Introduction: Emergency Light With Steampunk Technology

Picture of Emergency Light With Steampunk Technology

Hello everybody
In one of my former instructables I explained the way to work with High Voltage by using a flash module of an disposal camera.
Now I want to present you an project which followed this. All the photos had been taken and the different components had been put togtether. Then a new idea came in my mind. I tried to put the three components: an CFL-Tube, an modified electronic from an disposal camera, and the two AA batteries for using 3,0 Volts toghter in one big PET -Preform Tube to create an Emergency Light.
So Look at my "Emergency Light Torch":

It creates enaugh light to find your way out if it is dark inside a house or if your car is broken down on outside a city or village or so. Even when you sleep in a tent while your are doing camping you can use it very well.  I only changed the switch and all other parts fit closed together.
To show the way how it works I decided to give you a glance without the steampunk wrapping with a copper tube and some brass elements. This outfit will follow later;-)))

Step 1: The Circuit

Picture of The Circuit

You probably remember this picture fom my other instructable:
High-voltage-power-supply-for-Nixies-CFL-Neon-Glow lamps....

In this emergency torch I used all of these parts you see on the picture except the switch.

Step 2: Some Details of the Construction

Picture of Some Details of the Construction

Now you can see the details inside the tube.

Step 3:

Picture of

Thanks for following and I hope such a light will once help you to enlight your way in a dark situation

Yours Aeon Junophor


astral_mage (author)2013-10-17

if u use a longer tube. then use flexible solar panels. and rechargeable batterys. if done right uill have foreveer light.

pro5200 (author)2012-03-06

can i use 3 volts, with button cell CR2032 ?
and how long durability?
I want to form a smaller lights & cute

carpespasm (author)pro52002013-10-16

very likely not. CR Lithium cells are only able to run so much amperage, and the voltage will sag when you try to pull enough power to run a CFL.

Junophor (author)pro52002012-03-07

This lamp will probably run with this button cell. I´m sorry but I do not know how long it will last. Try it and tell us your experience. I suppose it will shine for only some hours because there are not so many Ampere-hours in.....

Cheers Aeon Junophor

ABHIJAY (author)2013-06-04


Junophor (author)ABHIJAY2013-06-04


All information about the electronic parts you can find in this instructable of mine
The construction of the lamp itself can bee seen above. The inner parts to hold the electronic parts and the cfl are made of vulcanized fiber but you also can use PVC pieces or small pieces of plywood

zorba02008 (author)2013-03-03

can we use lithium 3.7 volt mobile battery instead of this aa battery ?
and charge it
thank you in advance

Junophor (author)zorba020082013-03-03

I am sorry to say so but this wouldn´t work, because the electronic was originally designed to run with only 1,5 volts. The "weak" element is the transistor. If you drive it with more than 3 Volts the transistor gets too hot and breaks down.

Cheers Aeon Junophor

Wascopirate (author)2012-04-25

it's good to see someone from my area on instructabes, i'm from wasco

pro5200 (author)2012-02-22

awesome, this is what I was looking for.
but I have 2 questions:
1. with 2 AA battery how long the lamp can be lit?
2. I think CFLs are that require ventilation for light, could later be fast off the lights? because the heat inside the tube

Junophor (author)pro52002012-02-22

Hi pro5200

Thanks for your interest.

To answer your questions:
1. It depends on the battery you use but I expereinced that the tube can be lit for about 16 to 20 hours.

2. No you do not need a special ventilation because the glass tube itself does not get hot. It is cold light. If you experienced that a normal cfl -bulb is getting hot by normal use you are right but the warmth is coming from the inbuilt electronic and not from the gasfilled light-tube;-)))))

Cheers Aeon Junophor

pro5200 (author)Junophor2012-02-24

oh so so,
I get, so hot from the circuit ...
if 16-20 hours, it is more than adequate for emergency needs, your work is great.
thanks for sharing :)

Tron1966 (author)2011-12-18

Excellent project!
- though suggest you keep it under lock & key if you have any lady folk staying over :-)

Junophor (author)Tron19662011-12-18


That´s why I miss it ;-)))))

I have´nt had any thoughts like this while doing the project until you told it to me .......

Winged Fist (author)2011-12-06

Junophor – Congratulations on your well deserved recognition in the "Pocket Sized Challenge"!

Junophor (author)Winged Fist2011-12-06

Good morning Winged Fist

Thank you so much for congratulating. I am really surprised that my little project convinced the jury
and believe me I am totally happy ;-)))))))))))))))

Three Cheers to all winners!!!!

