Scanner Parts - Desk Lamp




About: Software Developer, like to work with electronics, embedded systems, robots etc.

This instructable shows you how to make a desk lamp out of scrounged scanner parts and a few extras from Home Depot.

I have set up a small solar array, controller and a storage battery. I wanted to make some low power lighting that I can use in my office that would not consume a lot of power.

I had a bunch of scanner parts lying around and decided to put them to good use.

Step 1: Get Your Parts

Scrounge a scanner head and pick up the following parts from Home Depot:

1. Scanner Head

2. 6' Lamp cord and switch - $3.99
3. Low voltage lighting base - 2 for $5.95
4. PVC 1" adapter threaded on one end, slip to fit on the other - $.87
5. 12" x 1" diameter PVC threaded pipe, (nipple) - $1.12

Tools needed:

1 1/4" hole saw
electric drill
hack saw
hot glue gun
solder iron & solder
shrink tubing
12" ruler
side cutters

Remove the lens and camera electronics and save for your next project.
Keep the displayed power circuit in place on the scanner head.

Step 2: Trim the Low Voltage Base

Take your knife and trim the extruded ridges from the base plate.
Rotate the base and trim all the ridges.

Step 3: Remove Upper Section From Base Plate

Take your hack saw and remove the displayed section from the base plate.
The 1" PVC adapter will not fit unless you remove this section.

Step 4: Attach PVC Adapter

Press the 1" PVC adapter (slip to fit side) onto the trimmed base plate.

Step 5: Attach and Trim PVC Pipe

Screw the PVC pipe into the threaded adapter and use your hack saw to trim the pipe:

I trimmed my pipe to 12" from the base plate. You can adjust yours to fit your needs.

Lower for brighter focused light, Higher for wider disfused light.

Step 6: Remove Reflector Side of Scanner Head

You will have to play this one by ear. I am sure that each scanner head is slightly different.

Remove the screws and carefully remove the base plate.

Be careful not to damage the light tubing when you remove the cover.

Notice the light tube reflectors that run along the slot for the light tube.

Step 7: Length Measurment

Measure the mid point on the base plate to properly align the hole you are going to drill.

Step 8: Measure Center Point for Drill Hole

Use the ruler to determine the center point on the base plate for both length and width so you mounting hole will be aligned properly.

Step 9: Drill Your Mounting Hole

Center punch the location where your length and width measurements cross and drill your mounting hole.

You will need to drill an 1 1/4" hole in the base plate.

This hole is slightly under sized. You will need to file the hole slightly larger to fit the PVC pipe.

I used an old soldering iron to enlarge the hole.

Step 10: Install the Scanner Head

Insert the PVC pipe into the Scanner Head and hot glue the pipe in place.

After hot gluing, turn the lamp right side up and make sure that the scanner head is aligned.

It takes a minute for the hot glue to cool enough to become solid. This will give you plenty of time to align the scanner head.

Step 11: Trim the Power Circuit Wires

We need to trim away the electrical connector in order to solder the lamp cord with the switch to the power supply leads.

Step 12: Solder the Lamp Cord

Double twist the power leads on to the lamp cord and solder the leads.

Be sure that you run some heat shrink tubing onto the leads before you connect the leads.

After soldering slide the heat shrink tubing on to the bare sections of wire and heat with the soldering iron to secure the connections.

Step 13: Finish Up

In my application I will add some wire connectors and attach the light to my storage battery.

You may want to attach the lamp cord to an AC to DC adapter.

Notice the voltage and current readings on my power supply.

The lamp is running off of 12 volts and consuming 370ma of current.

The lamp could be just a bit brighter, for my taste, but it is enough light to read by.

I am thinking of adding a second light tube and power supply from another scanner head that I have.




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    61 Discussions


    3 years ago

    yes, it is a fluorescent tube. Check to see if there is any part numbers on the tube, then google to see if you can find the specs for the tube. That should determine the input and output requirements. But I used the driver board that came with the scanner to drive the tube. There is a part number on that as well which gave me the specs on the driver board.


    3 years ago

    So is it a fluorescent bulb? If it works on a couple thousand volts


    12 years ago

    I'm new at this so I don't understand something... Isn't a power adapter required to bring the voltage down to an acceptable level for the little circuit board? I would assume these things consume a very small amount of voltage. Does the board pass back anything that's not needed for the light to operate? Thanks, this is a question that's been bothering me.

