For many people, the discovery will be that fluorescent lamps come in many varieties. They can be selected for any kind of lighting: for both outdoor and indoor lighting. The characteristics of the bulbs also vary.
What is it and what is it called?
Fluorescent lamps are often called fluorescent lamps because of their ability to produce pure white light that is close to natural light. They differ from all other varieties due to a different mechanism for creating lighting. Once upon a time, fluorescent lamps were not popular, since the spectrum of lighting shades was very scarce: only white-green or white-pink tones were found. However, a significant advantage was that it was possible to create luminaires of various shapes. Soon, the novelty was appreciated by the designers, highlighting all sorts of interesting details with the help of fluorescent lamps of unusual configurations. So the lamps have become firmly established.
It is worth dwelling a little more on the work of lamps. They glow due to the fact that an electric discharge in mercury vapor in the flask creates ultraviolet light, with which the phosphor reacts in the future - a special sputtering on the walls of the flask. It converts UV radiation to the spectrum of light visible to the eye. In terms of the degree of light output, fluorescent lamps are not much inferior to LED lamps. Lumens in LED bulbs do not always correlate closely with wattage, and the same can be said for fluorescent daylight. Do not confuse lumens with suites: the former show the light output of the light bulb, and the latter show the degree of illumination of the room.
Various caps are produced for fluorescent lamps: compact fluorescent bulbs can even be bought to replace ordinary incandescent bulbs. Not only are the phosphor models brighter, they consume much less electricity and are also less harmful to eye health. The main disadvantage of fluorescent light sources is their harmfulness (if the bulb cracks, then prolonged inhalation of mercury vapor can greatly harm the human body). Another drawback is the inability to use the lamp at low temperatures, since it simply will not turn on.
Types and types
Fluorescent lamps are classified according to many factors. One of them is size. There are compact models or large ones. Compact designs are often chosen as an alternative to conventional incandescent lamps in ceiling chandeliers. They are equipped with a screw base. Large models are most often inserted into luminaires designed specifically for them. Lamps come in different shapes: long linear, tubular, curly. There are also more common configurations, such as a round lamp or a candle shape.
The finished model has the appropriate marking - the designation of the light temperature.
According to the temperature of light, the following types are distinguished:
- LD - fluorescent lamp;
- LHB - cold white light lamp;
- LB - lamp of neutral white light;
- LTP - warm white light lamp;
- LE - natural light lamp;
- ЛК, ЛЖ, ЛЗ, ЛГ, ЛС - red, yellow, green, blue, blue, respectively;
- LUF - ultraviolet lamps used for disinfection of premises.
The colored lamp is widely accepted. It is she who is often chosen as a street lamp, which allows the use of fluorescent bulbs. In the case of outdoor lighting, shades must be used that create a suitable microclimate for the operation of luminescent models. For public institutions like hospitals, administrative centers, and so on, it is customary to buy fluorescent lamps. There are one-lamp, two-lamp, four-lamp models, depending on the size of the illuminated area. It is worth noting that due to certain features of the operation of the lamps, a dimmer cannot be applied to them to adjust the intensity of light brightness.
Another popular model is energy-saving luminescent. It is made up of several curved spirals and usually has a compact design and a screw base. On any energy-saving light bulb, they usually write about the principle of its operation. Please note that in the case of luminescent options, it is worth giving preference only to high-quality options, since in case of depressurization of the flask, significant harm will be done to health.
In general, a distinction is made between high and low pressure options. The first type is used to create street lighting, and the second is used to illuminate the living rooms of a house.
You can fully recognize the device of a particular model by looking at its labeling. It reflects all the characteristics of the lamp. An important characteristic is the glow temperature. This aspect was discussed in more detail in the previous section. For measuring the diameter of the flask, use 1/8 inch in accordance with International Standards. When marking, the letter T and the corresponding part of the inch are put, for example, T8 (25.4 mm). Please note that the thickness of the lamp directly affects how long it will last: models with a wider diameter are much more durable than thin samples.
You can also find out about the caps and their number by the marking of the lamp.
The following types of connectors and plinths are used:
In order to determine the voltage of the network, it is also enough just to look at the lamp. The fluorescent luminaire can be directly connected to a 220 volt network or it may be necessary to lower the voltage to 127 V.
The shape configuration is reflected in the lamp designation. In addition to the standard designations, there are additional ones.
