Archive for January 29th, 2016

Vacuum Tube LEDs: Halogen Lamp Base

This lamp needs a base for its (minimal) electronics:

Vacuum Tube LEDs - plate lead - overview
Vacuum Tube LEDs – plate lead – overview

The solid model won’t win many stylin’ points:

Vacuum Tube Lights - lamp base solid model
Vacuum Tube Lights – lamp base solid model

It’s big and bulky, with a thick wall and base, because that ceramic lamp socket wants to screw down onto something solid. The screw holes got tapped 6-32, the standard electrical box screw size.

The odd little hole on the far side accommodates a USB-to-serial adapter that both powers the lamp and lets you reprogram the Arduino Pro Mini without tearing the thing apart:

Vacuum Tube Lights - USB adapter cutout
Vacuum Tube Lights – USB adapter cutout

The sloped roof makes the hole printable in the obvious orientation:

Lamp Base - USB port
Lamp Base – USB port

There’s an ugly story behind the horizontal line just above the USB adapter that I’ll explain in a bit.

The adapter hole begins 1.2 mm above the interior floor to let the adapter sit on a strip of double-sticky foam tape. I removed the standard header socket and wired the adapter directly to the Arduino Pro Mini with 24 AWG U-wires:

Lamp Base - interior
Lamp Base – interior

I didn’t want to use pin connectors on the lamp cable leads, but without those you (well, I) can’t take the base off without un-/re-soldering the wires in an awkward location; the fact that I hope to never take it apart is irrelevant. Next time, I’ll use a longer wire from the plate cap and better connectors, but this was a trial fit that became Good Enough for the purpose.

And then It Just Worked… although black, rather than cyan, plastic would look spiffier.

Bluish phases look icy cold:

Vacuum Tube LEDs - halogen lamp - purple phase
Vacuum Tube LEDs – halogen lamp – purple phase

Reddish phases look Just Right for a hot lamp:

Vacuum Tube LEDs - halogen lamp - red phase
Vacuum Tube LEDs – halogen lamp – red phase

A ring of white double sided foam tape now holds the plate cap in place; that should be black, too.

The OpenSCAD source code adds the base to the plate cap as a GitHub gist:

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