Introduction: Reuse Parts of an Energy Saving Lamp

Picture of Reuse Parts of an Energy Saving Lamp

Hello everyone,

today I want to show you how you can make the most out of the money you invested into an energy saving lamp by extracting its useful parts after it burned out.

The goal:

The goal of this Instructable is to show you a source of free parts you can use for your next projects and to reduce electrical waste.

You can get these parts out of energy saving lamps:

  • Capacitors
  • Diodes
  • Transistors
  • Coils

Needed tools:

  • flat-head screwdriver or a saw/cutting tool
  • desoldering pump
  • soldering iron

Step 1: Safety Advice

Please read the following text for your own safety. I don´t want people to get hurt so please read it and please be careful.


  • Before you begin please check if the glass body of the energy saving lamp is broken! If it is broken you need to seal it in a bag or some sort of container to avoid getting exposed to the mercury inside the lamp.
  • Be very careful not to damage the glass body of the lamp! Do not try to open the lamp by twisting the glass body or trying to break it off or something like that.
  • Do not try to open the lamp right after it burned out. It contains a high voltage capacitor which needs to discharge first! Do not touch the circuit board if you do not know if the capacitor is still charged or you could get an electric shock!

Disposal Advice:

  • I think the best advice to dispose of burned out or broken energy saving lamps is to put them into a container (like a bucket with a lid or something like that) and store that container in a safe place until you find a place to recycle them.
  • Please do not throw energy saving lamps in your trash bin! Energy saving lamps are environmentally dangerous and could harm people!

Step 2: Open the Lamps Case

Picture of Open the Lamps Case

Ok. Let´s start. First have a look at the case. Most cases are either glued or clipped together. (Mine was clipped together like most of the other lamps I have opened so far.)

You should be able to open the case by either opening it with a flat screwdriver or by cutting it open by using a saw.

In both cases you need to be careful not to damage the glass body! Be very careful.

Once you have opened the case you simply need to cut the wires leading into the glass body so you can put it into a safe place to get rid of this hazard.

Step 3: Remove the Circuit Board From the Case

Picture of Remove the Circuit Board From the Case

Now you need to remove the circuit board from the case.

Be very careful not to touch the circuit board with your bare hands! There is a high voltage capacitor (The big electrolytic capacitor you can see on the picture) on the circuit board which could still be charged! Try to remove it from the circuit by cutting its legs and put it somewhere safe. (Make sure not to touch the legs!)

Once the high voltage capacitor is removed from the board there is nothing left to fear. Now you can begin to desolder all useful parts.

Step 4: Desolder All Useful Parts

Picture of Desolder All Useful Parts

Now grab your soldering iron and your desoldering pump and get the parts you need.

As you can see on the picture there are a lot of useful parts on the circuit board so you should be able to harvest a lot of useful parts for you next project :)

Well, that´s it. I hope I was able to provide you with some useful tips and I hope you liked my Instructable :)


They have to be very careful with the gas of the glass, it is mercury and it is extremely toxic and poisonous...

For many years I used those parts for my inventions of electronic circuits and works very fine and cool... Great work!!!

Dweedledee (author)2016-04-08

Would love to see a run-through of the parts listed and what they might be useful in.

Check out this PDF.

Link was bad so here's a new one;

Daelke (author)2016-04-13

Thank you for this Instructable. I have had a CFL like these yet but I have been curious about the "inards" for a long time.

Daelke (author)Daelke2016-04-13

Please add "never" to the line---I have .......... had a CL...

theezitguy (author)2016-04-12

Thank you all for your comments :)
I´ll try to write more interesting Instructables in the future.

james.king.94064 (author)2016-04-07

I did this a while back when one of the cfl bulbs broke and the glass shattered. Not an ideal situation but got some useful parts from it. Just for your information CFL bulbs contain trace elements of mercury and the mercury is expanded in the tube by pressure, if the bulb cracks the mercury is vaporized into the air, and if you inhale it can be a hazard. Please be very careful when working with products like these.

Thank you for the details in your warning. I've always wondered where the mercury risk actually came from. I assumed the risk was in the powder contained in the bulbs. I can't count the number of times I've broken a CFL or tube mostly accidentally and mostly while installing or removing a bulb from an overhead fixture. I am going to have my kidney doc check my level of exposure on next visit.

MarilynZ3 (author)ShannonO22016-04-10

You are a wise man to check with the doc, but when I was a kid, we played with mercury....we would roll it around in our hands and thought nothing of it. My husband said he and his friends did that, too. Fortunately at 72 and 75, we are very healthy.

