F15T8 - does CRI really matter for task lighting?

N8N

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I found YET ANOTHER Dazor draftsman's lamp at Value Village for $10... has some minor cosmetic issues but presents well, needed literally nothing other than a quick cleaning and a coat of nu-finish which I did today and a pair of stainless wing nuts as this is a clamp on base model and the wing nuts were missing and I didn't want to pay shipping to order the "right" ones from Dazor.

That said, it has some GE F15T8CW tubes in it which as best I can find are discontinued but have a CRI in the 60-62 range.

The question is, does it really matter? I'm probably going to put this on one of my little electronics workbenches in my spare room. Would it be silly to spend $30 to get some newer Philips tubes which IIRC are in the mid-high 80s? Or will I never notice the difference in this application?

I do have three other Dazor lamps, two desktop and one clamp on. I deliberately sought one out years (something like 15) ago and paid well more than $10 for it, the other three have all been found at thrift stores in various states of disrepair in the last 2-3 years for some reason. I can't seem to pass these guys by though because they're so practical and I love the styling, but finding high CRI tubes is becoming harder. At least the last one I picked up came with some legit good tubes in it unlike this one.
 

N8N

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Reason I ask is, it seems to be increasingly difficult to find high CRI tubes to fit these lights.


yeah, that was me picking up the last couple lights.
 

chaosdsm

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Completely depends on the task... if you're trying to repair a hem or seam in clothing, and trying to match the original thread color as closely as possible <80 CRI might leave you with a noticeable repair.... where >95CRI might get you as close to perfect as you can get.... If you're restoring a painting, then you need 100CRI...

For electronics repairs, I doubt that it matters, so long as you have enough light to see what you're doing. I know resistors, diodes, transistors, etc... have color bands to tell you what their spec is, but AFAIK it's still just 12 colors & 60CRI won't cause you to mistake yellow for green, or green for blue, etc.... although, depending on the color temperature of the light, red & orange might be hard to distinguish at <70 CRI.
 

N8N

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At this point it appears that the choice is between 60 CRI and 3000K/85 CRI unless I want to go down the rabbit hole of trying to find discontinued tubes on eBay, as the two sets of higher CRI tubes that I have are NLA.

And yes, I do realize this is kind of a niche application and even F40T8s are likely going away soon (evidence: my own office; they're taking out 4 tube F40T12 troffers and replacing them with dimmable LED fixtures as they remodel people's offices. But how will we achieve that well aged look of having warm white, cool white, and daylight tubes in the same fixture? LOL)
 
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N8N

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Now that I'm home, here's some pics as requested. I love Art Deco styling and other styles from around that era, and I also actively work with drafting at my job although 99.44% of it is CAD. I would love to find a vintage wooden drafting table though and put one of the clamp lights on it, that would make me very happy. So, of course I gravitate toward these lamps. Oddly, after deliberately purchasing one and having it shipped to me, somehow now years later I've found three more within about 15 months.

Original lamp that I bought probably ~15 years ago to use at my desk. This one I believe has Philips Alto tubes in it which were high CRI at the time but it appears that that is no longer the case.

IMG_20240301_172551257.jpg


First vaguely recent thrift store find. This one has the GE Chroma 50s in it.

IMG_20240301_172609051_HDR.jpg


Second thrift store find, this is a clamp on one. This one has new Philips 3000K, 85CRI "Kitchen and Bath" tubes that I bought at Home Depot. This one needed a new switch and came without tubes in it hence my having to buy new ones.

IMG_20240301_172620512.jpg


Most recent thrift store find. This one has the GE CW tubes in it and I'm going back and forth on if I need to replace them or not. I think the two clamp ons are going to go in my work room, so they will be used.

IMG_20240301_172652895.jpg


Here's the worst of the cosmetic issues, this latest one is the least nice of all four, but it's still not bad.

IMG_20240301_172659946.jpg


Funny thing is, three of the four are the same color, a kind of rose tinted metallic brown. The one desk lamp is a straight up chocolate brown with no metallic or pearl in it. When I got the first one I called up Dazor to order the diffuser and was told "we haven't made that color in decades" (meaning the metallic brown) which is why it has black brackets. The second one was after this style lamp was completely discontinued and I got one of the last diffusers they had, which is why it has grey brackets. Didn't bother trying to fit diffusers to either of the clamp ons, although some day I should probably make a pattern for them and post it because seeing as this was over a year ago I bet they've sold out.

Also oddly every single one has come with screws missing out of the reflector. Having all the screws makes the head twist much less when adjusting so really contributes to making the lamp have a quality feel. I still haven't lost the box of screws I bought when I got the first lamp, so I still probably have about 90 of them if there are any other Dazor lamp fans out there :)
 
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