Saturday, November 7, 2009

Compact Fluorescents go blue

In order to bring light to the shaving mirror, a four bulb (60 W per bulb) fixture was installed over the medicine cabinet many years ago. Couple of years ago I replaced the 240 watts worth of plain old light bulbs with those curly que compact fluorescent lamps (CFL). After 3 years of service one of the CFL's died. So I did the ordinary thing, bought a new CFL down at Franconia hardware.
Put the new bulb in service, turned on the juice, everything lit up. But WOW. New CFL shines a bright blue along side the three old bulbs which glow a cheery pink. Put the cover on the fixture an it does look odd, a bright blue spot in the midst of cheery pink.
Looks like the CFL maker in China decided to save a few pennies on phosphors. Phosphors for blue and green are cheap and bright. Red phosphors are expensive and not so bright. The old line fluorescent lamps were done in "Cool White" a very blue mix popular for years that was cheap but threw an unpleasant shade of light. Which is why fluorescent lamps never made much headway in the home, the light was just plain ugly and made rugs and furnishings look ugly.
When the CFL bulbs first came out, they had the more expensive red rich phosphor mixes and the light looked pretty good, for a fluorescent. Looks like that's going away now that the CFL's have caught on. Back to cool white ugliness.

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