Introduction: Simple 12v Compact Fluorescent Tube Ballast/inverter Only Eight Components! Updated!

Picture of Simple 12v Compact Fluorescent Tube Ballast/inverter Only Eight Components! Updated!

This is an inverter that can drive any 8 to 25watt compact fluorescent tube with a 11to 15v input.
It consists of a ferrite core,tip3055 transistor,two resistors,two capacitors.
i use tubes out of old energy savers.

Step 1: Parts Required

Picture of Parts Required

You will need:

tip3055 transistor

180R resister(1w)

47R resistor (1w)

16v 100uf capacitor (electrolytic)

100n green cap (brown inductively wound will work)

toroid ferrite core (4-5cm x1cm)
heat sink (essential)

3 meter 0.7mm winding wire(0.6-0.8)
5 meter 0.5mm winding wire
old energy saver bulb.
power supply/battery of your choice.

Step 2: Modify Old Energy Saver Lamp.

Picture of Modify Old Energy Saver Lamp.

you will find that there is a join on the plastic bit.
You need to separate the two halves and look inside.
you will see 4 wires in between the ballast and the tube.

Step 3: Back to the Inverter

Picture of Back to the Inverter

now you need to wind the coil as shown.
all windings must be wound in the same direction and correct
wire sizes.
first wind the secondary coil with 90 turns of 0.5mm wire tap it then another 35turns(once every time it goes through the hole)
then wind 35 turns of 0.7 mm wire for the primary.
and 14 turns of 0.5mm wire on top of the primary to make the feedback.
leave 2.5cm of wire at the start and finish of each winding.

Step 4: Create a Pcb to Mount It On.

Picture of Create a Pcb to Mount It On.

use this diagram to make the PCB to put it all on
but watch out because the jump wires may be confusing!
now find the lamp you put aside and connect the base terminals
to the output wires and test it and then you are finished!


ShreyasI1 (author)2016-10-12

I made it its working thanks

ehsanaz (author)2015-09-01

i made it but it isn't work.

Electrospark (author)2014-09-28

this is a super instructables!

i will definitely try to make one! :)

jonathanmlang (author)2009-10-09
I've built this circuit and there is a better way of heating the filaments. when you have wound the secondary, twist a center tap and then put on another 35 turns. put the start of the winding to one filament of the tube, the center tap to one end of the other filament and the end of the winding to the other end of the filament. You no longer need the switch start because this will start the tube reliably and automatically. This works because I have tried it.
And don't forget, never run without a tube because it burns out the transistor in seconds!
lam (author)jonathanmlang2011-09-29

Hi jonathanmlang .
Could you post your schema here ??? for people easy to see and to learn. Thank you

jonathanmlang (author)lam2011-10-12

Well since its been such a while ago since I posted that comment I have made some massive improvements to this inverter. If you decide to make it wind the primary starting from the bottom to top then again after the center tap. This one will start the lamp softly and looks like a professional rapid-start during starting.

patrickvaz (author)jonathanmlang2013-08-09

Hi Jonathanmlang,
In the attached circuit diagram, I have some queries :
- I see a ground just below the lamp, where is this coming from.
-I see a tap in the 400 tuns in L4, how many turns is this tap.
- what is "A " mentioned in the circuit diagram.

Thanks for your feed back- cheers

jonathanmlang (author)patrickvaz2013-08-10

The two 'A's are connected together. Just thought it would be clearer than having a wire around the whole circuit. The ground should just connect to the negative supply cable. It helps to start the tube more reliably. The reason I did them separate in the diagram is to keep it tidy. The positive terminals also go together

lam (author)jonathanmlang2011-10-12

Dear Jonathanmlang.
First thank you so much for your time to post your diagram schema ,But unfortunatery the picture is too blearing,not clear to see.Could you re-post an other..
Kind regards

jonathanmlang (author)lam2011-10-17

I uploaded the image much larger than the one above but instructables shrunk it down! I have made an instructable of how to make this inverter so you can see it better.

lam (author)jonathanmlang2011-10-17

Thank you so much Jonathanmlang.
Kind regads

patrickvaz (author)2013-08-09

I have a CFL of 26 watts (GE make) it needs a electronic blast (out left of the CFL are two pins) can i use this circuit, would it work, instead of 4 pins, it there are only two pins on the cfl how to go about, attached is the picture of the cfl. thanks for the info

robi_ncc (author)2012-02-22

Can I use a non-polarized capacitor in between fluorescent tubes two loops like the circuit diagram in my comment?