Yours Aeon Junophor

Rehmatullah (author)2011-11-18

is it 220 volt saver ?
how u convert it dc ..

la lampara de gas de mercurio no es como la bombilla de luz, la de mercurio lleva un circuito electrico con un transformador que transforma de 220v a 3v!! eso!

Junophor (author)Rehmatullah2011-11-18

Hi Rematullah

The preform cylinder is about 2,5 mmm but I really won´t risk to use 220V because there much more amps in. This ist to me too dangerous.

I just work with the AA batteries that´s enaugh energy and I can charge them too with a small solar panel thast charming to me.

Rehmatullah (author)Junophor2011-11-20

i really didn't understand ???? :(

Junophor (author)Rehmatullah2011-11-21

I´m sorry that I probably missunderstood you, can you tell me your question again?;-)))

rhowind (author)2011-11-23

is there any pressure from the bulb heating the air? i would like to make one.

Junophor (author)rhowind2011-11-23

Hi rhowind

As far as I experienced no. My bulb was always glowing cold. -But I let it run only for some minutes to demonstrate how it works

Yours Aeon Junophor

eight (author)2011-11-21

Be proud of yor project.
You did really well sir !
- Dave
(Greetz from Western Australia !)

Good Job and the bulb is very save inside the tube!
I think it can be used in many cases...

ebayboy98 (author)2011-11-19

insted of the 2 aa could you use just a 9 v battery and by the way and awsome instructable

Junophor (author)ebayboy982011-11-20

Hi book man I´m sorry to say so but´no This electronic normally works with 1,5 Volts in the disposal camera If you take now 3,0 Volts its the upper limit. Otherwise you kill the transistor see here 
Butt you also can take two mono cell batteries. Then the light will shine longer than 20 hrs. Yours Aeon Junophor

Winged Fist (author)2011-11-14

Congratulations on another ingenious steampunk design! I wonder if with a shorter bulb and some minor modifications, this might fit in a mason jar, like my Steampunk Lamp Lanterna Antiga?

Junophor (author)Winged Fist2011-11-14

Hi Winged Fist
Thank you very much for your comment. I´m very pleased;-))

To answer your Question: I´m sure that the whole construction will fit in your lantern. I measured:
Length: exactly: 15.0 cm
Width at the bottom (cap): 5,0 cm
Width at the top: 4,5 cm
Heigth (only the CFL tube): 5,0 cm.
I used the Osram Type Duluxstar Mini Twist 8W/827 with an E14 socket from wher I took the cfl glass tube.
If you screw the socket holder out of your lantern there will be surely enaugh place for this tube...

By The way I´ve got another question to you: Can you show, or better write me how to put a link in your comment text as you did it? I really don´t know how to do this, sorry about that but this would help me much :-))))

Thanks an many greetings to you and your family
Yours Aeodn Junophor

Winged Fist (author)Junophor2011-11-15

My thought was not to build your light into my lamp (which already has electrical power from the plug) but rather to build your device as a mobile lantern inside of a mason jar. I guess one problem would be drilling a whole through a glass jar.... Maybe if a PVC or similar base was used, a switch could go in there, and a jar could be used to cover the bulb? Just a thought...

As far as adding a link in a comment, simply click the "Rich Editor" button above the comment box (after you've clicked "comment" or "reply"); highlight the section you want to link, and select the blue "link button" (second to last on the top row). Then paste the url address for the instructable (or website) you choose to link to. Viola!

(For further info, you can find a discussion of this process here).

Best to all the talented Steampunkers in Germany! Keep up the good work;-)

Slim49 (author)Winged Fist2011-11-18

drilling into glass.
an old trick is to get a copper or brass pipe , cut slots down into the active end with a hacksaw, a blade worth of depth.
fill it with tooth paste and sand & keep it moist while drilling. MUST keep heat down.
you now have a abrasive drill bit! go slow.
Mr. Steve

killbox (author)2011-11-15

Where did you get your large sized bottle blank (test tube?)

Junophor (author)killbox2011-11-15

Hi killbox

It is an Preform made of PET. It will be blown to a bottle with compressed air in a heated form ;-)))

killbox (author)Junophor2011-11-16

Yes i know its a preform bottle blank, I was wondering where you got one large enough to fit a florecent bulb in like that. all I can find are smaller standard coke bottle necked ones.

