DIY HID Desklamp

Thanks to a buddy for the handy box of Metal Halide track lighting as I need lighting for some other projects i have been working on. I actually noticed that these 70w MH bulbs use the same socket as a regular light bulb, after some testing and tinkering it hit me…

My desk is the birthplace of many of my inventions, especially those of the electronics kind and when you have you head buried in some piece of gear it’s hard to see everything in there, so I decided to make an HID desk lamp.

Now remember there are some basic things about Metal Halide lamps you should know..

It takes around 4,000volts DC to strike the arc inside the lamp, then after the lamp warms up the operating voltage sits somewhere around 400volts AC, so there are indeed some hazards and in-turn extra measures and awareness need to be taken to prevent you from killing yourself..

Because of the 4Kv pulse to strike the arc there is always a chance that if you use a standard bulb socket (normally rated for 600v) it will jump and arc across the terminals. My lamp the bulb socket was riveted in so I tried the stock socket first and it worked flawlessly!

Actually all you do is cut the cord as close to the lamp base as you can and wire in the ballast and screw the bulb in the socket.

The parts box came with 2 different types of MH bulbs. One being the usual looking type of arc lamp bulb and the second looks like a floodlight but MH, nice!

After extracting the ballast out of the case I just mounted it to the side of my desk:

I chose the floodlight style because of the focused beam path which reduces monitor glare overall:

I am extremely pleased with how it works, I can now take pictures of items on my desk with no flash and not have to worry about low light 😀 It also will keep your arms warm and tan in the wintertime!

The lamp does get hot but because of the bulb style I don’t think it gets as hot as it potentially could. You can still hold onto the fixture and the ballast runs luke-warm so things have been great, there have been no arcing issues either.

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