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Old 21-10-2005, 16:48   #1
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CCFL Lamps

Just bought two CCFL touch-on lamps to check out the technology as an efficient source of light. Each one consumes 8.5 Watts @ 124VAC 60 Hz. input power (measured) they are rated at 8W (guess they rounded down).

This cold-cathode flourescent technology has not been widely available and the ones that I have seen at professional boat shows have been quite expensive in the twelve Volt variety because they require special inverters to operate from low voltage sources. I have a few inverters aboard so don't mind buying the 120V units. These cost $25 at Costco for the pair.

You can truly use one of these to read under. I feel that one unit is not sufficient for two people lounging together to read, although it can be done if you are close enough, otherwise each person needs one at this power level.

These particular units are sold as "slim undercabinet lights" which lend themselves to all kinds of installation possibilities including engineroom lights. They have a convenient feature; a three position switch for OFF, ON, and TOUCH. In the TOUCH mode one merely (guess what?) touches the housing to turn it on or off. Pretty convenient in a dark cabin when you just came aboard looking to turn on a light without fumbling around for some tiny switch.

This particular brand is Megabrite Lighting out of La Verne, Calif and is made in China. I've been looking at the manufacturers of these bulbs for several months now and notice that the Chineese are the ones on top of this technology and it is obvious that it will be difficult for the other countires to compete price-wise with them.

CCFL technology offers the best lighting efficiency of all in sub-kilowatt power levels and the bulbs should last "forever" although they are actually rated for 40,000 hours. Thats a lot of reading.
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Old 21-10-2005, 16:56   #2
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If this is the same thing, We have had the "mains voltage" domestic units here in use in NZ for several years now. They work very well, last a long time and produce a lot of light for the consumption. We pay about NZ$5.00 a bulb for the cheaper 8000hr ones and NZ$12 a bulb for the 18000hr ones. The 12V units are a little more pricey at about NZ$20 per bulb. Wattage varies from 8W=40W filament type, through to 23W=150W filament
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Old 21-10-2005, 17:41   #3
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Wheels

The ones you describe don't sound like the same animal. I've not seen a proliferation of CCFL even outside of the USA as I've been doing some internet searching. CCFL tubes don't have filaments and must be started by a circuit different than the starters used by compact flourescents. In addition, I've not seen any rated any where under 20,000 hours. What do you think? Don't know for sure.
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Old 21-10-2005, 17:44   #4
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BTW

CCFL tubes are way more efficient than white LEDs so save your white led fixture money. The extrapolation of price reduction on white LEDs does not look good any time soon compared to CCFL tubes and compact flourescent (both more efficient than white LEDS and I do still like white LEDs for flashlights.
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Old 22-10-2005, 05:44   #5
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Comparing Lamps & Luminaires

Lighting Metrics ~ Watts, Lumens and Efficacy:

Choosing the right "lighting system" (lamp & luminaire) for a specific application can seem complicated, especially since Cruisers often lack the technical knowledge needed to make fully informed decisions. Many different elements of lamp performance must be considered. A basic understanding of the science and technology of light may help to illuminate the decision-making process.

I hope this helps, a little:

Lamp Efficacy
Many people think that a higher wattage lamp will always produce more light than a lower wattage one. This confuses light output, which is measured in lumens, with the electric power a lamp uses, which is measured in watts. In fact, a 20W compact fluorescent lamp can produce just as much usable light as a 75W incandescent lamp.
The most common way to express the “efficacy” (energy efficiency) of a light source is
the LPW ratio. This is the number of lumens it produces to each watt of power it consumes. The LPW is a very important metric on energy-sensitive boats.

System Efficacy
Fluorescent and HID lamps require ballasts for operation, so the lamp(s) and ballast work together as a “system.” The efficacies of these systems must take into account the actual lumen output of the lamp(s), as well as the power drawn by both the lamp(s) and the ballast. Lamp and ballast combinations must be specifically designed to work together to provide high system efficacy.

Service Life and Lumen Maintenance
The average rated service life of a lamp is based on the point in time when 50 percent of a large sample of those lamps will fail, or “burn out.” Many of today’s most sophisticated lamps offer an extremely long service life as well as exceptionally high color rendering. Lamps may cost more to purchase, but the additional expense can be offset by reduced energy costs and less frequent replacement. The light output of all lamps will deteriorate gradually over time. The rate of this deterioration ( lumen maintenance) varies from lamp type to lamp type. It is particularly important to understand lumen maintenance and service life when selecting a lamp for a hard-to reach fixture (anchor light) where replacement is difficult.

