Flicking Lantern Version 2
With the new version of flickering light bulbs available online I have updated the way I make these lanterns. Then results are much brighter and look a lot better then the original ones. The new bulbs also allow several variations of power and a couple of color options.
Glass Frosting Spray paint
LED Flicker bulb
Power Cord- This will vary a little depending on how you want to power the lantern. you will need either a 5 volt source if you want to power the bulb directly, the original power supply if you want to use 120 volts, a regulator if you want to use 12 or 24 volts, or a battery pack if you want to run with no wires.
Prepping the globe:
To prep the globe for this build you will remove it from the lantern housing and clean it will, I using some rubbing alcohol and a cloth to wipe it down completely. I set the globe on a cardboard box outside and used glass frosting spray paint to apply several coats to the glass allowing 10-20 minutes in between each coat to dry. I originally tried to spray the inside of the glass but this resulted in a lot of dripping and running. The only issue with coating the outside is it can be scratched. This is easily fixed with another coat if needed. This coating will help to mask the bulb housing inside the lantern as well as diffuse the light just a bit more.
Prepping the bulbs:
Preparing the bulb is pretty straight forward, and will only vary slightly depending on how you want to power the bulb. To start you will separate the lower section this is where the power board is housed. If you are planning to use 5 volts or 12 volts this board can be removed and discarded. The bulbs that I am using only require 5 volts at ~500ma. I attached longer leads to the positive and negative terminals and covered the joints in heat shrink, Then I used hot glue to prevent them from moving. The bulb is ready to be installed in the rest of the fixture, the diffusion plastic will be left in place to help spread the led lights out giving a more realistic effect.
I have tried a few different variations of these bulbs and they may be configured differently depending on where you get them. I have purchased one of the orange versions that had the power supply installed in the LED board housing, For this one I moved the power board higher and glued it in to place after attaching the 2 leads for the 120 volt power in to the existing leads. These were removed from the socket side of the board. For the blue version of these boards the I de-soldered the 5 volt wires from the bulb circuit to make them longer. I then wired the power board to the 120 volt plug and heat shrieked the entire power board to prevent any shorts. Once that was done I tucked the power board in the base of the lantern and finished assembly.
Prepping the Lantern:
There are only a few steps to prepare the lantern for the light, The main steps will be to drill the holes you want for your desired power input, I drill behind one of the arms to help hide the wire, This can be used to pass a low voltage wire out or a 120 volt plug. The other modification is to remove the dome part from the original wick guard. This can be done with a saw or wire cutters, This will help everything to sit flush. One thing to make sure you do when putting everything together is to make sure you have the power wires passing thought all the elements of the lantern.
Once you have everything ready you can start to put it all together. The bulb housing will be secured in to place in the center of the metal bracket that also secured the globe. I used hot glue for this, I make a ring and move the bulb around a little to coat the inner ring and then apply a bit more to make sure there is a secure hold. I reinstall the silver wick guard to the lantern base and pass the wires down to the base. If I am using the 120 volt power I will attach the power supply to the 2 wires from the light and 2 wires from the power cord I install in the lantern. It is then shrink wrapped and tucked in to the base. If I am using low voltage the wires are pass to the hole drilled earlier and will be connected to a power supply later. A quick test to verify that everything is still working as expected and the globe can be carefully reinstalled to the lantern. Do this slowly to avoid to scratching on the paint. You should now be able to power up the lantern and enjoy the flicking fire effect.
Since these bulbs are LED they present a few options when deciding how you want to power your lantern, This could be for convenience or the wiring that you already have in place, weather that system is 5, 12, 24 or 120 volts. Like the original lantern I made you can easily wire these to be 120 volt with a standard plug. You can also power them from a 5 volt power supply, With a regulator a 12 or 24 volt power supply. You can also add a 18650 battery and charger to make them portable. I will have a how to for the battery operated rechargeable lantern on another page.