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Best way to deploy an array of UV CFLs for maximal fluorescence? CFL "Tree"?

2448 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  mikeerdas
Best way to deploy an array of UV CFLs for maximal fluorescence? CFL "Tree"?

By the time I was finished Halloween clearance shopping this season, I ended up with approximately 12 UV / blacklight CFLs. Good ones that fluoresce much better than other brands (ones sold year round at hardware stores, etc) vs. the seasonal ones I purchased. Each CFL consumes only 13 watts.

Anyway, what's the best way to deploy about a dozen or so UV / blacklight CFLs for Halloween purposes? @AMK if you're reading, I believe you're the resident expert on blacklights. Any suggestions? Think in another thread you'd mentioned CFLs in reflector sockets of some kind. Did you mean one CFL per reflector socket? Like the kind I used in my Perfect Storm unit-based Thunder and Lightning effect this season?

What I came up with for fun, don't know how effective it is--probably quite wasteful, actually, as it's not collecting / concentrating the light toward any specific area, is what I'm calling a Blacklight CFL Tree. I took two basic household lamps, removed the regular bulb, then inserted a series of two outlet socket adapters--they plug into the lamp base and provide a pass-through screw-in receptacle for a bulb, plus two non-grounded polarized outlets to plug other electrical devices into. So I got two CFL "trees" having 5 UV CFLs each. Not sure now many watts the lamps I have are rated for. But theoretically, since each CFL consumes only 13 watts, I could build a higher "tree". Stability might be an issues.

They have a goofy kook / mad scientist / tin foil hat-type look, even unlit. I like it! Hope others do as well:



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Another idea I had was to use just one or more powerstrips plus, then use only Socket Adapters, spacing things out appropriately. Either using two typical 6 outlet powerstrips--but the CFLs are too large to use all 6 outlets. Or finding one large, long powerstrip with a lot more outlets and space. Any suggestions on where to find the latter inexpensively? I may have seen one at a Harbor Freight--not sure, but it certainly caught my eye and fixed its way into the back of my brain--filed away for Future Use. But unable to retrieve the memory. :-( This is all in my quest to eliminate those long fluorescent blacklight tubes + shop light fixtures. I want to "sunset" those and put them out at a yard sale... Don't like 'em.

What I'm lacking with both ideas is a way to reflect the UV light to where I want it. Suggestions? Would lining a box with tin foil work? Would Gila mirror film be better? What about spraypainting the inside of a box with "mirror" spraypaint? (where clarify of reflecting an image would not be important; just redirecting / concentrating / collecting the UV light). Would I want to find some cheap spherical surface to simulate one of the reflector clamp sockets? If so, what cheap or thrift store finds would do the trick for getting more oomph out of a whole array of blacklight CFLs?

Here are the reflector clamp sockets I mentioned that I used for my Lightning effect--very effective! Here's the Daytime Outdoor test video:

Unfortunately these UV / Blacklight CFLs aren't dimmable. And so don't work well with my 2 channel light fader. It's more of a binary / on off thing. Didn't do a test *video* with the Blacklight "trees" and the fader. But did test and the results weren't good--as I guess can be expected with any sort of fluorescent lights. Which is why I'd like to see better UV LEDs.

The fader test using two white light incandescent bulbs is here:

Really would have been great to use a single Blacklight CFL "tree" with the fader to do some sort of spooky UV text reveal, having the text fade in and out as desired. Still don't want to pay for the Clear Neon paint and will be experimenting with random, various clear substances I've got around the house--to see how well they fluoresce. Believe the walk-through attraction Posiden's Fury at Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure in Orlando may have a blacklight reveal effect where text is slowly revealed all along the top of the walls.
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· The Big Kahuna of Fright
4,324 Posts
I really like the idea of a bank of CFL's. Some pretty intense UV there. The tree aspect covers a full 360, if that's what you need.
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