Oozing Goo - The Lava Lamp Syndicate

How to use 12v DC LEDs in Fantasia fiber optic lamps

Turbo charge your Fantasia lamp. For those of you lucky enough to have a Fantasia fiber optic lamp you have probably wished it was brighter. The small incandescent bulbs are only so bright and LED bulbs usually flicker and aren't very bright either. That is because these lamps use 12v AC for the bulb socket. Some LEDs will work on AC current, but to simply put it AC current only provides half the power as DC due to the differences in the way the two current types work. To get the most out of your LEDs you need to convert the current to DC. This can be done with a buck converter that converts 12v AC to 12v DC. I measured the LUX given off by the original incandescent bulb and it measured in at about 550 LUX. The new LED measures in over 2000 which makes the LEDs noticeably brighter. It even stands out next to a clear/white globe and is visible during the day.
 
I'm not going to post a long how to on this. Instead I'd like to just highlight a few things.
 
The wedge socket on these is grounded to the frame so you will need a new wedge socket that does not ground to the frame and has 2 terminals to connect to. You can get a wedge socket meant for pinball machines and bend the metal mount point on it and use the nut and bolt for the original socket mount. I didn't want to cut off the original wedge socket so I just remounted it somewhere else on the frame to get it out of the way. You can see it mounted sideways in one of the pictures with a brown wire going to it.
 
Some LEDs are brighter than others. I look for ones that draw 5 watts. The ones I use are pictured.
 
Make sure to get a 12V AC to DC buck converter. I did not get a full bridge rectifier because the ones online are sketchy and some are half wave rectifiers being sold as full wave. I also wasn't sure I'd get a steady 12V DC. I soldered the buck converter leads to the spade terminals on the motors transformer. Find a place to mount it with some sticky tape so it is out of the way.
 
I also took out the reflector that normally goes around the bulb because with the directional LED it is not needed and makes access to the bulb harder.
 
I recommend not chopping parts out of these lamps because it is totally possible to just make 2 small solder points that is reversible that way the lamp can easily be put back in its original configuration without any damage done.

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