DIY LED Light Bulb

Introduction

Thomas Edison did NOT invent the light bulb.

Back in 1909, when Edison was a big hot shot making the light bulbs and stuff, there were already light bulbs out there. There were tons and tons of manufacturers making lamps, fixtures, bulbs, and everything in between.Yes. No joke. What made Edison was actually his ability to commercialize the first modern light bulb.

To do this he invented something called the Edison screw which are the metal bases you see in bulbs today. This standardized the light bulb and allowed it to be sold to everyone. This made Edison the “father of the light bulb.” – also the same reason why we falsely credit him today as the “inventor” of the light bulb.

Fast forward 100 years later, we are at the top of light technology. We will bring you through the journey of making your very own light bulb without having a super duper expensive laboratory.

Cue… the LED light bulb.

Overview

The light bulb you’ll be making has 38 small LEDs that you hook all up to make your very own bulb.

Is it as bright as the commercial ones they sell at Target? YES.
Does it save as much energy as the ones they sell at Target? YES.
Is it more fun because you get to build it yourself? OF COURSE!

And don’t worry. This is one of the most simplest kits we’ve made. It requires you know NOTHING about electronics. Heck, even my 8 year old nephew put this together in less than an hour!

So what’s included?

The Beginner kit is a standard LED bulb you can put together.
The Hobbyist kit comes with a fancy DIY lamp shade that you can put together into just about any shape imaginable!
And the Guru kit comes with 2 LED bulbs, 2 lamp shades, and 2 cables that plug into the wall.

And don’t worry if you feel the need to make more light bulbs. We have a handful of them in stock so you can buy them individually to make them for yourself, friends, or family.

So there you have it. We have created one of the most useful kits ever. It would be silly to let them sit here in our warehouse. These little guys are waiting for you to assemble them, and later put power through them so they can shine for you and light up your day! So what are you waiting for?

Materials

Tools you will need

  • Soldering Iron with Solder
  • Light Bulb Cord
  • Hot Glue

Tools that will help

  • Helping Hands

Light Bulb Material List

  • 38 x White LED
  • 1 x Edison Socket
  • 1 x Bulb Cover
  • 1 x LED PCB
  • 1 x Full Wave Rectifier PCB
  • 1 x 185J Polyester Capacitor
  • 1 x 4.7uF Electrolytic Capacitor
  • 4 x 1N4007 Diode
  • 1 x 20 Ohm Resistor
  • 2 x 1M Ohm Resistor
  • 2 x 2″ Red Wire

Hobbyist

  • 30 x Puzzle Lamp Pieces

 

Assembly Instructions

1) Materials
lb1

2) Circuit: 20 Ohm Resistor
Solder the 20 Ohm resistor (the biggest resistor) on the PCB where the label “R3” is located.

lb2
lb3

3) Circuit: Diodes
Solder the diodes onto the PCB. Make sure the diodes are oriented properly and that they match the drawing on the PCB.

lb4
lb5

4) Circuit: 1M Ohm Resistor
Solder the two 1M Ohm resistors onto the PCB where ‘R1’ and ‘R2’ are labeled.

lb6
lb7

5) Circuit: 4.7uF Capacitor
Solder the 4.7uF electrolytic capacitor in place making sure the shorter lead  is inserted in the hole labeled ‘-‘.

lb8
lb9

6) Circuit: 1.8uF Capacitor
Solder the 185J capacitor onto the PCB where the drawing of a capacitor symbol is located.

lb10
lb11

7) Circuit: Wiring Output
Solder the two red wires provided for you to the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ holes on the PCB.

lb12
lb13

8) Circuit: Wiring Input
Solder the wires coming out of the light bulb onto the holes labeled ‘AC’. It does not matter which wire go to which hole.

lb14
lb15

9) LEDs
Solder all 38 LEDs onto the LED PCB. Make sure the longer leads of the LEDs go into the ‘white side’ of the two holes.

lb16

lb17
lb18

lb19
lb20

10) LED PCB to Circuit
Solder the ‘-‘ wire to the center soldering pad labeled ‘-‘ of the LED PCB and the ‘+’ wire to the outer soldering pad labeled ‘+’.

