"Hello World"... but with a light bulb?

So I've had some fun experimenting with "small" components like LEDs. Now I want to try doing the "Hello World" (blinking a light source) with an actual (fluorescent) light bulb. What extra hardware do I need? Is the code used still the same whether I use to light up a normal LED or a light bulb? And would I need to use a plug for the power supply rather than a normal USB which I connect to the computer for power?

Thanks!

(I hope I put this in the right forum)

If you mean you want to control a mains powered flourescent bulb with an Arduino, then you will need a relay.

The Arduino switches the relay (via a transistor), and the relay switches the light.

Also you need a big bucket of careful, as messing with mains electricity can kill.

Do it first using a relay to switch a torch bulb.

Simplest way is to wire hot lead of flourescent supply thru a relay, have the arduino control the relay.
For example:

Can be driven direct from Arduino pin - +5 to coil, other side of coil to Arduino pin, LOW turns on relay. Put a diode across the coil: anode to arduino side, cathode to +5.
Up to 200W light can be turned on/off.

CrossRoads:
Simplest way is to wire hot lead of flourescent supply thru a relay, have the arduino control the relay.
For example:
http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/IM22TS/PB1168-ND/1828440

Can be driven direct from Arduino pin - +5 to coil, other side of coil to Arduino pin, LOW turns on relay. Put a diode across the coil: anode to arduino side, cathode to +5.
Up to 200W light can be turned on/off.

What does it mean to “wire hot lead of fluorescent supply through a relay”? Could you provide an illustration with images or a video on how that is done (sorry, I’m a beginner with these things so I may not know even the stuff that you consider very basic)?

Also, why is the image of the relay on the webpage of the link you provided different from the ones I’ve searched for on the internet, like this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relay ?

Thanks!

jchan:
I'm a beginner with these things so I may not know even the stuff that you consider very basic

If I were you, I'd really take Majenko's advice very seriously and get some experience switching low voltage DC loads before trying anything with mains power. Make a few mistakes (in the time-honoured tradition) and learn in a non-lethal environment. Working with mains power just involves a different level of understanding of what's going on, what might go wrong, and competence in making sure that those bad things won't happen.

When learning to juggle, you start with oranges, not chainsaws.

Buy some incan 12v car bulbs to play with... all fluro's require high voltage 300v snd higher at low current high frequency..

So even the cheapy hand held fluro tubes with s couple of aa batteries can be dangrous :fearful:

The Power Switch Tail would certainly be an option to consider.

As noted in the product description, "The Power Switch Tail II is a smart alternative to slicing apart power cords to wire up your own relays." That is what is being talked about when you read "wire hot lead of fluorescent supply through a relay". Cutting open one lead of the power cord of a light and sticking the ends into the NO hookups of an appropriate relay.