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Hybrid Light Fixture

Hybrid Halogen / Circline Ceiling fixture
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About a year ago, General Electric invented the hybrid halogen / compact fluorescent light bulb. When electricity is first supplied to one of these bulbs (which look like a CFL stuffed inside of the glass of a regular light bulb) the halogen light comes on, producing both light and heat. Once the heat from the halogen bulb has warmed up the CFL, the halogen bulb turns off and the CFL turns on.

This is a pretty neat combination -- the lamp reaches full brightness the instant power is applied, and yet, under normal use, the bulb is as efficient and long lasting as any other CFL.

The problem that I see with it, is that if any of the three components involved -- the halogen bulb, the fluorescent bulb, or the electronics -- fails, the entire unit must be tossed away.

This idea attempts to solve that problem, by making both the halogen light and the fluorescent light replaceable, using readily available, off the shelf bulbs; if it catches on, the electronics would also be separately replaceable, too.

We start with a ceiling fixture which takes (for example) a 40 Watt circline fluorescent light. Add to that fixture, between ten and fifteen 10 watt 12 volt halogen lamps, arranged in a circle, just inside of the circline bulb's circumference. Both types of bulb are quite common and readily available in most hardware or lighting stores. Add to this appropriate electronics to light the halogen lamps when power is first applied, and switches to the fluorescent once that has warmed up.

The number of halogen lamps would be selected so that the amount of light given off by them is about the same as (within 10% of) the amount of light given off by the fluorescent tube -- this would make the transition fairly unobtrusive to anyone not looking directly at the fixture.

To make the transition even less noticeable, the fixture might switch over by gradually dimming the halogen lamps and brightening the fluorescent lamp over a period of several second to a couple of minutes.

goldbb, Oct 28 2011

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       Light fittings including a Circline fluorescent and an incandescent globe were common decades ago; the incandescent globe acts as the ballast for the fluorescent. It is a good synergy, as some of the otherwise wasted ballast power gets converted to incandescent light, which supplements the uneven spectrum of the fluorescent.
spidermother, Oct 28 2011

       [spidermother] link, please?   

       Modern electronic ballasts are quite efficient, so there's no need to run both the halogen lamps and the fluorescent lamp at the same time, once the fluorescent has warmed up. The only reason I even suggest doing so, is for a less noticeable transition from one to the other.   

       Also, fluorescents are now available in colors that are much more pleasant than "cool white" so there's little need to supplement them with incandescent light.
goldbb, Oct 31 2011

       I agree with all your points; I mainly mentioned those hybrid fittings for history, interest, and prior art. I think they are mentioned in the Wikipedia "fluorescent light" article.   

       However, incandescent globes do make excellent ballasts - the total efficiency can approach that of electronic and inductive ballasts, as long as the voltage drop across the incandescent globe is small compared to that across the ballasted device. Their resistance increases with current, so they give better stability than an ohmic resistor. (Source - my own tinkering, where I've used light globes as ballast for battery charging and LEDs, and achieved surprisingly good measured efficiency.)
spidermother, Oct 31 2011


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