HowTo: Using the scanner lamp inside your computer

I had a broken scanner around here, so I decided to do something with it. I decided to install the lamp inside my computer. And its worked!!! So I’ll try to explain what I did to make it work. I believe it’s different for different scanners, but you can try to figure out for your! πŸ˜‰

What I got here, and what you’ll need:
-Lamp and reactor (that comes with the scanner), I used the TCE S440 model
-Cable, tin, soldering iron and basic materials
-Small box

The reactor:

The reacor have two connectors, one to the lamp and other to the power supply. 12V.

There isn’t much work to do, basically what you’ve to do is to give a 12v supply to the red and black cables that connects to the reactor. (red is positive, black ground).

Its good to buy a male molex to connect to your computer power supply, makes the work easier. I connected my Blinking Leds in the same cable, so I didn’t need another molex.

You can install the lamp anyplace in your case, I decided to put inside and in the front part, so the orange of my case would get more color.


More pics:
In this pictures you can see it working:


Work complete!!!


The only problem for me is that the light is TOO strong, so that you can’t see the blue. I’ll still see if I will let it on the computer, or maybe make a light for my room or something.

Hope you liked this HowTo and thanks for reading!


  1. Very nice, I just threw away my old scanner today, maybe I will go dig it out of the trash and try this. You said the light is too strong, you should try to reduce the power going to it, Im not too good with this kind of stuff, but i’ve dabbed in it and it’s worked before.

  2. Why oh why would you add the heat of a scanner lamp to the inside of your computer? That’s a lot more heat than a string of LEDs.

  3. computerdan000, I don’t have this information, but yeah, even that it’s a cold lamp, it may use alot of energy, another reason to make a desk light! πŸ™‚

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  5. verry cool use of a dead scanner; and yes, i think the desk lamp will be even cooler… let us know how the desk lamp goes if you make it.

  6. this isn’t that cool, it’s just a static lamp

    when it was mentioned this came from a scanner I was expecting it to move along tracks like a scan head does

    otherwise this is an inventive reuse of something, but ultimately… just not all that cool

  7. I’ve been shopping for a good bright light for my desk and this would be a great project for my antique parallel port scanner. I didn’t like fluorescent lamp because it was not bright enough or it flickered too much and the halogen lamps were just too hot. Thanks for the idea.

  8. Out of 13 posts, only one of them thinks it’s not cool, which leads me to believe that Bob isn,t cool.
    I personally think it’s cool. It also has given me a few ideas for some projects. Thank you, Pasteler0, for this article.

  9. No, Bob is a programmer, Bob isn’t impressed by shiny objects, Bob wanted some actual functionality, material, MEANING to this kitbash

    like I said before, nice reuse of something, but in reality, your just left with a neon lamp, which might have been cool in a case in like 1996, but today, just isn’t that cool

    now if he went with my comment and put the scan head on tracks, so the lamp moved back and forth across the window, now THAT chummers, would be cool

  10. This is great. I ripped my old scanner to bits to make a bedside lamp. I plugged it into a 9v battery, and from the photos, the light you have _seems_ brighter than mine. I wanted to dim mine a bit too, so I got an old volume control variable resistor thing and tried that out with it. The result was that the light ‘filled up’ the tube depending on how much resistance it was at. It looks great. Now I want a load of them that I can make into a kind of eq thing that bounces up and down in time to music. I think that’s a little further in time though, as I don’t even own a soldering iron!

  11. I don’t care much for case lights, but I thought it was cool, so I got my aunts old scanner today, and found a 12V 1.5A adapter. I think I may go for a lamp. maybe in some cool lampthingy.

  12. OH YEA,

    if you have brown and black leads instead of red and black…

    black is still neg. and brown is pos.

