The Benefits of Cold Cathode Lamps
Forgive me for I have dimmed: A fixture restoration at a church prompts an epiphany about cold cathode lamps.
 
Our church is restoring two chandeliers with three rings of lamps, totaling 38 lamps. Presently, the rings are incandescent. The lamps on the top two rings are exposed so we want them to be decorative, preferably globe-shaped. We had planned on using compact fluorescent lamps, but a local lighting retailer suggested we consider cold cathode lamps. He says the CCFLs are dimmable like incandescent lamps. Our lighting consultant says the color temperature should be 3000K or 3500K for our application. What do you think? And where can we find the right lamps?
Using dimmable cold cathode lamps (known as CCFLs) is a good way to go. They have an average rated lamp life of 25,000 hours, as compared to CFLs at 10,000 hours. You can get them in a globe shape (known as a G-lamp), but make sure to get ones that have white glass envelopes, because they also come in a clear or frosted versions that would show the spiral tubing within. Take a look at those made by TCP (www.tcpi.com). They offer a smaller diameter 3W G20 (8G2003WH) that gives the equivalent of 15 to 20 watts worth of illumination, or the slightly larger-diameter 5W G25 (8G2505WH) that gives 25 to 30 watts worth of illumination and the 8W G25 (8G2508WH) that gives 35 to 40 watts. If there are other companies out there making dimmable CCFLs let me know and send me samples to test. I am happy to get the word out about any company that makes a good product. As far as color temperature goes, I would lean toward a 2700K as opposed to the cooler 3000K or 3500K, especially if there are incandescent lamps being used in other lighting fixtures in the church. The color differentiation would be noticeable, especially since CFLs and CCFLs don’t get more yellow when they are dimmed, as incandescent lamps do. But if you change out all the lamps in all the fixtures to CCFLs with a 3000K temperature then that would be good way to go as well.
randall_whitehead
Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com and follow his blog www.lightmakesright.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Lastest from ask randall

We are dealing with this situation on a regular basis now. Many people who were early adopters of LED products did not have the range of color... read full story
It is not possible to put recessed fixtures into a concrete ceiling, but there are a few creative ways you can approach it. One possible solution is... read full story
You do have some pretty high ceilings there. I think you should consider using a fixture with a higher lumen output, something in the 800 lumen range... read full story
I think having good lighting at a full-length mirror is very important. The optimum distance between the two sconces should be 3 feet. You do not... read full story

Webinars

Sponsored by Access Lighting, Civilight, GM Lighting, Langlais Group Inc. and Nora Lighting.   Date: Thursday, April 24, 2014, 2 p.m. ET Register for free here Webinar... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, Antares, Kichler and Light + Building. Originally Live: Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013Recorded webinar now available for viewing on demand.Webinar... read full story
Sponsored by Access Lighting, Kichler Lighting, Kimberly LED Lighting, Auroralight and Antares Lighting. The lighting marketplace is changing more rapidly today than at any... read full story