Introduction: Dim Bulb for Alchemists
Here is an other instructable for alchemists - with my beloved neon glow bulbs (at least I've already learned its name, thanks to my commenteers). Well, I send some clear images of it to recognize this part, because it's very important to use the proper ones for this project. However, this is a very simple project, and you get a bulb with dim, orange light, and with very low consumption at the end. You can build if you have a soldering set, a small perfboard PCB or a thin plastic board, a died eco bulb, a transparent plastic xmas ornament ball, a cutting and a drilling tool, a hot glue gun, and a glove. And - of course - you have to get 8-9 neon glow bulbs, too.
The idea is the following: the neon glow bulbs are connected to each other in parallel way (see the schematic) on a perfboard or normal pcb (or a small plastic board), inside of a died bulb, and this system is connected to the bulb electrodes. The household voltage drives them to light, and that's the all magic - the light is dim and very warm, similar to the campfire. The system is covered by a christmas ornament ball, to close the parts, and reflect the light, if it has some pattern on the surface. This bulb can be used as a dim, misty light source at a corner of the alchemist's lab, in an old, rusty lamp.
Step 1: WARNING!
WARNING! THE WALL SOCKET VOLTAGE IS HIGH (110 OR 230 V), WHICH MAY CAUSE DEADLY ELECTRIC SHOCK! DO NOT START TO BUILD THIS BULB, IF YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE BASICS OF THE PROTECTION OF ELECTRIC SHOCK AND THE ELECTRIC INSULATION, OR HOW TO AVOID ACCIDENTS THE HIGH VOLTAGE MAY CAUSE!
IF YOU THINK YOU AREN'T SKILLED ENOUGH IN ELECTRICITY DON'T TRY TO BUILD THIS BULB, OR ASK AN EXPERT TO HELP YOU!
WE REJECT ANY RESPONSIBILITY OF ANY ACCIDENT DURING THE BUILDING OF THIS BULB!
Step 2: Neon Glow Bulbs
The project is easy. But, I'm sorry, I made this bulb years ago, and unfortunately I didn't document it, thus now I will try make some reconstruction; I have some spare parts to show them to you, but these are not always the same as the original; never mind, you will understand the project, unless my "hunglish" will cause some hard moments to you (sorry for it, I'm trying to be at my best...:-) ). But at least you can sure of that my small bulb is a long life one, because it has been working for years...
These small glass tubes with that two electrodes are the neon glow bulbs. Perhaps you can buy them at the local shop, but probably the internet ordering is a more efficient way to get them - I ordered them at the Conrad Electronics. Not a horrible price it has - 10 pcs. are about 4-5 euros. Important: buy the ones with builded resistor (pre-resistance), otherwise you must solder a serial resistor to it, and this is not a good idea at a bulb because of the limited room inside. Here is the shop: [ http://www.conrad.com/ce/en/product/724980/Coloured-neon-lamps-230-V-025-W-14-mA-Red/?ref=detview1&rt=&rb=1 ]
Step 3: The Lamps and Wires
First decapitate the died bulb - the eco bulb is a good choice because of the plastic shell after the screw-electrode. To the task you need a glove and a screwdriver, remove carefully the glass tube from the plastic shell, and take your soldering tool, and remove the pcb with the electronics. All you need from the bulb are the electrodes and the plastic shell, and the two wires inside - a red and a white. Don't cut from them any, the lenght is important!
Now take the perfboard panel. Limit your neon bulbs (7-9 pcs. are the ideal), and try to locate them on a piece of panel to satisfy the next criterias:
1. Let it fit into the plastic shell, with a small rim to let place and glue the xmas ball. A circle shape is the ideal, but you may form it a hex or square too, but the usable surface must be large enough to locate the neon bulbs on it.
2. At the coppered side of the perforated board you must all the neon glow bulbs wire paralelly - so you perhaps should make a plan to avoid any undesirable short circuit.
3. The neon bulbs must stand symmetrically for the optimal scenery and light emission. The circle shape is the ideal, as usually. The pre-planning is recommended, but it is just a small extra task, it takes some minutes.
If you haven't perfboard panel, take a plastic or thin wooden board, cut a fitting circle, and drill the places of the electrodes, and wire them at the other (coppered) side. But after the soldering don't forget to insulate the wiring on the backside - use hot glue to fix the wires and nodes, to avoid the random movements of the metal parts.
I repeat: ONLY the pre-resistance eqipped glow bulbs are usable for this project - probably there is not enough place inside an eco bulb to solder extra resistors without the risk of some random short circuit, because the normal resistors are bigger than the pre-resistances on the combined ones. If you connect a neon bulb to the mains without serial resistor, the bulb immediately die.
After it you have to solder the panel to the red and white wires - and insulate after it carefully.
Step 4: The Decoration and Covering
Now the hardest part is o.k., but we should make a cover for it, to look like a nice bulb. Take the xmas orb, (plastic, not a glass one, don't worry, the heat emission is so small you cal touch the working bulbs after even hours), and cut the small stem, (if it has) vith a diameter that you can fit it onto the shell and the small rim. Take the hot glue gun, and glue it firmly - don't forget that you will screw this bulb via this mechanical contact.
And this is the end. The power consumption is very low (less than 10mAmp) - but the light is enough to read under it. And - very enjoyable and nice.