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Vincenzo Di Salvo

Simple circuit for bulbs flickering effect

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Hello everybody,

Can you tell me if there is a simple electrical circuit that allows the flickering of one or more bulbs as seen in horror movies? Where can I buy it?

Thanks in advance.


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Many LED movie lights will do it, but may create rolling shutter artefacts, so be careful.

A mains powered tungsten lightbulb will flicker when wired in series with a fluorescent tube starter. By default the flicker will be rather fast and frenetic, so it may be useful to also include a triac dimmer in the circuit. This will allow the character of the flicker to be adjusted to something appropriate to the scene, though it will also naturally affect the brightness and colour temperature of the lightbulb. Test with various combinations of bulb and dimmer setting. I've used this on bulbs up to 50W on 240V mains. If you use higher wattages or for long periods, check the starter doesn't overheat. Mine have never shown any sign of it, but better safe than sorry.

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Interesting solution Phil.

Short of a light board and a programmer, the next best thing to a Magic Gadget Flicker dimmer is a Magic Gadget Shadowmaker. 


Just a great tool to do all sorts of random or rhythmic flickering and flashing. It has three 20 amp channels. But don't forget that when using one or 2 channels that the first channel powers up the controller.

My only complaint is the still seem to build these with fuses and not breakers.

It is just a terrific device for smallish flickering effects.

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