Necronomicon Lamp





Introduction: Necronomicon Lamp

About: I'm a guy from Hungary. Musician, amateur astronomer, DIY-fan, airplane-fan, etc. My hobbies are important for me. In my home country the DIY-concept is an old tradition, so I became a fan in my early years.

Well, a Necronomicon-lamp?
This lamp must be in the study of mad scientists, Necronomicon-readers, and other alchemists. If you know the PC-game, or have some Steampunk-experience, you perhaps know what it is: some dim, blinking bulbs in an antique-style, varnished wooden box, red glowing or fluorescent lights, sometimes sparks. The misty lights illuminates the variuos switches, which seem to control the lights in random order - or, at least, a virtual random order, following a complex system.

The box lamp controls 4 pcs bulbs, 2 glow lamps, the code is not clear for first sight, but may be decoced. Which is missing is the spark, but can blink instead. The power of the light is little, can be set with the switches from the faint glow to the orange, and with switches you may control the orderless blinking.

And a word before the fun: I'm not a native speaker, tried to translate the names of the parts, but perhaps made some funny mistake - sorry for them:-) To help, I explain the functions some parts I think doubtful: I call "glow bulb" the part, which is a small glass bulb with 2 poles, filled with gas, and emits dim orange ionized light when gets voltage. The "ignition glow bulb" must be the part which used with the neon tubes to reach the higher ignition voltage, and this part is always combined with a capacitor to filter the noise. In Europe the household power is 230 V, in the USA it's only 120 V, but this doesn't matter if everybody uses the correct parts (bulbs, fuses, etc).

Step 1: WARNING!




Step 2: The Schematics

The schematics. List of the parts:

4 sockets and bulbs (max. 15 W/bulb)

3 diodes (min. 1 A)

5 normal I/O mini switches, with screw on the neck, if possible (min. 1 A)

1 ignition glow bulb (for neon tubes)

1 resistor (100-300 kOhm, 0.5 W)

1 glow lamp wall plug cable with I/O switch fuse in socket (500mA) terminal (with 8 places) insulated cable and insulating tape

On the schematics the cable with wall plug and the fuse is not indicated - the fuse must placed into the box, next to the cable, BEFORE the switches and bulbs!

Step 3: The Box

The box

Here is the wooden box: 17×12×5, contained chocolate before...

A block glued on the other side of the cover. Drill the layers together, here come the bulb sockets.

The wooden works: after sanding and first varnishing. Here are the holes with the name of the corresponding parts, but you don'thave to follow this, just find some alignment for the parts depending of its size or anything else. If you randomize the switches or bulbs, the operation will be mazy and more interesting.

Surface is antiquized; sanded, varnished twice, polished. After the first varnishing sand it carefully, and polish the surface.

Step 4: The Electric Parts

The bulbs must be the same in power, 7 or 15 watts small size - I used fridge bulbs, but sometimes also other bulbs may be found.Mixing the different power bulbs may cause unexpected working, but, if you don't level up the bulb power 15 watts, the parts won't fail or burn, but some function won't work properly. You may use different bulbs, but don't forget the 15 watts power limit.

The bulb socket - the brass design is the best, but you may use porcelain, if you can't get brass. Avoid the plastic ones - it ruins the illusion... The size is mignon, but in a larger box you may want normal size, if there are little power bulbs in that socket size.

You may get a glow lamp like this, which fits into a normal torch bulb socket, but other glow lamps are made with wire legs - these are useable too. Don't forget the serial current limiting resistor, or else the glow lamp will die. The resistor is very important to limit the current on the glow lamp. Use 100-300 kOhms in 0.25 watts.

And the main magic part - the ignition glow bulb. You can find it in neon armatures, as a small cylinder like plastic thing, with a glass bulb and a paralel soldered capacitor with it. Don't remove the capacitor, and don't attach it to the household power as a single part! This is a glow bulb combined with a bi-metall switch, and this is the trigger for the random blinking in this lamp. This part is glowing with purple or orange colours, randomly switching the bulbs in-out. Insulate everything!

And a semiconductor - the only one in the project - is a diode. Use 1-22 amps. This will half the voltage (and frequency) on some bulbs without extra power consumption.

It's enough to use normal, mini size switches - the current is max. 200 mA, but don't risk, buy 1A switches.
The looking is important - old-style, metal-made, with screw... find the best for it:-) And insulate well!

Using a terminal you can array the wiring between the parts, and attach the household power plug cable with the fuse using screws. Always use insulated wires, which designed for min. 1 A current! Solder the parts you didn't screwed into terminal when wiring, and insulate all the soldered surfaces. First put the parts into their place, and plan the wiring with the minimal crossings to get a clear result. Don't forget the lenght tolerance for the wires which have to move when you open the box.

