Replacement 8mm projector bulb from super bright LED and old cellphone charger.

One of my other hobbies is small-format film. Showing them, making them, etc. By small-format, I mean 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm movie film.

It started with a $25 8mm projector from a flea market and grew into a small of obsession from there. I bought a few cameras and some films off of Ebay. I had some fun one Halloween showing a bunch of horror shorts to some friends.

One of my better finds was this 8mm-super 8 projector. That’s right. It plays both 8mm *and* super 8 film! If you don’t know the difference, I invite you to skim through [this Wikipedia page.](








I don’t think there’s anything “magical” about watching something on real film. I find it somewhat comforting that my brain is being tricked by having successive images reflected into my eyes at 16 frames per second and *that’s it*. That’s as far as the illusion goes. It is literally one image coming right after another. Don’t get me wrong. LCD screens and even CRTs are fucking cool. But film is simple and almost primordial. And what illusion there is is fragile. If the film gets jammed it will burn a hole in the frame. Learning to switch reels is a dance considerably more athletic than learning a new UI. It’s like being an auto mechanic, but instead of just fixing cars, you’re presenting a work of art.

And, yes. “I was a Teenage Frankenstein” is art. I don’t care what you say.

Unfortunately, these old projectors use incandescent bulbs that get *really* hot and occasionally explode. That’s what happened to this poor guy. What’s worse is that nobody makes these bulbs any more. You can find them for sale, but they are pretty damn expensive and in very limited supply. So, in my attempt to keep film alive, I bought [this fella]( from Jameco Electronics and opened up an old cellphone charger. This is what happened:









You might notice that this LED comes attached to it’s own heat sink. Regardless of the voltage applied,  this thing generates enough heat to burn itself out. It’s a good thing the projector has a built-in fan to keep that old monster of a bulb cooled down.

A couple cool things about cellphone chargers: they usually take in 110-120VAC and put out 3-5VDC (perfect for this LED) and they use [PWM](, which makes them really small and light.

Luckily the operating voltage for the projector bulb is 120VAC, so I won’t need to do any modifications. All I have to do now is fit a square peg into a round hole.









Basically, I just need to make a nice case for this so it doesn’t hit anything conductive and short out. Those two squares of solder on the bottom left of the circuit board are the AC in, so I need to get . Pretty soon this is going to be a pretty satisfying hack!




About teslasmoustache

I am an artist currently pursuing a degree in Fine Arts at a college in the Midwestern United States. My art is heavily influenced by technology and tech-culture. my (future) laser cutter is a work of art as well as a tool that will help me make more art in the future.

10 responses to “Replacement 8mm projector bulb from super bright LED and old cellphone charger.”

  1. No says :

    1) 3-5V is NOT perfect for the LED. LED’s should be hooked up to a current supply, not a voltage supply. You need a constant current source.
    2) The phone charger is not small because it uses PWM – it’s small because it’s a switch mode power supply. It’s correct that it uses PWM, but that’s not why it’s small.

  2. D Webre says :

    Good article and post.
    I have a Sankyo Dualux 1000 8mm projector that uses an 8 v. 50 w CXR/CXL bulb. I have been thinking about replacing it with an LED module. Your project may be a simple solution for me.

    Have you been using your LED projector and are you satified with its performance?

    • teslasmoustache says :

      I haven’t been able to use it extensively because the LED was lost in a pile at the hackerspace. However, I have tested it out and it seems to work alright.

      However, I would highly recomend getting a power supply that *matches the rated current of your LED*. The LED I have gets the job done, but you would probably have better luck with a higher-powered LED such as one of these:

      Mine really doesn’t have the range that it had with the original bulb.

      Good luck! This was just kind of a brain fart on my part. I think other people will come along who will do much better, especially as the number of working projector bulbs dwindles.

  3. Jan says :

    I have an old Sankyo dualux-1000 that plays both super 8 and regular 8 film. I need a bulb, but lost the old. What bulb do I need and where do I find one? Tx

  4. Shelly says :

    how can i replace a lightbulb from my (slicing thing for 8 mm films or projecter) It is 115-V 30W and has a bayonet base (not the spiral thing for screw in socket).

  5. teslasmoustache says :

    Huh. Well, that’s a little odd. If you can find a 115V 30W bulb with a screw base, I would just get a screw socket that would fit it and replace your bayonet socket with *that*, if I could.

    I seem to remember seeing bayonet base 30W bulbs at a hardware store or something. So don’t give up hope.

    Just my amateur opinion. Good luck.

  6. jewess-Q says :

    TM, I recommend a good heatsink for that. Even with the fan, it’s probably not enough, and this will also do the trick of keeping that LED alive for much longer. If you find you need more power, look into a LEDengin unit (also available on this site):–P220.aspx

    As for the above comments about the supply not being right for the job, well, it will do the trick, but it isn’t good for the LED. Use a constant current driver (CCD). There are some on that site, but they’re unnecessarily expensive there. There are cheapies available on for example that will serve you well. You draw the power from the charger, still, but first run it through the CCD. You could also use a buckpuck, but the CCDs are just as cheap on

  7. hAR. says :

    like teslasmoustache I am an artist (i make audioviual installations) one of my current projects is very simular to this one, although would like to replace the lamp of an old slide projector with an LED, and afther that building myself small slide-like-projectors to use in my installations.

    but like i said, i’m an artist, not an engeneer and my intrest in all these technical stuff is rather fresh, so yes i’m rather new to all this.

    is there a possibility that there is somebody out here able to talk me true this kind of project in more detail (that may be a lot more detail) with the right information (according to use a ccd, heatsink, the right kind of LED, the right power supply etc.). or to recommend other pages/fora/books…. where i might find the information i need as a beginner.

    thank you all in advance!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: