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StrobeLight (HomeBuilt)

StrobeLight (HomeBuilt)

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As requested by Fluorescent05 ...

A strobe light I built years ago. (I had made 4 of these & used them as part of a Christmas Display)
Its a pretty simple circuit.. consisting mainly of a voltage doubler, and a high-voltage trigger.

BLK-FIR2.jpg 2008LF2.jpg STROBE.jpg L-BUG1.jpg

Light Information

Light Information

Manufacturer:me...LOL
Model Reference:n/a
Lamp
Lamp Type:Strobe
Service Life:Only got a couple holiday seasons out of them.
Electrical
Voltage:120 (input) / 4000v trigger
Physical/Production
Factory Location:(at home)
Fabrication Date:(would have to look back to figure it out)
Application/Use:Decorative

File information

File information

Download: Download this File
Filename:STROBE.jpg
Album name:xmaslightguy / Everything Else
Keywords:Miscellaneous
File Size:293 KB
Date added:Sep 27, 2019
Dimensions:1280 x 797 pixels
Displayed:89 times
URL:https://www.lighting-gallery.net/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-165143
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Ash
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Sep 28, 2019 at 03:17 AM Author: Ash
Neat circuit. Looks old, i havent seen axial lead capacitors and the thyristor case with the thin fin tab in a long while

I have made some flashers for stage when i was in school theater, but they were not based on Xenon flash tube. Instead it was a big array of FL tubes on Preheat gear (a row of old troffers), getting to the big light output just by quantity. I wired relays instead of the starters. The relay coils were all controlled in parallel with a 555 timer (+ transistor) with long on and short off time. So the tubes were preheated all of the time and flashing in sync every time the relays open. A contactor on the main supply cut the power off to stop the ballasts heating when the strobe is not in use
rjluna2
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Robert


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Sep 28, 2019 at 01:39 PM Author: rjluna2
I see Neon light bulb at the circuit. What does this do?

Pretty, please no more Chinese failure.

xmaslightguy
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zzz


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Sep 29, 2019 at 09:33 AM Author: xmaslightguy
@Ash:
It was built in the early 2000's (probably 2002). Most of the parts were likely gotten at a surplus electronics place, so they could be older. The little board it was built on...that came from a college when they quit doing electronics classes, it could be as old as 1970's. (originally it had a simple circuit with 4 resistors, and a couple purposely done faults in it ... the idea was for students to 'find the faults')

That fluorescent setup sounds cool!
Something like that could be used to make a cool 'lightning strike' effect for Halloween here.

@rjluna2:
I'm not sure what exactly it does, but it is part of the section that triggers a flash.

Its All For The Christmas Lights...
And A Good Summer Thunderstorm!

Ash
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Sep 29, 2019 at 10:25 AM Author: Ash
I had done the FL thing you mentioned for lighting, in a somewhat different setup. Also at school theater :

As the time control i used a thermal staircase time switch. Those were common back in the 70s..80s, and started being removed from service in many houses in the early..mid 00s so i had a few that i collected

This time switch (and nowadays, its electromechanical and electronic replacements) is used in apartment blocks here to control the lighting in the staircase (an incandescent on each floor + few more incandescents in the area leading to the stairs on the ground floor). To switch the light on, there is a momentary push button on each floor and a few in the entrance. After switch on, the light goes off automatically after a set delay, around 1 minute

The thermal timers are basically a thermostat with NC and NO contacts, and a high power heating element directly coupled to it, all that enclosed in a box and installed inside the building lighting panel. When you press the button, the heater heats up and within about 1 sec the thermostat clicks. The heater is disconnected by the NC contact (so it won't continue heating if you keep pressing the button), and lights switched on by NO contact. The thermostat is a "make before break" configuration : As it cools down, first it reconnects back the heater circuit. If the lighting time is nearing the end and you want the light for more time, you can press the button again and it heats back to the max temperature and cuts off. If the button is not pressed, it will keep slowly cooling down until it clicks off the lights at the lower setting that controls the lights

