How-to for a 4' Battery operated black light

For Halloween night I wanted something that would provide a cool effect. I started thinking of the stuff I had and the is what I came up with.

What you will need:
1. 4' Fluorescent black light tube (white would also work)

2. 2 lengths of wire (pulled from an older power cable)

3. Back light inverter, these can be found in old scanners and copiers

4. acrylic tube, the length of your bulb

5. tape and end caps

6. at least 2 nine volt batteries

7. switch (optional)


The inverter takes around 12 volts and gives your around 1000 volts (this is dangerous) this is more then enough to vaporize the mercury in the lamp and light it up.

To wire this all up take the two long pieces power wire you have and attach it to one leg on each end of the fluorescent tube. Note: if you connect to both it will most likely burn out the heater in the bulb. Each of these will go to one of the wires from the high voltage side of the inverter. When removed from the scanner fixture this would be the side with 2 white wires. The red and black wires on the inverter are for the 12 volt in. Make sure to tape and exposed wires to avoid shorts and shocks. You need to connected the 2, nine volt batteries together to get the inverter to put out the right voltage.

I decided to install 2 sets of nine volts so that I could flip a switch during the night instead of changing the batteries.

Once you done the wiring should look like the above diagram


Once finished you should be able flip the switch and the light should light up. I used the sleeve from an old fluorescent tube to help protect the bulb from getting broken.


I finally took a few pictures of the finished black-light stick.


Any questions or comments email:


Copyright 2009: Joshua T. Webb


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