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Teslapunk Night Light

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This Teslapunk night light was inspired by the sub genre of Steampunk. You can see more about Teslapunk  here.

34 add two

An Antique Ammeter


1-Vintage ammeter

This is a vintage ammeter I picked up at a flea market over the summer. I had this idea to make it into a Teslapunk style night light for the hallway outside my bedroom.

2-ammeter back

This is the back side.

4 Inside of front
5-inside of front face removed

Removing the Internal Components

3-inside of back

When taken apart you can see it has a lot of area inside, or at least it will have when I remove the components.

6-inside front guts removed

This is the inside of the top with everything removed. I decided to remove all the brass pins on the surface that were used to mount the internals and the dial face.

Drilling and Tapping for the Back Plate

7-inside front drilling +pins removed
8-inside fron tapping

I then drilled and tapped the brass plugs that were left from the pins so I could remount the dial face again only deeper inside the lens and bezel.

9-adding 3rd hole for face
11-tapping 3rd hole

Because there was a third brass plug left at the top I added another 4-40 brass mounting screw to this location.

12-face remounted lower

This is the meter with the dial face remounted in its new lower position.

13-face remounted+lens

Meter with the lens and bezel set back in place. Now I have enough space to add a high brightness neon bulb inside at the bottom of the face. The neon will light up the face and reflect nicely outward. I chose a neon bulb for a bunch of reasons. They run off of mains power (120VAC), they draw very little current (~1.3mA), they last a long time and they look really vintage.

An Electrical Plug is Attached

14-Wall transformer

So now I need to get power into my light. After mulling several ideas I came up with using the plastic back of a wall plug in transformer.

I took it apart and trimmed it down so that it would fit inside the meter housing.

Next I notched the brass plate from the back of the meter to fit around the raised plug area of the plastic transformer plate.19-brass plate +plug mounted

Then I drilled three holes to allow the plastic plug plate to be securely attached to the brass meter back. The plastic was also drilled to allow the mounting screw for the brass plate to go through the plastic.

21 Brass plate+plug mounted

The meter is now ready to be wired with a neon bulb. The warm glow of neon is perfect for Teslapunk. Unfortunately I did not have any neon bulbs in stock so I ordered some along with a small 125VAC toggle switch that will also be mounted on the light. Got these from Digikey an electronic parts supplier. These should be here Monday so until then I cannot complete the night light.

Neon and Electrical Work


This is the switch and neon bulb I purchased from Digikey. The bulb also needed a 33K ohm 1/4 watt resistor wired in series with it in order to get the proper voltage to the bulb. The bulb runs on about 90VAC.

The housing was drilled and milled on one side to accept the toggle switch and retaining screw.

25-switch mounted

Here the switch is mounted.

26 one neon bulb

The leads for the neon bulb were inserted through existing holes.

27 soldering

Everything was soldered together.

28 neon test

Then the light and switch were tested.

29 face plate

The face was put back on.

31 lens attached

The lens cover was reattached.

When tested the brightness was too dim with just one bulb. The switch is rated for 3 amps. The current draw of the neon bulbs is so is only 1.2mA,  that’s 0.012A so the switch can handle something like 250 neon bulbs in parallel.

Pictures of the Teslapunk Night Light

34 add two

So I added two more bulbs. Each with its 33k ohm drop down resistor.

35 threes a charm

Another view. Now that looks Teslapunk.

37 in the dark

One in the dark.

38 off

Finally one with the switch off.

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