Good ideas with bad execution, or good execution of what should be bad ideas - an analysis of inferior, off-beat or malfunctioning products, and how other people's failures can help us design better stuff.
Cheap fibre optic light creates a vulgar display
Click to view parts Not dazzled by the special effects of a cheap fibre optic light, Clive Mitchell decided to hack his own: “Fibre optic lights like this one have been about for a long time. They were originally made using glass fibres illuminated by a candle shaped light bulb, but these days the fibres tend to be plastic with a focused low voltage lamp as the light source. These cheap gimmick fibre sprays are available in the UK from “one pound stores” which would probably equate to “dollar stores” (make that ‘two dollar stores’ with the current exchange rate!) in the USA. They tend to be battery powered and have a few flashing coloured lamps inside.Inside are three self flashing lamps with small bi-metallic contacts inside. They pulse and flash irregularly, making the fibre optic spray pulse in a rather vulgar manner. It’s a complete waste of a good bunch of fibres, so I developed a project to convert one to LEDs and make it run directly from the mains.
My circuit design consumes only a few watts and is a “reactive” load, so it can be considered as being zero-power. And above is an image of the technicolour version with two red, two green, two blue and an orange LED.The LEDs should have a life time of about 100,000 hours continuous, although some of the cheaper Chinese LEDs are somewhat unpredictable in their lifespan. If you decide to attempt a similar conversion to one yourself, then be very aware that the circuit operates at mains voltage, so extreme care must be taken in construction to avoid fire or injury.”Tags: current exchange rate, life time, long time, mains, special effects