Lucas Carbide Lamp Converted to Multi Colored LED




About: I love making things. I have for as long as I can remember liked to make stuff. Now days I have two kids (Thomas and Emma) and most of the things I do are safe for them! I love electronics and Microchips, I ...

I picked up this Lucas Carbide lamp a while ago from a antiques fair, i wasn't really sure what it was or how it worked, but being of an engineering mind decided it looked nice and brought it. When i researched it i was quite surprised how the thing works..... Basically you put Calcium Carbide in the bottom chamber and then add water to the top chamber. then you open the needle valve and the water reacting with the carbide creates acetylene gas, this is then lit as it exits the ceramic nozzle behind the glass to produce i bright light.

Step 1: Fitting the LED Ring and Wiring Up.

I decided that it would be nice to make this lamp work again, but decided against Calcium Carbide and instead had a look it my box of bits to see what i could use. And that's when i found a ring of 16 WS2812 which was just about the correct size. so the first part of the project was to remove the ceramic nozzle and then open up a hole underneath the top chamber so i could push a cable up and around the acetylene tube. this wasn't too hard and is totally hidden from sight once the bottom half is put back on. the 16 ring of WS2812 was then soldered to the wires and within the lower pot i connected an Arduino Nano. The ring of LED's was stuck on top of the reflector using double sided foam tape.

With the nano wired up it was a simple matter to program with the Adafruit strandtest sketch which i modified to just display the rainbowCylcle pattern. And that was basically it. I checked it worked connected to the computers USB. and then added a 4AAA battery box which is just the right size to fit in the bottom chamber and wired the positive to the RAW input and the neg to GND. And lastly i covered the Arduino Nano with heat shrink tube which i had brought to cover AA batteries, it turns out it was the perfect size for this job as well!


LED Ring, Data in = Orange, ground = Brown, Positive = Red.

Arduino, Orange = D2, brown = GND, Red = +5V.

Battery box, Red = VIN, Black = GND.

Step 2: The Finished Effect. and Simple Program.

The light produced is really nice and continually changes and you get an infinity mirror effect as well.

The program

strip = Adafruit_NeoPixel(16, 2, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800);

void setup() {

strip.begin();; // Initialize all pixels to 'off'


void loop()




void rainbowCycle(uint8_t wait) {

uint16_t i, j;

for(j=0; j<256*5; j++) { // 5 cycles of all colors on wheel

for(i=0; i< strip.numPixels(); i++) {

strip.setPixelColor(i, Wheel(((i * 256 / strip.numPixels()) + j) & 255));





uint32_t Wheel(byte WheelPos) {

if(WheelPos < 85) {

return strip.Color(WheelPos * 3, 255 - WheelPos * 3, 0);

} else if(WheelPos < 170) {

WheelPos -= 85;

return strip.Color(255 - WheelPos * 3, 0, WheelPos * 3);

} else {

WheelPos -= 170;

return strip.Color(0, WheelPos * 3, 255 - WheelPos * 3);





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    2 Discussions


    2 years ago

    c'est une lampe à acétylène


    2 years ago

    My father had one of these carbide lamps back in the 1950's (I'm sure it was even older) that was designed to wear on your head. He used it for coon hunting. It was dim enough that it did not frighten the coons, but bright enough to make their eyes reflect so you could see them in the trees. I'm not a hunter, but I was always fascinated by this lamp as a child; it had a little flint wheel to allow you light it.