lb21
lb22

11) Enclosure
Place the PCB inside the socket.  Apply a bit of hot glue to keep the circuit in place and to prevent it from shorting with the LED PCB.

lb23a

lb23
lb24

12) FINISH!
lb25

30-Pieces

This set of instructions uses all 30-pieces to form a sphere.  Be creative and find your own patterns or refer to the resource page for a few arrangements!
When assembling, keep in mind that all pieces will be inserted from the ‘front’ side (shown below) unless specified in the instructions.

pl2

 

1)Layer 1- First 2 pieces

We will first create the first layer or base to work with.  Start with 2 pieces and connect them as shown.

pl3

3) Layer 1 – 3rd, 4th, and 5th Piece

Connect the third piece then follow the same pattern and add the 4th and 5th piece.

pl43rd
pl54th
pl65th

4) Layer 2 – Bowl Shape
Add the second layer of pieces around the edges of Layer 1. The pieces will start to curve and form a bowl-like shape.

pl76th
pl87th
pl98th
pl109th
pl1110th
pl12Underside of ‘bowl’

5) Layer 3 – Middle Section
The pieces in layer 3 alternates between horizontal and vertical positions as shown. At this point the pieces may seem obvious as to where they go and how they connect.

pl13Side view of the ‘bowl’

pl1411th – Vertical positioning
pl1512th – Horizontal positioning

pl16Top view with pieces 11 and 12
pl17Pieces 13-20

6) Layer 4 – Other Half
Layer 4 is the same as layer 2 but upside-down. Connect pieces 21-25 as shown.

pl1821st
pl1922nd-25th

7) Layer 5 – Top Layer
Add the final layer and insert the light bulb cord with the LED light bulb.

pl2026th
pl2227-30

pl23LED bulb with cord
pl24Bulb and cord inside
pl25Bulb and cord inside sealed

8) FINISH
pl26Other possibilities

 

Resources

assemble

 

 


  • Zachary Edmundson

    This is a really awesome kit! I can’t wait to build it. I am thinking that if you put an arduino in it and color changing LEDs, it would be possible to control the color and do all sorts of cool things! I may need to buy another kit to experiment with. Thank you.

    • David Fries

      All the kits for a while have been microcontroller based, so it is natural to brainstorm what you could do with some programming and a bulb like this. Unfortunately this is only slightly more compatible with a microcontroller than a regular incandescent bulb is.

      The diodes turn AC into DC, but there’s nothing in this circuit to regulate the power to a smooth 5V +-.5 that a microcontroller requires to work properly. If the forward voltage of each LED was 2.9V, that’s 38 * 2.9 = 110.2V. Which means if you hooked up an arduino up to the + and – of the circuit board it’s not going to survive very long.

      Color changing LEDs would be a problem as well because those expect a fixed voltage like a microcontroller because they internally have some electronic circuitry to cycle through the colors. The LEDs in this circuit work because between the LEDs and resistors the current through each LED is within the limit it requires.

      Stay tuned, there have been RGB LED driven microcontroller projects in the past, you can expect there to be more coming.

    • Bryan

      David sums it up quite well. The microcontroller would pop instantly, on a good day, at the voltage you would be getting off the rectifier/current limiter board. This kit is sort of a, do not modify, unless you totally know what your doing kit. You could probably cram a tiny switch-mode psu in there instead. It looks like there is enough room.

    • ron

      I was thinking the same thing. Digispark makes small arduino.

    • Jimmy from Kipkay’s Team

      You would need to put an extra circuit in there to make it controllable by MCUs. But the only thing we recommend you modify in this kit is the LEDs. Beyond that, you should probably know what you’re doing.

  • Bryan

    It is a really good idea for a kit, but, in my opinion the safety factor is somewhat understated. One does not want to be poking and prodding around on this circuit while it is live. There are high voltages and currents present and no isolation from mains (it’s a capacitive dropper). Check and double check this kit is soldered correctly before testing. I might be over cautious but I think some precautionary statements should be made in the instructions. Again, I think it is good kit and perhaps I am stating the obvious, but one can’t be “too safe” can he or she?

    • Jimmy from Kipkay’s Team

      This is something we definitely have considered. These are DIY after all, and there’s an implied risk in soldering any kind of kit together and trying to make it live. We tried to make the instructions as clear as possible and got it passed by engineers multiple times and repeatedly tested it. Even then… you can never state it too many times… don’t poke around live circuits!

