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Flashlight and Other Lighting Bulbs Defined Part I

I was recently doing some research on different lighting features and what I found is that there are many people that are confused about the different bulbs available. Words like Halogen, Krypton, Xenon, LED, and Incandescent can confuse you if you really do not know what they mean. This article is Part I of a simple guide to help diffuse some of this confusion and help you determine the best lighting for your needs.

Let's talk about your common incandescent light bulb. How does this type of bulb work? The bulb is constructed of tungsten filament. When electricity flows through the filament, the filament heats up and causes it to light up.

You may be saying, "Well that seems pretty easy." Ah, but there is a little bit of a catch here. You will find when you go shopping that there are different types of incandescent light bulbs: the standard bulb and the halogen bulb.Standard incandescent light bulbs are the most popular and the ones most people have in their homes. The bulb is constructed of a tungsten filament. Light is produced by heating the filament until it glows.

The advantages of a standard incandescent bulb are that they are cheaper and easy to find. The disadvantages are tungsten is deposited on the walls of the bulb reducing light output, bulbs do not last due to the short time it takes for the filament to get thinner and break, and more energy is needed to produce light which affects battery life.The halogen incandescent light bulb is constructed in the same fashion as the standard bulb. The difference is the gases found inside the light bulb.

A halogen bulb is constructed of a mixture of halogen gas and an inert gas.How does halogen gas make a difference in the light bulb? The answer is tungsten recycling. This is where it could start to get very technical but I am going to keep it simple. Basically, the gases found in a halogen light bulb create an environment where the burned tungsten can be re-deposited back on the filament.

This recycling process produces a bulb that will last 2 to 3 times longer because the filament does not burn out as quickly. The average life of a halogen bulb is approximately 2,000 ? 4,000 hours.Now, I need to address the inert gases found in halogen bulbs because they too make a difference in your bulb. A halogen bulb can either have argon, krypton, or xenon gas as an inert gas. Depending on which gas is used will determine the efficiency of the bulb.

Argon is the cheapest and least efficient because it produces more heat. Krypton is in the middle as far as price and efficiency. Krypton is more expensive and efficient than argon but not as expensive or efficient as xenon.

Xenon is the most expensive and efficient but will produce the whitest light with the least amount of heat.Which type of bulb you decide to buy would depend on many things such as what the bulb will be used for, how much light is needed, or how long you will be using the bulb. I hope this Part I of my light bulb series helped to clear up some of the confusion out there.Part II will address LED lighting.

.Pat Hogle is the owner of ACE Camp Gear: http://www.

acecampgear.com. Ace Camp Gear is an online store with great camping equipment. Pat has been camping for 25 years and spends much time in the Adirondacks of New York.

By: Pat Hogle

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