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Old 08-12-2010, 01:45 PM   #1
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Color temperature and color rendition index of fluorescent tubes

All,

I was kicking back and contemplating the Drama of Life last night on the sofa at the front of my traylah, with the tri-arm light on, and the little reading lights on, when the occasion arose to take a trip to the center portion of the trailer where there are only fluorescent lights.

I was struck by the contrast between the exceptionally warm light from the tri-arm and reading lights, and the rather cool light from the fluorescent lamps. Something I had noticed before but which had not risen in my consciousness to the "what can I do about this" level until last night.

Investigation reveals that my traylah is equipped with six low-profile fixtures equipped with two F8T5 tubes each, and one somewhat larger fixture in the bathroom equipped with two F15T8 tubes. All the stock tubes have a 4100k rated color temperature. I am away from the trailer now and failed to record whether the tubes were the CWX types with the higher color rendition index.

Checking availability from various sources, I see that choices are limited but there is a Phillips F8T5 "ultralume" lamp out there which has a CRI of 85 and a 3000k color temperature. I think I'm going to get some.

Anyone else tried this?
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:34 PM   #2
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Sylvania 21610 F15T8/D830 Light Bulb - Buy 15 watt 18 inch T8 Medium Bi-Pin Base Designer 3,000K Preheat Fluorescent Sylvania Light Bulb Online at ServiceLighting.com

Here's a 3000K color temp 82 CRI 15 watt lamp.

I strongly suspect your original lamps are 62 CRI halophosphate type.

As I'm sure you've determined the CRI and color temperature are independent.

If you like the warm white color temperature, I'm sure you'll consider the lamp replacement as a great improvement.

I went through my house and did just the same, and the improvement was very worthwhile.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:36 PM   #3
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OK gang this promises to be an easy, inexpensive upgrade that, for visually oriented travelers, is well worth it.

Careful investigation reveals that the Mother Ship has spared no expense in obtaining, for new owners of Classic Limited trailers, the finest possible generic Chinese cool white fluorescent tubes. These tubes appear to have issued forth from a factory which emerged out of a space-time discontinuity after disappearing without a trace from upstate New York in the late 1940s. Having mysteriously transported itself to the Guangdong Province of China, it is making miniature fluorescent tubes to the same standards, with the same cutting-edge technological excellence, that prevailed in that nearly-forgotten day and time.

If only the same thing would happen with door latch factories.

So, anyway, no wonder they look awful.

Refitting a 30' classic requires a dozen F8T5 bulbs and two F15T8 bulbs. The larger F15T8 bulbs are in the bathroom fixture.

High quality F8T5 bulbs are hard to find. Atlantalightbulbs.com and alldaylighting.com advertise Philips Ultralume 30 F8T5 bulbs. Atlantalightbulbs only sells in case quantities (24) so I ordered from alldaylighting. The bulbs arrived with a different label used in Europe, not ultralume, but the phosphor is apparently the same.

The local Home Depot sells F15T8 bulbs of the GE soft white brand, which is an older phosphor with lower light output but reasonably good light quality. I'm going to install those at this point and see how they work. If they're not bright enough I'll try to find some with a modern phosphor.

I'm away from the trailer but will report back after this weekend.
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Old 08-16-2010, 09:29 PM   #4
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This is a huge upgrade. The halophosphate lamps date back to the 50's or earlier and have cri of 61 or less. The warm white halophosphate bulbs have cri about 50.

You want a tri phoshor lamp with cri in the 80s. Not only do they render color much better, they are brighter for the same power consumption. Tri phosphor lamps are used in many attractive commercial and residential interiors.

Additionally although color temperature is a value judgment, most people prefer warm white 2700-3000K color temperature for kitchens or bathrooms.

This is rather obscure topic on this board but I think this is one of the best bang for the buck improvements which can be made.
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