Manufacturer: Impact (Website Unknown)
Model: Color Spiral 220-240V 15W Yellow
Application: Decorative lighting
Wattage: 15W (Measured: 14W)
Diameter (max): 45mm
Length: 110mm
Tube Length: 380mm
Bulb/Tube material: Yellow glass, triphosphor inner coating.
Colour Temperature: Unknown
Peak output wavelength: Unknown
Total light output: Unknown
Rated lifetime: 6'000 Hours
Cap: B22
Operating voltage: 220-240V AC
Operating current: 110mA (pf = 0.52)
Warmup/restrike time: 40 seconds/none
Cost (original): 6.64 from BLT Direct (October 2005)
Value (now): --
Place of manufacture: Unknown
Date of manufacture: Unknown
Notes: Coloured compact fluorescent lamps seem to be a type of lamp which are still pretty hard to find, and this is the first one which I actually have come across for sale in colours other than white (okay, so there are a zillion and one shades of white...you get the idea though!) and blacklight blue.  I have seen several in the BL (Colour 05) colour - but that's not a phosphor colour used for general lighting, so I haven't counted it.

This lamp is electronically a conventional 15W compact fluorescent with an electronic ballast, and it is also presumed that the phosphor formulation is the standard (hence cheap) triphosphor type.  The tube in this case however is manufactured from what I have eventually decided to be proper yellow glass.  I was convinced for quite a time that the tube was actually clear, and externally coated to give it colour - substantial peering at it through a magnifying glass, and eventually deciding that the scientific approach wasn't working, and attacking the poor thing with a sharp knife revealed that it was actually proper glass (the lamp was unharmed...I promise that I'll never do anything unpleasant like that to it again either).  Also proved that stabbing the end of your fingers is rather painful.  I really like the fact that the ballast housing of this lamp is moulded in yellow plastic to match the tube, the overall effect even when not lit is very distinctive, and unusual enough to actually attract the attention of those even not really interested in lighting in general.

The lamp lights a very vivid yellow colour, warms up in less than a minute, and is totally free of flicker (as you'd expect from any modern lamp).  The good thing about the use of coloured glass opposed to an unusual phosphor combination or a coating is that throughout the life of the lamp the wonderfully saturated colour will be maintained rather than either fading or shifting towards another point in the spectrum.  The effect using one of these will create in any room is really rather striking, either when used as a primary means of illumination (for which it's quite bright enough for), or to create an accent to contrast with existing lighting. 

This may be bringing to mind for a lot of you, visions of the old coloured GLS lamps which were highly popular for exterior decoration during the festive period, or for the same purpose year round at many places like pubs and cafes.  They were generally 25W lamps, and were quite handy for this sort of thing.  It was an extremely cheap and pretty easy to maintain way to create a very striking visual effect.  It is obvious that this lamp is aiming at a similar market, but it falls down on a couple of points.  Firstly, the old coloured GLS lamps were generally just coated low wattage incandescents, and as a result were really rather cheap.  These CFL's, being produced in relatively low volumes, effectively a specialist item (I've only found one supplier who stocks these), have a corresponding higher price tag.  Also, the old GLS lamps, being low wattage types needed only a weatherproof lampholder to make them suitable for use outside, the bulb itself was just left exposed to the elements.  That of course isn't possible with this type of CFL due to the electronics in the ballast, which obviously wouldn't take too kindly to getting wet.  This means that these lamps are basically restricted to interior use only (as fully enclosed fixtures are generally out of the question too, as they would cause the ballast to most likely overheat and fail prematurely).

This is certainly an interesting lamp, and is certainly one that I'm glad to have in the collection.  Just have to go grab all the other colours now before they disappear from the market again!  I think a display with each of the colours of this lamp would really look most impressive.

Further information: This lamp is also available in Red, Green and Blue.

Click Thumbnails for full size images.

This lamp added to the Virtual Display Shelf on the 26th October 2005 at 21:59.

Page updated on the 12th August 2009: Added Spectrograph photo.


References: Lamp packaging only.
Acknowledgements: None.

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