Fluorescent lamps are a type of lamp that use an inert gas (usually argon) to create a light source. They are a more energy-efficient alternative to incandescent lamps, but they have limitations that must be addressed when wiring them.
The main components in a fluorescent tube are the tungsten electrodes and the ballast. These components control the current through the tube to maintain the correct light output and a long life.
A fluorescent lamp is a glass tube filled with an inert gas, usually argon at low pressure. The gas ionizes at ultraviolet frequencies to emit photons of energy that are converted into visible light by a phosphor coating on the inside of the tube.
There are several types of phosphors used in fluorescent tubes. These vary in the amount of color they emit. Some phosphors produce yellow or orange-tinted lights, while others have a higher concentration of red or blue phosphors. The color of a fluorescent lamp is usually described by its Color Rendering Index, or CRI.
Different fluorescent bulbs have different shapes and wattage, so it is important to know what kind of lamp you are using before you begin wiring it. The light fixture you are installing will also affect the bulb size. It may accept standard straight tubes, or it may be designed for curved or round tubes.
The most commonly accepted wattage for a fluorescent lamp is T12, but there are also a variety of other sizes. These include T5, T8 and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Some of these bulbs have a screw-in base that can be inserted into the socket of standard light fixtures.
Fluorescent lamps have a long lifetime, typically 10 times that of an incandescent lamp. This allows for less frequent replacement, which can save on the costs of labour and parts.
Many fluorescent lamps are omnidirectional, which means that they emit light in 360 degrees. This makes them ideal for lighting a large area without point-source glare. In addition, they have the advantage that the light can be focused by accessory parts in the fixture.
They can be used in high-bay lighting and other large fixtures, as well as recessed or track lighting. They are available in a variety of tints, and their light color can be adjusted by mixing tube types within the fittings.
One way to increase the efficiency of a fluorescent lamp is to reduce its temperature. The optimum temperature for a fluorescent lamp is about 40 degC. If the tube is too hot, the arc will be too weak and the current will not be high enough to generate the maximum light.
Some compact fluorescent lamps have a starting temperature of 0 degC, and this is a good choice for many applications. These lamps will still have a long lifetime and will be much more efficient than their standard fluorescent counterparts.
This can make a big difference in energy efficiency, as well as reducing the amount of heat produced. However, it can be difficult to install a compact fluorescent lamp in an area with air conditioning or heating.