How to Reuse a Dead Compact Fluorescent Lamp and Get Free Electronics





Introduction: How to Reuse a Dead Compact Fluorescent Lamp and Get Free Electronics

About: thank you sunshiine for supporting me : ) i am mahmoud , i live in Egypt , i like to inventing new things form junk and old toys and

how to get free electronics out this dead  "Compact fluorescent lamp" there is so many electronics in there 
there is transistors , resistors , audio transformer , capacitors , diodes ... etc.
    the target of this cool project is recycling dead  "Compact fluorescent lamp" to get a free electronics to use it in other projects
to make some thing cool out of  "Compact fluorescent lamp" .

A compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), also called compact fluorescent light, energy-saving light, and compact fluorescent tube, is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp; some types fit into light fixtures formerly used for incandescent lamps. The lamps use a tube which is curved or folded to fit into the space of an incandescent bulb, and a compact electronic ballast in the base of the lamp.
Compared to general-service incandescent lamps giving the same amount of visible light, CFLs use one-fifth to one-third the electric power, and last eight to fifteen times longer. A CFL has a higher purchase price than an incandescent lamp, but can save over five times its purchase price in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime.
Like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs contain mercury, which complicates their disposal. In many countries, governments have established recycling schemes for CFLs and glass generally.
CFLs radiate a spectral power distribution that is different from that of incandescent lamps. Improved phosphor formulations have improved the perceived colour of the light emitted by CFLs, such that some sources rate the best "soft white" CFLs as subjectively similar in colour to standard incandescent lamps.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

a dead compact fluorescent lamp
a screw driver 
a solder iron

Step 2: Open the Dead Compact Fluorescent Lamp

   Try to Open The Dead Compact Fluorescent Lamp with the screw driver and move the glass tube and throw it we don't need it any more and remove this plastic part or break it and you will see the PCB and your FREE ELECTRONICS.

Step 3: Take the PCB Out and Desolder It

cut the wires to remove the PCB and look for the electronics that you need and desolder it with the solder iron and take it out  and you are Done!



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My mother doesn't want me to do this because she is worried about the mercury in the lightbulbs. How safe is this to do and is there a any risk of mercury exposure?

13 replies

If you break the bulb, hold your breath for 5 seconds for the gas to dissipate.
Avoid licking, chewing or swallowing the glass. Sweep it up and throw it away instead.
You should be fine if you take these simple precautions.

I'm thinking your mom would call in a biohazard team and tent your house for a month if someone broke an old thermometer!

Before everyone went all nutterbutters about Mercury, I used to play with liquid Mercury as a child. Maybe that's why I am the only one around that knows the difference between "they're, their and there" and "you're and your" etc.
Things I learned got stuck in the mercury in my brain rather than getting washed away!

I remember having mercury in class room, about 7 or 8 years old. Somebody brought it in for show and tell, we all got to handle it, I thought it was very heavy for something so small. Of course somebody dropped some, it went into a bunch of smaller droplets but came back together into a bigger drop when pushed together. We all had a great time chasing drops around the floor, I doubt very much that we got it all back. Oh, and yes the teacher was there, mind you this was about 50 years ago... we also played with pellet guns, slingshots, walked to and from school, played on the monkey bars, fell off onto the concrete, and got back on, rode our bike without a helmut, and generally had fun, and survived!

lawn darts,clackers,chemistry sets, wood burning kits, riding in the back of a pickup truck, riding bicycle miles and miles away - through the woods - over ramps, alone, go-carts down paved hills, skateboarding down paved hills/roads, playing in the park alone, ponds, skating on ponds/the bay, model rockets with solid rocket propellent/engines, ....and those of us that were a bit more advanced - playing with explosives and a lot of other things too numerous to mention... We did a ton of crap, and we all survived. The Dr. Spock age has ruined childhood for a lot of kids.

Oh man...i just read your comment and it brought back great memories. We did the same stuff you mentioned and as you say alot more too numerous to mention, including BB/Pellet gun fights (no goggles), getting dropped off at the public MDC pool in Brighton MA by dad in the early morning as 10 & 12 year old kids (my brother and i) and getting picked up outside the pool after he got out of work at night (this was our "summer camp")

I know, right. I remember riding my bicycle down a huge stairway and continuing on the concrete road below for the next grew get until I get to the home made ramp that I used to jump my bike on.....all without a helmet. I survived and did decent in life so far.

