If you feel strobe lights very interesting but are disappointed by the fact that these wonderful light effects can be produced only through complex xenon tube then probably you are quite mistaken.
It is very much possible to make any light a strobe light if you are equipped with a proper driving circuit capable of handling different lighting devices to generate the desired strobe light effect.
The present article shows how a circuit as basic as a multivibrator may be modified in different ways and made compatible with ordinary bulbs, lasers, LEDs to produce spectacular light pulses.
A strobe light may be used for warning, scientific analysis or as an entertainment device, whatever may be the application the effects are simply dazzling. In fact it is possible to make any light a strobe light through a proper driving circuit. Explained with Circuit Diagrams.
Difference Between Flashing and Strobing
A light when made to blink or flash indeed looks pretty eye-catching and that’s the reason why they are used in number of places as a warning device or for decorations.
However a strobe light in particular may also be considered a flashing light yet is uniquely different from ordinary light flashers. Unlike them in a strobe light the ON/OFF pattern is so optimized that it produces sharp dazzling pulsed flashes of light.
There’s no doubt why they are mostly used in conjunction with fast music to enhance a party mood. Nowadays green lasers are being popularly used as a strobing device in party halls and gatherings and have become hot favorite among the new generation.
Whether it’s LEDs, lasers or an ordinary filament bulb, all can be made to flash or rather strobe using an electronic circuit capable of producing the required pulsed switching in the connected lighting element. Here we will see how we can make any light a strobe light using a simple electronic circuit.
The following section will acquaint you with the circuit details. Let’s go through it.
Pulsating any Light to Produce Strobing Effect
Through one of my previous articles we came across a nice little circuit able to produce interesting strobe effects over a few of the connected LEDs.
But this circuit is only suitable for driving low power LEDs and thus cannot be applied to illuminate big areas and premises.
The proposed circuit allows you to drive not only LEDs but also powerful lighting agents like incandescent bulbs, lasers, CFLs etc.
The first diagram shows the most basic form of a multivibrator circuit using transistors as the main active components. The connected LEDs can be made to strobe by suitably adjusting the two potentiometers VR1 and VR2.
I have explained a few transistorized strobe light circuits in this article, however the below shown design is the easiest one and is tested by me. So you can begin with this design, and customize it as per your own preference and liking.
The above discussed simple design can be further modified as explained below for greater control and refined outputs.
The above circuit forms the base for all the following circuits through some suitable modifications and additions.
Using a Flashlight Lamp as Strobe Light
For example if you want to illuminate and pulsate a small torch bulb using it, you would just need to do the simple modifications as shown in the second diagram.
Here by adding a PNP power transistor and triggering it through the collector of T2, a torch bulb is easily made to strobe. Off course, optimum effect is achieved only through proper adjustment of the two Pots.
As already discussed already in the previous section, green laser pointers are pretty popular nowadays; the diagram illustrated shows a simple method of converting the above circuit into a pulsating green laser pointer strobe light.
Here the zener diode along with the transistor works like a constant voltage circuit ensuring that the laser pointer is never supplied with a voltage higher than its maximum rating.
This also ensures that the current to the laser can also never exceed the rated value.
This the zener and the transistor functions like a constant voltage and also an indirect constant current driver for the laser.
Using AC 220V or 120V Lamp as Strobe Light
The next diagram shows how an AC mains lamp may be used as a strobing light source using the above circuit. Here a triac forms the main switching component receiving the required gate pulses from T2’s collector.
Thus we see that through the above circuit designs it becomes very easy to make any light a strobe light simply by doing the relevant modifications within a simple transistor based circuit as exlained in the above examples.
- R1, R4, R5 = 680 Ohms,
- R2, R3 = 10K
- VR1, VR2 = 100K pot
- T1, T2 = BC547,
- T3, T4 = BC557
- C1, C2 = 10uF/25V
- Triac = BT136
- LEDs = as per choice
Police Strobe Light Circuit
For the slow astable use the following parts:
- R1, R4 = 680 Ω
- R2, R3 = 18K
- C1 = 100 μF
- C2 = 100 μF
- T1, T2 = BC547
For the Fast astable use the following parts
- R1, R4 = 680 Ω
- R2, R3 = 10K
- preset = 100K
- C1 = 47 μF
- C2 = 47 μF
- T1, T2 = BC547