FAQs

> How far from the lamp can I position the inverter?

This is greatly dependent upon the lamp/inverter combination and the proximity to a ground plane. It is best to consult with the inverter manufacturer to optimize the lamp-inverter connection.

> What are the preferred methods of mounting small diameter fluorescent lamps?

Any method that does not put stress on the glass envelope and/or the lead-to-glass seal on the lamp end is acceptable. Most common methods are to solder the leads (with a strain relief bend) directly into a PC board, or to secure the lamp ends with a custom silicon end cap.

> How long should I expect small diameter fluorescent lamps to last?

Typically, 5,000 to 30,000 hours is achievable when the lamp is operated within specification parameters. Lamp life is stated as the point at when the lamp provides less than 50% of its initial output.

> Can I be shocked by the inverter or the fluorescent lamp?

Yes! Although current is low, the inverter output can exceed 1000 volts. Proper precautions should be observed when operating these lamps.

> What is the Color Temperature (Kelvin) of fluorescent lamps?

Color temperature depends upon the phosphor used to manufacture the lamps. The most common industry lamp phosphors produce the following color temperatures.

Phosphor Type Color Temperature
(Warm White) 2800° K to 3200° K
(Day Light) 6200° K to 6800° K
(Cool White) 4000° K to 4500° K

> What type/size wire is needed for small diameter fluorescent lamps?

The wire must have an insulation specified at, or above, the electrical characteristics of the lamp. Typically, small gauge 22 - 26 AWG wire is acceptable.

> Are special or custom fluorescent lamps (i.e., non-standard colors, shapes or sizes) available?

Special colors and/or lamp configurations are our specialty. However, minimum order quantities and set-up charges would likely be required.

> How do aperture and reflector lamps differ from fluorescent lamps?

Aperture and reflector fluorescent lamps allow for more control over the direction of the light, while typically standard fluorescent lamps do not allow for directional control. The reflector’s total light output is less, and it is too bright for direct illumination. 

> Are small diameter fluorescent lamps approved to UL, CSA, TUV, VDE or other safety standards?

Safety agency approvals have not been sought by LCD Lighting. Most companies obtain their own agency approval at the system level.

> Can I run more than two lamps on a single inverter?

Yes, it is possible to run multiple lamps on a single inverter. To obtain optimum performance, however, advise the inverter manufacturer to determine if inverter modifications will be required.

> What is the difference between an aperture lamp and a reflector lamp?

Reflector tubes have a reflective coating covering 235 or 135 degrees of the interior with a phosphor coating over the inside of the entire tube.

The reflective coating of an aperture lamp is 330 or 300 degrees; the phosphor coating covers just that area of the lamp. There is a 30 or 60 degree clear glass opening called the aperture.

> Do small diameter fluorescent lamps get hot?

When a 2.6mm diameter CCFL is operated at the specified drive current of 6mArms, the ends near the electrodes will be approximately 50° C above the ambient temperature. The body will be approximately 25° to 30° C above ambient.

> Will small diameter fluorescent lamps work at cold ambient temperatures?

Yes. However, the lower the temperature, the lower the light output and the higher the required starting voltage. We recommend using lamp heaters in cold ambient conditions.

> What is the best way to specify the "color" of fluorescent lamps?

Fluorescent lamp "color" is best identified through the use of coordinates on the CIE 1931 20 or 1976 UCS Chromaticity Diagrams, x, y or u', v', respectively.

> Can I power fluorescent lamps directly from the wall outlet?

No! You must use a properly matched inverter. All lamp specifications and operating characteristics are based on being driven with an appropriate inverter.

> Can small diameter fluorescent lamps be dimmed?

Yes. The dimming range is predominantly a function of the inverter.

> What is "Color Rendering Index"?

The Color Rendering Index, or CRI, is a term in photometry used to describe the effect of a light source on how well it renders colors. In essence, the Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a numerical system that rates the "color rendering" ability of fluorescent light in comparison with natural daylight. If a lamp has a low color rendering index of 50, it does not render colors very well. If, however, the lamp has a color rendering index of 80 - 95, its ability to render colors is thought to be very good to excellent. A CRI of 100 is considered natural daylight and is assigned to the sun itself.

> How much of the lamp's overall length is actually lit?

The entire length gives off illumination, except for 8 to 10mm at each end.

> How can I increase lamp brightness?

Lamp brightness may be increased by increasing the drive, or arc, current. However, increased arc current will shorten lamp life and may shift the output spectrum.

> Does the fluorescent lamp/inverter produce EMI/RFI?

The lamp/inverter combine to produce some RF emission. It may be necessary to shield the inverter after determining the results of system testing.

> Are there any limits on lamp length for small diameter fluorescent lamps?

The limit is dependent upon the diameter of the lamp and the availability of an inverter to properly drive the lamp. Typically, the ranges of straight lamp lengths are from 25mm to 450mm long. Longer lengths are available in non-straight, such as U-shape or M-shape, configurations.

> How do aperture and reflector lamps control light direction?

A reflective coating between the outer glass and the phosphor coating reflects most of the light, directing it through the clear, or uncoated, portion of the lamp.

> What is the effect of lamp length or diameter on brightness?

Using the same drive current, the surface intensity of the smaller diameter lamp will be greater. Longer lamp lengths of the same diameter, however, have greater total light output.

> What do you mean by "Color Temperature"?

Galileo thermometerThe color temperature of light refers to the temperature to which one would have to heat a "black body" source to produce light of similar spectral characteristics. Color Temperature is expressed in degrees Kelvin (K). Low color temperature implies warmer (more yellow/red) light while high color temperature implies a colder (more blue) light. Moreover, the "color temperature" of a lamp refers to how reddish, greenish or bluish the lamp appears. If the lamp appears reddish, it has a lower color temperature (e.g., 2500K-3000K) and is considered to be "warm" in appearance. If the lamp appears to be bluish, it has a higher color temperature (e.g., 4000K-4500K) and is considered to be "cool" in appearance.