  • David Fries

    The last image in puzzle assembly has one that is blue. Is that a different bulb than the DIY LED Light Bulb, or how is it blue?

    • Lavoz24

      Good question Dave.

    • Jimmy from Kipkay’s Team

      We tried using different colored LEDs. They also work 🙂

  • Joshua Post

    I’m excited to build this kit! I’m curious to find out how the circuit board functions to change the AC to DC.

    Any idea if this would work on a traditional dimmer switch (No one specifically designed for LED bulbs)

    • Zachary Barnett

      While I’m no expert, looking at the design and other posts, I think this could be dimmed. And if I’m wrong, somebody will come and shut me down.

    • David Fries

      If a traditional dimmer switch is one that uses a variable resistor to drop the voltage, I would expect it to work to a degree. Diodes (and since LEDs are diodes) require a minimum voltage to conduct current (and produce light). My expectation is all the way on will work, then it will dim down and go off early not giving the full range an incandescent bulb would get, and just go off before dimming all the way down. That’s when the voltage over a single LED isn’t sufficient for it to stay on.

      Then there’s the “modern dimmer switch”, which instead of reducing the voltage throughout the full phase, each time the phase crosses zero, it disconnects the circuit, keeps it at zero for a period before connecting it, kind of PWM (Pulse Width Modulation), only in phase with AC. I would still predict about the same results. On the one hand LEDs have no problem with being turned on and off really fast, but on the other hand this circuit has some capacitors in there, which I would expect to reduce the voltage the LEDs see rather than just turning them dark part of the phase. The bigger the capacitor the less the voltage will fluctuate that’s given to the LEDs, and they’ll dim until they reach the minimum voltage and turn off. On the other hand if the capacitor isn’t very big when modern dimmer is sending current the LEDs will be just as on as they would normally be in that phase of AC, your eye would perceive it as dimming because it’s only on part of the time. But if it only clips starting at the zero crossing eventually the part of the wave the LED bulb sees will be the tail and won’t be a high enough voltage to turn the LEDs on, which again comes out to limit the dimming range.

      On the other hand there’s the big capacitor connected to one of the AC lines. That’s charging and discharging, and that energy is what flows through the LEDs. What I don’t know is if the capacitor will fully charge in 110 V AC and stop charging and discharging blocking current for the remainder of the phase. In that case the dimmer might not have any brightness effect turning it from fully on down until it is no longer fully charging and letting only a lesser amount of current flow.

      I still expect dimming will work, but not as well as an incandescent bulb, but I’m not a EE, so I can be excused to be wrong.

      I know some people getting these kits are on 220V power, like the
      post that someone ordered the soldering iron from the Kipkay store that got too hot and melted or burned up, this built is designed to work with 110V. Connect it to 220V and I don’t think it will last very long.

      • David Fries

        I verified it does dim, this was with an older rotating knob on a dinning room chandler. Tt would flicker as I was turning it (probably says something about the control), but stay steady once I left it.

        • Jimmy from Kipkay’s Team

          Yes it can be dimmed. We tried it as well

  • Wasa

    Failed, put it together following the instruction as close as possible. My guess is either a botched soldering job, or I installed the resistors backwards, as I was limited to guessing, since they didn’t match the pictures in resistance, and direction is unclear on the ones I was sent.

    • David Fries

      That’s a bummer, and normally we say get out your multimeter and start poking around to try to track down what’s wrong. In this case try to do as much as possible with it unplugged so it’s 0V then. The LEDs are very directional, they block current in one direction and allow it to go in the other. Resistors don’t have an orientation, it is the same resistance in either direction, so that’s not going to be your problem.

    • Joshua Post

      As David said, the resistors and the biggest capacitor are not directional, but the smaller capacitor and the black diodes are. When soldering the diodes to the board, make sure that the gray band around one end of them matches the line on the board.