Footcandles and Candlepower
Two important measurements of light are frequently confused - Footcandles and Candlepower.

Footcandles measure the light that falls on a surface (illuminance) in lumens per square foot.

Candlepower, however, measures the intensity of a light source in a specific direction. Candlepower measurements are expressed in candelas and are independent of any object or surface that is being lit.

Color
There are two systems of measurement commonly used to describe the color properties of a light source: “color temperature,” which expresses the color appearance of the light itself, and “color rendering index” (CRI), which suggests how an object illuminated by that light will appear in relation to its appearance under other common light sources. Both can be extremely valuable in evaluating and specifying light sources, but it is important to understand their limitations.

The Color Temperature of a light source is a numerical measurement of its color appearance. It is based on the principle that any object will emit light if it is heated to a high enough temperature, and that the color of that light will shift in a predictable manner as the temperature is increased. The system is based on the color changes of a theoretical “blackbody radiator” as it is heated from a cold black to a white hot state. A light source’s color temperature is the temperature, measured in degrees kelvin, expressed in kelvin (K), at which the color of the blackbody would exactly match the color of the light source

It may seem counterintuitive that low color temperature light sources are called “warm” while those with higher temperatures are referred to as “cool.” In fact, these descriptions have nothing to do with the temperature of the blackbody radiator but refer to the way color groups are perceived.
Colors and light sources from the blue end of the spectrum are referred to as cool, and those toward the red/ orange/yellow side of the spectrum are described as warm.

The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a system derived from visual experiments. It assesses the impact of different light sources on the perceived color of objects and surfaces. The first step is to determine the color temperature of the light source being rated. Next, each of eight standard color samples is illuminated - first by the light source and then by a light from a blackbody matched to the same color temperature. If none of the samples changes in color appearance, the light source is given a CRI rating of 100. Any changes in color appearance which do occur result in a lower rating. The CRI decreases as the average change in the color appearance of the eight samples increases. In general, a high CRI figure means a light source will render colors well. Any CRI rating of 80 or above is normally considered high and indicates that the source has good color properties.

Point Source and Diffuse Source
When selecting a lamp for a given application it is important to determine whether a point source or a diffuse source is more appropriate. A point source is a lamp or fixture that is relatively small compared to the area it is lighting and has the potential to direct a concentrated beam of light on a specific surface or object. Incandescent, halogen and HID lamps are typically used in point source applications. A diffuse source, on the other hand, is relatively large and spreads light over a wide area. Linear fluorescent lamps are the most common diffuse source lighting.

Beam Angle and Field Angle
The pattern of light delivered by reflector lamps (point source) is often described in terms of beam angle and field angle. Beam angle is the smaller figure, and refers to that portion of the lamp’s beam where the candlepower is greater than 50 percent of the candlepower measured at the center of the beam. The field angle describes the larger area of the beam where the candlepower is greater than 10 percent of the center beam candlepower.

HTH,
Gord

PS: If anyone's interested, I could prepare a summary comparison of various lamp characteristics, and/or a more complete lighting design manual. I used to (20-25 years ago) teach a lighting design course. These would be "lengthy" compositions(s), only worth the (considerable) effort, if anyone's truly interested.
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Old 23-10-2005, 15:20   #6
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Lighting luminary

Hi Gord,
Yes, it would be handy to have a concise tabulation and comparison between the new and old lighting technology. Especially the HID (high intensity discharge lamps) which are at least crudely (and expensively) making their way from automotive headlamps to 1/2 mile (and beyond) flashlights; CCFL;compact flourescent; LED; quartz halogen; xenon (and related similar exotic lamps); color balanced (expensive) incandescent; various incandescent, etc.

You point out the two most (probably) most important, yet difficult to determine from advertised info; system efficacy and color temperature (please present in a meaningful way like just how like "daylight" is a source in color spectra).

