Dave Kruschke writes:
Yep, no transformer and no hard to get IC. But, … two transistors and other parts are required. I actually found this circuit by accident while roaming Colin Mitchell’s Talking Electronics website (talkingelectronics.com). This website is very rich with examples and explanations of a huge variety of circuits. In fact, this website is so abundant in circuits that later on, I couldn’t find the circuit revealed here. Anyhow, I believe that the TE circuit can be considered “robust” as it works even if different parts are used.
“Joule Thief” – no IC and no Transformer - [Link]
Making LED devices portable can be a little bulky due to the batteries. The Joule Thief solves that, by boosting a single AA battery’s voltage to a high enough level to light a LED. Check it out.
Joule Thief – use LEDs with only one AA battery! - [Link]
This is a 1.2-volt single transistor flyback (Joule Thief) circuit that features a third coil. With it, flash duration and brightness is much enhanced, even with just a 10uF capacitor, as can be seen in the following schematic
1.2v LED Flasher – Joule thief - [Link]
Maker Jimmie Rodgers posted this flashlight variation of the Joule Thief to the MAKE Flickr pool. Take a look. [via]
Joule Thief flashlight - [Link]