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Unusual fluorescent lamps

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(Received 11-25-06, tested 11-27-06)
This is a Sunbeam brand neon bulb. it is equipped with a medium screw base (E26), and is designed to operate from 110 to 130 volts AC 60Hz, and is labelled to consume 7 watts (also shown as 100mA) at 120 volts.
There is a caution on the bulb base warning the user that the bulb *MUST NOT* be used on a dimmer circuit. It is also labelled (on the packaging material) as not for use in EXIT fixtures. My guess here is that the AC waveform is altered when the EXIT light switches to internal power following a power failure; and this bulb does not do well with anything other than the sine wave provided by line power.

The shape is rather interesting: a palm tree with a blue trunk and green leaves.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the trunk of this CFL bulb.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the fronds (leaves) of this CFL bulb.

(Received & tested 09-21-05)
I purchased this on Ebay, after a posting on
Candlepower Forums alerted me to it.

The Blak Ray contains a UVA (ultraviolet type A) fluorescent light bulb in front of a shiny reflector to produce its UV radiation peaking at 365nm, and a small screw-base incandescent light bulb (burned out in this specimen; appeared to be well-used and blackened) to produce a low level of white light.

The whole affair feeds from two 6 volt spring-top lantern batteries.

Photograph of the unit itself.

Photograph of the tube, while illuminated.
Light does not appear bright magenta as depicted in this photograph.
It appears as a dim royal purple to the naked eye.

A tritium glow tube fluorescing under the UVA radiation of this lamp.
Again, light from this unit does not appear bright magenta as depicted in this photograph.

(Received 08-31-05, tested 09-01-05)
A fan of the website sent me this lamp, along with several other products. This is a candelabra base fluorescent light bulb that screws into any standard (for the United States anyway) candelabra socket, and operates directly from 110 to 130 volts AC 60Hz electrical power. It is labelled to use 4 watts, and consumes 70mA.

It is brighter than expected, even for a fluorescent lamp, and has a warm color like that an incandescent bulb might provide.
Through a diffracting grating, there are five distinct lines (violet, blue-green, yellow-green, yellow, and red), and one or possibly two fainter lines in the deep red. I don't know exactly what phosphor formulation provides this spectrum, so please do not ask.

    (Left) Bulb in its feral state.                 (Right) Bulb, illuminated.

(Update 09-08-05):
I shined a laser through the outer envelope and determined that there is a "twister"-style fluorescent bulb inside this lamp.
This really is how I determine what is inside any lamp with a milky or diffused outer envelope.

(Purchased 07-01-04, received on 07-13-04)
This is a shortwave (254nm) fluorescent UVC lamp that I saw and purchased on Ebay.
The tube is unfiltered, and emits a light blue visible glow.

Here's a photograph of the tube itself, while energized.
This photograph makes the glow appear significantly brighter and whiter than it really is.

And here's a photograph, showing the warning printed on the flurorescent tube glass itself. This photograph renders the brightness much more correctly; though the color is a little too violet.

There is a faint odour of ozone (O3) where the lamp is exposed by a cutout in the protective window, and the lamp is activated. That is evidence that some "vaccume UV" (wavelengths shorter than 200nm) is being produced; not unexpected considering the nature of the source.

Here's a photograph of an orange UPS label and a green USPS label fluorescing under the UVC radiation from this light.

(Loaner, received on 06-10-04)
I received this lamp as a loaner from a Candlepower Forums member, specifically to check for fluorescence in a Vaseline glass marble I have. It is a battery operated shortwave (UVC) lamp, using a small fluorescent bulb to produce its radiation.

Here's a picture of the lamp itself:

And here's a picture of its bulb, illuminated:

Note: Light appears to be a very dim, dull, deep purple to the eye; not the bright magenta it looks in this photograph.

Here's a Vaseline glass marble illuminated by this lamp:

Note: Marble appears significantly brighter in this photograph than it does in real life. It fluoresces better under longwave (UVA) radiation at about 400nm.

The sender of this lamp suggested placing ordinary glass between the lamp and the marble, and the fluorescence extinguished when I did that. So the marble is definitely responding to UVC, not the much longer wavelength UVA that appears as a very, very dim deep purple glow from the lamp.

Another Candlepower Forums member sent me six Vaseline glass marbles; here are two of them fluorescing under the UVC radiation from this lamp.

Note: These marbles appear significantly brighter in this photograph than they do in real life. They fluoresce better under longwave (UVA) radiation at about 400nm.

