Advice please: 120V Mains > 12V circuit design (Beginner)

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Dreaming Nomad, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. Dreaming Nomad

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 18, 2016
    Howdy neighbors,
    Long time lurker, first time poster. I'm not formally trained or educated - I just enjoy studying and reading about electronics and electrical theory (and making cool shit) in my free time.

    Earlier today I salvaged some CCFL bulbs out of an old LCD monitor and want to build a night light/lamp with them. I quickly put together an inverter, which works, but I'm having trouble getting the CFLs to 100% power.
    9V batteries die rapidly and only partially light them up. My PSU transformer has a 12V 0.25A output which brilliantly illuminates two ccfls in series, but I need that to power my circuits. Plus, it's friggin huge as hell and weighs like 20lbs.

    I do have a 120-12V CoilCraft Transformer ( but I'm not sure exactly how to hook it up. I don't have much experience with wall power and I've only just begun to research transformer theory. My protoboard has a big transformer that plugs directly into a wall socket, but I'm guessing it's not a good idea to do that with a smaller one... (I know this because I already tried and it caught on fire right away.)

    So how do I connect my transformer to wall socket 120V without melting it? Do I need to use the right resistor with enough heat dissipation? Or what?

    Somebody holler some truth in mah freakin face!
  2. Dodgydave

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 22, 2012
    Get a smpsu that gives out 12v @2 amps or more.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  3. KeepItSimpleStupid

    Distinguished Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    I'm confused. You don;t really mention if it's AC or DC. I just hope you didn't use the transformer without the integrated circuit?


    Is also confusing, Full wave rectified and filtered will give you a 12*1.414 DC power supply/