Step 5: Using the Necronomicon Lamp

This lamp is a dynamics system, blinking, glowing randomly, but may be set vary. Here are some still pics of it, but the light is changing continouosly, it's not a stable light source - but, if you want, with the combinations of switches you can set it to a normal, steady lamp with more light power. Just try the switches! The five switches have effect to each other, too. The system is chaotic at the first sight. In blink mode the intensity and delay depends on the power of the bulbs and the set of the switches. Carefully, you can do experiments using bulbs with lower power - at a current limit the ignition glow can't switch, but glows palely. To use it as a normal lamp find the combination for it - switch off all blinkings, and increase te light power.

Have a misterious night using the Necronomicon lamp! Iaaaa, Cthulhu Fhtang!



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    9 Discussions

    Thanks, Benadski, it may be a 'starter', the part with a bimetal inside, which blinks the bulbs. Never mind its colour, that can be orange or blue, or purple - mine is blue -, and you can hear a small clack when works; this sound effect is the switching itself.

    The lightning is your business, if you can add it, why not - but, unfortunately I'm absolutelly unfamiliar with this parts you mentioned (ccfl inverter and a metal halide).

    If you add it to your neclamp, never mind the 15 watts limit, just connect it paralelly to the circuit via an extra switch.

    The lightning can be done with a ccfl inverter and a metal halide? 35W bulb. it's a tiny lightning effect, but cool to look at!

    The "Glow Bulb" would be a low wattage neon bulb of the type which used to be used as a panel indicator bulb. I'm still unclear about the "Ignition Glow Bulb". Great project nonetheless.

    1 reply

    I think that might be the inside of a fluorescent starter...

    This is awesome! I would be happy to proofread and offer editing suggestions to make the writing in your instructable more fluid if you are worried about that. Your English is quite good though. Keep sharing!

    1 reply

    Thank you, gravitysweak, to tell the truth, my best friend is an english teacher and a language fan, and usually helps me when I ask him, but this project (NecLamp) was edited without him:-). You know, all the mistakes are mine... :-)

    But I'm very glad to meet someone (even it this 'meeting' is just a virtual thing in the cyberspace:-) ) who would help me. Thanks.

    Thanks for the comments. This strange "ignition glow bulb" and "glow bulb" is may be a wrong translation, I try to explain its working to be clearer, because this is the most interesting part of this lamp. So: the "glow bulb" (or what I call 'glow bulb';-) ) - you can see the second image of this comment - is a small glass tube, with some gas inside, and two paralel electrodes. The electrodes are not any visible or galvanic contact to each other. The function of it is very sophisticated: when it gets 60-100 volts, the electrodes emit a dim, orange or purple halo around itself (depending on the gas inside), but you mustn't connect it whitout a serial resistor - this is an important attribute of it, always use the resistor, unless it cause damage (sometimes the factories build it in the unit, but never mind, when you are not sure absolutely the resistor, connect an other one 100kohm-600kohm.). This small bulb is used in switches and plugs in the household power to indicate the working, but you can find them in tea or coffe maker machines, wash machines, at the power switch, or in night indicator lights, because the powerage and consumption of this small bulb is very low. If you have a wall plug power phase indicator screwdriver, its orange light is the same, too. Nowadays the LEDs are often more popular for the same purpose, but this was perhaps the only indicator of the old electronic machines, and it has some attributes which are not found in any else electronic parts. I can mention some translated names of it, perhaps you can identify it better: we call it also 'dim-light' or 'foggy-light lamp', or 'Glimm-lamp'.
    The "ignition glow bulb" or "starter" is the improved version of this - you can see the second image of this comment - not usable in the modern low power eco bulbs (which are similar to neon rods or tubes), because these have a very integrated electronic ignition, but before the old neon tubes had to be "shot" with some high voltage trigger impulses to start, and this bulb made this; with a serial coil it generated some big impulses (according the law of Lenz), when the bimetall-attached glow bulb made a galvanic contact for some millisecs at the beginning, but, when the main neon tube started to light, its current switched off this auxiliary circle. So it's not a neon bulb, but is the aux. part of it. Usually there is a capacitor with parallel it, to filter its spark impulses which may disturb the radio and tv signals.

    Both of these parts are very common and cheap, but maybe not so known, but, if you want to buy them, I'm sure you can almost everywhere.

    Well, I hope it helps...



    This is great! I love the way it looks. The translation came across very well :)

    Keep up the good work. Can't wait to see what you make next!