Instructables

Halogen to Fluorescent Torchiere Lamp Conversion

This project got started because I was going through $2-$3 300 watt halogen light bulbs about once a month and because the lamp in my office made as good a heater as it did a lamp.
I wound up converting 3 lamps for a total cost of about $12 in lamp parts
6 ceramic light sockets
2 3-way switches
1 25' roll of 14awg single conductor stranded copper wire
The lamps have been working great for about 3 months now. They're saving me money on electricity and light bulbs.
 
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Step 1: Evaluate your lamps and decide what you need

I had 3 lamps I wanted to convert (one was already fluorescent but with a blown ballast) the 2 halogen lamps had dimmer switches which won't work with fluorescent lights and if left on low will burn them out pretty quick.
I found a three way chain switch at the hardware store which looked like it would fit in the tube in place of the dimmer switch.
The pre-fluorescent lamp already had a 3-way rotary switch so there was no need to replace it.

Step 2: Demolition

Remove all the electronics and any hardware not welded to the top of the lamp.
You will want to leave the cords that are strung through the lamp where they are as we will reuse these.

Step 3: Wire it up

I've included a simple wiring diagram here for how to connect the switch and the lamps. If the wiring diagram is not clear let me know and I will try to put up some more info.
All of the components I was using had pigtails so I used wire nuts to secure the connections. (sorry no pics I finished the project a long time ago and just found this site recently)
You may need to use some additional wire as there were only 2 wires going from the dimmer switch to the top of the lamp and now there will be 3 (hot A, hot B, and neutral). Make sure to use a heavy enough gauge of wire to carry the voltage.

Step 4: Mount the Sockets

The next step is to mount the light sockets. How you do this will depend on your lamp. I was lucky, after I took apart the halogen lamps there were a couple of threaded holes on a bar welded across the center of the lamp. There were also some left over screws that fit perfectly. I drilled out the threads on my light socket's mounting bracket and screwed the sockets to the bar as in the pictures.
The lamp that was already a fluorescent didn't have any pre-threaded holes but there was a big plastic hub in the center so I drilled a pilot hole for each lamp and screwed them in place with sheet metal screws.
Awesome! I did the same thing to my old lamp but put in 3 bulbs instead of 2. I'm using 75 watts and getting the same light output as the old 300 watt bulb. I made mine almost ten years ago and use it several hours every night. I have never had to change the fluorescent bulbs. If they ever burn out I might try LEDs since they fit the same socket and are coming down in price.
Could a 300 watts burn an acetate sheet? We're gonna use the 300 watts as the light source for an improvised projector, and since we've got no lcd to have images be delivered then projected, so we opted for acetate sheets.
wperry1 (author)  supreme-ette3 years ago
Those halogen bulbs get pretty hot but I'm really not sure. Trial (by fire?) might be the best way to find out.
kmossman4 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
wperry1 (author)  kmossman4 years ago
Well, with this project you are basically installing standard light sockets in place of the halogen one so you could then screw in just about any bulb you want, including LED.
diy_chad4 years ago
Make sure you are switching the hot and not the neutral.  You do not want to have a hot wire at the sockets when the switch is off.
pardon my ignorance but what is a halogen bulb?
wperry1 (author)  naruto the ninja135 years ago
It's basically a regular light bulb but the chamber around the filament is filled with halogen. They can be run at high (300+) wattages and put out a lot of light, but also a lot of heat.

