Tall CFL Bulb for a Tall Lamp




About: I'm the former Frontend Engineer for Instructables. Problems with the site? It may have been my fault... Like what you see? Sing my praises!

Yesterday, I posted a slideshow of my new Sudhu Tewari Lamp. It's beautiful, IMHO. The only problem with it is that the light was a little dim for my needs at work. The lamp came with a standard bulb socket. I put in a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb, but all the light concentrated at the bottom of the lamp.

So, I decided to add a taller, brighter CFL. You can see the difference in the pictures, below. It's much nicer now, but wasn't as straightforward as I thought it would be, so I figured that I would post a little instructable.

Note, by the way, that this is not an instructable on how to make one of these lamps. You can follow my link to the slideshow for more information about the artist who made this lamp. Hopefully, he'll make more, or post an instructable on how to make these!

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Get Parts

I thought that all I would need would be a new CFL bulb, but as it turns out, fluorescent bulbs require a ballast run. The screw-in ones that you put into an ordinary light socket have a tiny integrated ballast, which I think is cool since they've still been able to make them so cheap.

The taller CFL bulb that I got doesn't have an integrated ballast, so I had to buy one. Here are the parts I got:

  • Bulb: FT36DL/830. At 36 Watts, this bulb puts out almost 3x as much light as the 13W bulb that was initially in there, or about as much light as a 100W-200W incandescent
  • Ballast: WorkHorse WH3-180-C. This was chosen because it fits in the base of the lamp and has enough capacity to power the CFL bulb.
  • 4-pin socket

I got these at Universal Electric Supply, which is in the neighborhood. It wasn't cheap: the total cost came to almost $40.

Step 2: Take Apart the Old Lamp

This was pretty simple; just a bunch of unscrewing, which allowed me to remove all the old bulb and socket parts. I left the power cord coming up through the base of the lamp for attachment to the new setup.

Step 3: Wire Up the Ballast and Socket

The wiring was pretty simple. The difficult part was finding the wiring diagram, which I tracked down on the manufacturer's site. It's included below: the diagram is important because different ballasts have really different wiring patterns. You have to follow the correct one.

I cut up the wires from the ballast where necessary to make little junctions for the connections. The 4-pin socket had one-way wire holes for each incoming wire that I simply pushed each stripped end into.

Once everything was wired up, I tried turning it all on and, lo and behold, it worked as advertised.

Step 4: Admire Your Work

The new lighting setup is nice and bright! And the lamp itself is a joy to look at.

Be the First to Share


    • CNC Contest

      CNC Contest
    • Make it Move

      Make it Move
    • Teacher Contest

      Teacher Contest

    7 Discussions

    Carlos Marmo

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Perfect for any environment.
    Anyway, GREAT WORK!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm in the process of making a few more of these lamps - using your fabulous improvement - the tall CFL.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    NIce! Make sure to post the link to your finished products so I can send prospective customers your way :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    For those interested, these lamps are easy to make but the circuit boards are not so easy to find. I'll post an instructable soon


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Any info on if he will make more? This is a cool lamp - might be great adapted to be a "marker light" outside, or inside a home - maybe recessed into corner of a staircase, to illuminate landing.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great project, i love converting standard things to kooler things like this.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    Awesome work, dude! The tall CFL is the way to go...