For many modded cases, correct lighting and color is key to having a great looking finished product. Whether your scheme is red, blue, green, UV, etc, it?s always a good idea to get the brightest cold cathode light fixture available so you can start turning heads! A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Li Gao of a new company called ?Lamps Electronics,? stationed out of China. In fact, this company is SO new, they do not currently have a site available. You could kind of consider this review a preview. Once we had received the first ccfl package, I was surprised to see the variety of lamps they allowed us to take a look at. Pulling the bulbs out one-by-one, I was surprised to see that they had given us three 12? blue lamps, two multi color 12? lamps, 8? red lamp, 4? green lamp and two 12? UV/blacklight lamps.
Next, I noticed each kit had its own inverter, switch and basic wire harness. The switch itself was the typical, round, two-position, on/off switch. The installation for this piece is as simple as it gets: Pull out a 5.25? bay filler, drill the correct size hole and push the switch through. The Inverter itself was encased in a low profile black box which had air holes on the top. When I finally got the chance to pull the inverter casing off of the inverter, I noticed the air holes were positioned strategically over the transformer ? the most heated component on the PCB. With the air holes, I was not expecting any sort of air pocket to evolve inside the casing, and I was not surprised when I noticed no heat coming from the holes after a continuous 72 hour usage. The wiring harness measures 16.5? from the bulb to the inverter. A 3.5? inverter casing and another 16? of wiring from the other side of the inverter to the actual molex power connector. The total wire length came to 36? or 3?. This was amazing! Other kits I have previously reviewed only included 24? inches of wiring which is barely long enough to plug in once it was installed. 36? should be more than plenty for any project you will be using the ccfl for. I was able to install the light in the bottom of my case and run the wires all the away around my window and up to the power supply without a problem! The bulb in each kit was encased in its own acrylic tubing. For the RED and GREEN lights, the acrylic was actually red and green to help produce a bolder color, rather than pink and a washed out white. On the ends of each of the tubing was a small, clear acrylic block which was easily seen through. This added a great ?finished? and ?professional? look. The clear ends also allowed small amounts of light to exit from the end of the tube. Overall, the kits so far looked great. Everything was up to par as far as the quality and I was especially impressed with the length of the wire harness. A short wiring harness can limit the positioning of the light if the user does not have the ability or tools to solder on extra wire.
Once I finally checked out all of the kits, I plugged them all in at once on my tester power supply. Together, I had about seven bulbs/inverter/wiring harnessed on simultaneously. I suddenly noticed that one of the blues was flickering! I played with the wires a bit, even switched the inverters and turned it back on and it was half dead. Once it had time to warm-up, it eventually lit fully but was still flickering a bit. This product, being from a new company I can see has problems. Upon notification, they sent me 4 more ccfls for the problem, in a very prompt manor. I also noticed that in the second box, was one of their newly released sound-inverters which I will cover later on. After all the lights had been plugged in, with the exception of the bad one, I turned all of them on and within 5 minutes they were at their fullest brightness. I must say that, when walking in the room when it was dark, these ccfls put out a hell of a lot of light! I usually use ZXMods blue ccfls, but Lamps Electronics? new blue ccfls had a brightness which was unbearable!!! You can see the picture below which shows just how much the camera liked all of the light, it actually created a big white blur:). After keeping the lights on for two or three days, I went back to the kits to see how they were doing. No more burn-outs, flickering or fried inverters. I also noticed that everything was running a bit warm. After the test period, the actual acrylic casing around the bulb was considerably warmer than room temperature. I proceeded to touch the inverter casing, and again noticed it was warm to touch. Although COLD cathodes are supposedly the ?chilliest? lighting out to date, Lamps Electronics seems to sacrifice the term COLD. I still wouldn?t have a problem putting these in my case because such a small amount of heat wouldn?t be enough to worry me, especially since I am not an overclocker. I guess some people just have to sacrifice temperatures for the brightness of light that these bulbs bring.
When I got to finally hook up the sound oriented inverter, I carefully examined the casing. A plastic casing, much like the original inverter casing housed the sound sensing unit. On the top of the unit are the options ?On,? ?Off,? ?Sound? and ?Flash.? The ?On? option leaves the bulb on permanently while the ?Off? option leaves the cold cathode off (obvious enough eh?). The sound option allows the inverter to take voice or noise/bass and flicker the cold cathode to the noise which it detects. The last feature, Flash, was quite lame to put it simple. It flashes. The nice thing about the sound-inverter is that it is universal for any ccfl from any company. You just plug the molex from the ccfl inverter into one end and plug the power into the power supply on the other end. You will know that the sound inverter is plugged in correctly when the super-bright blue LED lights up in the top of the inverter, a very nice addition. When I finally got to test the SOUND function of the kit, I tested the sound response at different lengths. At 1 foot away from my face the inverter picked up every word that I said, very quickly with small delay. At 5 feet, I could tell that it was having a little bit of trouble detecting sound/voice but still performed pretty well. When I got to about 10 feet away, my voice was almost unreadable for the inverter. It would pick up about every word spoken with a short delay, even with the sensitivity at full strength. When I had a chance to test out the flash function of the inverter, I noticed that it blinks about every 1 second. This is a very plain and boring option if you ask me. If the flash speed was controllable through the sensitivity switch for the sound function, the flash option may have been more of a strobe effect. Having the flash so slowwwwwww made it seem rather dumb and annoying!
As far as color goes, Lamps Electronics seemed to have a very bold ?red? cathode. A lot of people complain about how their cathodes are so pink and washed out, but you can rest assured that the colored acrylic tubing around the bulb makes this ccfl a very true red color. The blue was a little bit washed out. Same goes for the green 4? cold cathode. While this thing put out just about as much light as two 12? blue ccfls, the color was a little washed out. I am yet to find a truly green ?green? cold cathode. The Tri-Colored ccfl had fairly washed-out colors on all three. The red was pinkish because they were unable to color just one third of the acrylic tubing. The kits from Lamps Electronics could use a couple improvements before final release, but it looks like this company has some great potential. Their kits are fully capable of matching performance of any other ccfl, and I was especially impressed with the length of the wiring harness! Wiring harnesses are getting shorter and shorter nowadays and for people with no soldering experience, placement if often limited by switch installation. Overall, I wouldn?t have a problem with recommending any of these ccfls from Lamps Electronics to a modder. Their brightness is unbearable and the colors, bolder than ever. Whether you are looking for UV, Tricolor, Blue, red, green, 8?, 4? or 12,? Lamps Electronics has what you need. Give these guys about a month longer to work out any bugs lurking around in their kits, and you will definitely be impressed by their performance!
See Page 2 for MORE Pictures
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