The standard ones include:
- The linear form has no designation;
- U - horseshoe shape;
- S - spiral shape, usually used with compact lamps;
- C - candle lamp;
- G - sphere shape;
- R - in the form of an ordinary incandescent lamp with a reflector that sets the direction of the luminous flux;
- T is a tablet lamp.
Additional values include the following:
- M - small-sized. The letter comes after the one that denotes the shape, for example, TM - a small-sized round flat-shaped light bulb.
- P - light scattering housing.
Not all characteristics are listed, since each manufacturer considers it necessary to bring something of its own into the design of fluorescent bulbs. There are, however, such important indicators as the power, the size of the lamps and the principle of their operation, and I would like to dwell on these points in more detail.
Power marking is carried out using the letter W followed by a number indicating the number of watts in the light bulb. However, one should not focus only on power: in the case of fluorescent lamps, their light output means much more. Below is a table of correspondence between the powers of fluorescent lamps and incandescent lamps with equal light output.
The higher the lamp wattage, the wider or longer it is. For example, a linear design with a power of 18W with a diameter of 26 mm will be 590 mm, at 30W - 895 mm, at 36 W - 1200 mm, and at 58W - 1500 mm. The table clearly demonstrates the enormous efficiency of fluorescent lamps compared to traditional incandescent lamps. Capacity classification was based on the most frequent selection. This includes both street lighting and indoor models.
There are a few more nuances that relate to the power of energy-saving lamps. Regardless of the chosen luminescent model, over time it will lose some of the brightness of the light. This is due to the gradual fading of the element inside. You also need to know that 30% of all power consumed during operation falls on the fact that the lamp lights up. Some luminaires are equipped with a special starting system that does not make them more economical at all. In such cases, electricity consumption is simply stretched over time.
Regardless of the power of the lamp, it does not get very hot. Unlike incandescent lamps, the heating limit for the luminescent version is 50-60 degrees Celsius. Even touching the lamp without gloves is almost impossible to get burned. Very few modern light bulb models can boast of the same distinctive properties.
As mentioned above, there are compact models or standard linear large sizes. Nowadays, compact fluorescent lamps are more often used, so it would be logical to dwell on them in more detail. Compact specimens are curved tube bulbs. There are both U-shaped and spiral models. Compact versions are made for different types of caps, which opens up a wide scope for replacing ordinary fluorescent lamps with energy-saving ones.
There are models with screw bases, and there are models designed only for special fluorescent lamps. It is worth noting that models with a screw base are more expensive, since all fluorescent lamps require a ballast, and in such models it is built directly into the base case.
Compact energy-saving fluorescent lamps differ from incandescent lamps in the following characteristics:
- Energy saving models absorb 80% less electrical energy with the same light output as incandescent bulbs;
- It is possible to select the model of the desired light temperature;
- Typically, the life of a compact fluorescent model is significantly longer than what incandescent lamp manufacturers offer. Traditional tungsten bulbs last about 1000 hours, while a high-quality fluorescent replacement can work 6000-15000 hours without replacement;
- Thanks to the durability of daylight models, care and maintenance in working order takes much less time, effort and money.
Linear large models are most often used for lighting in non-residential premises, for example, in warehouses. Due to their high ripple factor, equal to twice the ripple rate of the mains, they cannot be installed to illuminate moving conveyors without additional, more stable incandescent lamps.
Principle of operation
Due to the special structure of the lamp for long-term operation, it must be supplied with ballast, which makes it possible to neutralize the negative consequences of the fact that a large amount of current is passed through the lamp. Ballasts are electromagnetic and electronic. Electromagnetic ballast is cheaper and simpler in design. However, this model has a number of serious drawbacks. The most significant of these is that lamps with this ballast flicker violently and frequently. This leads to rapid fatigue, loss of strength, and also increases eye strain during long-term work in a room with such lighting.
In addition to all of this, options with electromagnetic ballast produce an unpleasant buzzing noise, which quickly leads to a headache. There are also disadvantages that are not related to human well-being. For example, lamps equipped with electromagnetic ballasts take time to start up. Usually it fluctuates within 1-3 seconds, but as the model wears out, it will increase. Luminaires also consume more electricity than electronic ballast models.