Here is probably more than you ever wanted to know about halogen bulbs:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halogen_lamp
acer3595 years ago
Can you do this LEDs?
wperry1 (author)  acer3595 years ago
I suppose you could. I pretty much just installed regular light sockets so you could put in any bulb that screws into a standard socket. building LEDs into the top of the lamp would be a great idea though.
acer359 wperry15 years ago
do you still have the dimming effect?
wperry1 (author)  acer3595 years ago
It is now a 3 way switch. Dimable CF bulbs are expensive so I put in a 3-way switch and 2 different bulbs. I don't know the wattages off hand but they are 60w and 100w equivalent bulbs so I have 3 modes. 60 only, 100 only, or both together. Just to be clear though they are CF bulbs so they are actually ~10-15 watts each not 60-100.
If I'm reading the circuit diagram properly it looks as if either one or the other CFL would be on at a time. Wouldn't it be more flexible to have a switch that would allow one, or the other, or both CFLs to be on at a time? That way you could have a 15 and 23 watt CFL and get 3 different levels of light output. Nice project. I hate the halogen torch lamps in my home and almost never use them. They are just about the only incandescent lamps left in my home.
wperry1 (author)  xrayangiodoc5 years ago
This switch actually has three modes A (light 1), B (light 2), and C (both lights) I found it in the lamp parts section of the hardware store. While I am sure there are other varieties this one had was a pull-chain type switch.
BigAl3235 years ago
A++ you just saved one lamp from going into the garbage. I was keeping it even though it didn't work anymore. it now has 2 mini CFLs in it. wished it would give out more light but might just be the fact i bought mini's. A++ on Instructable. Alex
Action Pat6 years ago
Those halogen bulbs are one hell of a fire hazard around drunkies. Sweet instructable
jbgruver6 years ago
Usually when you speak of wire size it is the amperage that is important. 110-120 VAC 60 HZ is usually understood to be the voltage. You can take the "Wattage" of the lamps and divide by 115 and get the amps Fluorescent bulbs use very little wattage so number 14 or 16 gauge multi strand is more than sufficient. Thats my 2 cents worth.
n0ukf7 years ago
those halogen bulbs (any incandescent for that matter) last longer if you don't run them at full brightness. The two torchier floor lamps I have are dimmer models which I normally run at a lower than full level. I haven't had to replace a bulb yet (now the halogen work light is a different matter as it has no dimmer). But then again the fluorescents are good for energy savings, I'm changing to those wherever i don't have a dimmer.
Big Bwana n0ukf6 years ago
Halogens don't last longer if dimmed, dimmning them actually reduces there life by a huge percent and causes the tube to go black, because you interupt the halogen cycle which requires a certain tube tempurature for it to work... (( If you want them to last there full life time consider getting the right voltage tubes not the standard 130 volt home depot specials )) But YES CFL's or even GE double D shaped flouresent tubes are the way to go... plus it costs less in airconditioning your office space to...
n0ukf Big Bwana6 years ago
I just replaced my 300W bulb a couple months ago but not because it burned out (it didn't, and I'm not even seeing any signs that the dimming had any adverse affects on it). I actually found a 150W bulb in this same larger form (there's smaller ones of the same tubular style, only up to 150W), so I can run the dimmer higher for the same (and whiter) light as I was dimming down to with the 300W bulb. As i said before, for other non-dimming fixtures, I'm switching to fluorescents. Though they're not so good outside and in the unheated garage where they don't start so well in sub-zero (F) temperatures.
sobemanhoss6 years ago
can you just do a conversion to a single CFL or does it have to be two?
wperry1 (author)  sobemanhoss6 years ago
One should work fine and you would only need a simple on-off switch. I went with 2 because I didn't think one would make enough light.
thanks! this is awsome!
wingman3586 years ago
I just did a halogen to CFL conversion with my torchiere. I replaced the halogen with two 60w CFL's. I used this instructable and another similar instructable. Took me about 15 easy minutes. Thanks for the idea and great instructable!
grg38 years ago
Thanks for the inspiration. I was able to fit three bulbs and enable them to light 1,2,3. It works great!
gingero grg37 years ago
How did you get them to light 1, 2, 3? I'd like to do that.
lemonie7 years ago
I'm probably going to be the only one to say "fluorescent"
wperry1 (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Nice catch. Updated with the correct spelling (and found a fixed some typos)
Mz3FRS8 years ago
Nice write-up! One minor point, when it comes to voltage, wire gauge does not matter, the insulation does. A 20AWG wire and a 1AWG wire with the same insulation will carry the same voltage. The key for conductor gauge is current. 1AWG wire is good for upwards of 100 amps, while 20AWG is only good for about 5-10. Not sure about the wattage of you bulbs, but 14AWG should be a good, conservative size. How bright are they in comparison to the original Halogen? Again, good work.
wperry1 (author)  Mz3FRS7 years ago
Nice to know about the insulation vs Gauge. With CFs that are the equivalent of one 60w and one 100w light bulb it is almost as bright as the original halogen bulb but only uses about 30 or 35 watts, I'd have to look again for exact numbers. You could probably put 2 of the 100w equivalent CFs and get about the same light output for around 40 or 50 watts.
dan8 years ago
looks like you could probably fit 4 lights in there!
looks like you could probably fit 4 lights in there!