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Cold Cathode lamp with SOLAR power / battery? Answered

I have an cold cathode lamp from a scanner. I want to install it behind a piece of artwork i made to sort-of backlight the image. it can be very dim... i don't need to get full brightness out of it. My question is.. do you think this is possible with a solar panel and rechargeable pack of some sort to dimly light this thing???? I really want to use solar on this, due to the nature of the piece itself. Any ideas on watts or volts or any other input??? On the power input for the scanner itself it reads 16VDC 0.9~1.0A... if that helps. any help or suggestions are welcome!!! thanks !


i ended up using a set of LED garden lamps for the solar panels and batteries. See the final product here...(photo) HOWEVER, I would still like to use this somehow for another piece. maybe actually running a power plug to it? Or adding a motion sensor so it lights for only moments at a time? How would i go about a direct connection... and do i need one of the "inverters" i keep reading about? or is that only in a computer where that is necessary?


10 years ago

I used to have a solar garden light, back before white LEDs were common, that used a short CCFL tube. It worked, but not very well; the LEDs have much longer on-times. Does your current tube/inverter produce any light at lower voltages? 16V @ .9A is a significant amount of power...

Also, just because it's called a "cold" cathode lamp, doesn't mean it won't generate lots of heat. The "cold" part simply refers to the fact that it uses high voltage rather than a heating coil to emit electrons at the cathode.

In continuous operation, this lamp will still produce as much heat as a 16W incandescent light bulb - enough to get quite hot! And since a scanner lamp is not typically designed to be on for long periods of time, that may cause a problem...

All in all, unless you have artistic reasons for needing to use this particular lamp, you would probably be much better off with some much lower power LEDs.

Is that a florescent bulb or a quartz bulb ?


10 years ago

Dimming a CCFL may be tricky, because you'd have to hack into the high voltage power supply. How much sunlight will this piece get, what fraction of the time do you need it to be illuminated, and how big a solar panel can you afford/tolerate?