An electronic ballast converts the standard mains voltage into high-frequency alternating current, which is then used to power the lamp. Such models are a little more expensive, but they do not make noise, do not flicker, the ballast itself takes up less space and weighs less too. There are models that instantly light up, but such a starting system has a bad effect on the service life of fluorescent lamps. It is much better if there is a pre-heating system. In this case, the start-up takes about one second, which usually does not play a special role.
Thus, it is best to choose the model with electronic ballast, since its cost is not much higher, and the advantages are obvious. Moreover, today this option is more common than with electromagnetic ballast, so there should be no problems with searches.
What brands are produced?
Today, many manufacturers produce all kinds of light bulbs. There are models of both Russian and foreign production. Below are some of the firms that are highly trusted by consumers.
GE Is a firm founded by Thomas Edison. If initially General Electric specialized only in the production of incandescent lamps, now it is one of the oldest and most respected brands in the world
Orsam Is another world-famous brand that produces various types of lighting equipment, ranging from options for cars and ending with grandiose lighting structures for public events
Phillips offers high quality luminescent models and accessories. Lamps are available in different types: both tubular and compact. There are different types of plinths, suitable for both special luminaires and conventional ones
Lisma Is a leading company in the production of lamps in Russia. The company offers high quality samples, as well as all the details for them. The advantage is the large selection of models
Sylvania specializes not in simple lamps, but in environmentally friendly ones. As you know, birds are very sensitive to ultraviolet light, therefore, special models must be chosen for the rooms in which they are kept. Similar options are just produced under this brand
RUPE "Vityaz" manufactures products of average quality, which have a democratic price. Many people prefer the lamps of this company just because of the cost
Tomsk Electric Lamp Plant has been producing lamps since 2009 and has already gained a good reputation among users. The products are attractively priced and of good quality
LLC "Photon" - one of the leaders in the Russian market, known for a large assortment of products. Here you can find not only fluorescent lamps, but also full-fledged lamps
In short, there is plenty to choose from. You can choose a quality model for every taste and wallet.
How to choose?
When choosing luminescent models, you need to focus on many factors. Some of them have already been presented in this article. The lamp must be from a verified manufacturer. Poorly made options in case of depressurization are hazardous to health. You shouldn't buy a Chinese fake, as it won't last long, and no one needs mercury vapor in the air.
Focus on what purpose a fluorescent lamp is needed for. There are specialized options for indoor, outdoor, medical facilities. Luminescent options are used everywhere, including to maintain a constant backlight in flowers or to keep animals. In the latter case, it should be especially carefully attributed to the selection of the option, it must be suitable for these purposes, otherwise you will only harm the animals. Don't forget about the optimal light temperature. The natural white color is the most comfortable for the eyes. When combining multi-colored models, try to select high quality samples.
Pay attention to the type of ballast. It is best to prefer electronic, as such lamps have proven themselves better.
Take a closer look at how the lamp works. It can mean a built-in starter or its presence in the luminaire.
There are models of the following types:
- RS - rapid start - do not require a starter and ignite without preliminary heating of the elements.
- InS - instant start - models with a gradual start "lag behind" when turned on for 1-3 seconds, but they serve better.
- US - universal start - universal options.
- PHs - pre-heat start - fluorescent lamps requiring a starter.
Models without such markings require a mandatory starter. This means that the lamp itself is so arranged.
How to check if it works?
In order to check whether a failed fluorescent lamp is in a usable condition, a small test should be performed:
- First, remove the lamp itself directly from the lamp and see if the tube is blackened. As a rule, the presence of large black spots indicates that the lamp has worked out the prescribed period and will no longer light up.
- Next, you need to check with a multimeter if the filaments are intact. To check, put it in the resistance test mode and check each of the threads with a tester one by one. If any of them are burned out, the value on the multimeter will be equal to one. In simple terms, this means that the electrical circuit is broken.
- If both of the above factors are in order, then it is necessary to work with ballast.
The simplest thing that can be done to check the operation of the ballast is to remove the fluorescent tube, connect ordinary cables to the wires of the case and install a standard light bulb between them. Please note that you cannot plug in an electrical appliance without a light bulb, otherwise the ballast may burn out. If the light is on, it means that the ballast is working, and the point is in the luminescent tube itself: maybe the bulb has burst or one of the filaments has burnt out. If the light does not light up, then the ballast is faulty and the entire lamp will have to be replaced.
