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Types of Light Bulbs – Different Properties and Features

Types of Light Bulbs includes

  • Incandescent sources
    • Standard Incandescent Sources
    • Halogen Incandescent Sources
  • Fluorescent Lamps
    • Compact Fluorescent
    • Linear Fluorescent
  • High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps
  • LED Sources

1.Standard Incandescent Sources

In Incandescent Lamps, light is produced by heating a material (usually metal) to a temperature at which it glows. When electricity is passed through it, the tungsten filament or any other material vacuum-sealed becomes hot and intensely bright.

Light bulb types
Image source : Wikipedia
  1. Glass bulb
  2. Inert gas
  3. Tungsten filament
  4. Contact wire (goes to foot)
  5. Contact wire (goes to base)
  6. Support wires
  7. Glass mount/support
  8. Base contact wire
  9. Screw threads
  10. Insulation
  11. Electrical foot contact
  • Initial Cost: Very cheap
  • Operating Cost: Expensive. They have short lamp life and are inefficient.
  • Color Rendering Index:100 (Ideal)
  • Color Temperature: Warm color appearance with low color temperature.
  • Ballast and Transformer: Do not require ballast and transformer.
  • Dimming: Can be dimmed simply by lowering the amperage (quantity) of electricity.
  • Instant-on/off: filaments heat up very rapidly.
  • Directability: Poor.
    • The larger the source, the more inefficient it is to gather up the light and drive it out in a specific direction through optical control.
  • Efficacy: Poor
    • They deliver more heat than light which results in a large quantity of wasted electricity.
  • Lamp life: Poor
    • Incandescent sources are expected to have a lamp life of about 1000 hours. They have shorter service life than other light sources.
  • Temperature Requirements: Operate equally well in any reasonable temperature condition.
  • Heat Generation: Generates much heat.
  • Noise Generation: Some
  • Lighting Pollution: They produce direct glare as a point source.
  • Bulb shapes:
light bulb types
Image source : Pinterest

Application : Domestic use and Decorative lighting.

2.Halogen Incandescent Sources

Image credit : thelightbulb.co.uk

Small and hot, Halogen sources deliver clean, crisp, easily directed light that is useful for creating focused shapes of light, accent surfaces and objects or for twinkling use as base lamps for visual interest.

Halogen incandescent sources are named for the halogen gas that they contain and the quartz outer bulb that surrounds their filament.

They are basically a refined version of standard incandescent sources.

  • Initial Cost: Moderately expensive due to the cost of technology.
  • Operating Cost: Expensive. Efficient than standard Incandescent sources but are short-lived when compared to sources like fluorescent, LED, and High-Intensity Discharge.
  • Color Rendering Index:100 (Ideal)
  • Color Temperature: Warm to Neutral
  • Ballast and Transformer: Few Halogen Incandescent sources may require a transformer.
  • Dimming: Easy
    • Can be dimmed with simple wall box dimmers, which regulate the quantity of electricity delivered through the filament.
  • Instant-on/off: Yes. Give off light instantaneously.
  • Directability: Good to excellent
  • Efficacy: Poor
    • They are 50% more efficient than standard sources, but still, there is wastage of electricity.
  • Lamp Life: medium to good
    • Generally lasts 3000 hrs.’ but engineered to last 10000 hrs.
  • Temperature Requirements: Operate well in any temperature requirements.
  • Heat Generation: Generates much heat
  • Noise Generation: Some
  • Lighting Pollution: They produce direct glare as a point source.

Application : Commonly used for accenting, stage lighting and precision flood lighting.

3.Fluorescent Lamps

The most significant aspect of fluorescent lamp technology is the vast range of color temperatures and color
rendering capabilities.

Care must be taken to specify the color temperature and desired color-rendering Index.

Long, linear fluorescent lamps and twisty, compact fluorescent lamps are all basically hollow glass tubes filled with vaporized metal.

Fluorescent lamps contain a small amount of liquid mercury.

Image Source : United States Department of Energy
  • Initial cost: Moderate
  • Operating cost: Cheap
  • Color Rendering Index:70-95
    • The variations in phosphor technology allow fluorescent lamps to be engineered to render colors well.
  • Color Temperature: Varies from warm to cool.
  • Ballast and Transformer: Require a ballast to operate.
    • Ballast operates either mechanically or electronically. Electronic ballasts are worthwhile than magnetic ballasts.
  • Dimming: Can be dimmed, but requires a lamp-specific dimming ballast; and often a specific dimming switch.
  • Instant On/off: Yes, with an electronic ballast.
  • Directability: Poor
  • Efficacy: Excellent (70 lumens per watt average)
  • Lamp life: Excellent
    • Lasts from 10,000-30,000 hours.
  • Temperature Requirements: Prefer warmth
    • Operate better in warm environments.
  • Heat Generation: Very little
  • Noise Generation: Some

Application : Large open areas like classrooms,office work-spaces.

4.High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps

Various types of light bulbs include high-intensity discharge lamps; represent a large family that includes sources like High-Pressure Sodium, Metal Halide, and Ceramic Metal Halide.

The technology behind HID sources relies on creating an arc of electricity in an environment of the metal
vapor.

  • Initial Cost: High due to its technology involved.
  • Operating Cost: Cheap
  • Color rendering index: 70-90 (moderate to good)
    • Metal halide lamps: CRI values: 70’s or 80’s
    • Ceramic halide lamps: CRI values: 90’s
    • Other HID sources-sodium and mercury vapor: 30-50
  • Color Temperature: Warm to Cool
  • Ballast and transformer: Require an electronic or magnetic ballast.
  • Dimming: Seldom
  • Instant-on/off: No!
  • Directability : Good to great
  • Efficacy: Excellent (70-100 lumens per watt)
  • Lamp life: Good
    • Lasts from 10,000-30,000 hours.
  • Temperature requirements: none; Operate well in any temperature requirements.
  • Heat Generated: Relatively little.
  • Noise Generated: Some

Application: Hotels, Casinos and retail operations.

5.LED Sources

Types of light bulbs such as LED’s, or Light Emitting Diodes, have truly come of age and are rapidly being refined to replace many previously popular electric light sources.

  • Initial Cost: Very High
  • Operating Cost: Cheap/Moderate
  • Color Rendering Index: 70-90 (moderate to good)
  • Color Temperature: Variable (Cool to neutral to warm); 2800K-5000K
  • Ballast and Transformer: Require a proprietary transformer
  • Dimming: Yes
    • The dimming properties are generally a product of the driver or transformer technology and must be specified as such by the manufacturer.
  • Instant On/Off: Yes
  • Directability : Great
  • Efficacy: Good (50-90 lumens per Watt)
  • Lamp Life : Great (50,000 to 80,000 hour range)
  • Temperature requirements: Avoid heat
  • Heat Generated: Relatively little
  • Noise Generated: None

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