May I also say, you guys are very the articles and replies.

viller2010 (author)ShannonO22016-04-08

Also you can get Mercury poising if the glass cuts you when it breaks. U.S. Military Personal are no longer allowed to change their own light bulbs in the barracks because of this. The gov pays a maintenance company to change out these light bulbs at I am sure 40+ dollar service call each. Wasting tax dollars.

chakra (author)2016-04-08

Hey! I have a couppe of CFLs with the tube in good condition, but the board fried. Any suggestions here??

AbD6 (author)chakra2016-04-10

Throw it out and buy a new one

Dogg1999 (author)2016-04-08

Just curious. which parts is it that went bad to make the light quit?


imcp1024 (author)Dogg19992016-04-08

I usually see resistors and transistors that failed.

M4n0v3y (author)2016-04-07

I think that could be possible to power some High Power LED with that.

edugimeno (author)M4n0v3y2016-04-07

I don't think so, High Power LED lights use low voltages (around 30-35v) and higher currents. These modules put out 200-350v at really low current

MarkN78 (author)2016-04-07


mikedownunder (author)2016-04-07

I use these to power some 8 Watt Flourescent lamps in a light box.

They work great.

dvdvija (author)2016-04-07

Hey, this is great sharing. Thanks so much your share. Now I can start collecting the parts.

custerb (author)2016-04-07

Once you get the pc board out with the parts on it, grab the edge of the board with needle nose plyesrs, take a propane torch and carefully run the flame across the solder a few times quickly, and then tap the players on a piece of 2x4, the parts will fly right out quickly. This method works great on larger pc boards too.

bruce.desertrat (author)2016-04-07

Any idea what the secondary voltage is on the transformer in there?

About 3,000 volts. Very low current, but a nasty shock, nonetheless

imcp1024 (author)2016-04-07

Where I am most of the bulbs still boast a 7 to 9 year life expectancy. so when they fail in 1 to 2 years I call them up and the usually have no qualms with sending $5 gift card per bulb. once I get to cracking them open for leftovers I find squeezing the seem like an Easter Egg is most effective.

jimvandamme (author)2016-04-07

I make a small cut along the glue line of the case, and twist a flat blade screwdriver in the sut.

jimvandamme (author)2016-04-07

Here's the mother lode of CFL circuits. Note that there's a lot of plagiarism.

Cgiff (author)2016-04-07

is their a schematic of a typical cf circuit? Perhaps simple mods to the circuit might be the starting point of a project, rather than simple component salvage. This is a great idea provoked though Theezitguy, Thanks!

Sock Puppet (author)Cgiff2016-04-07

There are a lot of schematics if you just search Google images

RaymondR6 (author)Cgiff2016-04-07

The CFL is a AC-DC-AC converter. The diodes rectify the AC from the power line to DC (about 160 V or more), then an oscillator circuit converts the DC back to a higher frequency AC using the transformer. You can disconnect the bulb and carefully measure the output at the leads while powering up the base, but the PC board can also be traced and analyzed.

You can use a sting of white LEDs in series to use that DC directly, adding the correctly caculated resistor to limit current.

DavidA26 (author)2016-04-07

I use the little rig of ferrite to build a joule thief.

DavidA26 (author)2016-04-07

Hundred of diodes where reused this way. Thank you.

When I work getting parts from these or play with them making hoods for my aquariums where they might get broken I wear a CB gas mask I bought surplus it takes standard NATO cartridges and only cost around 20 dollars on sale, and the filters are around 7 to 10 dollars (US by the way) I figure better safe than sorry.

bkleeman91 (author)2016-04-07

Very cool, thanks for sharing!

Any advice on making sure the filter cap is fully discharged? Or on how to discharge it manually? And do you need insulated cutters to trim the wires, or is it safe to use non-insulated ones?

JonathanA22 (author)bkleeman912016-04-07

I would use insulated pliers. Also, you could use an insulated screwdriver to touch both leads of the capacitors, but that will definitely cause a spark, or you can touch both ends across a resistor to bleed the current out slower. 1K should be fine. Wouldn't go lower than 300 ohms, might blow the resistor. More sparks.

hawk090535 (author)2016-04-06

Thanks a lot for sharing!!!

Basho317 (author)2016-04-06

I Like this,

Many thanks,


diy_bloke (author)2016-04-06

always handy

grow23 (author)2016-04-05

Capitol idea, Capitol. Now what we need next is projects utilizing only easily salvaged parts such as these.

Well done old chap

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