And can I use 40W fluorescent tube in this circuit?

And as the power source is 12v battery so, if the battery discharge around 10.8v then the fluorescent tube's brightness well dimmer then how long did fluorescent tube will light brightly. Because I use two compact
fluorescent tubes before and both of them did not light brightly even battery full charge.

And sorry for editing your circuit diagram.

red eyes (author)2011-02-10

make this diagram easier

flying pie (author)2010-04-09

i want to make it smaller in size so i can put it in the case of the old cfl and is there a way to make it for  a 38w  cfl

junits15 (author)2010-02-06

i think you mean 108 Ohms and 47 Ohms

chub2 (author)2009-12-03

We don't get the winding wires in our place so I will have to get the wires from old transformers. so it will be difficult to know the diameter of the wires.

will it be ok to use any type of winding wires without knowing the diameter?


junits15 (author)chub22010-01-31

as long as they are close (within 4-5 AWG) it "should"  work, theoreticly, the thickness itsnt terribly important as long as the rest of the circuit is correct.  were do you live, that you cant get magnet wire?  

junits15 (author)2010-01-31

i have two transistors, a 3055 and a 2n3055, the 2n3055 is huge (100+ watts) the regular 3055 is about 65 watts.  will either of them work or just the regular one?

jiraya-sama (author)2009-09-23

Hi, i'm italian, sorry for my bad english, i have buy a 8 W 56 Volt 0.145 A actinic neon, how i can modify this circuit for this neon??? Thanks

12V (author)jiraya-sama2009-10-27

need more info:
electrode type   hot cathode / cold cathode (usually cold for neon)
strike voltage              1,000+for most neons but 56v sounds low for ionized voltage (maybe only a short  tube if so strike could be as low as 200v) 
length           if you don't know strike voltage
supply      6--24v  what is best for you?  

VadimS (author)2009-07-22

Um the output is ac not dc therefore the wear would be even.

12V (author)VadimS2009-07-30

each one is slightly different because of shape of core and size and wire usually the positive voltage has a higher peak than the negative.

mattccc (author)2009-07-06

is this baised on a flyback transformer driver?

12V (author)mattccc2009-07-10

not really but it could be used as one if connected properly it is a goodidea to change the polarity of the lame every so often as only one electrode is wearing out.(the output is dc that's why) i did not purposely make it dc but it is much less complex than an ac one.

bilalinpk (author)2009-05-04

please post a clear diagram i shall be very thankful to you..

12V (author)bilalinpk2009-05-10

is this easier to understand?

mgalyean (author)12V2009-05-14

Is that -12V supposed to 'ground'?
Otherwise it looks like it requires 24VDC to operate (+12-12=24).

Do you have any ballpark for efficiency? How warm does the circuit get? Too hot to touch? (the transistor and any resistors would be the key components to monitor). The hotter they run, the less efficient the circuit. Unless it is also considered a mini space heater.

Thanks for the ible, it will be useful renovating boats and campers.

12V (author)mgalyean2009-05-15

yes it is supposed to be grounded. it is 12v between +and -. produces about 35w (incandescent equivalent) of light. it is about (depending on tube and windings) 22w at 12v i accidentally connected it to 14.4v and it burned out so don't exceed 13.8v with a good heat sink . ratings: input 23w volt 11-13.8 amp 1.7-2.4 output volt starting 130v running 35+ power 7-8w efficiency 30% (28% more than equivalent incandescent including bulb)

12V (author)12V2009-05-15

watch out this is 12v and not 24!(the diagram might make you think it is 24)

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