      The LEDs are also directional and even one LED inserted backwards would make all of them fail to light. The best way to test is going to be a multimeter in the Diode test mode. The icon looks like a triangle with a line at the point. Then put the red probe on the positive lead, starting at the far outside, and the black probe on the other pin of that LED. In my testing I could only get one LED to light up at a time with my multimeter. As you connect them, the LED should light up. If it doesn’t, try reversing the probes. If you happened to reverse all of them, then just switch the positive and negative leads to the circular board. Oherwise, test each one to find the one or two that are backwards and you’ll have to remove and turn them around.
      http://www.brighthubengineering.com/robotics/60933-how-to-test-led-lamps/

      • Wasa

        All the capacitors should be right, i did the gray band and made sure the text faced up on the big one. All the LED were installed long pole into the white marker side.

        Are the LEDs in parallel or series? (thinking maybe one’s not soldered well if it’s series)

        • Joshua Post

          They are all in series so one bad solder joint could bring it to a halt.
          Do you have a multimeter?

          • Wasa

            Yes. I’ll have to check it out when I get home from work. Thanks Joshua.

  • Joshua Post

    Success! Did not take long to build the board but soldering each of the LEDs took some time. My tip would be to solder only one leg while the disc is upside down, then you can tip it on its side, hold the LED with one finger and touch the solder joint with the iron. This will melt it just enough to let the LED move around so you can make it flush but as soon as you remove the iron it will solidify again without trying to manage more solder.

    As I was starting my multimeter died and how was I supposed to test if the battery was good!? Found one used one to get me going.

    Tomorrow I’ll work on the shade.

    • David Fries

      Nice, you finished yours before I even started. Mine is finally warm to the touch and showing around 1.8 W. There’s a Sylvania 2 W that lists 10 W equivalent. It isn’t a hard on/off but it is pulsing on and mostly off.

    • Jimmy from Kipkay’s Team

      Pictures look great!

  • brock

    me and my fiance try to make the sphere and made this instead we call it the star or the flower . we had a blasted making this kit 🙂

    • Joshua Post

      Nice!

    • You can also make a great deal of other shapes with this as well. We made an owl but it didn’t come out too great. LOL

  • Jacob Bowman

    i put it all together exactly how the diagram says but it still doesn’t work and i cant test if i put the lights i backwards or not i dont have a multimeter or anything so i may not be able to finish the project

    • Jacob Bowman

      well i used some batteries and wire and tested the light bulbs every one ad all of them lit up fine so the + and – are all correct so i dont know why it wont light up.

      • Joshua Post

        Please post pictures of each part of your kit, the front and back of each board and the wiring from each component to another. Maybe we can see something out of place.

        • Jacob Bowman

          sorry about the crappy resolution my phones camera isn’t the best

          • Joshua Post

            As far as I can tell, the rectifier circuit looks good. Ensure the black capacitor is installed the correct way, but I think it is. When you soldered the leads to the LED disk, did you ensure the positive lead went to the outside pad, and the ground went to the center one?

            Outside of that, the best way to test will be to have a Multimeter. I see one on Amazon for $5.50 http://smile.amazon.com/DT830B-Digital-Voltmeter-Ammeter-Multimeter/dp/B005KGCI0Y/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1429151920&sr=8-10&keywords=multimeter

            Looking at the pictures of the LED disc, some of the solder pads still show a significant amount of copper, so it is possible that one of them isn’t making a good connection and is causing a break. With a multimeter, this could easily be tested by putting it is continuity mode and putting one probe at the positive pad and the other lead at the negative pad. If it shows a connection, then everything is good there and you can work backwards. If there is a short, then you just move one of the leads around the circle until you find the spot where it no longer has a break in the connection, you have found the spot that needs to be further addressed.

          • Jacob Bowman

            ok ill try and solder them better and try and get a multimeter thank you for the help i appreciate it

          • Joshua Post

            You may be able to find a multimeter locally as well. We have “Harbor Freight” that sells low cost tools and. They carry multimeters.
            David also mentioned one wire in your board that looks close to making a short as well so check that out.

          • David Fries

            Looking at the back of the rectifier circuit from the left, there’s the two AC wires, the capacitor, then the resistor and diode. Looks like there is a wire that is causing those two to nearly touch. If they did that would be a bad short since it’s line AC voltage there. You didn’t mention tripping any breakers so I’ll assume this isn’t causing it to not work, but just the same some needle nose pliers should let you get in there and break it off.

