Author Options:

Camera Flash Charging Circuit, converted to a Strobe light? Answered

I've been looking at some projects i could do with some left over camera flash charger circuits I have after building a coilgun, and I was wondering if anyone had any ideas about being able to hook these circuits in parallel.  I would like to build a cheapy xenon strobe, but need enough current to rapidly (very rapidly) bring the bulbs two power supplies up to voltage.  It looked like the schematics wouldn't be able to work with a simple parallel connection, but I'm not much at Electrical Engineering yet.  Ideas?  Similar Projects?  'Ibles or websites?  All help appreciated.?



Best Answer 8 years ago

I actually made a circuit similar myself. Mine was a police strobe light that flashed right right left left.

My suggestion is not to alter the camera schematic too much. Doing this will only ruin it.

What I did was I used two seperate components. A flash driver, so one of this 555 timer circuits that can flash at a variable rate would work [very simple circuit]. But instead of lighting an LED, find a low voltage triggered relay and put it in place. [For mine I used a decade counter circuit (4017), to get the police strobe pattern instead].

For the camera circuit, you could add one extra battery in parallel, it might heat up but shouldn't do any damage. To make it charge quicker, replace the capacitor (the large black cylinder that sits near the strobe tube). Find a capacitor of similar voltage (300v i think) but smaller capacitance and solder it in place. This allows the capacitor to charge significantly faster but it won't be as bright as the original. If you want, you can connect two capacitors in series, that are roughly half of the voltage combined [200 v + 200 v]. When capacitors are places in series, there capacitance will be reduce inversely, but the voltage and power is high yielding a brighter flash.

So where can you find such a high voltage capacitor? I had a hard time finding one, but eventually found them in those compact fluorescent bulbs. They are those cheap energy effiecient bulbs people use now adays. This instructable should show you how to safely take one apart.  https://www.instructables.com/id/Take-apart-a-Compact-Fluorescent-Bulb/

I made mine and it works great. Any questions? Don't hesistate to ask...


8 years ago

If you put more batteries in parallel the caps will charge much more quickly.

But the circuitry is not made to fire repeatedly for long.  It will overheat and destroy itself after only a few hundred flashes.  They are barely able to handle working as a camera.

There are lots of circuits to build a strobe light.  You may be able to use the bulbs you already have.


Answer 8 years ago

The tube will probably die first, even assuming, like you say, that the electronics don't melt first....

You CAN reduce the energy used to flash the tube, provided you can trigger it. The consequence of course, is you can't flash it anything like as brightly as a single "flash" even for a camera.