    (or at least this was the case for me)

  13. Hey i like the idea……i actually did it awhile back and then ran across this add about it and thought someone must have a brain like me…… cheap and i cant afford much

  14. I took apart an ancient scanner that used a SCSI connector, and this one seems to work much better. The bulbs not as long, and it doesn’t glow as brightly. I’ve already put mine to use. I put it on the inside of my puters front panel door, so that when I open the door, it turns on. Quite helpful in the middle of the night.

  15. ^_^

    BTW, if anyone has a site that tells how to use the scanner part as a fingerprint reader, and also the using the light and getting it to move in tune with music, I’ll do it and post it.

  16. I just stumbled in today and thinking, couldn’t it be possible to use the same concept as the blinking LEDs for the scanner lamp to flash to the music? To use the Tip31 component or something similar to make it flash to the music. It’s just a thought.

  17. good work Pasteler0! it looks just nice, i wish you publish some photos taken without camera flash or in complete dark πŸ™‚

    i have an old scanner too, and was wondering if i could use it in my pc or as a regular lamp etc. but there is a question in my mind:
    in my experiences i used 3volts and connected the adapter to the lamp itself directly.but my lamp has more than 2 i got different colors like red,blue,green…do you think my lamp is a cold cathot too??? and i couldnt be sure if the lamp is harmful to my eyes and decided not to use it! any of you have an idea about it???

  18. drat… i have trashed two scanners in the last 6 months. since this is 12v powered, there must be good uses inside ones car or van, red filter tube and put it under the dash, make a better dome light, liscense plate light, or a mini-me light saber!

  19. Hi
    I dont have a flatbed scanner.I just ripped out my old scanner and i took out just the fluoroscent lamp. The reactor part is on the main chip of the scanner and cant be isolated. Any ideas as to how i can make just the lamp glow?

  20. Hi i have hooked up my light frm the scanner to my pc it working, pretty bright. but I connected the cable frm da scanner light to the pc power supply wire black and yellow i tried red but connecting the yellow wire is the light is abit brighter well to my eyes looks abit brighter. .

  21. i have an old scanner but my clables are like ribions. how can i wire this up i really wanna try this!

  22. HI,

    I wanted to do this with my old scanner from my multifunction printer.

    But the trouble is reactor circuit is somewhere on the printer circuit board and i am not able to isolate it.

    So the question is how do i make a reactor circuit. you think you can help me?


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  24. This is a great idea, going to try this and the blinking LEDs at the weekend.

    Like Cearum said can you just use this lamp instead of the LEDs to make music-cathode?

  25. I love the idea! Great build. Everything looks really nice and tight – good way to put an old scanner to work. Would be interested in the office lamp idea as well.

  26. hallo, & happy new year
    i want to use the scanner tube without scanner and circuit
    but i want to use this tube as a reading lamp so please give me reply and suggession.
    thank u

    A Royal Co. (India, Gujarat, Surat)

  27. have trashed two scanners in the last 6 months. since this is 12v powered, there must be good uses inside ones car or van, red filter tube and put it under the dash, make a better dome light, liscense plate light, or a mini-me light saber!

  28. i asked my mother to find some phr33 scanners on the internet becouse im making a computer near my TV so i can watch my movies on high detail without buying a dvd player, what other people giving away men.. recycling computerstuff is cool haha ooh btw mines haz 3 difrend main colours i made a multyple switch on it so i can mix those colours to like blue and red
    or red and green πŸ˜€ it was kinda timekilled project to finding out the negative and positive becouse it was a flat plastic cable like a PATA cable for hard drive’s annyways thanks

  29. Hey, I know this is 7 years on, but I like the tutorial. I stumbled across it searching to see if anyone else had done this. I tore apart a couple of old scanners and grabbed the bulbs after seeing that any 12V source would work. I decided to underpower them at 9V so they weren’t as bright!

  30. I see where several people are talking about using these lamps a music cathodes, etc.

    I’m into ham radio and just had an idea. Why not get a bunch of these and use them as a meter for signal, rf out, etc? I think I have a new project to do!

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