Cannibalizing parts from compact florescents

This isn’t the sharpest Instructable on the site, but I like the idea that people are starting to see what sorts of useful projects they can do with the innards from dead CF light bulbs (such as, in this case, a step-down DC-DC converter and a Joule thief).

Make cool gadgets from a deceased fluorescent lamp

6 thoughts on “Cannibalizing parts from compact florescents

  1. Nice. Though it’s a shame only the toroid is reused in this Instructable.

    If the bulb fails but the ballast is still good, it can be reused to do what it was intended for – lighting a fluorescent tube. I’ve used them for years to drive standard straight tubes with great success. Ironically, it’s even more efficient than the original spiral tube. Straight tubes produce more usable light for the same power, because less of the light is blocked by the tube itself.

    These can be used to replace broken, buzzing, or slow-starting ballasts in existing fixtures. Or you can make custom fixtures, like aquarium lighting, shelf/bookcase lights, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lightboxes, etc.

    You can even overdrive tubes, for example using a 23W ballast with a common 15W tube. It does produce increased light, at the cost of slightly lessened tube life and efficiency. Useful when you need a little more light, but can’t use larger or additional tubes.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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