Would be great!
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Old 29-10-2005, 18:58   #7
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Maybe of interest.
http://eartheasy.com/live_energyeff_lighting.htm
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Old 30-10-2005, 04:10   #8
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Interesting link Wheels, but a little “light” on tech. data.
BTW:
1. CFL’s (Compact Fluorescent) are very different from CCFL’s (Cold Cathode Fluorescent). We’ll get to that in the lighting tutorial.
2. I don't fully trust anyone who advocates "full spectrum" lighting (see the Tutorial)
http://www.cruisersforum.com/showthr...&threadid=2544
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Old 15-11-2005, 21:00   #9
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Lightbulb Compact Fluorescent Conversion Kit

Appreciate all the technical info on some of the new lighting options. It helped to guide our choice of area lighting (diffuse source) for the salon in our cat. The "Admiral" didn't want dome lights so we bought two small table lamps from home depot and converted them to compact fluorescents running on 12V DC. We bought conversion kits from Alpenglow, www.alpenglowlights.com, which includes a ballast, heat sink for ballast, 9 watt bulb, bulb socket, a capacitor to provide a dimming capability and wiring instructions. We substituted the bulb socket and bulb from Alpenglow's reading light which is smaller than standard conversion kit and this smaller socket fit nicely inside the standard 115V light socket with the "guts" removed. Since the ballast was too large to fit in the lamp base, I mounted it under the shelf that the lamp sits on and ran the wires through the shelf and the lamp to connect to bulb socket. With two lamps we lit up the whole salon, galley & starboard hull (about 10' X 18') and they are also bright enough to read by. On the bright setting they only draw about 1.6 amps for both. The color is "warmer" than most flourescents and you might mistake them for incandescent lights until you see the bulbs. Alpenglow has lots of charts on their web site which show the lumens vs distance and energy consumption. Of course their data puts their product in the best light (pun intended), but we are very happy with our results.
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Old 16-11-2005, 04:14   #10
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Since this is a Cruiser's forum, it's reasonable to assume we all want the gear we buy to endure lots of hard use and we want our vendors to be responsive and helpful - even if from a distance - when we have a problem. It's for this latter reason even more than the quality (and low amp draw) of the Alpenglow lights that I value this vendor. Bob has been a joy to work with, troubleshooting via email, offering a few things without charging when he didn't think I got good service from a particular light, shipping how I needed him to due to customs issues at my end, and of course we truly enjoy the light thrown by his lamps.

Sometimes it's more the nature of the vendor than the quality or uniqueness of the product that make them a market leader among cruising sailors. (An example might be Scanmar's Monitor windvane; the vane itself isn't superior to other choices but many believe the vendor is). But IMO with Alpenglow, it's both - what a great vendor.

Jack
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Old 16-11-2005, 17:03   #11
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I "discovered" some of these cold cathode flourescents ant an electronics supply store in L.A. a couple of years ago, and bought some just to tinker with. They didnt have any fixtures, just a tube about 12" long, 1/8" diameter with a wire coming out of each end, and also came with a small circuit board (transformer) about half the size of a matchbox. Made some teak "fixtures" to protect the tube, and have been using then on my boat, as well as my mountain cabin and they have been working great. I measured the current draw - about 0.33 A adn produce enough light for reading. These things cost about $15 each, so the high price units just have a lot of "marine tax" built in!
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Old 16-11-2005, 20:02   #12
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Hi Thermal

You quoted: In theory, Practice and Theory are the same. In practice, they are not.

Sorry, I loathe to let yet another popular "cute" myth go by without comment. One of the others that really gets me is "If it hasn't broken, it will" which is a really defeatist statement often used by cruisers to avoid proper choices, installation, and maintance of equipment and explain away why a shoddy job fails on them.

Now, don't get me wrong, I "get" the message yet it still is a myth. For example, I design electronic circuits and have (not always) often been successful at applying circuit design theory entirely to a complex design, commit to generating a printed circuit board directly from a CAD program, received a loaded board, turned it on and had it work perfectly according to the theories applied.

In fact, no piece of medical electroncs, arerospace designs and other engineering products are pass an engineering design review phase if existing theories are insufficient to explain the phenomenon applicable towards the "guaranteed" expected performance.

What the "cute" statement is missing, in logic, is that whenever practice does not support the theory then, obviously, the theory is invalid or insufficiently limited.

Thanks for allowing me the "rant".
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