A cold cathode light is a tubular light that works by passing an electrical current through a gas or vapor, much like neon lighting. Cold cathode lights can come in many sizes and colors, and there are many advantages over neon and fluorescent lighting.
The first advantage is that cold cathode lights do not get hot, making them a prime choice for modders who want to internally light windowed PC cases. They are also used to modify the interior and sometimes the exterior of cars, most often the undercarriage.
A cold cathode light is up to five times brighter than neon lighting, and it has one of the longest lives of any lighting fixture at about 50,000 hours. Unlike incandescent bulbs, the longevity of one of these lights is not shortened by the repeated action of turning it off and on.
For architectural and design purposes, cold cathode lights are ideal. The tubes can be curved to follow any exterior or interior design, such as the rounded lines of a retro art deco malt shop, or the vaulted ceiling and pillared structures found in a classic theater house. Furthermore the unique butt-joint assembly housing allows the bulbs to run in a continuous unbroken line, eliminating shadow effects.
Cold cathode lights take as little as 7.5 watts of electricity per 1 foot (.3 meters) and are flicker-free. The instant power is supplied the cathode tube illuminates to its full brightness and remains so until the power is cut. This is a significant advantage in public places where flickering fluorescent lights can trigger seizures in susceptible people.
Cold cathode lights are often installed in coves where they provide indirect lighting for artistic effect or for quiet areas like alcoves and waiting rooms.
For all of its flexibility of design options, longevity, brightness, color and cool temperature, cold cathode light is finding its way into nearly every aspect of life. Department stores, dance clubs, hospitals and art galleries all avail themselves of various artistic and functional uses of cold cathode lights. Not to mention the PC cases of modders all over the world! It might cost a little more than neon lighting but for all of its advantages most people believe it is well worth the price difference.