The Magic Bulb




Introduction: The Magic Bulb

About: I am a home constructor, an inventor and a dreamer. If you ask me who guided me and who inspired me then this people comes in mind: Carl Benz, Guglielmo Marconi, James Watt, Thomas Alva Edison, Nicolas Tesla...
Bring an old Bulb to new live with a colourful LED firework inside.
You can change the colour by pushing a button and it changes the colours in a cycle.

This is an very easy step by step instruction including the source code of the PICAXE controller I used in this instruct able.


Step 1: The Parts

You need:
  • A bulb (what ever you find in your home)
  • Wired SMD LED´s (I used 2xblue, 3xred and 4xgreen)
  • A PICAXE 08M Prototype kit
  • An  ULN 2803 Driver circuit
  • A switch (on/off)
  • 1 10 KOhm Resistor (as a pull down for the push button, see picture 3 below)
  • 9 220 Ohm Resistors for the LED´s
  • A small piece of a glass tube
  • Two component clay
  • A small wooden box of your choice
The PICAXE prototype board comes with all parts. Including:
  • The PCB
  • The socket for the programming cable
  • The programming cable
  • The chip
  • 2 resistors
  • 1 capacitor
  • 1 Batteries clip
  • 1 Batteries holder
  • A CD with the programming software
The ideal kit for a fast prototyping
I used three pind for controlling the LED´s and one pin for the push button.

The ULN 2803 is a driver cghip with 8 Darlington drivers. Ideal to drive the LED´s,
There is no need to hassle around with Transistors to build driver circuits.

Step 2: Preparing the Bulb

Please wear gloves and protecting glasses if you do this!

Use a Dremel to cut of the end cap.
Carefully remove the inner parts of the bulb.
If you are doing right you will have a bulb that looks like the bulb in the second picture.

Step 3: Preparing the LEDs

Use the LED wires to wrap a the LED´s tohether and take care to "build" a nice looking tree.
Pull the wires trough the glass tube and carefully pull the wires inside. If you push them back later on they will unfold again
and it will be easier to put them inside the bulb.
Use the two component clay to close the bulb and to fasten the glass tube.

Step 4: Mounting It Together

Drill the holes for the bulb, the switch and the push button.
Stain or paint the box.
Then attach the PCB inside the box and cable everything together.
The driver circuit fits on the PCB if you remove three legs of it and connect the ground connector with a short wire.
See picture below.
Attach the batteries and switch the power on. Do not have the PICAXE chip in place yet!
Connect a wire to + connector of the batteries and tip to input pins of the driver circuit. The LEDs will lit.
If the driver circuit works fine, switch the power off, insert the chip and start programming.

Step 5: Usefull Links

The ULN 2803: CLICK

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    12 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Really cool, will probably try this soon after Christmas! I wonder what It would look like with mineral oil inside the bulb?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    That is BEAUTIFUL
    Try auto-changing RGB leds from

    Very cool - I was at the Renaissance Fair yesterday in Maryland and I came across this guy who makes these beautiful light bulbs - he calls the Balefire bulbs but its pretty much like an ordinary light bulb but inside there is a magnet that as the current runs through the filament the EMF from the wire interacts with the magnet causing the filament to dance in side the bulb- the other cool thing is that these light bulbs are designed to run on 110-115 VAC and are only 15watts.... I bought one but sadly I didn't get a business card from the guy.... Which is a pity cause he had other cool stuff that was Renaissance/Steampunk styled... (other lamps and several clocks too!) Anyways if you happen to know who is the creator of these magnificent light bulbs I would be grateful..... And as always I love your stuff too, keep up the good work!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The man who has the patent for these bulbs is Robert Kyp. The website: has links for vendors. Good Luck.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! After I had posted that comment/question I noticed that I had misread the name of the bulb I thought it said Balefire - I was wrong it was Balafire - so I looked that up and found it.... thank you though for looking!
    (It's so cool that he hand makes these!)


    you can find the Balafire Flicker bulbs all over the web. here is a link to Amazon's Balafire Flicker Bulb, $15.95:


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is Amazing! How did I miss this?

    I found it :-)

    Look here:

    Thank you very much!
    And thank you for the pictures. These bulbs are amazing!
    But I don´t know who is making this :-(

    Regards and have a nive day,

    H. steam