I rarely make LED lighting that is powered directly from the AC mains (120-Volt AC), due to the lack of having any inexpensive AND safe enclosures for the circuitry. While I was gathering some old failed CFLs one day with the intention to recycle them, I realized that the body of CFLs (aka the ballast cases) would be about the right size for holding the circuitry needed to make some compact 120-volt LED lamps. In addition, the CFL bodies are designed to be both fire-retardant and safe for use with AC mains power; thus making them a safer alternative to cheap “project” boxes. Though, the best attribute of reusing a CFL ballast case is that you get the standard edison screw-base connector for easy interfacing to most existing light fixtures.
- (1) Old / defective Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)
- (1) 0.47uF, 250V, non-polarized capacitor
- (1) 180-ohm, 1/2-Watt metal film resistor
- (4) 1N4004 (400V, 1A) Diodes
- (7) “Super-bright” T 1-3/4 (5mm diameter) LEDs
- A small piece of perf. board
- Some short lengths of small-diameter wire (i.e. 24 or 28 AWG)
- Hot glue, electrical tape
** USE CAUTION WHEN HANDLING THE CFL to ensure that you don’t shatter or crack the fluorescent tube. Most fluorescent tubes contain trace amounts of mercury and must be recycled or otherwise disposed of properly!