Haunt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,595 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've seen a lot of people mention they use a florescent tube starter on an incandescent bulb to make a quick 'n easy fire-flicker-er. I looked at the one I saw in the local Home Despot and the price was certainly right... a buck fifty for 2... but I was wondering about the wattages. Is the wattage of your light supposed to be within a certain range of the wattage rating on the starter? More, less, equal...? Will different wattage bulbs flicker at a different rate when used with a given wattage of starter?

It seems like a much easier solution than goofing with circuits, but I'm pretty much in the dark when it comes to electronics so if anyone could give me some info on that I'd appreciate it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,595 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
That'd be great! Thank you.

So I take it that you can also use bulbs of lower wattage than the starter and it still works?
 

·
A little bit bent...
Joined
·
3,232 Posts
Sure can. And I have noticed that each starter seems to have a unique flicker rate/pattern. Some are strobe-like and blink at sorta regular intervals, while other FS-2's are really random. Buy a couple of packs and see which one(s) you like best. Side note: I'm working on a power strip with four starters mounted on it. This will allow four different flicker patterns from one source. You can plug multiple lamps into the single-starter circuit, but they'll all blink the same pattern.
 

·
A little bit bent...
Joined
·
3,232 Posts
The starter is wired in series with an 110AC incandescent bulb. When you apply power, the starter begins "stuttering", trying to start a fluorescent tube. The result is the bulb flickers rapidly and randomly. It's a pretty good effect for lamps 40 watts and less. I'll get some pics of the circuit up in a couple of days. It's easy to make.
 

·
Hillbilly Wrangler
Joined
·
3,472 Posts
Hey guys, anyone got a vid clip of how that works? That is waay cool. Does it just flicker on and off?? Definately diggin it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,595 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
That "lights going out" thing WormyT mentioned looks good on "hotel" signs too and is VERY creepy on indoor haunts! It just looks ominous... I know Australian horror movies use it a lot... I went through a haunt that had a stone basement, there was a stone loong corridor with a string of lights down the length on a sputter circuit like that... between the dancing shadows and the idea that you might get trapped in the dark it gave a really threatening atmosphere.

It's cool how people can be surrounded by thousands of dollars of wicked props and animations they Oooh and Aaah over while the idea of a light bulb going out can scare the hell out of them.

PS Wormy I like your sign a lot! You're in Missouri somewhere, right? I'm in St Louis.
 

·
A little bit bent...
Joined
·
3,232 Posts
Yes. I've never had to use >40 watt lights with this box, but the accepted wisdom is that more than 40 watts will either cause premature failure or possible fire. Remember that all the lights will have the same flicker rate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
211 Posts
I used a fluorescent starter flicker circuit for a fireplace last year in my haunt, and I have to say it was my favorite effect. Simple, cheap, and really cool looking. I used the instructions from Halloween Propmaster, although some of the image links seem to be broken right now:

http://www.halloweenpropmaster.com/u-build-it3.htm
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,110 Posts
I used a fluorescent starter flicker circuit for a fireplace last year in my haunt, and I have to say it was my favorite effect. Simple, cheap, and really cool looking. I used the instructions from Halloween Propmaster, although some of the image links seem to be broken right now:

http://www.halloweenpropmaster.com/u-build-it3.htm
Hey! That's where I learned mine, too! LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,595 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thanks guys. I just finished putting together one; it's not what I would call fire-looking but it certainly looks like a light having some major electrical problems. It's mostly on, and randomly flicks out. Any ideas on how to make it sputtery-er? Would using a dimmer change anything? How about putting 2 starters on one circuit, has anyone tried that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Thanks guys. I just finished putting together one; it's not what I would call fire-looking but it certainly looks like a light having some major electrical problems. It's mostly on, and randomly flicks out. Any ideas on how to make it sputtery-er? Would using a dimmer change anything? How about putting 2 starters on one circuit, has anyone tried that?
If you use a higher wattage bulb, it will flicker better, I used 50 watt red, orange & blue bulbs for my fire effect. Didn't have any issue except you will wear out the starter faster. I used one circuit per bulb...Also I noted that the FS-5 seemed to provide a little better flicker...As long as you use the proper inline fuse, safety shouldn't be a problem.
 

·
A little bit bent...
Joined
·
3,232 Posts
Thanks for the tip, Troy. I like to use low wattage bulbs, but I never tried an FS-5.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top