About: PLC, Arduino - Do it yourself project

I saw in the scrap yard some beautiful-shape lamp bulbs thrown away. I came up with some ideas for doing a home decorative lamp from these broken lamps and collected a few bulbs. Today, I'm willing to share how I did to turn these bulbs to home decoration lamp in industrial looking style.

Please watch my first test video below:

And this is binary internet clock version:


Mercury is used in a variety of light bulbs, such as: fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps including metal halide, high pressure sodium, and mercury vapor lamps. Amount of mercury in different types of lighting (in mg) are as below:

  • Fluorescent lamps: 0 – 100.
  • CFL: 0 – 50.
  • Ceramic Metal Halide: 0 – 50.
  • High Pressure Sodium: 10 – 50.
  • Mercury Vapor: 10 – 1000.

While arc tubes (a smaller envelope) of HID lamps are intact, the mercury within them poses no health risks. Light bulbs can be hazardous waste according to local environmental regulations. Even if they are not regulated by rules, we have to be careful when handling them. To work with mercury-containing bulb, the PPE need to be worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause injuries and illnesses.

So I did some adjustments in my article as well as notice about the use of mercury-containing light bulbs, and recommend to use the other types of lamp, such as: incandescent bulbs with interesting shapes which contain no mercury at all or LED filament long tube bulb....



A 8 bit led stick consist of 8 leds - type 5050 RGB LEDs in which the very compact WS2812 LED driver IC is integrated. In my project, two 8 bit led sticks are connected together. We can control them with just a single pin from NodeMCU ESP8266, in my case it is digital pin D4. Each 8 bit led stick has 4 pad connectors at each end, two for the powering (4-7VDC & GND) and two for the data (DIN/DOUT & GND).


1. LED sticks assembly

  • Soldering 3 pads of 8 BIT–LEDs stick: GND (Controller), DIN and GND (Power supply) to 3 led pins. I usually keep the led pins which were cut from my led related projects.

  • The LED sticks are "chainable" by soldering the output of one stick into the input of another. I soldered two LED sticks in backrest position together and then soldered its power supply pad (4-7VDC) to a led pin.

  • We can see a small gap between 2 LED sticks.

  • To emulate the components placed inside a real high-pressure bulb, I bent 4 copper wires as same as the shape of steel rods located inside real high-pressure bulb and then soldered them to LED module above. Firstly, I soldered the power supply pin “4-7VDC” to one bent copper wire.

  • Then I soldered led module at pins: GND (Controller), DIN and GND (Power supply) to 3 remaining bent copper wires. The picture below shows the similarity between components inside the fake assembly bulb and the real high pressure bulb.

2. Bulb assembly:

  • I selected a beautiful bulb and cut bulb socket by hand saw. Be careful because the bulb is very fragile and it can injure you.

  • Cutting a small PCB in round shape, its dimension is slightly smaller than bulb socket so that later we can easily place it inside the bulb. I soldered 4 copper wires to this PCB.

  • Place all above soldered components inside the bulb, carefully do alignment and glue PCB board into the bulb socket.

  • Take note that we have to solder 4 pin male header on PCB which are connected to 4 copper wires of led module before put all components into the bulb. Picture below show 4 x 4 pin headers on the PCB, only marked pin header is used, the others for alignment.

  • Real high pressure bulb vs fake high pressure bulb.

3. Lamp base:

At first, I intended to use acrylic plate to make a lamp base, but this lamp bulb is high and easy to fall down. I looked for something heavy enough and I detected one broken high power thyristor module SKKH570 SEMIKRON. It is good idea to make my lamp looks like industrial style.

Typical applications of SEMIKRON high power thyristor module : AC motor softstarters/ Input converters for AC inverter drives/ DC motor control/ Temperature control (e.g. for ovens)/ Professionals light dimming (studios, theaters)....

  • Thyristor - TOP

  • Thyristor - BOTTOM: Thyristor is equipped with very big heat-sink plate at the bottom. When the thyristor is working, the generated heat is transfered through aluminium nitride ceramic isolated metal baseplate.

  • Glue assembled lamp on the top of thyristor module. It has a gap between the high power connectors and thyristor body so control cable is easily threaded underneath these connectors.

  • Cutting one small PCB, soldering a small control shield for ESP8266 NodeMCU with 4 pin male header. This header detail is as below:





  • Glue ESP8266 NodeMCU PCB shield at the gate connector of thyristor module. It fits perfectly.

  • Finish! It looks really cool....


We can use this bulb in 2 modes:

  • Lighting effect mode: It can perform some beautiful effects, such as: rainbow, fire, fade in/ fade out,....
  • Binary internet clock mode: Time can be read from the NTP server and updated over WIFI by ESP8266 NODEMCU. We need 4 LEDs equivalent to a 4-bit binary number to show each digit and we can identify each digit by specific color. The detail is shown below:

The code of fake high pressure lamp - binary internet clock is available at my GitHub.

Step 6: FINISH

Thank for your reading!!!

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