Halogen to Fluorescent Torchiere Lamp Conversion

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This project got started because I was going through $2-$3 300 watt halogen light bulbs about once a month and because the lamp in my office made as good a heater as it did a lamp.
I wound up converting 3 lamps for a total cost of about $12 in lamp parts
6 ceramic light sockets
2 3-way switches
1 25' roll of 14awg single conductor stranded copper wire
The lamps have been working great for about 3 months now. They're saving me money on electricity and light bulbs.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Lamps and Decide What You Need

I had 3 lamps I wanted to convert (one was already fluorescent but with a blown ballast) the 2 halogen lamps had dimmer switches which won't work with fluorescent lights and if left on low will burn them out pretty quick.
I found a three way chain switch at the hardware store which looked like it would fit in the tube in place of the dimmer switch.
The pre-fluorescent lamp already had a 3-way rotary switch so there was no need to replace it.

Step 2: Demolition

Remove all the electronics and any hardware not welded to the top of the lamp.
You will want to leave the cords that are strung through the lamp where they are as we will reuse these.

Step 3: Wire It Up

I've included a simple wiring diagram here for how to connect the switch and the lamps. If the wiring diagram is not clear let me know and I will try to put up some more info.
All of the components I was using had pigtails so I used wire nuts to secure the connections. (sorry no pics I finished the project a long time ago and just found this site recently)
You may need to use some additional wire as there were only 2 wires going from the dimmer switch to the top of the lamp and now there will be 3 (hot A, hot B, and neutral). Make sure to use a heavy enough gauge of wire to carry the voltage.

Step 4: Mount the Sockets

The next step is to mount the light sockets. How you do this will depend on your lamp. I was lucky, after I took apart the halogen lamps there were a couple of threaded holes on a bar welded across the center of the lamp. There were also some left over screws that fit perfectly. I drilled out the threads on my light socket's mounting bracket and screwed the sockets to the bar as in the pictures.
The lamp that was already a fluorescent didn't have any pre-threaded holes but there was a big plastic hub in the center so I drilled a pilot hole for each lamp and screwed them in place with sheet metal screws.

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    31 Discussions

    Awesome! I did the same thing to my old lamp but put in 3 bulbs instead of 2. I'm using 75 watts and getting the same light output as the old 300 watt bulb. I made mine almost ten years ago and use it several hours every night. I have never had to change the fluorescent bulbs. If they ever burn out I might try LEDs since they fit the same socket and are coming down in price.

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    supreme-ette

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Could a 300 watts burn an acetate sheet? We're gonna use the 300 watts as the light source for an improvised projector, and since we've got no lcd to have images be delivered then projected, so we opted for acetate sheets.

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    wperry1supreme-ette

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Those halogen bulbs get pretty hot but I'm really not sure. Trial (by fire?) might be the best way to find out.

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    wperry1

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Well, with this project you are basically installing standard light sockets in place of the halogen one so you could then screw in just about any bulb you want, including LED.

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    diy_chad

    8 years ago on Step 4

    Make sure you are switching the hot and not the neutral.  You do not want to have a hot wire at the sockets when the switch is off.

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    wperry1acer359

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    I suppose you could. I pretty much just installed regular light sockets so you could put in any bulb that screws into a standard socket. building LEDs into the top of the lamp would be a great idea though.

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    wperry1acer359

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    It is now a 3 way switch. Dimable CF bulbs are expensive so I put in a 3-way switch and 2 different bulbs. I don't know the wattages off hand but they are 60w and 100w equivalent bulbs so I have 3 modes. 60 only, 100 only, or both together. Just to be clear though they are CF bulbs so they are actually ~10-15 watts each not 60-100.

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    xrayangiodoc

    9 years ago on Step 3

    If I'm reading the circuit diagram properly it looks as if either one or the other CFL would be on at a time. Wouldn't it be more flexible to have a switch that would allow one, or the other, or both CFLs to be on at a time? That way you could have a 15 and 23 watt CFL and get 3 different levels of light output. Nice project. I hate the halogen torch lamps in my home and almost never use them. They are just about the only incandescent lamps left in my home.

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    wperry1xrayangiodoc

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    This switch actually has three modes A (light 1), B (light 2), and C (both lights) I found it in the lamp parts section of the hardware store. While I am sure there are other varieties this one had was a pull-chain type switch.

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    BigAl323

    10 years ago on Introduction

    A++ you just saved one lamp from going into the garbage. I was keeping it even though it didn't work anymore. it now has 2 mini CFLs in it. wished it would give out more light but might just be the fact i bought mini's. A++ on Instructable. Alex

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    Action Pat

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Those halogen bulbs are one hell of a fire hazard around drunkies. Sweet instructable

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    jbgruver

    10 years ago on Step 3

    Usually when you speak of wire size it is the amperage that is important. 110-120 VAC 60 HZ is usually understood to be the voltage. You can take the "Wattage" of the lamps and divide by 115 and get the amps Fluorescent bulbs use very little wattage so number 14 or 16 gauge multi strand is more than sufficient. Thats my 2 cents worth.

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    n0ukf

    11 years ago on Introduction

    those halogen bulbs (any incandescent for that matter) last longer if you don't run them at full brightness. The two torchier floor lamps I have are dimmer models which I normally run at a lower than full level. I haven't had to replace a bulb yet (now the halogen work light is a different matter as it has no dimmer). But then again the fluorescents are good for energy savings, I'm changing to those wherever i don't have a dimmer.

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    Big Bwanan0ukf

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Halogens don't last longer if dimmed, dimmning them actually reduces there life by a huge percent and causes the tube to go black, because you interupt the halogen cycle which requires a certain tube tempurature for it to work... (( If you want them to last there full life time consider getting the right voltage tubes not the standard 130 volt home depot specials )) But YES CFL's or even GE double D shaped flouresent tubes are the way to go... plus it costs less in airconditioning your office space to...

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    n0ukfBig Bwana

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I just replaced my 300W bulb a couple months ago but not because it burned out (it didn't, and I'm not even seeing any signs that the dimming had any adverse affects on it). I actually found a 150W bulb in this same larger form (there's smaller ones of the same tubular style, only up to 150W), so I can run the dimmer higher for the same (and whiter) light as I was dimming down to with the 300W bulb. As i said before, for other non-dimming fixtures, I'm switching to fluorescents. Though they're not so good outside and in the unheated garage where they don't start so well in sub-zero (F) temperatures.

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    sobemanhoss

    10 years ago on Introduction

    can you just do a conversion to a single CFL or does it have to be two?