Author Topic: A "therapeutic" UV lamp with RF power source  (Read 912 times)

Offline klugesmith

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A "therapeutic" UV lamp with RF power source
« on: June 16, 2024, 05:41:19 PM »
At flea market I could not resist, for $20, an old Sun-Kraft therapeutic lamp in original box, with photocopy of manual.



Its makers in the 1940's told consumers that intentional exposure to 254-nm light could cure many ailments of skin and body.
They included goggles to protect the eyes while getting a healthy sunburn on face, legs, or infant child's whole body.
By staying behind the reflector, one could inhale plenty of invigorating ozone independently of UV exposure.


Government regulators eventually made them stop, because many claims of medical benefit were false.

Here is a recent museum web page with good picture and comments. https://www.clarkemuseum.org/blog/artifact-spotlight-new-finds

Here's the second half of a promotional film, which gives much attention to their electrode-less quartz lamp.  Their radiant output is probably like that from familiar germicidal T5 lamps, used (for example) in EPROM erasers around 1980. 
https://archive.org/details/AttheEnd1946_2

The online comments are headed by one from Carl Willis in 2009, who reports RF frequency of 18 MHz and gives some details about the circuit.
Last night I measured 26.6 MHz near my specimen. Hadn't previously seen RF power transmission with such casual wiring, but the distance is less than 1/10 of a wavelength. A teardown is probably in order.  The manual has a troubleshooting page, that says red glow from a vacuum tube should be visible through a hole in bottom of the unit.

It will be interesting to see how the frequency is controlled.   This product was near end of production when the official ISM bands were established in RF spectrum. 
« Last Edit: June 16, 2024, 06:10:01 PM by klugesmith »

Offline rikkitikkitavi

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Re: A "therapeutic" UV lamp with RF power source
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2024, 08:49:50 PM »
One might wonder if the theurpeutic effect is from what wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum :)

254 nm is pretty rough on the skin. It happens that the DNA molecule absorbs strongly at this wavelenght (actually 260, but there is a band) and then for sure energy input to your DNA can never have the effect of one feeling more vigorous, can it? But this was a time when smoking was not considered dangerous either ...

But why radiofrequency excitation? Weight?

Is the rest of the items also from the acution?

Some vacuumflange hose connectors with vacuumcapable hose and clamps. Some power resistors and peltier elements and a hard drive in dire need of defragmentation. Psykrometer in the variety of how Crocodile Dundees calls on the phone catches my eye.

A workspace ilumination of the older type, ready for banging about  and the ubuqiuous WD 40 . The rest I have nooo idea about what it is.

Quite a find I would say.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2024, 08:51:51 PM by rikkitikkitavi »
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Offline klugesmith

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Re: A "therapeutic" UV lamp with RF power source
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2024, 05:59:17 PM »
Thank you, RTT.  For this thread Subject under Radio Frequency, I shouldn't have led with that Flea Market Finds picture. It has little stories that belong elsewhere, including about the halogen worklamp and WD-40 which have been out there a long time. Everything in front of the psychrometer is from Free piles, and should have been left there.   Who wants some KF16 vacuum hoses?

A notable feature of the lamp is its lack of electrodes.  That calls for capacitive coupling and megahertz frequencies.  Here's a detail visible when the unit finally grabbed me, from sales table of California Historical Radio Society, as my old friend Kent was packing up at end of the day.



A full teardown is definitely planned.  I have already seen some significant differences between my observations and those by Carl Willis in his 2009 comment on website where that promotional film "At the End of the Rainbow" was posted.  For RF enthusiasts: my unit has a single 117L7/M7GT, like one pictured here: https://www.tubesandmore.com/products/vacuum-tube-117l7gt-half-wave-rectifier-and-beam-power-amplifier
« Last Edit: June 17, 2024, 06:52:34 PM by klugesmith »

Offline Twospoons

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Re: A "therapeutic" UV lamp with RF power source
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2024, 10:17:06 PM »
Driving with RF means no internal heated electrode filaments and no electrode sputtering. All of this results in extremely long lamp life.

Offline klugesmith

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Re: A "therapeutic" UV lamp with RF power source
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2024, 11:13:23 PM »
Those hot filaments and sputtering also, somehow, slowly trap mercury atoms.  Modern fluorescent lamps are charged with more than 10 times the amount of mercury than could ever be in vapor form at maximum envelope temperature. The Sun-Kraft lamp has at least another factor of 1000 more Hg then it needs. I bet that's just for appearance.  Hmm, any guesses as to whether it also contains argon?  How can we find out?

Offline Twospoons

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Re: A "therapeutic" UV lamp with RF power source
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2024, 10:15:00 PM »
A spectrometer will tell you what else is in there. Even a simple slit+prism+eyeball will give you some idea if its just mercury or a mix.

Offline klugesmith

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Re: A "therapeutic" UV lamp with RF power source
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2024, 06:38:33 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion.  It's funny how in argon-mercury "neon" and fluorescent lamps, Hg produces most of the light even with less than 0.1% of the partial pressure.  Bet the same goes for sodium vapor lamps, whose luminous efficiency wasn't matched by LED's until the last decade, and which start with neon-red glow before Na partial pressure builds up.   "Low" and "High" pressure sodium have got to refer to the inert gas,  as opposed to the extremely low vapor pressure of metal.   Perhaps some student of metal arc lighting technology can give us a simple explanation.

A modern germicidal lamp https://smart-pond.com/products/70782
was a little too short to fit between the main electrode clips in Sun-Kraft lamp.  Got some glow near the "starter" clip, which extends from top electrode almost down to bottom electrode.   An aluminum foil sleeve wrapped around tube added capacitance and got whole column to light.


Later, the new lamp was lit without electrodes using a more modern RF source (at 100 times higher frequency).  Experiments like this can be dangerous without awareness of distance and exposure limits for UV, microwaves, and high voltage.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2024, 10:42:05 PM by klugesmith »

Offline Twospoons

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Re: A "therapeutic" UV lamp with RF power source
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2024, 12:04:30 AM »
I'd put that thing behind a piece of clear plastic or window glass while experimenting. Either should block the shortwave UV, while still letting you see the pretty blue glow.

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Re: A "therapeutic" UV lamp with RF power source
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2024, 12:04:30 AM »

 


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