CCFL Lightbars

Filled under: Electronics

Date posted: January 15, 2008

Status: Retired

 

Overview:

Awesomely bright green lightsbars creating brilliant colorful ambient lighting enhancing mood and atmosphere.


lightbarv1_5

Upper right side of my desk.

 

lightbarv1_6

Upper left side of my desk. 

Technology:

The lights are 12″ CCFLs (cold cathode fluorescent lamps) powered by dual output 12vDC inverters. The four foot long lightbar has four tubes and two inverters while the two foot long light bar has two lamps and one inverter. The CCFLs are incredibly bright and the hue is a deep rich electric green. The light reflects off the wall and ceiling thus creating soft ambient lighting.

 

The Bars:

The bars are constructed from wood trim and furring strips then painted black with latex enamel paint. Each bar has two simple L brackets which allow them to be easily hung by two nails. The interior walls of the bars are lined with tinfoil to assist in reflecting the light up and out.

lightbarv1_1

The front.

 

lightbarv1_2

The full length of the four foot bar.

 

lightbarv1_3

A simple terminal block for easy wiring.

 
The Power Supply:

All three light bars are powered by a single central PSU located in a hidden enclosure of my illuminated bookshelf project. The power comsumption is 5 amps @ 12vDC. The bookshelf has a on/off push button on the top surface.

lightbarv1_7

With the lowest shelf of the bookshelf removed you can see the hidden PSU. The PSU also powers CCFL lights built into the bookshelf.

Personal Notes:

I’ve been using the lightbars nearly every night since their fabrication almost a year ago and so far I’ve received fabulous usage out of them. The brightness and color is truly spectacular. Since then, I moved them around and found a sensible location to be over doors and widows as the running of the wire down the trim hides the wire quite well. One issue that came up is during a cold start some of the tubes are dim and an ugly yellow. In a few minutes, after they warm up a bit, the color and brightness normalizes.

Plans are in the works to exchange the CCFL technology for LEDs. RGB LEDs would rock! Oh the colors. =)

CCFL MTBF = 15000 hours.

LED MTBF = 50000 hours.