Intro: Necronomicon Lamp
Well, a Necronomicon-lamp?
This lamp must be in the study of mad scientists, Necronomicon-readers, and other alchemists. If you know the PC-game, or have some Steampunk-experience, you perhaps know what it is: some dim, blinking bulbs in an antique-style, varnished wooden box, red glowing or fluorescent lights, sometimes sparks. The misty lights illuminates the variuos switches, which seem to control the lights in random order - or, at least, a virtual random order, following a complex system.
The box lamp controls 4 pcs bulbs, 2 glow lamps, the code is not clear for first sight, but may be decoced. Which is missing is the spark, but can blink instead. The power of the light is little, can be set with the switches from the faint glow to the orange, and with switches you may control the orderless blinking.
And a word before the fun: I'm not a native speaker, tried to translate the names of the parts, but perhaps made some funny mistake - sorry for them:-) To help, I explain the functions some parts I think doubtful: I call "glow bulb" the part, which is a small glass bulb with 2 poles, filled with gas, and emits dim orange ionized light when gets voltage. The "ignition glow bulb" must be the part which used with the neon tubes to reach the higher ignition voltage, and this part is always combined with a capacitor to filter the noise. In Europe the household power is 230 V, in the USA it's only 120 V, but this doesn't matter if everybody uses the correct parts (bulbs, fuses, etc).
Step 1: WARNING!
WARNING! THE WALL SOCKET VOLTAGE IS HIGH (110 OR 230 V), WHICH MAY CAUSE DEADLY ELECTRIC SHOCK! DO NOT START TO BUILD THIS LAMP, IF YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE BASICS OF THE PROTECTION OF ELECTRIC SHOCK AND THE ELECTRIC INSULATION, OR HOW TO AVOID ACCIDENTS THE HIGH VOLTAGE MAY CAUSE!
IF YOU THINK YOU AREN'T SKILLED ENOUGH IN ELECTRICITY DON'T TRY TO BUILD THIS LAMP, OR ASK AN EXPERT TO HELP YOU!
WE REJECT ANY RESPONSIBILITY OF ANY ACCIDENT DURING THE BUILDING OF NECRONOMICON LAMP!
Step 2: The Schematics
The schematics. List of the parts:
4 sockets and bulbs (max. 15 W/bulb)
3 diodes (min. 1 A)
5 normal I/O mini switches, with screw on the neck, if possible (min. 1 A)
1 ignition glow bulb (for neon tubes)
1 resistor (100-300 kOhm, 0.5 W)
1 glow lamp wall plug cable with I/O switch fuse in socket (500mA) terminal (with 8 places) insulated cable and insulating tape
On the schematics the cable with wall plug and the fuse is not indicated - the fuse must placed into the box, next to the cable, BEFORE the switches and bulbs!
Step 3: The Box
Here is the wooden box: 17×12×5, contained chocolate before...
A block glued on the other side of the cover. Drill the layers together, here come the bulb sockets.
The wooden works: after sanding and first varnishing. Here are the holes with the name of the corresponding parts, but you don'thave to follow this, just find some alignment for the parts depending of its size or anything else. If you randomize the switches or bulbs, the operation will be mazy and more interesting.
Surface is antiquized; sanded, varnished twice, polished. After the first varnishing sand it carefully, and polish the surface.
Step 4: The Electric Parts
The bulbs must be the same in power, 7 or 15 watts small size - I used fridge bulbs, but sometimes also other bulbs may be found.Mixing the different power bulbs may cause unexpected working, but, if you don't level up the bulb power 15 watts, the parts won't fail or burn, but some function won't work properly. You may use different bulbs, but don't forget the 15 watts power limit.
The bulb socket - the brass design is the best, but you may use porcelain, if you can't get brass. Avoid the plastic ones - it ruins the illusion... The size is mignon, but in a larger box you may want normal size, if there are little power bulbs in that socket size.
You may get a glow lamp like this, which fits into a normal torch bulb socket, but other glow lamps are made with wire legs - these are useable too. Don't forget the serial current limiting resistor, or else the glow lamp will die. The resistor is very important to limit the current on the glow lamp. Use 100-300 kOhms in 0.25 watts.
And the main magic part - the ignition glow bulb. You can find it in neon armatures, as a small cylinder like plastic thing, with a glass bulb and a paralel soldered capacitor with it. Don't remove the capacitor, and don't attach it to the household power as a single part! This is a glow bulb combined with a bi-metall switch, and this is the trigger for the random blinking in this lamp. This part is glowing with purple or orange colours, randomly switching the bulbs in-out. Insulate everything!
And a semiconductor - the only one in the project - is a diode. Use 1-22 amps. This will half the voltage (and frequency) on some bulbs without extra power consumption.
It's enough to use normal, mini size switches - the current is max. 200 mA, but don't risk, buy 1A switches.
The looking is important - old-style, metal-made, with screw... find the best for it:-) And insulate well!
Using a terminal you can array the wiring between the parts, and attach the household power plug cable with the fuse using screws. Always use insulated wires, which designed for min. 1 A current! Solder the parts you didn't screwed into terminal when wiring, and insulate all the soldered surfaces. First put the parts into their place, and plan the wiring with the minimal crossings to get a clear result. Don't forget the lenght tolerance for the wires which have to move when you open the box.
Step 5: Using the Necronomicon Lamp
This lamp is a dynamics system, blinking, glowing randomly, but may be set vary. Here are some still pics of it, but the light is changing continouosly, it's not a stable light source - but, if you want, with the combinations of switches you can set it to a normal, steady lamp with more light power. Just try the switches! The five switches have effect to each other, too. The system is chaotic at the first sight. In blink mode the intensity and delay depends on the power of the bulbs and the set of the switches. Carefully, you can do experiments using bulbs with lower power - at a current limit the ignition glow can't switch, but glows palely. To use it as a normal lamp find the combination for it - switch off all blinkings, and increase te light power.
Have a misterious night using the Necronomicon lamp! Iaaaa, Cthulhu Fhtang!