  • David Fries

    Success, and I documented the process by video. For anyone who wonders if they have a problem with the LED array jump to 26:40 and 34:00 where I test the array and showed a diagram of how I used adjacent LED leads to better verify it was going to work. I used a button battery. If you try this with a higher voltage/amp batteries and power sources you will need to use a resistor.

    I’m a Kipkay Kits Moderator, and Kipkay Kits subscriber, but otherwise am not associated with Kipkay, specifically this is not the official video tutorial for this kit. Keep in mind this kit is operating at line voltage. Be careful of the DC side as well as DC (Direct Current) doesn’t mean low voltage, the rectifier circuit turns AC into DC, but it doesn’t use a transformer so the DC voltage is high, I was measuring 160V DC!

    • David Fries

      adding some pictures

    • Great video! Might be the next great YouTube channel!

  • Zachary Barnett

    After building the bulb, I realize that this works much better for a directional light, like a work lamp, rather than a general lighting, like in your lighting fixtures. I should have realized that before, simply by the design of the light.

    • Jimmy from Kipkay’s Team

      You can also make your own diffuser using some foil and glass jars 🙂

      • Or frost it with some translucent paint!

  • mclarenclarkson

    Hi, I’m in the UK and as you are probably aware we use 230V (closer to 240V) for our mains. Can I use this bulb over here without it blowing up or something going wrong? I hope I can as it’s rather annoying because I don’t want to be paying for things I cannot use. Thanks.

    • Ryan King

      Hi, I’m in Australia and we also have 240v mains power. After I built the kit and tested it and the only remark is the LEDs get hot after several hours of usage but otherwise the circuit is fine for me. Hope this helps.

    • Jimmy from Kipkay’s Team

      Probably not recommended. All of our kits come only with the US standards – if you are in a non-US country, we recommend you get some adapters! Most of the kits we design should work with standard adapters.

  • Jacob Bowman

    pretty upset with my outcome :/ i plugged in my lightbulb after having kipkay staff saying it looks good with the connections and everything i checked the direction of the bulbs and right when i turned it on i got a puff of black smoke a big pop and some of my leds turned black

  • Fanda

    This is the that you can pick up at ebay for 2$

  • Matt

    Does the 185j capacitor need to be in any specific orientation?

    • David Fries

      No orientation doesn’t matter on that one, but it does on the Electrolytic.

      • Matt

        Thanks

    • You should check out the capacitor video!

  • Did this as a test to see if people responded well to pre-printed PCBs. Guess that also has its own headaches, or is it better??!

    • David Fries

      The pre-printed PCB was better for this kit, but so far only for this kit. The advantage is clear, you don’t have to make all the component connections using wires or solder bridges on the other side. The disadvantage is there is little opportunity to make changes to the design, and every kit I’ve gotten so far I’ve had my own idea for how to put it together and customize it, except for the DIY LED Light Bulb, it doesn’t have a microcontroller and I really didn’t see anything I wanted to do differently, except use a different hole for the large capacitor than the instructions indicated. It depends on the goals of these kits. If the goal is just to sell kits to people to put components in place and not ask questions or learn too much beyond soldering and how to follow instructions, then either is fine. But if you want to learn about electronics, then people will learn a lot more by getting ideas from the design that works and experimenting by building it the way they want, that’s me. The pref boards and better for the microcontroller project because then I can figure out how to do it better, or different, because that’s where you really learn something.

      • Bryan

        I agree the perf boards are something different and sets these kits apart from others. I have done many PCB kits and it does not have the same sense of accomplishment / customizability and learning potential that these kits have.

    • Sam Shim

      I like the pre printed circuit board idea, but could you post a schematic for it anyways? I like to try to figure out how common electronics work.

  • siarra

    I tried to make the light bulb but I don’t have hot glue and my soldering skill stink so now I don’t know whats wrong because I wrapped the not LED board in electrical tape any ideas

    • David Fries

      Electrical tape is an insulator so I wouldn’t expect it to cause you any problem.

  • Bryce Ce

    Is the kit for may out yet?

    • David Fries

      If you are logged into kipkaykits.com click on the My Account to show your subscriptions and recent orders, once a kit has shipped it will show Completed. I show a kit coming my way, May 29 renewal, but it also shows they’ve skipped a month, April 29 is still “Processing”, so I don’t know if May is the one skipped or the one on the way.