These methods are only suitable for checking bulbs already in use. Before buying a fluorescent lamp, you should check it directly in the store. If there is an unpleasant smell, strong flickering or other things that cause alertness, feel free to ask to replace the model provided to you, otherwise it may burn out after a couple of weeks after purchase.
How to connect?
It is possible to connect one or two fluorescent lamps at the same time. For each of these methods, its own connection diagram has been developed. Take a look at the diagram. It clearly shows how and which mechanisms are connected to each other for proper operation. To begin with, the current from the mains enters the choke, where it is converted to further power the lamp. After the current has entered the lamp itself, it goes to the starter. Further, the current goes to another spiral of the light bulb, closing the circuit, and thus an electric discharge is formed inside the lamp, igniting the mercury vapor.
For two lamps, the principle of operation is practically the same, except that the current from the inductor gradually flows into the two starters.
To connect the lamp, follow the instructions below:
- First you need to find the right lamp. Pay attention not only to the aesthetic component, but also to whether the mains voltage in your house corresponds to that indicated on the lamp. Otherwise, it will quickly fail.
- Depending on which type of lamp you choose, either screw it into the holder, or fix it in the lamp by snapping on both sides. In the second case, make sure to fix your version as indicated on the luminaire body. Sometimes the performance of the lamp depends precisely on how correctly all the contacts are connected when connected.
- Test the lamp by turning it on. When properly operated, it will not flicker or make noise.
As you can see, self-connecting a fluorescent lamp is not particularly difficult, even for a beginner. The most important thing is to remember the elementary safety rules: do not work with bare wires when the mechanism is in the current supply mode.
How to change?
Many people find it difficult to change a fluorescent lamp to a new one on their own due to the fact that they have no idea how to get a burnt-out model out of the case. Fortunately, there is nothing complicated about this:
- Disconnect the power supply. It is advisable not just to turn off the light itself, but to completely de-energize the apartment.
- Grasp the lamp firmly and start rotating it. You will have to rotate all the way, the total angle is approximately 90 degrees. This will turn the pins of the lamp to a vertical position.
- Next, gently pull the lamp towards you and down until it is completely detached. Set aside the removed light source in a safe place so that it does not break: remember, mercury vapors are dangerous to health and life!
- Install the new bulb carefully. Repeat the path that you pulled the lamp, only in the opposite direction. Once you've reached the grooves, begin to gently twist the tube until it locks in place. The light bulb can be checked securely by pulling it slightly.
- Check if the device works. To do this, turn on the current in the apartment and flip the switch.
It is safe to say that replacing the lamp is very simple, and if desired, anyone can do it. Do not forget to arm yourself with a stepladder if you are installing a fixture on the ceiling. This will make your job easier, at the same time reducing the likelihood of accidentally dropping a faulty fluorescent lamp and breaking it. When replacing lamps in an office, where panels of several lamps are usually protected with frosted glass, be sure to wipe the inside of the lamp. It is not known when you will still get the opportunity to clean it of dust, and besides, it is unlikely that you will want to do all the above manipulations specifically for the sake of this.
Service life and disposal
Fluorescent lamps have one of the longest lifespans available today. Some manufacturers claim that their models are suitable for 20,000 hours of continuous use. Such figures cannot but amaze, but the average value of the operation of such options is 13,000 hours. Models with a long service life are good for office premises in which it is not possible to constantly replace some lamps with others. It is worth noting that tubular models usually work longer than curly ones. The same rule applies to the diameter of the lamps: thicker models can be used longer than thinner ones.
As you know, there are mercury vapors inside the bulb, which is why the lamps must be disposed of using a special technology. Abroad, fines have long been established for thoughtless handling of such equipment due to the great harm to the environment caused by disposal. Absolutely all fluorescent lamps bear a warning that they cannot be simply thrown into the trash can. Mercury is a poisonous substance, and if the lamp is accidentally broken, its vapors will remain in the air for a long time, not moving anywhere and poisoning the space. Unfortunately, few people in Russia are concerned about this problem.
However, not everything is so bad. There are some companies that recycle fluorescent lamps, but there are not many of them yet. The simplest solution would be to bring a burned-out lamp into the interior of the light. As a rule, specialists there know what to do with fluorescent light bulbs, and some even cooperate with recycling companies. Be sure to ask if it is possible to return a burnt-out bulb to a large lighting salon near you.
For information on how to restore a fluorescent lamp with your own hands, see the next video.