Strobe from Flash.

After using a disposable camera, you can build a strobe light (flashing light) with one simple modification. (6/2/2006)


If you have no idea what is a "strobo", "strobe", "stroboscopy" or whatever way it is called, it is simply a flashing light. It is usually used on police cars, 'disco' places and many interesting applications, including scientific ones. This project is dangerous because it implicates high voltages, it can be lethal. Please read the Disclaimer about my articles:


Use this material as educational only, do not build this project unless you know what you are doing and under your own risk. What I'm trying to say is: Don't be stupid, you can kill yourself.


After using a disposable camera, is possible to remove the film for develoment and use the camera to build an easy, cheap and cool strobe light.


disposable camera, strobo circuit strobe


DO NOT OPEN THE CAMERA IF THERE IS PHOTOS LEFT, you will lost some photos if you do that. Open it if, and only if, the camera have zero photos left and you know what you are doing.




  • 1 Capacitor 2.5uf or 4.7uF, 350 Volts.
  • 1 Scr 2N5064 or any 800mA 400V SCR
  • 1 Switch (optional)


    First, The cover need to be removed, the battery and the film. To revome the film, open the botton side of the camera.


    disposable camera, strobo circuit strobe


    Second, The front plastic cover needs to be removed, it have some "clips" and no screws are used. DO NOT TOUCH ANY ELECTRONIC COMPONENT, BE CAREFUL.


    The capacitor may have high voltage. AGAIN, DO NOT TOUCH THE CAPACITOR AREA.


    disposable camera, strobo circuit strobe


    Did I mention not to touch the capacitor area? Well... Do not touch THE CIRCUIT AREA, in fact, DO NOT FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS HERE INDICATED. Before we continue with this projects, We need to be sure the capacitors have no charge.


    Verifying there is no voltage in the capacitors.


    Here is the schematic of the circuit used in this camera:


    Fuji Flash schematic


    Here is the circuit of the strobe:


    Strobe Strobo circuit schematic.


    Here is the modification that need to be done:


    Modification to convert a camera into a strobe strobo


    As you can see, the circuit is almost the same because a strobe uses a RELAXATION OSCILLATOR to trigger the flash. A flash circuit uses the same oscillator to indicate the charge is ready, so, a simple SCR can convert a disposable camera in a Strobe.


    The only two things that needs to be done, is to remove the original capacitor and install the 2.2uF or 4.7uF one. Also remove the "trigger switch" and replace it with the SCR. if the point where the gate and the neon is connected cannot be located, just remove the neon from the camera and attach it as I did:



    You can use a switch to turn on and off this circuit. I did install a small capacitor and closed the camera again so it flashes by itself like "taking pictures" every five seconds.


    How this works?


    The SCR is a diode triggered by a positive signal in the gate. The Flash is triggered by a pulse coming from the NEON lamp.


    The neon lamp have an interesting characteristic (and an interesting glowing also). This gas conducts electricity IF the voltage is greater than 75 volts, so when the capacitor charges, the voltage rises until the neon conducts the electricity that triggers the SCR.


    This oscillator is know as "relaxation oscillator".


    relaxation oscillator


    with 10 cheap 9-Volts batteries is possible to make this flasher that last really long, but that is another project coming in a near future.


    Did I mention not to build this project because it is dangerous?


    I just need to be sure that you understand this project is dangerous


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