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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Using fluorescent light fixtures to solve all your needs

    The fluorescent light fixtures or fluorescent tubes are a gas discharge lamp that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor. The excited mercury atoms produce short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor to fluoresce producing visible light. A fluorescent lamp converts electrical power into useful light more efficiently than an incandescent lamp. Lower energy cost typically offsets the higher initial cost of the lamp. The lamp fixture is more costly because it requires a ballast to regulate the current through the lamp. While larger fluorescent lamps have been mostly used in commercial or institutional buildings, the compact fluorescent lamp is now available in the same popular sizes as incandescent and is used as an energy-saving alternative in homes.

    Fluorescent lamp tubes are typically straight and range in length from about 100 millimeters (3.9 in) for miniature lamps, to 2.43 meters (8.0 ft) for high-output lamps. Some lamps have the tube bent into a circle, used for table lamps or other places where a more compact light source is desired. Larger U-shaped lamps are used to provide the same amount of light in a more compact area, and are used for special architectural purposes.

    Light-emitting phosphors are applied as a paint-like coating to the inside of the tube. The organic solvents are allowed to evaporate, then the tube is heated to nearly the melting point of glass to drive off remaining organic compounds and fuse the coating to the lamp tube. Careful control of the grain size of the suspended phosphors is necessary; large grains, 35 micrometers or larger, lead to weak grainy coatings, whereas too many small particles 1 or 2 micrometers or smaller leads to poor light maintenance and efficiency. Most phosphors perform best with a particle size around 10 micrometers. The coating must be thick enough to capture all the ultraviolet light produced by the mercury arc, but not so thick that the phosphor coating absorbs too much visible light. The first phosphors were synthetic versions of naturally occurring fluorescent minerals, with small amounts of metals added as activators. Later other compounds were discovered, allowing differing colors of lamps to be made.
    The full spectrum light bulbs covers the electromagnetic spectrum from infrared to near ultraviolet or all wavelengths that are useful to plant or animal life; in particular sunlight is considered full spectrum, even though the solar spectral distribution reaching Earth changes with time of day, latitude, and atmospheric conditions. "Full-spectrum" is not a technical term when applied to an electrical light bulb but rather a marketing term implying that the product emulates natural light. In recent years, full-spectrum lighting has been used in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder through the use of "light boxes" that mimic natural sunlight which may not be available in some areas during the winter months. Light is an environmental stimulus for regulating circadian cycle. Lightbox therapy, otherwise known as phototherapy is a recognized modality for depression (such as SAD). It is also the primary treatment for circadian rhythm sleep disorder. Depending on the quality of the light, it is estimated that 10,000 lux is needed for effective treatment. Not all light boxes are the same, and some produce only blue or green light.

    cfl light bulbs is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp some types fit into light fixture formerly used for incandescent lamps. The lamps use a tube which is curved or folded to fit into the space of an incandescent bulb, and a compact electronic ballast in the base of the lamp. Compared to general-service incandescent lamps giving the same amount of visible light, CFLs use less power (one fifth to one third) and have a longer rated life (eight to fifteen times). In most countries, a CFL has a higher purchase price than an incandescent lamp, but can save over five times its purchase price in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime. There are two types of CFLs: integrated and non-integrated lamps. Integrated lamps combine the tube and ballast in a single unit. These lamps allow consumers to replace incandescent lamps easily with CFLs. Integrated CFLs work well in many standard incandescent light fixtures, reducing the cost of converting to fluorescent 3 way lamps bulbs and dimmable models with standard bases are available.
    Non-integrated CFLs have the ballast permanently installed in the luminaire, and only the lamp bulb is usually changed at its end of life. Since the ballasts are placed in the light fixture they are larger and last longer compared to the integrated ones, and they don't need to be replaced when the bulb reaches its end-of-life. Non-integrated CFL housings can be both more expensive and sophisticated. They have two types of tubes: a bi-pin tube designed for conventional ballast, and a quad-pin tube designed for an electronic ballast or a conventional ballast with an external starter. A bi-pin tube contains an integrated starter which obviates the need for external heating pins but causes incompatibility with electronic ballasts.