Sep 27, 13
“High pressure sodium,” “metal halide,” and “conversion bulbs.” Any of these ring a bell? No? No worries; we’ve got you covered. So what are the differences between these bulbs and when do conversion bulbs come into play?
First things first. Metal halide bulbs, sometimes shortened to just “MH” and high pressure sodium bulbs, sometimes shortened to simply “HPS”, are in a family called High Intensity Discharge bulbs, or “HID” for short. The bulbs in this family produce a large amount of lumens, which is why they’re used for public spaces, like stadiums. This family also includes mercury vapor bulbs and the lesser-used low pressure sodium bulbs, or “LPS.” Now, there are those who wouldn’t necessarily group the LPS bulbs into the HID family, but for all intents and purposes, they’re part of the family. While we won’t get into the minute details of how these bulbs work, we will give you a snapshot of how these bulbs create their intense light.
High Pressure Sodium
As the name suggests, there’s lots of pressure in these bulbs, and, well, they contain sodium, but in a liquid form. When electricity pulses into an HPS bulb, to the tune of 2,500 to 3,000 volts for a duration of around 1 microsecond, an arc is created within the ceramic arc tube in the bulb and the heat this arc generates causes more sodium to vaporize and enter the arc. As temperatures increase, more and more sodium enters this arc, until eventually giving off the yellow light we’ve come to know. Also, this arc tube gets hot. Really hot. We’re talking about temperatures around 1,300 degrees Celsius. HPS bulbs are typically found in street lights and highway lights, and their yellow light serves a very distinct purpose: to attract fewer bugs. While these bulbs are used for public lighting, they’re not the best choice for task lighting, as they have a low CRI (color rendering index) and give off very yellow light.
GE ConstantColor Chromafit 93357
Unlike their HPS counterparts, metal halides are actually very good for task lighting for two reasons. One, they usually have a very good CRI, and two, they have a crisper color and white light. Both of these traits translate into making objects look better. For example, let’s say you’re at a Ferrari dealership. You know why that car looks so great, besides the fact that it’s a Ferrari? That’s the metal halide bulbs that have your jaw on the ground. The arc tube in an MH bulb is composed of quartz glass and contains mercury and combinations of metallic halides, which are what produces light. The arc tubes operate at very high temperatures and are under severe thermal stress. This is why either one or both ends of the tube are coated with a reflective powder designed to balance the temperature fluctuations and reduce the stress. Look for MH bulbs in warehouses, car dealerships, parking lots, and stadiums.
Now here’s where conversion bulbs come into play. Let’s say you’re using a metal halide fixture during the vegetative stage of your hydroponics grow, but you want to switch to an HPS fixture during the blooming stage. Instead of using two separate fixtures, you can just pop in a conversion bulb. Conversion bulbs offer you two big advantages. One, they save you money by being versatile enough to switch between fixtures. Two, if you’re strapped for space in your grow area, these bulbs give you the best of both worlds by not requiring two separate ballasts, but still giving you the advantages of both fixtures.
Have any further questions we didn’t address here, or want to share what types of bulbs you use and why? Then drop us a line on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus!
Sep 13, 13
The days of using candles or torches to light homes are long gone. Today, we simply flip the switch and light just… appears. But what happens between the time you flip the switch and the time your light bulb illuminates the room? This week, we’re headed back to the basics: how an incandescent light bulb actually works.
What’s Happening in There?
Think back to middle school science. Remember the terms “electron” and “nucleus”? Well, these two play a very important part in the science of lighting. Electrons, which are negatively charged particles moving around an atom, have different levels of energy, and are dependent on a few things, such as their speed and distance from the nucleus. Electrons have different levels of energy, and as a general rule of thumb, those with greater energy are farther away from the nucleus. The process of how atoms emit light is complex, but in simple terms, this is what happens: the atom collides with a moving particle, exciting the atom and causing an electron to jump to a higher energy level. When this occurs, the electron returns to its original energy level and releases this extra energy as a light photon.
