PCB lighting box
Most of my soldering work with normal PCBs almost always fail to work. When creating etched PCBs, everything worked. So one day I wanted to be able to etch my own PCBs, for which I need ligthing box. Buying these lighting boxes is possible, but very expensive. With an old facial tanning machine you can easily transfer this into a lichting box for PCBs.
What do you need:
- A (broken) scanner (2nd hand, 10 euro)
- A working facial tanner, for the lights (2nd hand, 15 euro)
- Plastic glue (5 euro)
- Dremel, saw or strong cissors
What to do:
You're working with high voltages, so be sure the plug is disconnected. I can't be held responsible by any harm done by executing this project.
- First remove all the parts from the scanner. You can keep the scanner parts and electronics for future projects, but for this project we only need the casing.
- Remove the parts from the facial tanner device. Preferably buy a flat one, because with mounting the transformers won't cause any problems. When taking the tube light connectors out, maybe number these so you know which ones are opposite of eachother.
- Now the tricky part, building all into the scanner. Try to get an overall view of how it can fit, and first mount the transformers. If your facial tanner has a timer, you can bypass this by taking out the timer an just connect the two wires together. You can use the timer too, but make sure that if you do, you can use the timer from the outside of the scanner housing.
- The lights are in small holders, which are clicked in the plastic casing. Take all holders out, and dremel, saw or cut the plastic casing part out too. You also can create your own plastic casing where you can click the holders into.
- Check how the lights will be positioned below the glass. With this in mind, glue the first plastic casing part. Remember: the scanner has to be able to close!
- Check the height of the second plastic casing part. If it's too high, cut some plastic, otherwise glue some extra plastic to it. Click in the holders and mount (some) of the lights. Now glue the second casing part: you immediately will have the correct distance.
- When the glue has dried, take out the lights and find some good locations for the starters. You can place this on the side of the scanner, but any place where there's still room will do. If the wires are long enough, you don't have to place them all together. Glue them, but remember to only glue the holders! A starter can break too, and replacing a starter which is glued is quite some difficult task.
- If you want, you can build a switch for the lighting box (if you're not using the timer). A nice location for this is the location of the "scan"-button. If your switch doesn't fit there, just make the hole bigger so it does fit.
- Connect all wires, mount the lights, put the lid on the scanner and the time of testing is arrived. Why you should put on the lid first: might something be connected wrong, a starter or a light can explode which can do some real harm. Safety first!
Following here are some pictures of my own project, which makes the desciption above more visible.
My first facial tanner I had was a wrong one: the transformers are mounted standing, which doesn't fit in the scanner.
This is the scanner without its interior. The PCB on the left is the scanner controller, the scanner light in top right of the facial tanner.
Here I used a Dremel to cut out the plastic casing parts where you can click in the holders.
These are the plastic casing parts. The holes are used to click in the holders. As you can see, the amount of holes makes multiple amount of lights possible. The tanner I bought had 6, while 4 could be possible too.
Here you can see everything inside the scanner. On the left you can see the metal plate containing the transformers. On top of that I glued such a plastic casing part, which is a tight fit, but it does fit! The second plastic casing part on the right is a bit lower, so the casing easily could fit there.
Within the tanner there was one group of 2 and one group of 4 starters. The wires luckily were long enough to place them all in one row on the side of the scanner.
The final result, including an own built-in switch. This first was round, so I had to change the hole to make the switch fit.
Apart from the switch it still looks like a normal scanner. No strange own-built casing, but a nice design.
Even when it's on it looks good!
Who needs an indicator led, the lights itself are already producing enough light!
In my case, the light even produce a funny effect on the side of the scanner.
The lights used are those nude-women-philips lights :-)
Good luck building your own lighting box! If you found some problems not mentioned here, suggestions or you've got questions, just contact me.