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Discussion Starter #1
I have several 48" tube black lights on my porch and when I went to turn them on this year they didn't seem to illuminate my "stuff" like I remember. I've had them for a few years so I was wondering if they dim over time or would they just burn out?
 

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black light queen
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yes, fluorescent lights do dim over time, but only if they're used

remember that, when they're turned on they're cold & get brighter as they warm up ... also, you might want to see if they're clean ... i cleaned the ones that i have permanently installed last year because they did indeed look dimmer than i expected ... so dirt & cool temperatures will dim black light fluorescent tubes

also, in order for the objects to fluoresce, that you're subjecting to black light, it needs to be dark, as the effect is most noticeable in the dark, but you already knew that

amk
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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If they are the florescent tube type, maybe? All light bulb will eventually burn out.

But more likely your items may be losing their UV glow abilities due to age/exposure. You could just get some glow in the dark something (paint/stickers - google things that glow in black light to get other cool ideas) to check and see if the new stuff is super bright or faded. New products that are super bright mean the light is fine, it's your stuff that might be old and needing a fresh coat of paint/glow stuff.

You could try refreshing the items with something like laundry detergent or rit whitener (anything that has phosphates should fluoresce under black light) and spraying the items if they are safe to be exposed to liquid (I use a small spray bottle with detergent mixed with water to refresh my ghost made from cheesecloth). Or using florescent/glow in the dark paints if you can paint the objects (and feel comfortable trying to do so).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
yes, fluorescent lights do dim over time, but only if they're used

remember that, when they're turned on they're cold & get brighter as they warm up ... also, you might want to see if they're clean ... i cleaned the ones that i have permanently installed last year because they did indeed look dimmer than i expected ... so dirt & cool temperatures will dim black light fluorescent tubes

also, in order for the objects to fluoresce, that you're subjecting to black light, it needs to be dark, as the effect is most noticeable in the dark, but you already knew that

amk
Ok, I 'll try cleaning them first and then keep them on for a bit and see if I can tell the difference. I was going to go to Home Depot and buy some new bulbs, but I will try this first.
Thanks.
 

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black light queen
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if you've ever seen dark spots at the ends of white fluorescent tubes ... well black light fluorescents are the same ... when this happens, the bulb is losing it's light output ability ... but of course, you can't see the dark ends in black light fluorescent tubes
under normal operation for a few years each year, quality black light fluorescent tubes will last many, many years ... but if it has an electronic, not a magnetic ballast, the electrical components might fail first, but then the bulb won't work at all.

amk
 

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What Frankie's Girl said. I think it's more likely your stuff is losing it fluorescence than the bulbs are dimming. That happens, especially if exposed to sunlight.
 
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