Finally, here's a "day glow" orange UPS tag fluorescing under this lamp:

This lamp emits ultraviolet radiation at 254nm, in the UVC band. This wavelength is really, rEaLlY, REALLY bad for the eyes; if the lamp must be looked at directly, place a piece of glass (eyeglasses will work here) or clear plastic between the lamp and your eyes before viewing.

(Obtained 04-08-04)
I bought this nightlight from Golden Gadgets for about $4. It is a compact fluorescent nightlight, which plugs into any standard US 110-120VAC wall receptacle. It is rated to consume just 3 watts. A rocker type on/off switch is present on the front of the lamp body, so it can be turned on and off at will. There are no markings anywhere on the lamp body, so I'll have to take the printed ratings on the packaging as gospel. This package claims that the nightlight is as bright as a 25W incandescent light bulb, and lasts 8 times longer than one.

I asked for a yellow model when I ordered, but was sent a white model. Guess I'll live with it.

(Obtained 10-21-03)

It's a blacklite bulb!
It's a compact fluorescent (CF) bulb!
It's both, actually.

I found this "Glow Up!" bulb in the seasonal aisle of my local Bartell Drugs, along with other Halloween stuff, and I just had to buy one. For just $7.99, this "Mr Light" brand CF blacklight screws into an ordinary household lamp receptacle (medium screw base in the US), and it really does look nice. The bulb isn't that magenta color like the picture shows; but is that typical deep violet color like you see in other fluorescent blacklights. Just by looking around, I'd say it produces fluorescence in stuff at least 10 to 15 feet (3.3 to 5 meters) away.

The bulb supposedly uses 13 watts at 120 volts AC.

(Temps measured 11-07-03 with a CEM DT-8810 non-contact IR thermometer)
The exposed plastic part of the bulb base reaches temperatures of 110F; while the bulb itself reaches up to 170F. So you don't want to touch the bulb on purpose, but you probably won't get burned on it if you accidentally brush against it or something.

neobulbs neobulbs
I found these unusual items at a... ummm... specialty store just east of Seattle this afternoon. They appear to be not true neon, but fluorescent lamps, using a "U" shaped fluorescent tube with a special phosphor, and a miniature solid state ballast in the lamp base. The package says they only draw 3 watts. They actually look brighter than that - so much for using them as a nightlight. :-O

They appear to have been made by a company called "Winko", and like I said, use 3 watts at 110-120 VAC, 50 or 60Hz. Written on the lamp is the following:
Neobulbs and mathematics
I assume this has something to do with ballast efficiency, but I never took algebra, so I don't know anything about cosine and other mathematical symbols this represents.

Several website fans e-mailed the following information. One visitor wrote:
"That funny mathy stuff means that cosine of the phase difference between voltage and current exceeds .95.
Assuming that the current drawin is a sinewave (questionable), this means that the power factor exceeds .95. Power factor is ratio of watts to volt-amps."

Another visitor also wrote in:
"Cos (theta) >.95 means, clearly, that the cosine of the power lag/lead angle is less than .95. This is commonly called the 'power factor' or PF for short. So, this is just saying that it's not using a bad old magnetic ballast and that the power factor is better than .95 which is good to know, but not anything to write home about."

Neobulb tube in its diffused plastic thingie
Oh... the Neobulb lamp comes with a medium screw base (the same kind used by ordinary household bubs in the United States) and is supposed to last 8,000 hours. The cost was very reasonable - $4.95 each.

They come in blue, green, yellow, and red - but the only ones I found were blue.

I'll have to go back to that... ummmm... store... sometime later and see if other colors are put back in stock so I can buy them. :-)

group of neobulbs
I have since found these in green and hot pink (almost magenta) but still no yellow.

Since a number of you have asked what kind of "store" I was in that I was being so secretive about, I'll reveal it.
The blue bulbs were found in a store called "The Pink Zone" here in Seattle. They specialise mainly in gay pride merchandise, unusual electrical devices (most are items that blink or glow), and other assorted foo-foo. Most major cities should have a store like this, or some other store that sells weird and unique bulbs & fixtures along with other assorted articles generally not found in larger stores like Target or Fred Meyers.

The green and pink bulbs were found on E-bay for a comparable (only slightly higher) price. So if you're put off by going into a store like this, E-bay might be a viable option for you. I have also been told these *may* at times be available from a store called "Spencer's Gifts".

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