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Frequently Asked Questions

PROMOLUX Commercial Lighting Questions

Promolux FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Lighting Education

Technical Questions

PROMOLUX Commercial Lighting Answers

PROMOLUX Safety Coated Fluorescent Medium Bi-Pin TubeDo PROMOLUX lamps fit into standard fixtures?

Yes. PROMOLUX is not involved with light fixtures, only in manufacturing lamps. PROMOLUX manufactures over 28 types of fluorescent lamps to physically and electrically match almost any lamps currently used in commercial display cases. PROMOLUX is available in every standard size, wattage, length, and socket prevalent in the market. Simply match the existing type of lamp in use with the corresponding PROMOLUX lamp.

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What is the life expectancy of a PROMOLUX lamp?

PROMOLUX fluorescent lamps are made with quality workmanship and components to assure the same life as other long life lamps on the market. However, with lamps such as PROMOLUX, the life expectancy is not simply measured by the length of time it takes to burn out, but by the lamps ability to maintain its color rendering properties for the duration. Two lamps made to output almost the same color spectrum, but manufactured by completely different processes will have a very different decay of their visible color rendering over time. All lamps decay through their life, but specialty lamps should maintain a high quality of color rendering throughout the span of its life. In many tests PROMOLUX has maintained its high quality color rendering properties at an 80% level, after 10,000 hours use. The average rated life expectancy of a fluorescent lamp depends upon size, type and operating parameters. The life span of PROMOLUX is the same or better than others in the market.

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Why are PROMOLUX lamps more expensive to manufacture than other fluorescents?

The main reason for the higher cost of PROMOLUX tubes is the quality of the materials. The phosphor component is twenty (20) times more expensive than that used by other standard tube manufacturers. In fact, the phosphor used in PROMOLUX tubes has only previously been used for coating the surface of color television picture tubes. The PROMOLUX phosphor combination is perfectly balanced to give the highest contrast for each and every shade of color.

PROMOLUX fluorescent lamps are triple coated, when other common lamps are PROMOLUX Fluorescent Tubessingle coated. This provides color rendering that is consistent during thousands of hours of operation and provides the highest efficiency in lumen output per watt. To retard the emission of ultraviolet, PROMOLUX combines the use of special glass and phosphor additives.

Whenever possible in the manufacturing process, PROMOLUX makes use of cathode-guards. Although these components are inside the lamp and cannot readily be seen, this feature represents a longer life for the lamp and greatly retards the effect of burning the phosphor at the end of the tubes (known as black ends).

PROMOLUX lamps are not manufactured in the massive quantities one would expect for brands that are used typically in applications such as ceilings, offices, schools, hospitals and warehouse lighting. PROMOLUX can adopt smaller runs of certain sizes to meet the needs of current and future retail display case lamp preferences and the attractive retail pay back benefits overcome lamp price.

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Why do PROMOLUX lamps look slightly dimmer than regular lamps?

It is important to remember that the main focus of other commercial fluorescent manufacturers is to produce lamps that provide the greatest amount of lighting output using the least amount of energy. To be efficient these lamps must be focused in the yellow and green spectrum of phosphor color. This is because yellows and greens have the highest luminance or brightness for lighting up a room or warehouse. PROMOLUX is primarily concerned with specialized areas such as merchandising displays. In these applications the yellow, green color output from fluorescent lights can make fresh products look unattractive.

PROMOLUX lamps do not use any more or less energy than other lamps. PROMOLUX fluorescent lamps use a concentration of high definition blue and deep red phosphors to balance with yellow and green. Increasing the emission of darker colors from a lamp gives a slight appearance of less brightness. However, a slight sacrifice in brightness or lumen output is made in order to have the merchandise to look vibrant and fresh. PROMOLUX simply allows the vivid color that already exists in products to appear as natural as possible. Retailers want their merchandise to have outstanding consumer eye appeal.

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How do PROMOLUX lamps differ from red butcher lamps?

Several years ago certain lamps used for meat display were dubbed "meat lamps" because they were so strong in red color that consumer groups called it obvious distortion and misrepresentation. These lamps would only be used for meat, as they would cast an unwelcome red color on all types of perishable merchandise placed beneath them. Many State Health departments banned the use of red lamps, red colored display case interiors, red reflectors and lamp covers in meat displays. PROMOLUX is approved in writing by health officials for applications such as meat display lighting.

Today dark colors such as deep red and blue are ignored for their lack of brightness by manufacturers of general purpose lamps. As everyone learns in school, the three primary colors (red, blue yellow) are required in order to make other shades of color. PROMOLUX lamps are designed with a balance of the primary colors to achieve a natural appearance in all merchandise such as meat, deli, seafood, produce, bakery, floral, etc. PROMOLUX does not distort or sacrifice any one color over others and thus gains approval for all types of food display.

