Xenon Lighting From Retro Flash Tube

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Introduction: Xenon Lighting From Retro Flash Tube

Heres how to repurpose a retro flash tube into a lamp.
Note there will be high voltage involved. Be sure to know how to work on it safely and do not work on it when its plugged in

Supplies

You'll need a small flash tube of some type(I used an ifk120) a halo eyes inverter and a 12v power supply(i used a 5v usb power supply however i found inconsistent results in that some tubes wouldn't start up because the voltage was too low for them), optionally some leather for decoration

Step 1: Disassemble Case and Drill Holes

The back of the halo eye inverter can be popped off. Then the circuit board is removed by cutting the potting compound from the case.
Holes in the back case cover are marked with the tube's spacing and then drilled out. The holes are then enlarged to fit the xenon tube.

Step 2: Gluing the Leather(optional)

This step is pretty self explanatory. A peice of leather was glued to the top of the case and then cut to shape for decoration. I got the leather from an old thrift shop jacket

Step 3: Modifying the Electronics(output Side)

The potting compound was removed from the output capacitors(blue things) from both the top and bottom sides of the pcb.
The wires for one output channel was removed. Its layed out in such a way that there are 2 wires commoned together and there are 2 other wires connecting to each capacitor
What needs to be done is one of the common wires gets cut off and one of the wires connecting to a cap gets cut off.
Then the capacitor that is connected to the remaining output gets shorted out. This usually is for current limiting but it isnt nessisary to have

Step 4: Modifying the Electronics(input Side)

The potting compound was removed from the bottom of the input side.
The existing wires were removed
The power supplies wire was stripped, tinned, and soldered in so it replaced the existing wires

Step 5: Reassembly

The xenon tube was pushed into the bottom cover where holes where drilled and glued in.
The output wires are silicone and so they can just be pushed onto the xenon tube terminals
The top cover was then closed and the project is completed

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    23 Comments

    0
    bpark1000
    bpark1000

    Tip 11 days ago on Step 5

    Beware. Running a xenon flash tube like this for any time can quickly destroy it, unless the current is INSANELY low. (Some camera strobes would "hang on" this way, & were destroyed in minutes if allowed to continue.) You will know if damage is occurring if a black deposit forms inside the tube end near the cathode. Shut off the power, wait for capacitors to discharge, & feel the cathode end of the tube for heat.
    Do you know the current & voltage the tube is getting?
    Also, make sure you have the proper polarity on the tube. The cathode (minus) is the side with the wad of gauze inside (NOT the pin). Starting will be easier if the metal clip is tied to the positive supply. Keep your fingers away from the metal clip!

    0
    inspiredStudio
    inspiredStudio

    14 days ago

    I was just planning just the same thing, but having trouble getting flashlight, None of my photographers friends had it. New ones are too expensive.

    0
    inspiredStudio
    inspiredStudio

    Reply 13 days ago

    I can only dream of getting it for a five bucks in my country :) Usually they do not ship it here, or the shipping + customs will rise the price too much. I checked amazon.com, $14 for shipping + unknown import fees.So 20..30 is way too much for small novelty toy.

    0
    SteveD8
    SteveD8

    Reply 12 days ago

    Ah, that sucks. Don't you have local electronics hobby stores, like Radio Shack / Tandy etc?
    Even Wish.com sells these for $1.

    0
    inspiredStudio
    inspiredStudio

    Reply 12 days ago

    Unfortunately our biggest and best electronics store has high prices on poor selection :( https://www.oomipood.ee/
    Usually they even lack in basic components so i try to keep my own collection.
    I found some xenon tubes on aliexpress, maybe i'll check them out, but even there they are more than 10 euros.

    0
    AlexZhang
    AlexZhang

    Reply 13 days ago

    Try tubes-store. Its where i got this. I think i paid $2 for the tube. However i bought some other things too since shipping was expensive

    0
    charlessenf-gm
    charlessenf-gm

    Reply 14 days ago

    Look in THRIFT SHOPS (Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat) for DISPOSABLE CAMERAS. Many, if not most, have a complete flash circuit and flash tube. I found many new ones on eBay, too. (e.g. "Fujifilm Quicksnap Smart flash 35mm Single Use Film Camera 9.99" Also try GovDeals (dot com) search Photographic Equipment as many public schools are disposing of their old photo technology (as are police depts).

    0
    inspiredStudio
    inspiredStudio

    Reply 13 days ago

    I live in Estonia, here it's totally different story with thrift stores, though I often visit them with intention to find stuff for my projects. I've been lookout for xenon, or any other noble gas tubes for a year. Though i got some noble gas tubes from china, they are not cheap.

    0
    AlexZhang
    AlexZhang

    Reply 13 days ago

    I bought my tubes from tubes-store for a couple of dollars. They're based in russia

    0
    DARKHOURS
    DARKHOURS

    Reply 13 days ago

    I got my tube off Amazon for $13.75 not expensive at all Just do a google search for ifk120

    0
    JohnC430
    JohnC430

    Reply 13 days ago

    thanks for the tip!

    0
    tontonCD
    tontonCD

    12 days ago

    I don't understand how it works, do you really power the tube with 900V?

    0
    abomin
    abomin

    14 days ago

    Lamp? It`s not good to your eyes if there is the UV light !!!

    0
    AlexZhang
    AlexZhang

    Reply 13 days ago

    Im guessing it will probably have similar uv output as a plasma ball as both devices work on similar principles

    0
    heamou8801
    heamou8801

    14 days ago

    wow looks amazing can u post a video of this?

    0
    rubikondo
    rubikondo

    Reply 14 days ago

    Rubikondo
    I am very interested in this project. Would it be possible to add an adjustable oscillator and get a strobe lamp? Perhaps xenon lamps are not suitable ... Great project

    0
    AlexZhang
    AlexZhang

    Reply 13 days ago

    The lamp isnt very bright so it probably won't work well as a strobe. Easist thing you could try is switching the input side of the ccfl inverter, however i am unsure of the effect that would have on the circuit

    0
    rubikondo
    rubikondo

    Reply 13 days ago

    Thanks!

    0
    charlessenf-gm
    charlessenf-gm

    Reply 14 days ago

    A CCFL inverter is an electrical inverter that supplies alternating current power to a cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL). CCFLs are often used as inexpensive light units in electrical devices that are powered by direct current sources such as batteries. CCFL inverters are small, have switchover efficiency over 80%, and offer adjustable output of light. They are widely used for backlights for LCDs, or for rear lighting in advertising signs. (WIKIPEDIA)

    Also look at YouTube: "CCFL High voltage Power Supply" and "How to make a 12V to 220V Inverter (DC to AC) CCFL Inverter" and look at danyk.cz/ccfl_en.html for a detailed circuit diagram, explanation and video.

    Might be able to add an oscillator - I do not know enough about the electronics to say. But, if you can ask the question, then you might be able to answer it after looking at the circuit.

    http   danyk.cz ccfl_en html BRDR.bmp