  • The Nerdist

    Kip!!! You did it again! Excellent project. The video and instructions complement each other. After completion–and testing , I walked into my son’s room and installed the “LED bulb”. His response, “cool…where’d you get that”. I made it!!!

  • Lavoz24

    Would this work the same if I were to make a string of lights instead of the lightbulb? Of course I would add a plug.

    • Joshua Post

      You would have a string of AC with possibly exposed connections so could be dangerous but if the same number of LEDs were connected in the same series, I think it would but be very careful

      • David Fries

        It would only be AC before and in the circuit board, but the diodes on the circuit bard make a rectifier, so the LED side is DC. Just the same I measured 160 V (at least without the LEDs connected). I wouldn’t recommend it since with the number of LEDs involved here the voltage has to be high. In comparison the LED strings you can buy online are commonly 12V because the LEDs are in parallel (with a resistor for each or each set).

        • Joshua Post

          Oops, David is spot on. I wrote this on the run and completely forgot to take into account the rectifier so it wouldn’t be AC, but still higher voltages than I would undertake on my own at this point. Do make sure to have a good enclosure for the circuit board if you attempt it Lavoz24

          • Lavoz24

            I knew if I wanted to do something like this I would need a resistor for each LED. I figured if the board was able to do what each resistor did I wouldn’t have to go through all the work of soldering one to each bulb.
            I now understand what you both explained and I have to admit, 160v is high which now has me thinking, since our plugs are 110-120v and the one’s for AC’s, Fridge’s,etc. are 220v, wouldn’t this cause an issue for the bulb as well as the circuit? I mean, I won’t have my breaker going off every time this bulb turns on would I? Also, it wouldn’t cause a fire being it has a high voltage or do bulbs have a totally different setting when installed?

          • David Fries

            For US residential power there’s two choices, roughly 110V and 220V, these bulbs will be plugging into 110V, so that’s what is being delivered to the bulb circuitry. The breaker will trip when something is drawing too much current, and properly built these are something like 0.025 Amps and 15 amps is a common breaker setting.

            So, how do you get 160 V from 110 V? Don’t mix units. 110 Volts A/C is what they call Root Mean Squared, which isn’t the peak. 160 V DC is constant. When I didn’t have the LEDs attached, the circuit board would rectify the A/C (turn the negative part of the A/C into positive), and without anything using that power I’m assuming the voltage would stay closer to the peak (the diodes would push the current through, but nothing used it to pull it back down). From the following page, Vpeak = 1.414 Vrms, or 115 * 1.414 = 162 V, which is very close to what I measured. That even higher voltage is on the DC side of the circuit voltage, it won’t go back into the house wiring, at least the way it was designed to be built.
            http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/18368/what-value-does-ammeter-or-voltmeter-measures-rms-average-or-peak
            I think most of the LED Christmas light strings will be a series set of LEDs, just like this bulb is, they make sure there isn’t any exposed wires. That’s more difficult to do for a home hobby project, and why it is safer to use lower voltages when you can.

          • Lavoz24

            Ahhh, I understand. Thank you for explaining it David.
            Thank you both, Joshua and David, for helping me to understand.

  • bigman

    Pretty nifty little kit. I screwed up a little during the led soldering and somehow messed up a connection between two of them (not sure if I scratched the connection or burned it or what, but it wouldn’t work no matter what I did). I made a little jumper between the two connections and it worked! It doesn’t quite fill the room the same way my 60W incandescent does, but it works well for my desk lamp. If I wanted to make something that would match or surpass the 60W in terms of filling a room, how would I go about that?

    • David Fries

      Good to hear that you were able to get it to work. I measured 1.8 to 1.9 Watts for the Bulb I built from this kit. A commercial LED 60 Watt bulb replacement is marked to take 10.5 W, so a little simple math makes it look like you would need 5.8 of these bulbs to put out the same amount of light. You need either more LEDs with the same light output, or more light output per LED, or a combination of both.

  • 567legodude

    I built this and it works great. Extremely bright; and it only uses 1.8 to 1.9 Watts.

    • David Fries

      Excellent, thanks for posting a successful build, always great to hear that.

