Haunted Flicker Light Adapter





Introduction: Haunted Flicker Light Adapter

This adapter will turn any 25W Colored Party Light Bulb into an eerily flickering light. This can be used with any standard light socket, provided you have the room for it. It is a modification of the flickering light fixture portion of the haunted signpost I found at (the now defunct) http://www.unpleasantstreet.com/index.php?x=/projects/2005/haunted_signpost&y=main

I found where the original Unpleasant Street idea came from...http://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/51359-sign-post-idea.html

Step 1: Parts

The parts from the home store you will need are: a light socket adapter, a flourescent lampholder with starter socket, and a 20W flourescent tube starter.

Step 2: Remove the Lamp Base

Using a jewlers flat blade screwdriver bend the indents (2x) holding the base on, out wards so the metal base can be unscrewed from the adapter.

Step 3: Remove the Rivet

Using a 1/8" drill bit, I drilled the rivet out. The rivet is located in the center of the plug in part.

Step 4: Separate the Two Halves

At this point the two halves of the plastic body should easily come apart.

Step 5: Prep the Starter Socket

I wanted to save the lampholder for a project in the future, so using the flat blade jewlers screwdriver I popped open the back of the lampholder and carefully removed the wire attached to it. I then bent the metal arm away from the starter socket and the brass rivet easily gave way.

Step 6: Fit the Starter Socket

I set the starter socket over the plugin to see how wide I needed to cut the hole.

Step 7: Cut and Fit

Then get out the trusty Dremel and cut out a spot for the starter socket. Make sure your cutting wheel goes deep enough so when you use the regular screwdriver to pop it apart it doesn't break the plastic shell of the adapter. That's what I did to my first one. Test fit the starter socket to make sure it fits down in the plastic shell.

Step 8: Start Wiring

Since the starter socket has push in connectors I cut a short piece of 16AWG wire and pushed it in. The black wire that came with the starter socket is solid core 18AWG. Then fit the starter socket back into the plastic shell running the wires to the inside of the shell. Then pull the brass connectors out of the other half of the shell.

Step 9: Modify the Neutral Conductor

Using a side cutters I removed the portion of the brass conductors so everything could fit. Make sure you cut the side of the fittings that used to go up into the part of the shell you already modified. Put the Neutral brass conductor back in making sure you get the top edge into the cutout.

Step 10: Modify the Hot Conductor

Near the rivet of the Hot brass conductor, cut the conductor. In order for the bottom half of the hot conductor to stay in place the U shaped end needs to be bent once more to form a square. In addition I made a tight curl at the other end for the wire coming from the starter socket. After inserting the wire into the curl, I added some solder just to make the wire a little stiffer. I did give the conductor a little bend to keep it near the wall of the plastic shell (You'll see this in a later pic) Using the rivet in the upper half of my hot conductor as the connection point, I slid the black 18AWG wire through the rivet and bent the wire around the conductor.

Step 11: Reassembly

Put the two parts of the hot conductor back into the unmodified half of the plastic shell and carefully put the shell back together. The starter socket may pop out because of the wires, it's ok for now. Make sure you get the neutral conductor into the cut out in the modified half of the shell. I then used 2 zip ties to hold the two halves of the shell together.

Step 12: Reassembly P2

I then screwed the metal base back on and used the flat screwdriver to bend the metal base tabs back into their notches.
Install the starter into the starter socket. Screw in a 25W party lightbulb and screw this whole thing into a light socket (with the power off). Turn the light on and watch it flicker as if your house were haunted and/or run down.
How do you like my first instructable?



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    20 Discussions

    Tried this this other day with no luck. I only put it on the 'hot' side (no neutral), and all I get is a starter that glows. However, if I turn of the lamp that is attached (or unscrew the bulb that is connected), the glow stops. Help!!

    2 replies

    the way the starter works is it lets enough current through to heat up the fluoro tubes filaments so they can ionise the gas inside the tube. The filaments in the tube take enough current to cause a small bi-metal switch in the starter to bend and disconnect the power, and in the proper setting the attached choke would 'strike' the tube by sending a spike of current through the ionised gas. Short answer, get a higher wattage bulb, or a lower powered starter. I dont know if you can get the Phillips S10 starters there, but I use those for everything.

    i use FS-2 and then any wattage will flicker. i wire them inline and get amazing results time and time again

    Nothing at the unpleasant street link you provided except something about spreadsheets.

    I have all the pieces so I'm going to give it a go in a few days, I'll let you know the outcome.

    Worked Awesome. I wired the starter right to the light socket without the florecent starter socket. Works great. Thanks for the awesome idea.

    uhm... i didn't really get what it does... does it flicker the light or just when its turned on? =/

    I have just been to both HD and Orchard Supply Hardware and found that they don't carry 25w incand. colored "party bulbs" lamps, having replaced them with colored CFLs. Does anyone have a line on the 25w anymore? This is going to suck. We still use them as running lights for theatre and the CFL versions are too bright for backstage.

    Hmm, I might have a go at this, I like flickering lights, dunno why, but I've often wondered how to do this myself, cos you see it on TV and in movies, now i know how to recreate the effect... :D

    hey there, ive been searching for how to create a flickering light for an installation im creating and i wanted to know if this would work with a 40watt black CFL.? (black light/ uv light etc) it would be heaps helpful if you could get back to me thanks heaps.

    2 replies

    I gonna say I doubt it. I did a little bit of looking around and found "that if you lower the voltage in a fluorescent light, the ballast that regulates the power into the bulb can't pass enough power to make the bulb actually light up." (from Planet Geek)
    So, sorry, I think this will only work for incandescent bulbs.

    Excellent! I do the same thing within a prop but add a slow blow fuse inline. Never thought of trying to fit in it an adapter like you did. Really nice work.

    Just what I have been looking for. Great Instructable easy to follow, so good first one i have commented on. i for sure will be making this.

    Cool way to add effects, I had to try it and it works. My only constructive comment is you did it the hard way. If you took apart the Starter, you find a high tech device known as a light bulb and nothing els. The bulb is crimped into the 2 aluminum posts. If you un-crimp the bulb leads you can pull it out with pliers. Then solder the bulb in line, or in series, just like you did to the cut copper contact. There is enough room inside to hold the bulb. So when you re-assemble it will look un-modified.

    Hi I tried it and it is kool. good Instructable I made two and the one didn't work so I reversed the way the starter was and bingo it worked.

    I posted the message and was like DoH! i'm an electrician! Backwards enginering. Anyway, one last comment, Here in the Netherlands, we generaly have 2 types of starters. S2, and S10. The S10 goes from 8 to 65 watts, so make sure you stay within that range.

    cool! do you have a pic or video of the working bulb? Happy Halloween.

    Looks good. Personaly i totaly object to the type of socket you use, but the difference is in the country i guess. Could you get a scematic online?

    1 reply