I know your orginal comment was two years ago but I just read it. I too use to play with Mercury and now have an affinity for proper grammar. Strange how that works.

P.S. you can do this without breaking the tube and if so then there is no risk of exposure to mercury. The only risk is if you break the bulb.

The greatest threat comes from the inhalation of the gas which is released at the time the tube breaks. Since when soldering you should work with a vent anyway, this risk is mitigated by the same vent you would use to eliminate gases from solder. Even better, do the work outside and let the wind blow it away.

Fluoride is more immediately toxic to neurons than many heavy metals and yet some people still put fluoride into drinking water. It doesn't make sense to me to be so cautious about one toxin but then so cavalier about another. I avoid the extremes. I avoid fluoride where I can by drinking only distilled water; and, I avoid exposure to gases from my work by using a vent fan in my work area that blows the air outside. You would probably never notice the effects of exposure to what is in a single bulb, but if you are going to do this a lot then taking precautions grows in importance. (On the other hand, no one would notice their own intelligence decreasing because of the Dunning/Kruger effect. They might actually think they got smarter.)

Mercury is also used as a preservative in vaccines. The medical establishment's consensus is that the small amount of harm caused from the mercury is worth the benefits of the vaccine. Of course each person getting a vaccine should be informed of all the consequences and risks and allowed to decide for themselves whether it is worth it. When exposure is going to be repeated, the damage is cumulative and it is also more consequential to younger people who are still growing.

If the bulb is already broken then wear gloves to protect against cuts. Of course children should obey their parents, but I think anyone can persuade their mom to let them do this by showing that by using safety equipment like gloves, goggles, and a ventilation fan or the open outdoors, there is nothing left to fear.

"How much mercury is in fluorescent bulbs? The following information on mercury content and mercury use is taken from a fact sheet on mercury use in lighting from the Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA) . This data was provided to NEWMOA by lamp manufacturers."

"Individual Fluorescent Bulbs‐

"About 60 percent of all fluorescent lamps sold in the U.S. in 2004 contained 10 mg of mercury or less. The remaining 40 percent contained more than 10 mg and up to 100 mg of mercury. Four‐foot linear fluorescent lamps contained an average of 13.3 mg, with a high of 70 mg and a low of 2.5 mg. Compact fluorescents (CFLs) had the least amount of mercury per lamp in 2004; two ‐ thirds of CFLs contained 5 mg of mercury or less, while 96 percent contained 10 mg or less"

The above information tells you that there is more mercury in a linear bulb than in a CFL bulb, but people only seem concerned about the CFL bulbs. This is because of a social experiment that hyped only the dangers of CFL bulbs.

"Mercury is used in many industries, especially the electrical industry,
and in many instruments such as thermometers and barometers. It has been
used clinically, but because of its toxicity this use is diminishing.
Most people are exposed to mercury through diet and dental fillings.
Mercury is odorless.

"Elemental mercury is toxic primarily through inhalation of mercury
vapors. It is only slowly absorbed through the skin, although it may
cause skin and eye irritation. Elemental mercury droplets may be
absorbed through eye contact. Ingestion is not an important route of
acute exposure as almost no elemental mercury is absorbed through the
gastrointestinal tract."

Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up mercury. It will disperse the mercury into the air and increase exposure to it.

So the bottom line: you should respect mercury and take some simple precautions when working around it.

My mom also said this. Just don't break the bulb. Actually, you get more mercury exposure by eating a tuna sandwich than by breaking the bulb.

One article recommends that if you break the bulb, just ventilate the room and leave for 5-10 minutes. Should be fine.

This could be why most asian children do so much better in school - they eat about 1000 times more fish than we do. I think they started the mercury scare so that they could hog it all for themselves!

as long as the glass doesn't break you should be ok.

If you glass breaks, don't breath in.

i don't think so , but it is safely to do , just open the plastic box and cut the wires ,Done! :D

OR, replace the one dead component (very likely the largest electrolytic capacitor, but see this:, and keep using the lamp. I used to regularly repair CFLs, before I switched to LED lamps.

Reuse a Dead Compact fluorescent tube


Thanks for this very informative instructable! It was exactly what I was looking for. Never again will I dispose of a CFL without recycling its electronics.

1 reply

have you tested those boards, can it be used as a led/led strip driver?
what voltage does it put out?