Grand Illumination

A second life for dead fluorescent tubes

August 1, 2019

Fluorescent tubes are given a new lease of life through induction.

The aim of the Induction Wall Light by Castor Design is to use a scientific concept to approach lighting in a unique way. It powers a burnt-out fluorescent bulb through an electromagnetic field.

Recalling that a fluorescent bulb is normally lit through a wired connection at its pins, the Induction Wall Light leaves the bulb’s pin exposed to further demonstrate that it uses a magnetic field to transfer electrical current to a regular fluorescent bulb. Inside the Induction Wall Light’s box is a circuit and a coil of copper wire wrapped around an iron core.  When lit through induction, the quality of the light is also different. Compared to standard fluorescent lighting, the bulb’s glow is less harsh overall, and is slightly brighter in the side closest to the field source. The temperature of the light given off depends on the amount and type of gas in the bulbs.

The Induction Wall Light offers an opportunity to find interesting new uses for existing materials without letting them go to waste. Rather than destroying a fluorescent bulb, which would release gases that might be environmentally harmful (i.e. Argon and Mercury gases are commonly used in fluorescent bulbs), the Induction Wall Light can power any intact fluorescent bulb. It demonstrates that there is still life left in old bulbs even though they seem exhausted.

The Induction Wall Light received Best Lighting Design at the 2018 AZ Awards a Metropolis Magazine award in New York during ICFF 2018.

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A wall-mounted light lit through induction.

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When a bulb is burnt-out, it will be blackened on its ends, indicating that the fuses are blown and that it will no longer work in a standard fluorescent lighting setup. Despite the fact that the bulb seems useless as is, it can still be lit through electromagnetic induction.

Light fights

Induction lighting is a tried and true product that delivers energy efficiency, low maintenance and longevity but it is a mature technology, and unlikely to see any major improvements in the future.

On the flip side, LEDs offer the capabilities of induction lamps at a similar price point.  A majority of lighting manufacturers are focusing their R&D efforts on improving their LED offerings contributing to major advancements in LED going forward. Induction still has its place for now, but LEDs are better in many applications and a popular choice for most applications when debating between Induction and LED.

Induction Vs LED

In terms of longevity, both induction lamps and LEDs significantly outperform regular light sources, but how do they stack up against each other?

 INDUCTIONLED (Light Emitting Diodes)
Energy EfficiencyUp to 90 Lumens/WattUp to 120 Lumens/Watt and improving
DurabilityHeavy-duty – has no electrode or filament, shock & vibration resistantHeavy-duty – has no electrode or filament, shock & vibration resistant
Cold Tolerant– 40 F (may require warm up time at low temperatures)-30 F (instant on)
Warranty3 – 5 years5 years

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