Complete Strobes Easy to Build!

Build a working self-repeating strobe from a disposable camera, a camera flash board, or from scratch with some help with various fluorescent lamp ballasts!

DANGER - Shock hazard, possibly fatal shocks if you get zapped by photoflash capacitors or outputs of line-powered fluorescent lamp ballasts or line power itself.

DANGER - There is a lot of talk that it takes 10 joules of capacitor energy to electrocute a human, but there is significant scientific opinion that lesser amounts have some chance of killing people. Critical variables include skin moisture level and distribution and also what point of the heartbeat cycle one's heart is in if a shock occurs.

Please read the shock hazard / safety parts of:

My Xenon Safety Page. At least look at the cute modified photo of a shock victim!

Sam Goldwasser's Strobe FAQ.

Hacking Cameras!

Hack a Kodak Max Disposable Camera into a Strobe! NOTE - This approach to homebrewing a strobe is recommended mainly for ability to run from a single 1.5 volt battery. If you can use a higher supply voltage, there are better ways to do this. NEW FILE 11/3/2000, updated 11/5/2000.

Buy a camera flash unitt!

Electronic Goldmine (800-445-0697, 602-451-7454, sells a complete flash board with the catalog number G4587. I tested one and it works, despite having so few parts that I was afraid it was incomplete. It takes one AA battery in its battery holder, with positive towards the board. On the solder (green) side of the board, there is a spring that must be connected to an obvious square silver-colored contact on the board for the inverter to work. Two red wires coming from the board have some sort of trigger contact attached to them - merely short these two wires together to trigger a flash.

Strobes Using Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts

Sorry, no complete plans yet. Ideas are available in:

My Fluorescent Ballast For Strobes Hints Page.

Strobes Using Available Compact Inverter Boards!

NOW AVAILABLE 11/10/2000 - Strobe using a JKL Lamps inverter board available from All Electronics or Digi-Key.

strobes using easily available inverter boards so compact as to almost be components! These inverter boards include ones marketed for powering JKL Lamps brand miniature cold cathode fluorescent lamps. Such strobes can be usable in model rockets.

If this already gives you ideas, beware of just one little bug - ordinary rectifier diodes may not work well at rectifying high frequencies - use faster types of diodes. Digi-Key has several kinds that are good for this.

Written by Don Klipstein.

Please read my Copyright and authorship info.
Please read my Disclaimer.