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Behold! I Made My Own Light Bulb!

As I mentioned Saturday, I was attempting to do an LED conversion on a standard light bulb that I cleaned out with the help of the instructions on TeamDroid.com.

Light Bulb 0094

Not shown lit up, as doing so requires me manually holding the wires to the battery pack. Good thing we’re not dealing with 120V here. Just three AAA batteries will power it.

I used four Super Bright White LEDs. I wirewrapped them and inserted them into a blue straw. The second lead on each LED is then wirewrapped on the exterior of the straw, which you can see in the photo. I actually wired these backwards in respect to the way I wanted to do them, but that’s okay for the test.

The bottom is a bottle cap (from a suggestion in the comments of the aforementioned page). I carved out (yes, a drill would have been easier) a hole. The straw then comes through the hole and is cut in half, with each half bent and taped to the bottle cap. One wire comes down the straw and the other wire wraps around the light bulb thread-cap and then outside. In the future (hopefully), this second wire will be soldered to the existing internal wire (will have to be careful to leave more of it next time!) that connects to the thread-cap. Also, in place of the bottle cap, I’m thinking maybe a rubber stopper or something that will plug the hole while still allowing me to put a metal connection at the bottom, matching the original light bulb connection as closely as I can. That way, the bulb will screw into a socket like a normal light bulb; I would just need to use a non-120V socket naturally.

As I suspected, the clear bulb means that the light goes straight out and you don’t get a nice glow as you do with the “white” bulb. I placed a white t-shirt over the bulb, and that created a nice glow. I think my options are to try to sand the exterior of the light bulb to give that frosted effect which should help diffuse the light better, or to obtain some glass etching solution to “frost” the inside of the bulb. My preference would be the latter.

I also want more LEDs on the inside and to use something other than a straw! I’d like to try at least 16 LEDs on the inside, but preferably 24. I’ll have to look into things further to determine how many of these LEDs would equal a 60, 75 or 100 watt bulb. I’d also like to keep battery requirements to a minimum. A single 9 volt battery would be ideal, if it would work. A 9 volt is equivalent to 6 AAA batteries (in fact, there are 6 AAA batteries inside some 9 volt batteries). I know that 3 AAA batteries can power 8 Super Bright White LEDs, so a 9 volt would handle 16. Twenty-four? I don’t know. Of course, maybe I could do 32 LEDs and two 9 volt batteries?

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2008-01-08 08:17:14

That sounds a fun project.

Hey… You may be rich by selling all these type of bulb for CAR!

Comment by pete
2008-01-08 08:44:52

I like this idea. Try flushing the bulb with a cornstarch solution. It seems to adhere to stuff well after it dries and might be enough to produce the diffusion you’re looking for.

Comment by Michelle Gartner
2008-01-08 22:55:40

Why are you making light bulbs- don’t you have a Wal-mart around you? Stop by at One of a Kind and you can make something better then light bulbs- like say an Oriental Table Setting made out of Kleenex.

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