Joule Thief Without Soldering

Introduction: Joule Thief Without Soldering

About: I love building things, and I'm a twin, we both are electrical engineers and inventors. Feel free to ask anything else

this is my version of the famous joule thief. there's alot of these things out there so i did alot of research and made it as simple as i can without soldering or complicated math. i harvested these parts from an older dell computer that was given to me to scrap. there is only a few parts needed to build this project:

1: toroid bead (ferrite core)
2: 1k ohm resister (brown black red)
3: npn transistor (i used the 2n3904)
4: thin wire

Step 1: Wind the Coil

i wound a couple sizes of these things using the same wire. the type of wire i used came from an ethernet cat5 cable. i like it because its a solid core wire that stays in place where i put it. i have 11 turns of wire in the orange one and 13 in the green one. i looked all over the internet to find the reason for the number of turns but couldnt find an exact answer, and 11 winds is all the smaller (orange one) could take, and the green one i just put the 13 turns in it from the same length of wire. the orange coil is half the size (about the size of a dime) of the green one (little bit smaller than a 50cent coin).

Step 2: Connect the Resistor

once the coil is wound, cut off the excess wire but make sure to leave enough to work with. strip the ends of all four wires, then take 1 wire of opposite color from each side and twist them together. then since i didnt solder any wire, i cut up several small wires to piece the rest of it together. unless you want to solder it you can skip this part. but i took a piece of wire and attached it to one of the single wires on the coil ( it doesnt matter which one) and attach the other end of the piece of wire to the 1k ohm resister, then take another piece of wire and attach it to the other single wire which will go to the collector leg of the transistor. the final piece of wire for this step attaches to the twisted pair of wires which will become the positive input for the circuit.

Step 3: Connect the Transistor

next take a piece of wire and attach it to the other side of the resistor, and then take the other end of the piece of wire and attach it to the base leg of the transistor. next, as i mentioned in the previous step, take the open piece of wire from the coil and attach it to the collector leg of the transistor, also i attached another piece of wire to this leg for the positive output side . last of all connect two wires to the emitter leg which will be the negative side of the circuit. (one wire to negative on battery, then one to the negative output side of an LED light or whatever else you put on it).

Step 4: Hook It Up and Enjoy!

time to hook it up! the positive wire from the double twisted wire on the coil goes to the positive power source, and one of the negative wires on the transistor go to the negative side on the power source. the positive wire on the transistor and the other negative wire on the transistor go to the output power. once its all wired up its ready for use. as you can see in the picture, i hooked up a new AA battery and got about 5 volts! not bad for a 1.5v to 5v boost. and the orange coil circuit i also made produces about 2.5v from a 1.5v source, so this orange one only produces another volt while the green one produces alot more. i dont know why this is really. my only guess is the size of the toroid coil and the 2 winding difference. other than that its all the same parts. below is the results of some playing around with it.

green coil circuit:
1: 1.5v AA produces 5 volts
2: 2 AA 3v produces 20 volts
3: 3v input can power a 12v .25a computer fan.
4: 1.5v lights 3 green LED lights.

orange coil circuit
1: 1.5v AA produces 2.5 volts
2: 2 AA 3v produces 8 volts
3: 3v input also powers same 12v computer fan for 5 seconds...

very inconsistent results between the two but thats what is going on. thanks for looking and hope this helps with your project.

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    3 Discussions


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    2N3904 = GP NPN Bi-Polar transistor commonly found in toys and small radios. Otherwise you can get them at radio shack, fry's electronics or order them online.

    Other compatible ones are:














    Also, if you use a 2N4401 or BC337 transistor, your LED will be brighter because they can handle more amps.

    You can get the toroid and transistor from a dead CFL; the transistor is usually labeled 13002


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I tried that transistor also and I couldnt get it to output anything, I think the internal circuits inside it are backwards for a joule thief.