure. Can you also tell me what should be the margin of awg in primary and secondary windings. I mean if i use awg36 for the secondary, then what should be the awg of primary and feedback?

Also do u think the low brightness is due to the lack of cycles? i made exact 250 turns using awg32 wire.

twyeth1 year ago

this is the first circuit that has had me stumped, tesla coils no worries but a simple inverter for the light i use to make it, :( , anyway, wont work for me, tried swapping feed back line primary lines, different transistors, resistors, caps, batteries and power box, ive even rewound the transformer 3 times, still wont go

2014-06-05 12.09.50.jpg
what is the value of the transformer??
What is the value of the transformer ? reply fast please
baven3 years ago
Great circuit small, compact and easy to build. Thanks for this instructable.
joinaqd6 years ago
i dont get it why use ferrite?transformers can also use iron right?my transformers are all iron frame...is ferrite better than iron?
  • Iron core transformers are design to operate efficiently on low frequencies, (20Hz to 1000Hz).
  • Ferrite transformers are design to operate efficiently on high frequencies, (1KHz to 100KHz)
You can get ferrite transformers from newer electronic devices or switch mode power supplies.
DARN MAN!! YOU ARE SMART FOR A 15 YEAR OLD !!! Are you related to Albert Einstein?or Thomas Edison or are you an Alien from a planet millions of light years away? Your instructables are my favourite though (whoever you are)...My favourite is the Smallest Electronic Shocker,i did it and it works (i connected 2 thin wires and put em behind my door-knob and my sister got shocked!LOL!)...I want to take out flyback transformers and microwave guts but my parents say that its too dangerous.I cant wait to be 18 and get out man...
No, I am just a normal kid who has Asperger syndrome.

LOL, shocking other people can be fun... And my parents were like yours when I first got into high voltage, they got freaked out when I built a 330v power supply and they told me I am not to experiment stuff with voltage over 9v. But I disobeyed them and continued messing with high voltage. After many months, they now feel safe me dealing with high voltage, but still, I am not allowed to exceed 100Kv... Right now, the highest voltages I can go up to is 60Kv from my marx generator.
ARJOON Plasmana3 years ago
i'm just like you.
Ya know. I think I have have asperger syndrome to but for all I know, I just have ADD.
Hey =)

I thought I was the only 15 year old on here with Aspergers. Just built a variable DC power supply and am now looking for a basic inverter schematic to modify to hopefully power a CFL which in turn will drive a fly back. I did have my suspicions of other 15 year olds who actually knew what they were talking about with electronics but I thought it rude to ask if they also had AS. Thank you, for making me feel less alone =)
actualy, i thought i was the only one on here with aspergers lol. although im not a kid (im 23) its realy cool to find 2 other people with the same battle and with the rarety of aspergers it realy dose make you feel less alone.
There are more of us than you think. Why not check out the ASD forums? http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/
Welcome to the team xD
awesome.....wish i had your parents instead of mines,they are always telling me "dont blow up the house" or "dont burn the house down" and other parenty stuff...☺
Don't get all jealous and that, my parents are like yours too... :-(

They have so many harsh rules on me, I will tell you some...
  • I am NOT allowed do do electronic experiments in my house.
  • I am threatened to be banned from my workshop if I have a source of flame or hazardous chemical or experimenting with dangerously high voltage (100Kv+) in my workshop.
I am also limited how much power I can have going to my workshop (240v at 5A) which prevents me doing high power projects... :-(
why.  my dad let me work  with electronic experiments
thermoelectric (author)  Plasmana6 years ago
Same here, I'm not allowed to play with mains electricity, No fire in the house, No soldering on the floor..... But 240v at 5A is a LOT of power, A normal 60 watt incandescent only uses about .1A on 240v I think.....
Oh yes, I am not allowed to experiment with mains power too... :-( 240v at 5A may seem like a lot of power, but when you get to the big stuff, 5A is puny...
thermoelectric (author)  Plasmana6 years ago
Big stuff? What do you mean The power points over here can only supply 10A max...
Microwave transformers, tesla coils (coming soon hopefully), power tools, lighting and some other experiments that requires over 5 amps of power.
thermoelectric (author)  Plasmana6 years ago
Hehehe, I just got a MOT, It works, I'm just modifying the resistive current limiter... Because i'm using a heater as a current limiter, The fan doesn't get the full mains voltage to run it, so I keep blowing the resettable temp switch... I will just put another power lead for the fan of the heater......
thermoelectric (author)  Plasmana6 years ago
Oh, Now I understand, Just don't touch the output of your Tesla coil, MOT and don't use a drill/power tools to scratch your nose.........
oh!thanks for the flyback driver!i also didnt know that it cant run on AC mains directly...I guess you learn something new everyday eh? :-) ☺
Haha! Yeah, we all learn something new everyday...
thermoelectric (author)  Plasmana6 years ago
lol wow,i never knew that.i guess your parents and mine are normal then, eh?
thermoelectric (author)  Plasmana6 years ago
funny u said that because my dad said the same thing
thermoelectric (author)  joinaqd6 years ago
Yeah, My parents only tell me not to burn down the house because I nearly have in previous experiments.
lol i just turned 15 this month on January 20...(we dont own our house because we pay rent thats y my parents worried we have to pay the landlord if anything happens to house)
thermoelectric (author)  joinaqd6 years ago
Oh, we own our house..............
lol do you really have asperger syndrome, or are u just kidding?(i looked up asperger syndrome on wikipedia)
I really do. If I don't have asperger syndrome, I would be a noob on electronics now...
thermoelectric (author)  joinaqd6 years ago
He does, He is not the type that lies a lot I think.
thermoelectric (author)  Plasmana6 years ago
If you make a Tesla coil you could make over 100kv :-)
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