Interesting fluorescent nightlight @ Homebase

Zelandeth

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 28, 2002
Messages
1,194
Location
Northeast Scotland (Aberdeenshire)
Actually thought initially that this might be an EL unit, but at £2.99 that would make it rather cheap for that. And the form factor was rather odd - but I know EL panels can be bent into a cylindrical shape. But it obviously wasn't incandescent, it was cheap, and I was bored. So I bought it.

Turned out when I plugged it in, the brief flicker followed by a cool white light gradually getting brighter for a minute or so, unmistakable. It was a fluorescent tube under that little frosted window.

This appears to be the smallest hot cathode fluorescent tube I've ever seen. Slightly under 2 inches in length. It does flicker a little, but not excessively so. Colour's much like that from a cheap fluorescent lantern. Very high colour temperature.

Driver circuitry's the difinition of simple. 2 capacitors, 4 resistors, one switch and the tube itself. Oh, and a fuse.

Power consumption. My power meter shows the following (after giving it an ample 15 minutes to warm up):

Power (real): 0W
Power (apparent): 8VA
Current: 30mA
PF: 0.1

So, lousy power factor, but it's actually using next to no power. It is obviously using something, but the meter I'm using only has a 1W resolution.

It's not hugely bright - but it's meant to be a nightlight! Is certainly bright enough to see your way around by. Certainly comparable to the "normal" 7W incandescent nightlights I've seen. And being fluorescent it's just that much cooler!

Has been running now for nearly five hours, and it's no more than slightly warm to the touch.

Also has a 1 year warranty.

Will add pics shortly - presently fighting with my server and out of date SSL certificates, can't upload images right now.

EDIT: Fixed the glaringly obvious typo. Somehow I managed to write unrecognisable rather than unmistakable. Oops!

EDIT 2: PICS! Got the server sorted out. Turned out to be a simple problem.

hbnl.jpg


hbnl_open.jpg
 

Zelandeth

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 28, 2002
Messages
1,194
Location
Northeast Scotland (Aberdeenshire)
It's a well known fact that I have a soft spot for fluorescents - especially inordinately small ones. This is certainly the smallest one I have so far.

Given the simplicity of the driver, we probably won't be seeing the best possible performance, lumen mainanence or lifetime from the tube - but this thing is seriously cheap. Also, everything runs cool - that to me is a major point to be considered when looking at something which is intended to be operating for expended periods without supervision. Case is still only slightly warm to the touch after around 35 hours continuous operation.

This one was bought in the Aberdeen Homebase store in the Bridge of Don industrial estate.

I'd offer to pick a few up for folks if they wanted - but being in a 220V 50Hz area, folks in the UK are the only ones likely to be interested. That said, the tubes themselves might still be of interest to someone. The producer of these has proved that it's easy to create a simple driver. Which I shall try to get a clearer photo of this evening if required.
 

eluminator

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 7, 2002
Messages
1,750
Location
New Jersey
I've got a 1.5 watt fluorescent night light, but the circuit is more complicated. It has an SCR among other things.

I like mine. I had a choice, so I chose the warm white. Mine has a photocell, but like all the photocell nightlights I've got, it's not worth much. The light stays on all day unless the blinds are open and the sun is shining brightly.

I'm worried that the bulb won't last long so I plugged it into a timer. Unfortunately the timer cost a lot more than the light. I'm thinking I could control several nightlights cheaply with some kind of an X-10 gadget.

http://www.nolico.com/saveenergy/low_energy_auto_night_light.htm
 

phyhsuts

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 3, 2000
Messages
232
Location
Singapore
The extra circuitry is for the automatic control to turn the light on and off depending on the light level. Capacitive ballast nightlights are made by many many manufacturers in China. Here in Singapore we get them for as low as US$1.40. No room light level sensing though /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 
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