Flour. lamps and high tech.

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perfectbite
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Flour. lamps and high tech.

Post by perfectbite » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:57 am

Hello, long time no see. Happy New Year.

I have three questions that I KNOW I can get a real answer to here.

1. What is it that changes the flourescent lamp's cycle from the given 60Hz to 7,200Hz? How was the change up in frequency accomplished in the old pitch and copper and iron ballasts?

2. What is the cycle time of the on and the off of a standard household (let's say utility) lamp?

And 3, Given our venerable and quite high tech accomplishment of a vacuum under sealed glass, if somehow we were put back to a dark age and no longer had the means and technology to produce vacuumed light bulbs but had the means (copper wire and massive low yield magnetic iron cores (even bundled, barely magnetized nails tied to a rotating 'stick' with twine)) to produce treadmill or waterwheel driven electrical power, other than a simple (and fragile) carbon arc setup that would give a minimal, and I presume sputtering light, could a decent light source be produced?

Would we have to be chained to naked flames (oil lamps or candles whose only side benefit would be that they would be carefully portable) or stationary fires for useful illumination at night or is there a way (other than the infernal carbon arc) to convert electricity to light (even stationary by necessity) without a developed high tech. base?

Thanks.

Dean Huster
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Post by Dean Huster » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:04 am

Your first two items? I'm clueless in every way as to what they're even about.

I'm not sure that the world wouldn't be better right now if all the technology suddenly disappeared. I wouldn't have to look at all these weirdos running around doing their Lt. Uhura imitations with those ignorant thingies sticking out of their ears, or drivers with one hand on the wheel (maybe) and the other plastered against their ear with a cell phone. I wouldn't miss the violence and mindlessness of computer and video games; point-of-sale systems and UPCs; telephone menu systems that keep you frustrated and in the dark; the invasion of privacy by computers; HDTV; the demise of terrestrial TV, the AM broadcast band and international HF shortwave broadcasting; the IRS; automobiles so unnecessarily complicated that only specialists can work on them IF they have the right electronic analyzers; through-the-roof inflation; Obama bin Laden or whatever his name is; Hillary; blah, blah, blah. We have become far too dependent upon frills.

Now, I would miss the advances in medicine that modern electronics has provided. Now we just need a new influx of healthcare providers, especially RNs that have decent clinical training.

And what's so wrong about fires and candlelight? Actually, Aladins lamps with their kerosene wicks and Coleman-like mantels put out a pretty good amount of light on the cheap. Abe Lincoln would have loved to have one.



Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

perfectbite
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Post by perfectbite » Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:46 am

I suppose I would have to add the refining of volatiles and pressure vessels to that list of high tech gadgetry and as something we take for granted.

Even in the European Dark Ages writing wasn't lost so it wasn't as Dark an age as it could have been and my thinking is that writing and fire and simple smelting with clay molds would be available but not much else. No more transfats or bubble bath.

In thinking of it I have been taking 60 Hz (per second) and equating it with a per minute (RPM) timing light reading (a standard test of an electronic RPM tachometer is to point the tach. sensor at the lamp and get 7200) so there doesn't have to be a change in per second frequency but how long does a single flourescent lamp flash last for?

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haklesup
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Post by haklesup » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:04 pm

Let me take a whack at 1,2 even tho I'm not sure what your getting at.

A typical fluorescent bulb using passive transformer ballast will flicker at a rate of 120 times per second. once for each peak of the 60Hz AC waveform (assuming you are not in a 50Hz part of the world). Since the visual retention rate of the human eye is equivalent to about 18-20 Hz (think 24 frames per second video, fast enough for everyone, the real limit is a bit slower and varies by person) so we don't see the flicker.

Incandescent bulbs don't flicker, the filament cannot cool off fast enough to extinguish the glow between cycles, it glows continuously emitting RMS power.

Newer CFL bulbs use an AC-AC switching power supply (called an electronic ballast). The pulse frequency of which can be anything the designers want. I'm not sure if the industry has settled into any standards. you would need to survey the chips and reference designs for CFL lamps to gain an understanding of their function to answer completely.

Flame light would rule the night if we found ourselves in a world lacking light bulbs as it did before Edison's triumphant invention. I would expect any society capable of pulling copper wire and making electricity of being able to blow glass and pull a partial vacuum in it especially if we already knew what materials to use. Removing only our ability to communicate over distance would be enough to plunge the world into a dark age.

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Post by Bigglez » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:43 pm

haklesup wrote:Removing only our ability to communicate over distance would be enough to plunge the world into a dark age.
Allowing a disease or virus to run unchecked would trump
any other doom scenario...

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Post by Dean Huster » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:36 pm

Removing only our ability to communicate over distance would be enough to plunge the world into a dark age.
Oh, I dunno. Might keep the bill collectors, telemarketers and pollsters away for awhile! That'd be a little light for me! :)
Allowing a disease or virus to run unchecked would trump
any other doom scenario...
Down here in SE Missouri, there are a variety of STDs in that category.


I've often wondered if, in a "last man or last group of people on earth" scenario, if a person could survive easily. Would you (whoever happens to be reading this) be able to keep food from spoiling if the power grid dimmed out from lack of operators and maintenance? Would you be able to provide food for yourself? Shelter? Heat? Transportation of some sort? Could you restart some technology, such as getting refrigeration running without the help of electrical power?

Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

Bigglez
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Post by Bigglez » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:53 pm

Greetings Dean,
Dean Huster wrote: Oh, I dunno. Might keep the bill collectors, telemarketers and pollsters away for awhile! That'd be a little light for me! :)
Bigglez wrote:Allowing a disease or virus to run unchecked would trump
any other doom scenario...
Down here in SE Missouri, there are a variety of STDs in that category.
I think modern western society is rapidly adapting to
changes driven by technology. Most are good, but a
few are taking us further from self-survival. (My
favourite example is human pedestrians wandering
around while cars are parking at the local mall - they
have no fear of machinery).

I'm sure if the www existed for my grandparents
their posts would reflect similar grief - that the
post WW-II kids couldn't milk a cow, shoe a horse,
or even fix a flat tyre and inner tube.

In my nightmare I can well imagine a pathogen
that can't be stopped. Society would fragment and
only those with genetic resistance (if any) and
those forming reclusive cults would survive.
BTW, I'm enjoying the TV show "Jericho" inspite
of the "one technical goof per episode" performance.

Dean Huster wrote:I've often wondered if, in a "last man or last group of people on earth" scenario, if a person could survive easily. Would you (whoever happens to be reading this) be able to keep food from spoiling if the power grid dimmed out from lack of operators and maintenance? Would you be able to provide food for yourself? Shelter? Heat? Transportation of some sort? Could you restart some technology, such as getting refrigeration running without the help of electrical power?
Statically most of us would die in the first round or
the resulting slide to savagery that would follow in
the first decade. Members of this board might find
value in the new world due to technical savvy. Then
again, if it was a tech problem that caused the
collapse we might be made examples of and sent
to die sooner.

Wow, it's going to be hard to convince you that I'm
really a guy that believes the glass is half full...

Comments Welcome!

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haklesup
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Post by haklesup » Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:56 pm

I've often wondered if, in a "last man or last group of people on earth" scenario, if a person could survive easily. Would you (whoever happens to be reading this) be able to keep food from spoiling if the power grid dimmed out from lack of operators and maintenance? Would you be able to provide food for yourself? Shelter? Heat? Transportation of some sort? Could you restart some technology, such as getting refrigeration running without the help of electrical power?
Hmm, too many unknown initial conditions to run that sim :? :grin:

Fortunately the new season of Jerico, saved from cancellation by viewer support, will be restarting soon. Seems a lot of people are interested in such a scenario.

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jwax
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Post by jwax » Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:09 pm

Welcome back, perfectbite.
What are you smoking? :grin:

perfectbite
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Post by perfectbite » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:43 pm

jwax wrote:Welcome back, perfectbite.
What are you smoking? :grin:
Hello backatya. I am trying to quit smoking tobacco (a knock down drag out annual New Year's resolution) and haven't subsituted anything else.

I was just thinking of the strictures of the night and wondering whether, besides electrical filaments in glass under vacuum, if there is another way to simply and easily produce a light source (albeit even a dim and inefficient one like a cranky and fragile and finicky carbon arc) using low voltage electricity.

Otherwise, what good would electricity be in a Dark Age? Despite its high techness it wouldn't even qualify to be as useful as a written down nursery rhyme.

Perhaps it could be used as a really inefficient centrally powered (treadmill) irrigation pumping system that turned strategically placed archimedes screws but would it be more trouble than it was worth?

(PS. Drawing copper and gold and silver wire by brute force for jewelry and ornamentation existed long before the harnessing of electricity so the technology for producing the wire doesn't imply the concurrent technology existent to create be able to produce insulation or a vaccum under glass or a suitable filament and my thinking is that although the more robust stuff; the wires and sockets and switches may/will remain, the last bulb has been broken, has been lost or has long since long burnt out.)

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Post by jwax » Fri Feb 01, 2008 3:42 am

Hey perfectbite- best of success on the smoke-quitting! :grin:
Did myself years ago and should have quit sooner. Don't "try" to quit. Decide to quit. Period.
Without electricity for illumination, you're left with fossil fuel burning, or other chemical means. Glowsticks?

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Post by rshayes » Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:35 am

Edison's lamp used a filament made of split bamboo that was converted to carbon by charring, probably by heating in an inert atmosphere. This doesn't take much technolgy. This was used for arounf 20 years, so it was a practical solution. It was replaced by the tungsten filament, which required a substantially more complex technology.

The technology for the glass envelope has been available for around 500 years. The technology for producing clear glass is much more recent, so you might have to settle for colored light bulbs.

The glass seals can be made using copper if necessary. The technique is called a Housekeeper seal.

Light can also be obtained from glow or arc discharges using high voltage discharges is tubes with gases at moderate pressures.

Gas heated mantles, such as Coleman lanterns, give fairly good light. Some ventilation is needed and there is a fair amoount of waste heat. Gaslights were used for house lighting for several years until replaced by electric lights. A variation using butane or propane is still used in small trailers.

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Post by Dean Huster » Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:01 pm

Wow, it's going to be hard to convince you that I'm
really a guy that believes the glass is half full...
A glass can never be "half empty" if you think about it. Empty is zero, and half of zero is still zero!

Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

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