Things you will need:
Breadbord that is big enough to fit a few capacitors.
Disposable camera circuit boards. (x5 recommended)
Needle nose pliers
Magnet wire, I used 30 gauge
Graphite pencil lead (The wooden pencil thickness, not the mechanical pencil type), for shorting the Capacitor leads, minimizing damage.
Hookup wire, I used 22 gauge.
I am assuming that you have a basic knowledge of electronics and soldering, so read up on these fields before attempting this instructable to prevent harm to yourself, and to make this a lot easier.
Also, ignore the capitalized improper nouns, I'm thinking German.
Step 1: Explanation of the Problem.
The Primary transformer on the circuit board converts the 1.5-volt source of the battery to the 300-volts that the board needs to charge the capacitor.
The secondary, on the other hand, performs a completely different operation. When the capacitor is fired, some of the electrical energy is passed through the secondary, where it is converted to over 1000-4000 volts. This energy passes through a small portion of wire, which is placed near the flash tube. When this happens, the neon gas in the tube is ionized, which allows the 300-volt payload of the capacitor to run through the flash tube, and emit light.
Most likely, when and if you mounted the flash tube externally, you forgot this important detail. This is why you likely had problems with it.
Step 2: Assemble Your Capacitor Bank.
1: Remove your capacitors from some of your other circuit boards. I suggest taking as many capacitors as flash tubes.
2: Solder your Capacitors to your breadboard in a parallel configuration.
3: Get two equal lengths of hookup wire, and solder each one to the ends of your capacitor string.
One to the positive side, and one to the negative.
4: Take one of the boards that you took the capacitors off of , and solder the hookup wires to the positive and negative leads on the board.
Tip: make sure you short the lead on the capacitors before you solder to make sure they are discharged completely and avoid flying beads of molten solder.
Step 3: Assemble the Flash Tubes Together.
1. Assemble the Flash tubes in a triangular, square, or circular configuration lengthwise and solder the ends together . ( the config. depends on the number of capacitors you are using.) Also, The fat ends on the flash tubes should be on the same end as each other.
2. Next, take a length of magnet wire and wrap it around the flash tubes.
3. Take some hookup wire, and cut it into lengths that will accommodate the length of the magnet wire, and solder each one to the masses of solder on the ends of the flash tubes.
4. Now, Take the ends of the hookup wire and solder them as specified in the photos.
5. Take the ends of the magnet wire and solder them as specified in the photos.
Tip: in the photos, there is a battery in the board. TAKE IT OUT, even though it should not even be in there if you followed the directions at the beginning of the instructable.
Step 4: Finished!
Congratulations on your new fancy device.
You can mount this to all sorts of stuff, even on your jacket ( I just added a video of this) so you can annoy people really bad, or scare the crap out of them.
I also suggest putting this into a project box to avoid shocking the living crap out of yourself.
One more thing, the longer the coil wires, it'll get less likely that you will ionize the flash tube, and you may have to try it a few times to get it to work.