Cold Cathode lighting is a handmade, shaped length of glass that is made to fit a specific shape; for example a curve or a right angle. It is commonly used in coving as architectural feature lighting, but can also be used to highlight features externally on buildings.
Our tubes are carefully hand crafted and bombarded with the latest equipment, and all our tubes are tested for a full 48 hour cycle. The average life expectancy for a cold cathode tube is in the region of 40,000 hours.
The difference between neon and cold cathode is technically the gas within the tube. Cold cathode tubes come in a range of colours and have a small addition of mercury in the lamp; neon tubes are usually only red and tend to be in a clear tube. The term cold cathode lighting however refers to the larger bore tubing 18mm and 20mm glass.
There are a couple of main differences between a high voltage and a low voltage installation. Both installations start off by running on a 240v primary power supply. The transformers however will up the voltage and reduce the amperage of the input power changing both the voltage and the amperage that is output on the secondary side of the transformer.
A high voltage installation in the UK can range from 1000v up to 10,000V on the secondary side of the transformer, whereas a low voltage installation will tend to be run on transformers running at 995V. High Voltage Installations require an external fireman’s switch.
Cold cathode is generally not expensive to run. A 20mm diameter lamp will generally consume about 30watts of power per meter running at 90mA. Cold cathode lamps, depending on their colour, come under part L of the building regulations which is 40 lumens per watt of power consumed.
Cold cathode lamps generate more heat the more mA (Milliamps) passed through the lamp. The only parts of the lamp that generally get warm are the electrodes at each end. Generally the tubes run at a temperature that is quite cool compared to a hot cathode lamp (fluorescent lamp).
A cold cathode lamp can be fully recycled through the same process as a fluorescent lamp. The mercury can be filtered off and re-distilled ready for reuse. The glass can be recycled and so can the iron shells of the electrodes. The phosphors can also be recycled.
When looking at the efficiency of a light source there are a few factors to take into account, these include the watts/amps consumed by the driver, the amount of light output in lumens on a per meter basis and the driver loss on the led driver unit. To compare lighting on a fair basis you need to compare the lumens produced for the amount of power used. When looking at many led products especially when using colours other than snow white, cold cathode lighting is a far more efficient light source on a lumens/watt of power used basis.
The amount of space required by cold cathode can be quite small, however for ease of installation the more space the better, we generally look for a space roughly 100mm x 80mm for a single line of cold cathode lighting.