Madrigorne (author)killbox2011-11-18

Madrigorne (author)Madrigorne2011-11-18

looking at the measurements supplied by the author, and the measurements of the blank available at this site, they are pretty close.

chrwei (author)Junophor2011-11-17

a google search for "PET Preform Tube" is only yielding the china suppliers with large minimum orders required. Do you know of a place to get them in small quantities?

Junophor (author)chrwei2011-11-17

Hi chrwei

Try this as you can see on the fotos below and ask for some samples for a schools electronic study projekt or so. They will send ypu the samples quickly...:-)))
That´s what I did

Yours Aeon Junophor and good luck!!

Hebinho (author)2011-11-17

By the way you can also use one of the CFL tubes which is no longer working!
The CFL tubes normally are built into a circuit which uses all 4 wires of the tube (two for each end of the tube). If one of the heaters in the tube's end gets "blown", the CFL normally no longer will work with the circuit in its socket.
As with all fluoroscence tubes, you only will need ONE metallic contact within each tube end to be able to "start" the discharge and have it functioning.
With the DC/DC converter of the camera's flash the initial voltage is high enough to "ignite" the tube and after that the voltage "breaks down" to the operation voltage. S
o no need to buy a new CFL, take one of these, which no longer works and don't forget to drill the two wires on each end of the tube together in order to be sure to get the "right one"!

Greetz from Brazil

spark master (author)Hebinho2011-11-17

thank you Hebinho, I wondered about the 4 wires and why they used them!

Hebinho (author)spark master2011-11-18

They are using the "heaters" for easy starting the discharge especially at low temperatures and to reduce the voltage needed to start the discharge process. Due to the fact that the heaters are integrated into the electrical circuit of the lamp, this circuit is interrupted and the lamp won't start again within the "normal" circuitry.
But using a DC/AC converter (DC/DC can also be used, but DC/AC has some advantages as a lower "ignition" voltage,) you only need two electrodes - one at each end.
Unfortunately also modern electronic ballasts for CFLs are using the heaters, although it would be possible to construct "intelligent" electronic ballast which would perfectly work on two electrodes only.
But as you easily can imagine, this would be ruinous for the lamp industry as it would extend the lamps lifetime far beyond what they need to sell new lamps :-)
A good description is at under "Electrical aspects of operation".

Kind regards from Brazil
(I'm also German, but moved to Brazil 7 years ago, freelance translating and selling mini donuts)

Junophor (author)Hebinho2011-11-17

Hi Hebinho

Thank you for your detailöe comment

As you wrote I did it. I only use cfl tubes from broken down bulbs in my projects, sort of "recycling" ;-))

I Just noticed the rechnical data as an answer which type fits perfectly in the PET tube.

And you are also absoutlly right in your description to drill the two pairs of wires together to connect them later with the HV-converter...

Greetings from Germany

boston7513 (author)2011-11-17

This is a cool instructable!

I was just thinking that you could get one of those solar lights that you see at the dollar store and use the Photovoltaic parts to charge your lamp

Junophor (author)boston75132011-11-17

Hi boston7513

6 of these lights are still waiting for this step

also in combination with a joule Thief and another RLC-circuit but where is the time to create it??

Junophor (author)2011-11-17

Look at your personal comment;-)))))

Junophor (author)2011-11-17

Hi alindsey3

That´s what i also do, as my way of the recycling idea;-))))
Yours Aeon Junophor

A_Steingrube (author)2011-11-17

Neat circuit, and awesome gizmo, but this isn't steampunk. The basis of steampunk is to imagine how today's and the future's gadgets would work without electricity. If you are showing off batteries, wiring, and light bulbs, it completely defeats that idea.

Congratulations on the neat project though :)

Junophor (author)A_Steingrube2011-11-17

Hi A_Steingrube

Thank you for your statement :-)

I absolutely agree with you about the definition of steampunk and you might get a new impression of my interprteation by looking at the other projects
The steampunk designed cover will follow soon

Aeon Junophor

techno guy (author)A_Steingrube2011-11-17

Isn't steampunk like modern technology with a Victorian style?

scotth61 (author)A_Steingrube2011-11-17

Re-read his introductory material. He stated "To show the way how it works I decided to give you a glance without the steampunk wrapping with a copper tube and some brass elements. This outfit will follow later;-)))"

About This Instructable




Bio: I love to invent and create new things in a "steampunk styled way" working with brass, copper, vulcanized-fibre, brass gears and (ply)- wood. On one ... More »
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