Anatomy of a Bulb
So we’ve given you an overview of how light is emitted, but what makes up a bulb? Fortunately, incandescent light bulbs have a pretty simple make up. Look at the picture of this incandescent A19 bulb to the right. Most incandescent bulbs have a medium base, which is just a fancy way of saying the bulb screws into a fixture. Notice the coil at the top of the glass mount. This filament is typically made up of tungsten metal. While the coil itself is only about an inch long, if you were to stretch the coil out, it would be a little over six feet long. Supporting the 6-foot coil are generally about 3-5 support wires, while a gas fills the bulb. Sometimes, Krypton gas is used to extend the life of the bulb.
Electrons + Filament = Light
Now that we’ve covered how light is created and what makes up a bulb, it’s time to look at what actually happens when you flip the switch. Electricity flows from the contacts to the filament, and while the current is coursing through the wires to the filament, the electrons constantly collide into the atoms that make up the tungsten filament. Due to these constant collisions, the atoms that make up the filament vibrate (simply put, the electric current heats up the atoms), causing the bound electrons in the vibrating atoms to be temporarily boosted to higher energy levels. Once these electrons release their extra energy as photons, they return back to their original energy levels.
Keep in mind that incandescent bulbs are very energy inefficient. In fact, 80 percent of their energy is released as heat, while only the remaining 20 percent is given off as actual visible light. Want to know how something else works? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus!
Aug 30, 13
Within the confines of the 1000Bulbs.com website exist a little over 34,000 products, and of those 34,000 products are our antique bulbs. These bulbs are great replications of the bulbs used in the 19th and 20th century. We’ve put together a few of our antique bulbs that are sure to add a classic touch your home.
Edison Style: Looking for a bulb that’s true to Thomas Edison’s original bulb? Well, look no farther. The bulbs’ clear face further adds to the authenticity and warm tones, with the Tungsten filament clearly visible. The shape of these Edison style bulbs isn’t too far removed from the traditional A19 shape we have today, and they look great in antique pendant lights or in chandeliers, or in an antique lamp in study.
Antique Light Bulb Co. L4070
Decorative Chandelier: These decorative chandelier bulbs not only look just like those used in the early days, but some of these bulbs have a carbon filament inside them, reminiscent of some of the earliest bulbs produced. Providing a soft, warm glow you can’t get from a standard incandescent bulb, these bulbs are perfect in an entry way chandelier or in an antique wall sconce.
Tubular Antique Bulbs: Not that the previous types of bulbs haven’t been unique, but these tubular antique bulbs are really special. Coming with many different faces, from inside frost, to clear, to smoke, and each face gives each bulb its own unique feel. These bulbs can be used in many fixtures, from wall sconces to chandeliers, but are also great in movie theaters and themed restaurants.
Antique Light Bulb Co. L4080
Radio Style: These radio style bulbs recreate the vacuum tubes used in classic radios and mimic bulbs used in early 20th-century lighting. Available in carbon or tungsten filaments, these bulbs typically have a medium base, making them compatible with a number of fixtures and applications, ranging from pendant lights to themed restaurants.
Keep in mind, these antique bulbs aren’t designed for task lighting. Instead, they’re designed for creating, warm inviting tones, and to supplement existing light, not really for lighting your garage.
How are you going to use these antique bulbs? Share your pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus!
Aug 23, 13
It may be late August, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start planning your Christmas decorating and getting your home ready for the upcoming holiday season. With that in mind, we’ve collected some unique Christmas decorations that will transform your home into a winter wonderland, making even Clark Griswold jealous.
Peter’s Flying Santa
Peter’s Flying Santa: Now this is pretty special. Peter’s Flying Santa attaches to the top of your tree and flies around. Complete with Santa, his sleigh, and his eight reindeer, Peter’s Flying Santa is compatible with or without tree toppers and is sure to add a whimsical touch to your Christmas décor! For a video demonstration, click here.
Christmas Lite. Co CW15R-51
Cowboy Christmas Lights: Sure, we sell lots of types of Christmas lights, from LED Christmas lights to net lights, to battery operated Christmas lights, but did you know we sell chili pepper lights? What about shotgun shell Christmas lights or cowboy boot Christmas lights? We even sell cow skull Christmas lights. So whatever your style, whether it be sophisticated, classic, or outside-the-city-limits, we’ve got you covered.
