This is a simple project that uses NE-2 neon bulbs in a group of 'relaxation oscillators.' In essence, an RC circuit charges a capacitor at a rate determined by a resistor and discharges the cap though a neon bulb to start the process over. The effect is a blinking lamp. With a group of these oscillators you get multiple blinking bulbs and the effect is similar to fireflies. Put them
into a jar and Bob's your uncle. The neon lamps operate at 90v (+/-) and so a half wave rectifier on 110-120vac works well without over-voltage to the neon lamp. The half wave rectifier is a fancy way of saying "put a diode on the wall socket wires."
I made this project using junk parts and so I don't have part numbers or retail sources to offer. However, these are all very common parts and are available from many sources. For instance, you can get the power cord from that lamp in the living room no one ever turns on. By the way, this project is oriented towards American house current @ 120vac. Other nations should use a transformer to reduce their voltage appropriately.
You will need:
10 1uf capacitors 150v
10 1 meg ohm resistors 1/4 watt
10 NE-2 neon lamps
2 Diodes (300v)
Shrink Tubing (1/8 in)
Power cord and male wall plug
Hot Glue Gun (Epoxy OK too)
Rotary Tool (optional)
* You will be dealing with AC line voltages, so think before you touch anything. Capacitors store a charge, so they can still give a shock when the unit is unplugged. Always 'ground out' the circuit before touching it. Electric shock has been associated with burns, organ failure, heart failure, stroke, nervousness, anxiety, indigestion, flatulence, epithet outbursts and finding religion.
The first step is to mount the capacitors to the lid of the jar. I chose a jar with a sprayed on plastic liner/seal. It wasn't really necessary but I wanted to avoid the possibility of a short circuit. The capacitors I had were rectangular, but they come as barrel packages too. It doesn't matter what they are so long as they are non-polarized 1uF caps. Glue these to the lid. You will want to join the legs of one side of the capacitors --this will be your "ground." I soldered the legs to a piece of stripped wire and then cut off the excess leg,