Introduction: How to Make Blinking Light Bulbs With Lamp Starters

Picture of How to Make Blinking Light Bulbs With Lamp Starters

Did you ever wanted to make light bulbs blink but you didn't really feel like designing a circuit for it? Maybe you don't need one.
This is a small and easy trick you can do.

Step 1: Connections

Picture of Connections

All you're going to need is a fluorescent lamp starter and a light bulb.

A lamp starter (at least the old ones) were basically a thermal switch, what this means is that when they establish the electrical connection, they heat up. That heat deforms the shape of the switch, which is made with a material exactly for that purpose. The deformation breaks the connection, and "the switch turns off". While it's off, the material cools down and returns to its original shape, establishing the connection again. The cycle goes on and on.

With this in mind, we can think of the lamp starter as an automatic and random switch, so we just have to connect it in series with a light bulb.

Step 2: Results

I tried it with 3 starters and 3 lamps, and this was the final result:

Obviously this is not gonna be good for the life time of the bulbs, since they are always turning on and off, it's a matter of time until they turn off for good. But still, it's a cool and simple trick.

Source: The Fragmentation Paradox


BigCthulhu (author)2014-08-27

In my childhood we called this circuit "poor man disco light". But I was a rocker, I have never been in disco clubs, so we used this effect to make our parents mad:-)

Very interesting, however. Congrats for it!

joaoduarte (author)BigCthulhu2015-05-01


Yeah it's been a trick for a while, but nowadays not many people know about it :P

I bet this would be great for a haunted house or something like that. It's simple but effective, nice work!

You're right, that would be a great application! You know, simple things are often the best :P Thanks!

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