Instructables

Convert a Halogen Worklamp into Flourescent for $5 and 20 minutes

Picture of Convert a Halogen Worklamp into Flourescent for $5 and 20 minutes
Bob Loblaw has had about ten of these cheap halogen work lamps over the years. They look like a steal in your local hardware store, only to find out later that the bulbs they require cost almost as much as the unit itself. Not only that, but the lamps get hot as hell, use a lot of electricity (Bob guesses), and the bulbs are fragile and cannot be touched without gloves or some other barrier lest ye oil up and damage said expensive bulb. Aside from that, they are handy to have. So here's an instructable to convert one of these units into a CFL lamp that puts out almost as much light, with far less heat, longer lifespan, and less energy consumption.
 
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Step 1: What you'll need

Picture of What you'll need
For this project, Bob assumes that you have one of these types of lamps gathering dust in your garage or closet because you were fed up with paying $15 for a little bulb. To get started, you will need:

Parts:
A standard light bulb receptacle, Bob found a rubberized one at the store for $4.95 that already had the wires attached.

An "L" bracket, about 1" on each side, a pack of four runs about $3.00

A hose clamp, about 1.5" diameter (big enough to fit around your light bulb socket)

Tools:
A metal hole cutter, sized to match the diameter of your light bulb socket
Screwdrivers
Drill & bits
Wire stripper
Electrical Tape
Nut drivers (if you have them)
sawatzky4 years ago
 While I agree that it can get expensive for Bob Loblaw to replace halogens every time they burn out... and they do burn out often... There is no way that a compact flourescent can approach a 300 to 500 watt halogen bulb. No way. If I could use that as a worklight, I would be just as well off  using my garage door opener light. What would really be useful is a way to safely modify a halogen case to vent the heat better, prolonging bulb life, but still provide protection from flying glass or ceramic when the bulbs do blow...
shooby sawatzky4 years ago
It's true that the amount of light is far less. CFL's and halogen lamps have a similar range of Lumens/Watt, approx. 70-90. But, depending on the use, even a smaller (<50W) CFL can make a suitable work light. If it works, it works, and you'll use a lot less electricity this way.
VadimS shooby1 year ago
About 1,600 vs. 12,500lm.
I don't really consider this worthwhile, it would be cheaper and easier to get a work lite that takes Edison based bulbs.
though it escapes me as to where I have seen them, I have seen small round screens that can be retrofitted to this kind of Ible.

The ones that I have seen, range in size from 1 inch to as big as 6 inches...and if my memory serves me correctly, they even have the screw holes in them to fasten them down(just make sure & put a gasket between the screen & the light - helps to further block flying particles when the bulb bursts).

as to what the cost is for these screens, I have no idea, but I wouldn't think it would cost too much...
SIRJAMES092 years ago
Q.instead of that silver colored liner to reflect the light, what about cutting mirrored tiles to fit inside there? Because they are shinier, would they not reflect more light(or make it brighter than it actually is)?

And what about LED lights? that would reduce electric consumption even more yet still have a bright light....
itobor25253 years ago
Is it just me or do others experience a short life w/CFLs. I have several in my home - lamps (including 3 ways) and ceiling fans - and they all seem to burn out or stop functioning sooner than the incandescant bulbs that they replaced? I seem to toss them out more than the 'wasteful' old bulbs.
Good project but I am reticent to find another use for CFL bulbs.
There are several things that make CFL's die prematurely: Enclosed fixtures, installing the lamp upside down, vibration/jarring, and poor power from loose wire connections. Looks like this 'structable has them all. How much were we paying for these "better" bulbs again?
ROFLMAO

GOOD ONE!!
mr_cool2 years ago
This is a great little project! I'm considering a 2-CFL option. Even with 2, it may not be as bright as halogen, but still useable.
One proviso though,, the two wires that lead from the bulb to be attached to the main wiring, should use grommets to insulate them from the metal frame. If this thing catches fire due to a short, your insurance company may not pay for your burnt-down house! All your mods should at least consider and conform to local building and electrical code. :)

Cheers!
groovy3 years ago
bob loblaw loves to talk in the 3rd person ...makes it easy for groovy to understand bob...groovy says thanx for the ible...groovy likes it and he may use it someday
PS1186 years ago
Good idea.

While I question the cost savings (replacement bulbs for my worklights only run about $3 ) and any cost of operation difference is probably going to be negligible, I do see many advantages to your idea.

Mostly, those lights get really hot. Like "burn-yourself" hot. And using them in enclosed spaces? Forget it! But your idea is perfect for this.

My big interest is in photographic lighting, so I also see a big advantage to being able to use different color temperature bulbs.

But one final comment. To say whether its a good idea or not, the comment "almost as much light" REALLY needs to be quantified. I wish you or somebody else would use a light meter and post a real brightness comparison.