      • 567legodude

        Took me about an hour from start to finish. Those 38 LEDs really take a while.

  • Mine seems to work fine for a short time. Maybe 10 minutes (I haven’t timed it) and then the bulb will shut off. After a few minutes it comes back on (assuming I don’t turn off the switch). I assume that there is some kind of heat build up that is causing the problem. Where should I be looking to track this down? Possible cold solder joint? Wonky capacitor?

    • David Fries

      That’s a new one, I guess it could be a component going bad, I would check the solder joints first. Unfortunately there isn’t a schematic for how everything is connected together for this project, but at least it’s a simple enough circuit. While it is cold, check all the connections, then run it until it turns off and check again. Let us know what you find out.

      • I didn’t have much time to work on this yesterday, but I did re-flow all my solder connections. There were a couple that looked sketchy. But still the same symptoms.

        There is, however, a bit more information. I ran it this time without the globe on the bulb. When it cut out I noticed that about 1/2 the LEDs were very dimly lit and stayed lit until after I turned off the power to the light. This may have been happening before, but with the glob on it, I could not see that.

        After I did my re-soldering yesterday, when the light shuts off now, it does not seem to come back on. I did not leave it powered on for a long time to see if it would come back on since I got concerned that I might have something shorting out.

        I plan to test the DC power coming out of the power supply in the bulb and see if it is stable before and after the bulbs cut out. That would help me see if the problem is on the bulb side or power supply side. I strongly suspect the power supply, but I guess it could just as easily be the LED side.

        Will update when I know something.

      • When it goes out, I am getting 170 V DC out of the DC side of the power supply. That obviously isn’t good nor right.

        • Joshua Post

          I think that is about right. You are converting 120 v AC to DC across multiple led without resistors

          • Your comment was helpful. I turned my attention to the LED side of things since it seemed like the power supply was working. I re-soldered all the LEDs and it has now been running for 15 minutes without any cutting out. I think she is working properly now.

            Thanks!

          • David Fries

            Without the LEDs connected I measured 160V DC. Thanks for the update.

  • Lavoz24

    Success!!!
    So I finally got to finish my 1st lightbulb after starting 22days ago,lol. You know, holidays and stuff. Anyway, I say it took me about 45min. To an hour. I screwed it in, turned on the surge protector and I had light!
    It’s a nice cool white with a bluish hue but I’m not complaining. Granted, it’s not enough to light up my work area(see pics) which was my intentions for its use but it’ll give a nice glow for a hallway or as background lighting.
    If you got the puzzle pieces (I didn’t and I thought they came with the project) I suggest you put it together,make the shade and put it to use. If you don’t have the shade you can easily buy it from eBay or Amazon.
    Thank you much David Fries and Joshua Post for your help. I got a better understanding of how it works.
    By the way, it’s cool to the touch,not saying you should be touching the bulb every 10minutes and I tested it out by leaving it on for over 3hrs and had no issues.

    • Joshua Post

      Great. Thanks for the follow up

    • David Fries

      Way to go! Thanks for posting, it’s always good to hear a successful project. I was measuring around 1.9 W in total for my bulb, so it isn’t going to get all that warm.

  • ElectroPulse

    It appears I’ve received 10 ohm resistors (rather than 20 ohm called for) in all of the bulb kits I purchased… Does this matter, or will it work with both 10 ohm and 20 ohm? (it is very clearly brown-black-black-gold)

    • David Fries

      The one I built has the 20 Ohm red black black gold as pictured in the instructions. I opened up mine and took some measurements. 107 volts over that resistor + LED array, .332 volts drop over just the 20 Ohm resistor, .332 / 20 = 16.6 mA going through the resistor and LED array. Given the small voltage drop over the resistor vs the rest of the LED array I don’t think the resistor change will add up to much of a difference, but I’ll ask the KipKay group and if it were me I would wait for the answer. Thanks for asking.

      • ElectroPulse

        Considering my utter lack of experience with electronics (hey, that’s why I got these! 🙂 ), combined with the potential risks associated with 110v, I’ll definitely heed that advice and hold off for now.

        • David Fries

          The response I got back was “It has not been tested with a 10 Ohm instead of 20 Ohm, but it will probably be fine.”

