Step 5: The Toroidal transformer

The Joule Thief part of the circuit requires a small hand-wound toroidal transformer that we will make and add in this step.

I'm using ferrite beads around 9.8mm wide by 7.5mm deep with an 6.5mm diameter hole.  Whatever the size you use, you'll want enough wire for 6-8 turns.  For beads the size of mine, take about 20-30 cm of a pair of insulated 22-gauge solid copper wire (I use wire from an old 3-pair telephone cable).  Contrasting colours make life easier.  Push the wires through your torus leaving around an inch (2.5 cm) sticking out at one end.  Now loop the long ends round until you have made 6-8 loops spread evenly round your bead.  My beads are pretty much full after 8 turns of this wire.

I have made a few joule thieves and in my experience the ferrite bead is the most likely part to cause a problem.  Some types of beads work and some don't and I have not yet divised a way to tell before trying them.

Cut down the leads to an inch at most (say 2cm-ish) and strip the ends.  At this point it's handy to use a small sticky-pad to hold the torus in place.

Now take a wire of one colour from one end of the torus and the other colour from the other end and put them into holes 1 and 2.  The other ends go into holes 3 and 4 so that the hole in the torus now points across the board.  It should fall naturally so that the wires connect from holes 1 to 4 and 2 to 3, but check or it won't work!  Bend the wires out a little to hold them, turn the board over and solder it.
I see that you used 2.4V. Would it work if 1.2V was used?
It should but I have not tried it. Certainly the JT circuit will light an LED from a 1.5V alkaline AA so I should be surprised if it didn't work off a 1.2V NiMH. <br> <br>The issues with this might be: <br> <br>The 5V solar cell is overkill for a 1.2v battery. Go for something closer to 3-3.5v. That might mean you need to use a higher current panel but a AAA can only take around 100mA max. <br> <br>The more the JT has to boost the voltage the more current it will draw (the energy has to come from somewhere). As a result, one AAA would probably not store enough energy to be reliable. If you were going with one cell, I would use a AA. This would also alow you to use a higher current solar panel (maybe up to 200mA). <br> <br>You may find that it is not so bright, but at the moment it is really bright so that might be OK. <br> <br>I don't have all the parts to test a 1 x AA setup but I will test the JT part when I have the time and let you know. I'm pretty sure itwill work fine. <br> <br>Ugi

About This Instructable


62 favorites


Bio: Call me Ugi. Special offer! Make something based on one of my instructables and post a picture for a free 3-month pro membership (while stocks ... More »
More by Ugifer: Handheld Pong & Invaders on the cheap (Arduino compatible) Kid's Science Project - Reusable Hand Warmers Make a High-Altitude Balloon Tracker (Arduino)
Add instructable to: