Simple 12v Compact Fluorescent Tube Ballast/inverter Only Eight Components! Updated!




This is an inverter that can drive any 8 to 25watt compact fluorescent tube with a 11to 15v input.
It consists of a ferrite core,tip3055 transistor,two resistors,two capacitors.
i use tubes out of old energy savers.

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Step 1: Parts Required

You will need:

tip3055 transistor

180R resister(1w)

47R resistor (1w)

16v 100uf capacitor (electrolytic)

100n green cap (brown inductively wound will work)

toroid ferrite core (4-5cm x1cm)
heat sink (essential)

3 meter 0.7mm winding wire(0.6-0.8)
5 meter 0.5mm winding wire
old energy saver bulb.
power supply/battery of your choice.

Step 2: Modify Old Energy Saver Lamp.

you will find that there is a join on the plastic bit.
You need to separate the two halves and look inside.
you will see 4 wires in between the ballast and the tube.

Step 3: Back to the Inverter

now you need to wind the coil as shown.
all windings must be wound in the same direction and correct
wire sizes.
first wind the secondary coil with 90 turns of 0.5mm wire tap it then another 35turns(once every time it goes through the hole)
then wind 35 turns of 0.7 mm wire for the primary.
and 14 turns of 0.5mm wire on top of the primary to make the feedback.
leave 2.5cm of wire at the start and finish of each winding.

Step 4: Create a Pcb to Mount It On.

use this diagram to make the PCB to put it all on
but watch out because the jump wires may be confusing!
now find the lamp you put aside and connect the base terminals
to the output wires and test it and then you are finished!

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    30 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I made it its working thanks


    10 years ago on Step 4

    I've built this circuit and there is a better way of heating the filaments. when you have wound the secondary, twist a center tap and then put on another 35 turns. put the start of the winding to one filament of the tube, the center tap to one end of the other filament and the end of the winding to the other end of the filament. You no longer need the switch start because this will start the tube reliably and automatically. This works because I have tried it.
    And don't forget, never run without a tube because it burns out the transistor in seconds!
    7 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 4

    Hi jonathanmlang .
    Could you post your schema here ??? for people easy to see and to learn. Thank you


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Well since its been such a while ago since I posted that comment I have made some massive improvements to this inverter. If you decide to make it wind the primary starting from the bottom to top then again after the center tap. This one will start the lamp softly and looks like a professional rapid-start during starting.

    perfect fluorescent inverter v2.png

    Hi Jonathanmlang,
    In the attached circuit diagram, I have some queries :
    - I see a ground just below the lamp, where is this coming from.
    -I see a tap in the 400 tuns in L4, how many turns is this tap.
    - what is "A " mentioned in the circuit diagram.

    Thanks for your feed back- cheers

    The two 'A's are connected together. Just thought it would be clearer than having a wire around the whole circuit. The ground should just connect to the negative supply cable. It helps to start the tube more reliably. The reason I did them separate in the diagram is to keep it tidy. The positive terminals also go together


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Dear Jonathanmlang.
    First thank you so much for your time to post your diagram schema ,But unfortunatery the picture is too blearing,not clear to see.Could you re-post an other..
    Kind regards


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I uploaded the image much larger than the one above but instructables shrunk it down! I have made an instructable of how to make this inverter so you can see it better.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I have a CFL of 26 watts (GE make) it needs a electronic blast (out left of the CFL are two pins) can i use this circuit, would it work, instead of 4 pins, it there are only two pins on the cfl how to go about, attached is the picture of the cfl. thanks for the info


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Can I use a non-polarized capacitor in between fluorescent tubes two loops like the circuit diagram in my comment?

    And can I use 40W fluorescent tube in this circuit?

    And as the power source is 12v battery so, if the battery discharge around 10.8v then the fluorescent tube's brightness well dimmer then how long did fluorescent tube will light brightly. Because I use two compact
    fluorescent tubes before and both of them did not light brightly even battery full charge.

    And sorry for editing your circuit diagram.

    flying pie

    9 years ago on Step 4

    i want to make it smaller in size so i can put it in the case of the old cfl and is there a way to make it for  a 38w  cfl


    10 years ago on Introduction

    We don't get the winding wires in our place so I will have to get the wires from old transformers. so it will be difficult to know the diameter of the wires.

    will it be ok to use any type of winding wires without knowing the diameter?


    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    as long as they are close (within 4-5 AWG) it "should"  work, theoreticly, the thickness itsnt terribly important as long as the rest of the circuit is correct.  were do you live, that you cant get magnet wire?  


    9 years ago on Introduction

    i have two transistors, a 3055 and a 2n3055, the 2n3055 is huge (100+ watts) the regular 3055 is about 65 watts.  will either of them work or just the regular one?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, i'm italian, sorry for my bad english, i have buy a 8 W 56 Volt 0.145 A actinic neon, how i can modify this circuit for this neon??? Thanks