          • ElectroPulse

            Alright, thanks! I shall proceed then.

          • ElectroPulse

            Hey, wanted to let you know it works just fine 🙂

          • David Fries

            Great glad to hear that, do you happen to have a Kill A Watt meter (specific product name, most multimeters won’t measure AC current so don’t try), to measure how much power it takes? With the numbers I calculated I don’t think the difference would show up, but it would be interesting to know.

          • ElectroPulse

            Unfortunately, I don’t have a Kill-A-Watt. My multimeter (Mastech MS8268) does have an AC current measuring function. I’m guessing I’d need to desolder one of the contacts coming from the bulb socket thing, and get the multimeter in-line? If this is the case, I’m not super comfortable dealing with bare, live 120v-connected wires at this point 🙂

            I may look into getting a Kill-A-Watt, I’ve wanted to in the past but never bothered.

          • David Fries

            Nifty multimeter, the resettable fuse alone might pay for itself, and not having to wait for the store to open for another fuse would be an added bonus. I wouldn’t take the bulb apart to get a current reading, especially when there are easier ways, like a light bulb socket you can turn around and half plug into an extension cord, then have your multimeter measure between the remaining blade, and the other side of the socket. I’ve not tried my multimeter can’t do A/C current anyway. That’s the kind of setup parents of little kids fear, sticking something metal into an outlet. Don’t worry about it, I’m not expecting it to make much difference anyway.

          • ElectroPulse

            Ah, yes, that’d be something I’d be comfortable with… Unfortunately none of the lamps I’ve got handy have that kind of plug on them 🙁

            Aside from that, my Kill-A-Watt should be on its way in the next day or two (I’ve been waiting for an actual excuse to get one, so now I’ve got an excuse 🙂 ).

          • ElectroPulse

            My Kill-A-Watt just arrived. Result: 1.7 watts (occasionally hops up to 1.8 for a second or two).

          • David Fries

            Using a lower valued resistor should let more power through not less, so the resistor change, didn’t much make a difference, mine measured 1.8 to 1.9 W with killawatt meter. Thanks for posting.

  • ElectroPulse

    Success! My first actual electronic project is complete 🙂

    • Joshua Post

      Great!

    • Congratulations! The start to a great hobby.

  • Jack Warden

    mine doesnt work, everything is perfect, but i used hot glue for all the LEd’s for speed, i made sure all the leads were on the contacts any advice?

    • Joshua Post

      Most likely there is some connection that isn’t making proper contact and if even one leg isn’t connected, the entire project won’t work since it is all one big circuit. Do you have a soldering iron? It shouldn’t take much longer than hot glue to connect. Though now you’ll have the time of removing the hot glue.
      How about a multimeter? You may be able to narrow down where the circuit is broke.

      • Jack Warden

        I don’t have a multimeter, but I do have a soldering iron, I decide not to use it because I don’t have flux and I have hardened solder on the tip so I have to use the thicker part to melt it which is a huge pain and I may have scratched a connection in between the large capacitor and the ac connection

        • Jack Warden

          I also may be using the wrong light bulb socket as I am just using a typical socket and don’t have the one that may have came with it

        • David Fries

          For these kinds of electrical projects a multimeter is a very good investment, they can be purchased online or local home improvement or other local stores. Another way to test the LED array is to get a 3V button cell and holder (to attach wires to), and verify one LED and an adjacent connection at a time, here’s a link to my building the LED bulb which shows how to test it using that method. The kind of electrical solder for these kits is rosin core solder, there’s a little bit in the center, so you generally don’t use any additional solder, look for electrical rosin core solder, it is also much smaller in diameter than other types, my last purchase was .6mm, but it doesn’t have to be that thin. You might try sanding paper on your soldering iron to get the hardened solder off, generally that’s a bad idea, but if your avoiding replacing the tip you might get a little more life out of it. Rubbing alcohol can help remove hot glue, but I can’t say if it will help on a PCB.

        • Joshua Post

          When trying to remove the hard solider are you wiping it on a wet sponge? The first tip I had with my iron deteriorated through only one project. I got a replacement tip from Amazon (5 for $6) and the I did 3 more projects with just one of them and it still looks brand new. So looking up options may be a good plan.

  • Surajit Samanta

    I will try