How to build 220 Volts Flashing Lamps

Especially designed for Christmas tree lamps
Replaces old thermally-activated switches

Circuit diagram

R1 100K 1/4W Resistor
R2,R5 1K 1/4W Resistors
R3,R6 470R 1/4W Resistors
R4 12K 1/4W Resistor
C1 1000µF 25V Electrolytic Capacitor
D1-D4 1N4007 1000V 1A Diodes
D5 P0102D 400V 800mA SCR
Q1 BC327 45V 800mA PNP Transistor
Q2 BC337 45V 800mA NPN Transistor
PL1 Male Mains plug
SK1 Female Mains socket

Device purpose:
This circuit is intended as a reliable replacement to thermally-activated switches used for Christmas tree lamp-flashing. The device formed by Q1, Q2 and related resistors triggers the SCR. Timing is provided by R1,R2 & C1. To change flashing frequency don't modify R1 and R2 values: set C1 value from 100 to 2200µF instead.
Best performances are obtained with C1=470 or 1000µF and R4=12K or 10K. Due to low consumption of normal 10 or 20 lamp series-loops intended for Christmas trees (60mA @ 220V typical for a 20 lamp series-loop), very small and cheap SCR devices can be used, e.g. C106D1 (400V 3.2A) or TICP106D (400V 2A), this last and the suggested P0102D devices having TO92 case.

Important Note:
For proper operation it's absolutely necessary to employ high Gate-sensitive SCRs.
If you are unable to find these devices you can use Triacs instead. In this case the circuit operates also with relatively powerful devices. A recommended Triac type is the ubiquitous TIC206M (600V 4A) but many others can work.Note that in spite of the Triac, diode bridge D1-D4 is in any case necessary.

This circuit was awarded with publication in ELECTRONICS WORLD "Circuit Ideas", June 2000 issue, page 458

Author: RED Free Circuit Designs

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