Running a CFL light bulb on one AA battery

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burger2227
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Running a CFL light bulb on one AA battery

Postby burger2227 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 8:06 pm

Found this interesting trick on the web: http://www.instructables.com/id/Jar-Lantern/
This Instructable project will use a disposable flash camera battery circuit to drive the CFL bulb.

So far I have only gotten the light bulb apart with a watch prying tool:
Image
I pried for about 5 or 10 minutes until it slowly pried apart. I want to preserve the base for a better illusion.
The base edges can be sanded to get rid of the pry marks later.

The bulb comes apart to reveal the starting circuit board in the base:
Image
There are 2 wires that come from each end of the tube. Twist both wires on each side together so you just have
just one connection to make from each end of the tube. Solder them together at the ends for wiring later.

Two wires come up from the bulb base to supply 110 volts to the bulb:
Image
Not sure how this will work yet until I see what all is involved with the throw away camera.
I may be able to figure a way to fit the camera circuit into the base. If I can, I could use the base wires for the
battery connection.

Here's a common CFL ballast circuit setup using two DK43 transistors I found:
Image
The circuit boosts the voltage long enough for the tube to start to conduct. Once it conducts it needs less voltage.

More on this tomorrow.
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Re: Running a CFL light bulb on one battery

Postby burger2227 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:27 pm

I found 2 returnable cameras, one was easy with tabs to take it apart and one was not so nice.
Now comes the hard part. Taking apart the camera and finding what you need:
Image
Note the pushbutton in the center. on the center board. That shiny button will need to be scraped off so that it
can be jumpered to run the 300 volt oscillating circuit. That pre-charges the flash capacitor which will be the
first thing to get rid of!
WARNING! Voltages inside the camera can exceed 1000 volts! 200 volts with no battery connection!
Also watch out for contact with the large electrolytic capacitor inside! It can hold 200 volts!
The voltage may not kill you, but people have died from impacts with objects when they react!


This one had a bad neon bulb so I replaced it with one from a night light outlet box. Our transformer is next to the
alligator clip along with the transistor and diode to left of it. Oddly this camera flash uses positive voltages too:
Image
The neon bulb indicates charge voltage on the capacitor, but unfortunately it does not drain it all off over time.
Once the neon stops conducting, all of the rest of the voltage can stay there a long time and it is enough to
spark loudly and give you a jolt! I have seen some cameras that have high value resistors to drain them slowly.
Once the capacitor is removed, the neon bulb should glow whenever the 300 volt oscillator is running!

The center button is jumpered to run the oscillator all of the time but I see other problems nearby :
Image
This board has problems as far as size because it has two surface mount transistors, one under our transformer
and one clear up near the top right of the circuit board. Not sure how they are involved in the circuit.

Note: The charging capacitor can spark, shock and burn tools and skin! Carefully jumper it with a 1 meg resistor.

The second camera was a smaller fit! The 200 volt transformer is easy to find, but it could have components anywhere too:
Image
Also there is a transistor and diode that will be needed as well as any resistors and capacitors nearby.
What we don't need is the green coil off to the right because it further boosts voltage up to 1000 volts or more!
The bare wire going to the flash bulb plate can deliver that voltage directly to you!
Hopefully the picture taking button is broken by now! The flash button just charges it up.[/b]

Here is the circuit board after the large flash capacitor was removed to prevent getting shocked while the board is off:
Image
The second thing to do is to mark the battery plus and common circuit traces to all components as far as you can.
Once the trace reaches a component, stop marking. That gives you an idea of where you can connect the
battery later. It may also show you the general area of board you will need if you intend to put the circuit into the
base of the CFL bulb. Note how the charging pushbutton is jumpered with a discarded resistor tail I had.

After comparing the top and the circuit traces, I soon realized that everything to the right of the transistor was
not needed. To test that theory, I removed the jumper at the top going to the other components and the LED.
I hooked one CFL filament to common and connected the battery with jumpers. Then I CAREFULLY jumpered the
other CFL filament to each side of the diode to see if it would light. The bulb lit up on the cathode side!
BE CAREFUL! The 200 volts can shock you enough to get hurt by objects nearby when you react!

I later resoldered the red LED back onto the resistor at the bottom and hooked the + anode to common like it was.
It is a good idea to keep any voltage warning indicators if you can!

This is the final area I chose to keep. The battery + and hot filament F and Common are noted:
Image
I decided to later drill a hole for the common lead to the socket base on the left side. I soldered the board into the
base socket top down before connecting the filament hot wire and common to the board. I used clay as insulation
between the filament and circuit board bottom. A short would be more likely on that side so insulate it somehow.

Here is the final test I did using tape to hold the wires on the 2 base socket connections. Naturally, plus is on the center:
Image
The next step is to find an appropriate mounting base for the bulb. A nice piece of wood, an old style pull string socket
and a battery holder, hidden or not should do it!