PROMOLUX naturally shows true red color, but will also increase the contrast of any other color such as white, blue, green, orange, etc. It is very significant that PROMOLUX provides excellent color rendering of white. This provides for a fresh appearance of meat due to the stark contrast of white fat content combined with the red color of the meat. Other lights tend to make the fat look yellowish-orange which gives meat an unpleasant and unfresh appearance.

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Lighting Education

What is the relationship between light and color?

Promolux Electromagnetic Spectrum of Visible Light

Electromagnetic Spectrum Light is color. Light is defined as the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye. The visible portion of the spectrum covers a wave-length range from approximately 380 nm to 780 nm. The human eye regards the green/yellow portion as brighter and the outer blue/red portion of the spectrum as darker. General purpose lamps are designed to focus in the green/yellow portion of the spectrum to provide brightness when lighting offices, schools, warehouses, etc.

PROMOLUX lamps are designed to encompass a full portion of the spectrum. Including the darker colors will give a slight impression of less brightness, but it will dramatically increase the vividness of colors that exist in the merchandise placed beneath the lamps.

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How is true color measured?

Many of the present methods of measuring the quality of a light source in terms of its color rendering are outdated, misleading and inadequate for today's technology. i Despite this understanding among all lighting technology experts, the light suppliers continue to define the quality of a light source by the "Color Rendering Index" (CRI) and its "Kelvin Correlated Color Temperature" (CCT).

Methods which use criteria such as "Color Preference Index" (CPI), "Color Definition Index" (CDI), "Color Saturation", "Color Gamut" and other parameters such as UV and Infrared content are becoming widely used by leading lighting scientists. These methods which will soon define quality lighting, use sophisticated software and computers that measure light based on the human eye perception of color.

As it is already documented in numerous publications, so we will only point out a few of the problems related to CCT and CRI. The Kelvin CCT was designed to compare the chromacity of incandescent lamps. It is still valid for that use, but it is quite inadequate to compare fluorescent tubes of different "Spectral Power Distribution" (SPD). For example, it is possible to have two very different fluorescent lamps in color such as green and pink, yet both having the same CCT.Promolux Color Rendering

An incandescent lamp by definition has a CRI of nearly 100. This however does not mean that the incandescent bulb has an ideal color rendering. It can easily be seen that an incandescent bulb distorts all colors with an excessive yellow glow with too little blue content. It is also defined that outdoor daylight has a CRI of 100. However, we all know that a north sky light distorts colors due to its high blue and very low red content. Furthermore, all daylight is not the same and its chromacity changes depending on the region, various seasons or even the hours of the day. Yet by "definition" they are all natural daylight with a CRI of 100.

The CRI was designed to compare lighting sources of similar and continuos SPD with the same chromacity. These factors must be considered when making lamp comparisons, otherwise visual distortions result such as lamps with a lower CRI showing a much better color rendering while another lamp with a higher CRI will provide poor color rendering.

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How does a fluorescent lamp work?

The origin of the fluorescent tube dates back to 1938, when it became possible to produce radiation of visible wavelengths by exposing various phosphors to ultraviolet radiation.

The source of this UV was a glass tube with electrodes on each end and sealed. A small quantity of mercury is placed inside the tube along with inert gases. With the glass tube in a state of low vacuum pressure, the mercury vaporizes and acts as the conductor between both cathodes, creating a mercury vapor arc resulting in the release of UV radiation of 253.7 nanometres.

When a lamp of this design is produced with no phosphor coating, it produces a very small amount of violet light and is considered to be an ultraviolet lamp used for germicidal and sterilization purposes. It is harmful for humans to be exposed to this type of lamp. Another variation of this process is the tanning lamp, which is coated by phosphors that allow a high percentage of the UV produced to radiate through. These lamps are harmful if a person is exposed to them for more than the FDA has allowed.

It is important to note that the operation of a standard 40 watt lamp results in 60% of the energy being converted to UV radiation or approximately 24 watts. However, only 21% of this energy or 8.5 watts is transformed into light. The remaining 39% of the UV energy and a total of 77% of the total energy used by the lamp is transformed into heat, infrared and radiated energy. Only 23% of the total lamp wattage is actually transformed into visible spectrum or light.

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What is the relationship between fluorescent lamps and ultraviolet?

We will attempt to put in simple terms what goes on inside a fluorescent lamp. As you may note in the diagram below, a fluorescent lamp is made up of many components. When a fluorescent lamp is turned on, electrons begin to travel at high speed from one cathode to the other, establishing an electric discharge or arc through the mercury vapor. An arc of this nature, enclosed in a glass tube with internal gas pressure, produces ultraviolet energy.