Texas A&M – Sterling 91511024ta
Untraditional Christmas Trees: Do you let out a “whoop” anytime you hear mention of Texas A&M? Is the blood that courses through your veins burnt orange? Wanting a break from traditional trees, looking for something more… interesting? Not only do we sell licensed university Christmas trees, we also have upside down and potted trees, and if those don’t tickle your fancy, look at our tinsel trees. Working with limited space this holiday season? Our corner and wall trees have you covered. If you’re looking to display your college football spirit, or just looking to take a break from the norm, check out our collection of unique trees!
Snowfall Lights LEDSNOW510
LED Snowfall Tubes: Every year I plan to romp through the snow on Christmas Day, yet every year I’m disappointed. Thanks, Texas. Well, when you can’t have the real thing, this is where LED snowfall tubes come in. These are pretty fantastic. These tubes have pure white LED “drops” that mimic falling snow. Try hanging these from the trees in your front yard for an unprecedented winter look. For a video of these tubes in action, click here.
Life-Size Christmas Props: Imagine our 6-foot fiberglass Santa holding a toy bag, being the focal point of your decoration layout. If a 6-foot Santa isn’t what you had in mind, how about a 6-foot fiberglass Nutcracker, guarding your lawn or your front door? Our life-size decorations are a great way to round out your holiday decorating plans!
Don’t forget about us when it’s time to break out these awesome decorations! Share your winter wonderland with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, or send us a copy at our physical address:
C/O Daniel Michaelree
2140 Merritt DR.
Garland, TX 75041
Aug 02, 13
So you want to add under cabinet lighting to your kitchen, or perhaps add accent lighting to your deck or patio, but you’re not sure what kind of lighting to use, rope light or tape light. Both have their advantages, but which one works best for you?
Rope Light: Rope light is a great, versatile tool that’s used in many accent lighting applications. From adding a fun touch to your deck to adding a warm tone to restaurants, there’s not a whole lot you can’t do with rope light. While rope light offers tons of advantages, there’s a few things you should know. For starters, rope light can be tricky to maneuver in tight spaces (not to mention rope light can’t be bent at a 90-degree angle without breaking the wires inside) , and even the smallest diameter rope light can present challenges when it comes to concealment. Available in 12-volt, 24-volt, and 120-volt in LED and incandescent, these higher voltages give you the freedom to create virtually any lighting scheme you can imagine. With that being said, rope light can only be cut into certain sections, and the amount of these sections changes from size to size. Also, rope light gets hot, very hot, so this must be taken into consideration when deciding where to put your rope light. Rope light is generally more expensive, and it also does not offer the RGB (red, green, blue) option, therefore somewhat limiting your color options.
LED Tape Light
Tape Light: Tape light is sometimes called LED strip lights, and for a good reason. Tape light looks exactly the way it sounds: flat. The shape of tape light has some serious advantages. For one, due to its shape, it’s much easier to work with than rope light, and fits into tighter spaces much easier, too. Also, tape light is super easy to install, especially with L-shape connectors for 90-degree turns, since all you have to do is peel off the adhesive backing, and, that’s it. What’s more, LED tape light is cheaper than rope light and offers multiple colors, including RGB color changing tape light. So with all these positives, it certainly seems like tape lights don’t have many drawbacks. Well, there’s a couple, but the biggest is tape lights have a very limited run, 16-feet for a 24-volt strip to be exact. While this is perfect for those small projects, if you’re looking to light your whole kitchen, things could get messy because every section requires its own power source, and you’re going to be left with a wad of cables to power those sections.
Which is better? Well, neither one is outright better than the other. Both have their advantages over the other. However, both are suitable for damp locations, but they cannot be submerged. So the bottom line here is this: if you need to light 100 or so feet, rope light is the definite winner there, but if you’re looking to light small sections with quick, simple installation, then look at tape light.
Share your rope and tape light project pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus!