There are two primary types of professional lights used in the Fluorescent mineral hobby.
-Portable battery operated lights are used in the field for collecting, and some use them at home with an AC adapter to light their displays.
-The second are a wide range of AC display lighting used to illuminate permanent displays of fluorescent minerals in home and museum settings.
A third type of lighting is the ordinary blacklight found in hardware/novelty stores, and also offered as flashlights using powerful LW LEDs. These types of lights are longwave only and only suitable for displays of LW minerals, and occasional field collecting of a limited variety of longwave minerals.
The very basic item for our hobby is a portable field lamp. To find our glow rocks, you need a light to venture out into the field at night. Careful selection will result in a light that lasts a long time, and is easy to use. Pay particular attention to the battery; weight is important and some manufacturers don't offer a lot of choices. I've included a FAQ to help you make your selection based on features that may be important to you and a review of two of the most popular field lamps.
Portable lights can be used to illuminate home displays by powering it with an AC power supply. But it will quickly become obvious that they just don't have enough power and spread to do a satisfactory job in the high ambient lighting environment of the home.
Most manufacturers offer a wide variety of AC powered display lighting. These lights range from 36 watts to 190 watt monsters. They are typically a lot larger than a portable light, and have much larger filter areas (able to produce a much wider spread of light).
I build my own display lighting (I use 15+ lights at shows - it's much cheaper for me to home brew my own). Thus I cannot offer any reviews of display lighting. But - just keep in mind that power and filter area should be at the top of your list when selecting a light. Buy the most powerful light your wallet can handle; you'll not regret it.
If you're just a little bit handy you should look into modifying a medical surplus transilluminator. These units often sell on Ebay for $250 (or less) and can be upgraded to 150 watt UVC "Death rays" quite easily. Since they are manufactured as midwave units the filter glass is not solarized, and the resulting UVC light is as good as any newly manufactured lamp on the market - and usually quite a bit more powerful, with a very wide spread of light. I have a DIY article on upgrading a "trannie" here...
On Ebay you'll find several dealers selling small battery operated 4/6W shortwave lamps, some with extra bulbs to turn it into either a SW, MW, or LW unit by swapping out the bulb. These are lower priced, but you get what you pay for (not a lot of power). I have seen one person sell one variety of this lamp without a Hoya visible blocking filter - useless! He suggests that it works great, but trust me - no way.
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