I was also thinking about making a bulb with a small button battery and a tact switch in the thread base so I
could just hold the bulb up and press the switch to light it up like magic. Switch could also work when screwed
into a socket too. Just make sure it is not 110 volts! Mark the base if it might fall into the wrong hands!
It draws about 230 ma with one AA battery. Two batteries in series may blow it up!


The circular board up top is the old CFL circuit board minus the components. I used it as a template for the new board.
I cleaned up the pry marks with a Sonicrafter vibrating tool sanding pad using the paper off the side of the pad to
get into the slim area. Those vibrating tools are amazing, but very loud. I also used it to cut the PC board clean.

PS: I sold five 5252F LED drivers on Ebay today. My first Ebay sale! Maybe I'll start selling magic light bulbs?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Five-5252F-one-battery-LED-driver-chips-/131124502186?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e87a11eaa

PSS: Wonder it this would work with those Edison bulbs too? They'd be real hard to take apart...
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Re: Running a CFL light bulb on one battery

Postby burger2227 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:38 am

Update: I have removed the link to this supplier as I have found them to be completely lacking in information and quality of product.

I may be able to figure out an LED voltage indicator. The board I used only used a 15 ohm resistor with the LED anode to common.
Image
The power to the resistor came from a 220 ohm resistor to battery plus. A transformer tap was between the
two resistors. Maybe I can come up with something on the 1K resistor tap of this new transformer.

This camera schematic uses a 220 ohm resistor on the feedback and has a neon resistor rated 395 or 3.900000 ohms.
Image


This other schematic uses an LED with two 82 ohm resistors:
Image
The camera circuit I used had a similar scheme with 220 0hms on top and 15 ohms on the bottom.
The LED was the other direction, but who knows? I can try it both ways.
Note how the flash capacitor plus pole is down toward common. That's a negative voltage on it and the diode up top.

The charge button in both completed the base circuit in both too so I'm on the right track.
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Re: Running a CFL light bulb on one battery

Postby burger2227 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:16 pm

I cut the camera board with my oscillating tool so that it just had the parts I needed including the LED that had been mounted elsewhere:
Image
If other circuit parts are in the way of the cut, unsolder them. I was able to trim it down further with scissors.
I was able to put the trimmed down board directly into the CFL base top side down and soldered the base wires to + and common.
The 2 CFL filament ends go to the high voltage output at the cathode of the diode (which is not necessary to include either)
and common. I insulated the circuit board with clay so that the bottom of the board would not short to the filaments also.

I do not recommend trying to unsolder the transformer as they are easy to break or overheat!

Here is the CFL bulb in its new battery base complete with pull chain switch:
Image
The pull chain light fixture base is made of plastic with a porcelain socket. Porcelain fixtures would not have room for anything.

I had to grind out the web structure in the lamp base to fit a AA battery inside. I also had to whittle down the holder a bit on the ends for the curve.
Image
I had to grind the supports and part of the housing around the socket to get enough room for the AA battery holder.
The holder and wires are held in place with clear silicone and the bottom metal plate is held on to the base with magnets
so that the battery can be replaced or charged later. The round white plate is one used to cover up an empty receptacle.

The CFL works pretty good on 1.25 volts from a rechargeable battery.

I marked the CFL base with red magic marker to avoid any mistakes. I'm also going to put a warning label on the back side in red.
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Re: Running a CFL light bulb on one battery

Postby gravityisweak » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:57 pm

Thanks for this, I made an account here from instructables so I could follow along without hijacking the comments.

As I mentioned there, I have plenty of disposable cameras, but I'm interested in gaining enough knowledge to know how to do this with any brand and how to make the circuit from scratch, and how it works. Can I do this by desoldering parts from the camera and reassembling it into a simpler circuit?

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Re: Running a CFL light bulb on one battery

Postby burger2227 » Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:35 am

I finally got around to the other camera board that can't fit into a CFL base, but can be used elsewhere:
Image
Note the metal plate sticking out of the top of the board! Grounding that while the capacitor is charged
would make the flash unit under the capacitor work and possibly shock you with 1,000 volts!


After removing the flash and flash plate, we just have the following components:
Image
The 300 volt transformer is on left with the yellow higher voltage transformer in the middle and neon indicator on the right.

I had to use a lot more of the board as there were surface mount transistors on the bottom side of the board:
Image
I also wanted to use the surface resistors for the neon bulb on the right. I used a new neon bulb from a nite lite outlet box.

The top green wire is the high voltage wire coming from the transformer side of the diode through a hole I drilled out:
Image
The neon bulb is glowing from DC voltage coming from the 300 volt transformer when the board is hooked up to a AAA battery.
The green wire with white sheathing is the output wire from the 1000 volt transformer that is not used.

I found a better neon bulb as an indicator and hope to be able to use it in my base to light up other kinds of light bulbs:
Image
The red and black battery wires are near the 300 volt transformer with the 300 VAC green wire from the diode anode.
This camera actually used positive voltage on the large flash capacitor and to light the neon bulb that had failed.

Here is the board after removing the high voltage flash transformer. The 3 legs were easy to unsolder:
Image
I need some space between the neon indicator and the rest of the circuit in a new AAA battery base.