    4 replies

    Reply 12 years ago

    In the main picture -- do you see that box in the background that says 12 in green numbers and .37 in red? That' the power supply he's using to test ;) 12V consuming .37A His board looks almost identical to mine -- just put in the supply voltage and it outputs the appropriate voltage for the bulb (several thousand volts) ;)


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Here is what I am having a difficult time understanding.. so you are telling me that when I put 12V AC from the wall connected to this little driver board for the scanner bulb, the board outputs several thousand volts?!? How is that even possible? I don't quite understand. So several things: I tried testing the two white wires coming from the board to the bulb itself.. I assume it's in DC, but both wires are white, there's no polarity. So it should be AC - and since it's an inverter which is what makes up the tiny driver board - but when I test it for AC voltage, it sparks and shorts everything out. If I test it for the highest setting in DC it does the same. Secondly, why would it make sense to take 120V AC power supply, convert it to 12V DC with a bridge rectifier, connect it to this tiny scanner driver board, only to have it inverter to AC? This is a map of what's happening... 120V AC -> 12V DC -> several thousand volts AC. Why is this? Is this even right? Which leads me into my third question, what is coming out of the driver board - AC or DC? How much power is coming from the board to the bulb, and why can I not test it on my multimeter without it shorting my multimeter, bulb and board?

    Here's what I got, I put in an AC transformer (center-tap 6V-0V-6V) rated at 120V input, with a 12V AC output at 500mA power rating. A full-wave bridge rectifier utilizing four 1N4007 rectifier diodes, a single 2200uF capacitor on the output. This gives me a steady 11.9V-12.0V DC voltage. That then powers the scanner bulb driver board. This board is a Cotek brand, no ratings listed on it, but the model I found that is identical to it online is rated at 6VDC; however, this board won't run on 6V, only 12V or higher input - otherwise 6VDC only powers about 1/3 of the light bulb. The driver board has a capacitor on the GND and PWR rated at 100uF, a small round inductor, a small package inverter with two inputs and six outputs, with two white wires running to the bulb. That's it. What am I missing? By the way, the bulb gets VERY hot after just one minute of use at the necessary 12V DC at 500mA. What do I need to do at this point?


    Reply 12 years ago

    im very interested in getting any voltage/amperage i need to test my projects, know whare i can get something like that cheep? i just blew a large chunk of money trying to get my internet working, router wasnt compatable with the modem...


    Reply 12 years ago

    I want one. :-D Thanks for the reply, just making sure I get the idea... Good thing I asked, I might have blown off my arms.


    When connecting the switched power cord to the unit, it is a good idea to stagger the splices, one up towards the unit, one below that splice. Yes, it is only 12v, Yes, shrink tubing was used, but it is always to utilize some caution!
    Thanks for sharing your idea!

    1 reply
    jpitz31mad hatter503

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks mad hatter503 for your tips. Looking forward to seeing some of your instructables.




    7 years ago on Introduction

    I linked the inverter's wires with a ac cable from an old stereo, as I plugged in the inverter blowed up... where I did wrong?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction


    Check the specs on the inverter. Most DC inverters Input DC voltage (low current) and then boost the output to run high voltage (around 2000 v) . By connecting AC to a DC inverter, you will get the results you experienced. ;-)

    Always try to google the specs on any component before you connect power to it.

    If you cannot find any specs then start with DC and proceed carefully.




    8 years ago on Introduction

    How would I run my bulb off batteries? I tried 2AA's and only like the first inch of the lamp barely lit up.

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hello Ampix, You need at least 12 volts to run the light. Get yourself a small 12 volt lead acid rechargeable battery. I picked up a NP12-12T sealed battery at Frys Electronics.




    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    oh that is huge! XD I think im going to go with some simple LEDs for my project.


    9 years ago on Step 13

    Hi, I built one also, but didn´t used the scanner parts for the base, used an old lamp base I had. Works perfectly. 

    Great instructable.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Mine takes 12 volts in and it does work. But, just out of curiosity, how much voltage is going into the bulb? All I now is that it's enough to make a purple "spark" up to 1/4" in length and it hurt alot before I knew it could do that.

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Step 12

    These Two white wires how much current be given to them.As I use a adopter with these wires, there is already a circuit in front of you. So explain the amount of current be supplied to these white wires. Thanks.


    10 years ago on Step 13

    Thanks for this great instructable but please put more emphasis on the current and voltage drop when you mention lamp cord as it is a little misleading.