Hey Kids, who knows something about Short Wave and Long Wave Black Lights/UV Lights?

I finally got some really nice florescent mineral samples at a local gem and mineral samples. I knew odds are my UV flashlight and mini-black light weren’t going to produce the same results as the ones at the show. So I guess to enjoy my purchase and able to wow my friends, I need a different light. I know there are some high end ones out there, but I want to spend more than the $3 my current lamp cost me, but let’s try to keep it $20ish? Maybe $40 for a combo?

I am just learning the difference. I think the long wave is the ‘safer’, more common kind, which is probably what I have.

Anyway, anyone have experience with UV lamps they can suggest something. Obviously I have found several samples, including one that does both waves for around $40, but I am hoping one can give first hand experience. I would prefer battery powered, but plug in is acceptable. Thanks.

This is my first “high end” samples. The rest of what I have are things I have found in ornamental rock piles in people’s flower beds. Though all of those samples have only minor glowing. I also have some nice, thick criniod stems that glow (probably calcite). BUT, I am optimistic that a new lamp might make them go from “eh, yeah, it kinda glows” to “bazinga!”.

Wha? No one dabbles in black lights? Not even for your psychedelic posters?

Once again I am disappointed in BB :frowning:

Wish I knew, but never dabbled in UV before. Sounds like fun. Hopefully someone will weigh in. Bear in mind that you posted this on a Sunday which tends to be slow here.

A couple of leading questions…

What size installation and area are you planning?
What are you’re mounting/ballast/wiring options?

I’d love to see pics once you get it set up. Sounds like a cool decorating idea :slight_smile:

Don’t know if this helps, but it looks like the most promising first-page result of a quick googling:

At this point I just want something hand held I can wave over a box of rocks. I don’t have the time, money, minerals, or space for a real display. I saw one on ebay a few years ago that looked amazing.

The Q&A on this product has some info:

From what I’m seeing there, even a 20 watt bulb isn’t much use for illuminating things like glass and minerals. There’s a 40 watt one, but it’s 4 ft long which would probably be awkward to wave over the box (they seem to be designed to mount). All the handheld ones seem to be much lower wattage. Though I don’t know if the reflector in some of the UV flashlights focus the beam well or not.

If it were me, I’d probably stop by a brick and mortar store and see what they have, so you can take it back if it doesn’t give you enough light.

I had an EPROM programmer board for my Apple II+ back in the '80s. To erase these ROM chips you’d uncover the window and shine UV light on it.

I picked up a UV light from the local stamp collector shop. Apparently stamps have security marks that fluoresce under UV light.

Note: It’s entirely possible that stamp collector shops aren’t a common as they used to be. Or Apple II+'s. Or EPROM programmers.


I actually collect stamps too. Sorta. It’s one of those hobbies I am not super active in, but enjoy. Yes some of them have florescent inks, and you can find repairs on vintage ones, as glues often glow under black light. But IIRC most of those are the shortwave.

You know, I think I like stamps for the same reason I like rocks, I love looking at colorful things all neatly arranged.


If you want punchier results, and aren’t staring into it with remaining eye for too long, most fluorescent things will fluoresce harder if you hit them with the higher energy shortwave UV.

LEDs tend to be pretty longwave and often have a lot of just plain purple mixed in. Digikey does have 280nm available, right on the edge between UVB and UVC, which should be nice and punchy; but at ~$150/unit those are probably off the table. Prices get much more reasonable starting at 365nm, Lite-on’s LTPL-C034UVH365 or Marktech’s MT3650N3-UV look like options. The former is punchier, the latter is in a much nicer package that would be easier to work with. Options open up considerably and prices plummet once you hit 385-390nm. If it isn’t otherwise specified, it’s safe to assume that any LED-based ‘UV’ device is 385nm or higher.

I’m afraid I don’t know much of anything about the tube-types.

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I think the tube types are cheaper, which is why I wanted to stick with them.

I actually know someone who owns a forensic supply company and they sell this awesome flashlight that allows you to swap out heads and it will shine all sorts of funky wavelengths at an object.

In my short search I found one item that does both for about $40, which I think is the item the seller told me she carried usually but was out of right now. For sub $100 you can get something much more hard core.

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