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Rare Earth Elements and Lighting: What You Need to Know

by Chris Weber 8 July, 2011 10:01

If you’ve watched the news recently, you may have heard the controversy surrounding China’s export restrictions on a number of resources, including rare earth elements. What may not be fully clear is how this affects you as a consumer of electronics, and lighting products in particular. We’ve put this together as a quick overview to let you know what’s happening, and what to expect going forward.

First, let’s look at what rare earth elements are, and what they’re used for: Rare earth element is the common name for a set of 17 chemical elements. They are critical in the production and operation of a wide range of consumer electronics, and are also used in the phosphors that create light in a number of different light bulb types, including fluorescent, LED, and mercury vapor.

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Cooler Than Ever- Halogen IR Bulbs Use Less Energy, Last Longer, Generate Less Heat

by Chris Weber 3 December, 2010 10:15

CFLs and LEDs have generated a lot of attention over the last few years, but they're still not the best fit for every socket. There are some applications, such as those using dimmers, timers, and photo sensors, where halogen bulbs are still the best choice. If you're looking for increased efficiency from these sockets, look no further than halogen infrared.

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Hot, Hot, Hot! Cold Cathode CFLs are both dimmable and flashable

by Chris Weber 8 September, 2010 07:28

Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFLs) have been around for about five years, but don't get the consideration they often deserve. They have more than double the life of standard Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and are better incandescent bulb replacements for dimming and flashing applications.

A quick technical overview

CCFL and CFL technologies are very similar - they both use integrated ballasts to regulate electrical current into a glass tube to excite mercury and phosphors and make UV light. The biggest differences between the two technologies are the type, temp, and resiliency of the cathodes used at the ends of the glass tubes. Standard CFL cathodes incorporate a thin tungsten wire that gets to 900°F while CCFL cathodes are more like solid metal thimbles that peak around 200°F (a "cold" cathode, relatively speaking.) Because the CCFL cathodes are more durable, they can be hit with more voltage (about 5 X) more often than standard CFLs and that opens up opportunities to use CCFL in applications where CFL products consistently fail. More...

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