This ultraviolet energy is converted into visible light by the phosphors, which have the ability to absorb the ultraviolet energy and re-radiate it at longer wavelengths that can be seen as visible light. The color of the visible light produced depends on the chemical composition of the phosphor coating on the inside of the glass tube.

Approximately 60 percent of the input energy in a typical 40 watt fluorescent lamp is converted directly into ultraviolet, with 38 percent going into heat and 2 percent into visible light. Standard phosphor changes about 21 percent of the ultraviolet into visible light with the remaining 39 percent converted to heat.

The final output of convected and conducted heat from typical fluorescent lamps is very damaging to sensitive perishable fresh foods. It causes the surface of many products to fade and discolor, while also warming the merchandise, resulting in moisture evaporation and drying. This exposure is not considered harmful to people in office, school or general lighting situations.

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What types of fluorescent lamps are there?

There are several major types of fluorescent lamps in the market. We can separate them by wattage and size differences as well as color rendering differences. In terms of wattage and electrical specifications, we should first note the industry standard identification numbers provided on the lamp. Then note the length of the fluorescent tube and the type of contacts at the ends. Also important is the tube thickness which determines if it is a 1-1/2 inch diameter (T12) or a 1 inch diameter (T8) tube. In some display cases 3/4 inch diameter (T6) tubes can be found.

Most T12 lamps are available in 24", 36", 48", 60", 72", and 96" lengths. The endings of the tubes can be of three types:

  • medium bi-pin (MBP),
  • single pin (SP)
  • and recessed double contact (RDC).

The medium bi-pin end appears mostly in shorter length tubes of 4 foot length and shorter. The single pin is most common in longer tubes of 4 foot and longer or the very thin tubes like the T6. The recessed double contact (RDC) end is found only in high output lamps which operate with a high current output ballast for better starting in cold applications. Printed on all fluorescent lamps are industry standard designations (e.g., F40 T12) to identify the lamp type, size, wattage, diameter, etc. Simply match this with the corresponding designation in the list of PROMOLUX lamps.

The second major difference is the color rendering properties and light output of the tube which is measured by the Kelvin degree of temperature, the color rendering index (CRI), and the XY co-ordinates which are often described as cool white, daylight, warm white, natural white, etc. The following table shows examples of descriptions for lamp colors available from other major manufacturers. As you can see, these manufacturers make lamps that directly compete with one another, but not with PROMOLUX. The PROMOLUX lamp design is unique in the lighting industry. PROMOLUX will provide an excellent improvement in both merchandise appearance and shelf life of any display that currently uses lamps like these and others.





Cool White
Cool White Deluxe

Cool White
Cool White Deluxe

Cool White
Cool White Deluxe


Warm White
Warm White Deluxe

Warm White
Warm White Deluxe

Warm White
Warm White Deluxe


Natural White



special names but all are greenish




special names but all are greenish


Gro & Sho


ultraviolet output promoted for plant growth

Design 50
Design 75

Chroma 50
Chroma 75

Colortone 50
Colortone 75


Designer Series

Spectrum Series

SPEC Series


Designer 800 Series


Utralume Series


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What is a ballast?

A ballast is required for use with gas discharge lamps such a fluorescent, to provide them with the necessary starting and operating electrical conditions. Once the arc has been struck and the fluorescent lamp is lit up, electrical resistance becomes negligible and the principal function of the ballast is to limit current to the lamp while it is operating. All PROMOLUX fluorescent tubes are designed to function with industry standard ballasts. A ballast will have a label indicating the wiring configuration and lamp types that should be used with it. The Electronic Ballast and associated T8 fluorescent lamps have been legislated as the new standard in North America. This is due to national energy concerns, as well as concern for the environment. It is estimated that 2 million fluorescent tubes are thrown in the trash each day. The smaller diameter T8 lamps represent much less material such as glass, mercury, metal, etc.

Electronic Ballast

These substitute solid state circuitry for some of the magnetic components used in conventional ballasts; an electronic ballast operates compatible fluourescent lamps at a higher frequency then the 60 hertz (available from utility) to improve performance and efficiency:

Preheat Ballast

Typically used with short length T8 and European T8 lamps.

Rapid Start Ballast

Typically used with T12 MBP base lamps up to 48" in length.

Instant Start Ballast

Typically used for single pin slimline T12 and T8 lamps.

High Output Ballast

Typically used for all high current output (HO) lamps with RDC base.

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Technical Questions

What are the different lamp diameters and base types?What are the different lamp diameters and base types?

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