I plan to put together another pull chain base to test other bulbs. I'm thinking Edison bulbs perhaps.
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Re: Running a CFL light bulb on one battery

Postby burger2227 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:09 am

The second and newer CFL bulb was harder to pry apart. Eventually I resorted to a diamond cutting wheel on my B&D rotary tool:
Image
My new Dremel Workstation makes cutting and grinding easier when turned to the side position.
Use goggle eye protection when cutting anything with a cutting wheel! Parts of the wheel can fly off too!

Once pried open, the filament wires are all soldered separately to the PC board:
Image
The 4 filament wires are wrapped around the side of the round board and soldered when manufactured.

I had to also cut out a section of the PC board so that it could be pried all the way out:
Image
Note the 2 white wires to the base are soldered to the PC board in the next quadrant. They unsolder pretty easily.

Twist each pair of filament end wires together where the wires were soldered to the board or insulation may need stripped:
Image
Note that the pair of wires on the right were twisted, but only one was soldered. I had to redo that solder connection later.

I would advise that the wiring be tested now before putting the base all the way back together with glue!
I was able to take apart a bulb base put together with calking fairly easy because it takes days to fully setup.

I used clear calking around the base and held the base together in a vise with rubber protectors:
Image
The rubber protectors helped keep it together until the caulking set in about 3 hours.

Meanwhile I was busy wiring and calking parts to the new pull chain base. This time a shorter life AAA battery:
Image
The PC board fit with the neon indicator to the top with the large empty section covering the base connector for the
green high voltage wire. I also smeared calking over the circuit board to insulate circuit connections.

Final CFL test required that I tap the bulb to get it to fully light. Moving my hands around it also moved the tube sections lit:
Image
Note the neon test bulb indicates voltage when the battery is inserted. I have not added a switch yet. The pull chain
only sends high voltage to the light bulb. So far, CFL bulb filaments are the only kind of bulbs I can light.
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Re: Running a CFL light bulb on one AA battery

Postby iamdenteddisk » Fri May 01, 2015 10:23 pm

I totally love this project.. you should be a millionaire Sir!

I am gonna try and duplicate this one.. soon!

with a LDR switched solar recharger, that could be the best product ever to hit the market man really!!
a solution to the energy crisis even, maybe..

wow!!
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Re: Running a CFL light bulb on one AA battery

Postby burger2227 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:41 pm

Sorry I missed this post, but I didn't invent this idea either...

You would have to take it outside for solar charging and batteries don't last long.

Solar takes direct sun outside. I have had no luck charging anything indoors so far.

Solar battery chargers don't need an LDR. Just a diode to send current one way.

See my Solar powered LED post. viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3745
Please acknowledge and thank members who answer your questions!
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Re: Running a CFL light bulb on one AA battery

Postby iamdenteddisk » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:45 pm

I currently have just 45 watts of dc 12v coming in from solar panels. that with 3v6v9v12v selector setup for charging devices.
i set it up for my well pump. I jerked it all up and replaced it with a 12v dc utility pump.

using a charge controller i get my water/light free for the last 12years now. it is enough to power led fixtures and such I just haven't bought a dc tv and computer yet to match it.

my fridge and stove are the only things beside the computer using the utility mains power any more. average bill fluctuates 40-75.

when i get these two figured out to a point, "courts can't complain about", i will go totally off grid "again".

doing a bunch of camping this summer trying to get used to a "no-tech living". i'm good with it all, till it drops off below 40 deg.
i got a wood stove at home, so I think i may just go on and do it.

see i done beat the energy problem 4 times, each time, shut down by court order. but i got a plan and will be well comfortable when government is gone. looks like that is coming soon to

first it was with windmill, they said was hazardous, so i switched to savoinius turbine that they said was a hazard, so i built the 16kw per hr@60hz AC T.F.E. device, that they refused patent on and said it was hazardous. then I built the 70watt thermo nuclear aluminum depletion reactor, that, they waited till i had left and just confiscated right out. now solar panels.

i know there was no hazard in any of it, but admit maybe an eye sore to neighbors. who I really don't care if they liked, (they didn't stay more then a season any way, "junkies") and I know i'm just a sure thorn to chase bank. who expects every dime of my money to trickle back in like everyone else. but i refuse to be a slave to them on sworn oath, "till death, I will be free of them". they can either accept that or I will build another device able to accomplish my goal. I am not limited in ability or resource.

when they said they doubted my technical skill in design of them and tried to dispute my industrial mechanical licenses, I produced the ion drive and then "star drive" reverse coupled oscillator warp engines. their jaws dropped, i didn't even get to display the rest. but had plenty of "to the curb" escort.

I now have working phantom power experiments along with a working bedini schoolgirl generator and a few new prospects, this time i will quietly build and say nothing about.. what i realize is "they are the vampires of legend", it doesn't matter what i do, so long as i don't share it with the world or cause riot with it and they still continue to get the lifes blood from the masses.
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