I connected such timer with the button "permanently pressed" (doing this is not too good for the timer, but the well built ones survived such abuse regularly for years), and tapped my output from the heater circuit. So, i got an output of 230VAC for about 1 sec every 45 sec or so. The 1 sec was a little short so i added 250W Mercury ballast in series with the "button" connection, to slow down the heat up

From this output i powered few strips of F40/D's with the most blink happy starters i could get, so they had enough time to flash during the short on times. I put them in a row out of sight, so the light flashes will appear as from lightings spread out in the sky

But now comes the best part

I downloaded some thunder sound effect sounds (wav audio). I extended each with Audacity to have a few seconds of silence in the beginning and about 2 min of silence after the end (in a few i added a little more thunder later in the timeline too). Then i burned all that to a CD. So i have a CD where each track is few sec silence + thunder + long silence after that, with the occasional extra thunder

I took a PC CD ROM drive with the "play/skip" button on the front (most old CD ROMs had it in addition to the eject button). Wired the button to a contactor contact, and the contactor itself to the same circuit with the lights. So each time the lights light up, it also does "next track" on the CD. The drives loop to the beginning when you click "next track" at the last track. The drive have an audio output that can be taken directly to an amplifier, without requiring a PC



The flash triggering is done by dumping the small capacitor into the pulse transformer's primary, same as is done in HID ignitors

The purpose of the circuit here is to do this within constant intervals

The small capacitor chages from the main 2 capacitors through some high resistance. (here part of this resistance is a pot, so allows to change the charging speed). Now, we need a circuit that dumps it every time it reaches a preset voltage level

The Neon connects from the small capacitor to the gate of a thyristor. As the capacitor charges up, once it reaches the striking voltage of the Neon, the Neon lights up and conducts from the capacitor to the gate of the thyristor

When the thyristor is activated (in thyristors this is called "ignition" for a reason), it closes the circuit from the capacitor to the pulse transformer and allows it to discharge into the transformer

When the capacitor's voltage goes below that of the Neon's arc voltage the Neon goes out, but once a thyristor is "ignited", it will only go off once the main current ends, that is, when the small capacitor discharges completely

When the capacitor is emptied, the thyristor shuts down and everything repeats
sox35
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Mainly the electrical side of things


missriaelaine
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Sep 29, 2019 at 11:08 AM Author: sox35
That's very well made, not done any electronics construction for a long time, must get the soldering iron out again

Ria in Aberdeen
It'll be all right in the end, and if it isn't all right, it isn't the end Love

xmaslightguy
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Sep 29, 2019 at 07:27 PM Author: xmaslightguy
@Ash:
That sounds like a pretty cool setup too! These days I guess it should be pretty simple to do a 'lightning' circuit with a Raspberry Pi or Audrino, running a relay board..

I have one of those old CD drives, at one point I used it as a CD player (just connect a pair of small speakers & good to go. It even had a volume control on the drive front)

Interesting on how this circuit works. I wondered just what the neon did, but figured it was something along the lines of that. (I don't remember seeing any flashes out of it)

@sox35:
Yep. Soldering iron are good things. There's a chance I might be getting mine out in the next month...
...And I'll be using real solder. Not that modern crap

Its All For The Christmas Lights...
And A Good Summer Thunderstorm!

rjluna2
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Robert


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Sep 30, 2019 at 06:05 AM Author: rjluna2

The Neon connects from the small capacitor to the gate of a thyristor. As the capacitor charges up, once it reaches the striking voltage of the Neon, the Neon lights up and conducts from the capacitor to the gate of the thyristor

When the thyristor is activated (in thyristors this is called "ignition" for a reason), it closes the circuit from the capacitor to the pulse transformer and allows it to discharge into the transformer

When the capacitor's voltage goes below that of the Neon's arc voltage the Neon goes out, but once a thyristor is "ignited", it will only go off once the main current ends, that is, when the small capacitor discharges completely

When the capacitor is emptied, the thyristor shuts down and everything repeats

I see what this does, Ash

Pretty, please no more Chinese failure.

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