Thanks again!
dale3h PS1184 years ago
I recently measured the temp of my halogen work light and it clocked in at 453*F! That's hotter than the ember on the end of a cigarette!
seabee8904 years ago
how hard would it be to add a exhaust tube (maybe from a lawn mower header) and put a computer fan on the end of the tube, A comp fan would probably not hold the heat but maybe this will get the gears working for someone with a shop bench that they can see without looking at the picture from when they brought it home across the back of thier Mazda Miata(glad I put stuff on it, the wife almost made me sleep on it the first night). a comp fan runs on dc and I am not sure that exists on a work lamp, but maybe a hairdryer fan minus the heat coil would work, then you would have the tube also. Now I have thrown the coals and tinder down maybe someone has the wind to start the fire going.
DIY Dave4 years ago
DIY  Dave thinks Bob Loblaw should stop speaking in 3rd person.
LoL, that's what Ghostboy480 also thinks.
teknovice5 years ago
Love this project. I recently found a halogen worklight  that was thrown out. It has 2 worklights mounted on a stand. It had obviously overheated and one of the wires was fried. Was perfect for this project.  Also found a place that sold 23 watt CFL lights $.40 for a pack of 2. I might try a 42 watt cfl (200 watt incandescent equivalent), but they are $10 a peice. 
One thing though, I drilled the hole for the light socket on the side instead of the top to give the bulb more room, esp for a bigger brighter  high watt cfl.
Great instructable, Bob.
surfturf5 years ago
Philips has a LED-lamp for this same socket now !! I thought about doing something like this directly when I bought my first one recently. I think the biggest disadvantages with the original is the heat ! When I have been working in a exhibition hall it gets incredibly hot during a normal exhibition !!! I infact used mine as a quick heater efter I uset it for the work I had to do (on my Vespa). Its a perfect heater, but i´d rather have a cold one. I´ll do one with LED lamps !
slimguy3796 years ago
how bright is that COMPAIRED to the halogen?
I expect that depends on the bulb used.
lordjohnnym6 years ago
my dad might like this hes a pinter and decorator, and works very long hours, asally real early in the mourning
unspecified6 years ago
Great idea and nicely done!! - the way you do the 3rd person narrative makes me think you are perhaps related to bob dole??
or george and jimmy from seinfeld! "Gerge likes his chicken spicey!!" - George
a little brightness and visibility in general up grade is to use a 'daylight' bulb like CFL only way more powerful (for not much more energy draw) as higher wattage and also the light temperature is perfect for the eye and photography indoors. nice mod and instructable but I reckon 2 CFLs could be stuff in somehow to stop the brighness complainers in their tracks...
marc927 years ago
i found "metric assload" very funny and original
oddree7 years ago
I'm not so sure that this is ideal for a work lamp. Don't get me wrong, I love these bulbs. I have them everywhere but two places. The kitchen, and the garage. When I am laying under a car, or trying to prepare a meal - there is no substitute for a high wattage halogen bulb. And I have found that even Wal-Mart sells these. Two for seven bucks in my home town.
HVACR oddree7 years ago
I agree with oddree .I do HVAC in phoenix. lots of night work and nothing beats halogen.
What's up with the "third person"?
Yea, I don't like it. It makes the instructable harder to read.
Bob Loblaw always instructs in the third person. Myself thinks it's amusing, and adds a distinctive character to his writing.
If there's one thing I learned from George Carlin... Fear those who speak in third person :p
Either he's crazy or the actually instructions were written by someone else.
wperry17 years ago
Great work! If you like the idea of replacing halogens with fluorescents check out my project here http://www.instructables.com/id/EFNQ76HA1GEP286Y82/
sumguysr7 years ago
actually halogen lights were invented for their energy efficiency.
PKM7 years ago
PKM agrees with Myself that the third person adds a distinctive tone to writing, especially with the more down-to-earth statements such as "Bob has bought a metric assload of these bulbs. Bob also thinks you should look on ebay for these bulbs"

The use of the passive voice "Two holes were drilled" rather than "I drilled two holes" lends a scientific-paper-esque feel.

Perhaps the connection of the rubberised bulb holder to the casing could be waterproofed? Hot glue, epoxy, maybe even duct tape if you're not even up to half-assed (more of a quarter-assed). Still, CFL = High voltage and high voltage + water = badness.
Theodor7 years ago
Not to be the one who bursts your bubble, but one of the positive things about these lamps, is the fact that they can be used outside in the rain. I personally wouldn't take your "design" utside with me. And, worth mentioning, a bulb for these laps, back here i crazy expensive Scandinavia costs like 2-3 $, so they are not that expensive.
With all that said, the idea is good, the execution is good, and the 3rd person writing = excellent...
lemonie7 years ago
Bob Loblaw would be advised to correct Flourescent to Fluorescent. L