Many small flashtube manufacturer ratings below are for Excelitas, formerly Perkin Elmer, formerly EG&G Heimann Division flashtubes that match the descriptions of ones I have tested. In the event the flashtube was made by someone else, ratings may differ slightly and may differ substantially for maximum flash energy. Although I mention some conditions under which I believe some flashtubes will operate safely outside their manufacturer's ratings, do so only at your own risk.

For more info on where to get these, go to my source/supplier page.

For more info on large items, go to my Big Strobe Page.

Please note that "joule" and "watt-second" (W-S) mean the same thing.

Ko figures are for doing shaped pulse tricks and/or using series inductors. All of the small and medium flashtubes and a majority of the large / high power flashtubes below will work with the recommended voltages, energy levels, etc. without inductors. Inductors are only required where full power / energy usage of a minority of the large / high power flashtubes mentioned below, and alternative ratings for use without inductors are given for some of these.

- Tiny cheap camera tube with 13 mm. arc length / BGA 0013
- Cheap to semi-cheap photoflash tube with 30 mm. arc length
- Cheap to semi-cheap photoflash tube with 35 mm. arc length
- Cheap photo tube 3.5 mm. diameter 36 mm long 18.5-20 mm. arc length
- Popular U-shaped flashtube 30*16 mm. with 6 mm tubing

- U-tube 50*24 mm 8 mm tubing U-8538
- FT-118, 1-1/2 turn tube 45 mm tall 26 mm wide 6 mm tubing
- FT-218, 1-1/2 turn tube 55 mm tall 33 mm wide 8 mm tubing

- Speedotron MW8QV / 14570
- Photogenic C4-5 and C4-15
- Lumedyne 090Q
- JG 7905 / JG7905
- PAR56 Airport Strobe GN34 / GN-34 / NSN 6240-01-006-1260
- INP3/7-80 / INP3-7/80A / IFP-800
- FX-103C-3 / FXQ-1302-3

Heimann's ratings are minimum voltage of 270 volts, nominal voltage of 300 volts, maximum voltage of 350 volts, maximum energy of 8 watt-seconds, and maximum power of 1.6 watts. Life expectancy at 8 joules and 300 volts is 2,000 flashes. Lowering the flash energy to 2 joules should get a disproportionately longer life.

I have ruined one of these tubes within an hour or two with an average power of 3.5 watts and favorable energy and voltage.

Electrolytic capacitors should generally be 47 to 220 uF, preferably 100 to 180 uF. Smaller electrolytic capacitors will have excessive internal resistance which will reduce efficiency, but this is not as bad with Vishay/Sprague TVA series and similar axial lead ones as with other (especially more compact) aluminum electrolytics. Also, larger capacitance of aluminum electrolytics favors less ESR (effective series resistance). You also probably don't want to exceed .06 coulombs of charge or else electrode wear may be excessive. Nonelectrolytic capacitors can be efficient at lower values, but below about 47 uF or so, the spectrum will be less like that of daylight and specific spectral lines will become prominent. I show the line spectrum (with less continuous spectrum than actually occurs) in http://donklipstein.com/don/spectra.html.

I tested efficiency at various energies at 280 volts. The efficiency is half that at 8 joules at .5 joule, and 80 percent of the 8-joule level at 1.7 joules, and 90 percent of the 8-joule level at 2.8 joules. Better low-energy efficiency may be obtained at higher voltages.

Estimated xenon pressure 450 Torr, estimated Ko 9.5 ohms-amps^.5 for the Heimann version. Others will be similar enough - estimated pressure 500 Torr and Ko maybe 10 possibly as much as 11 ohms-amps^.5 for tubes I saw in Fuji cameras.

EG&G's ratings are minimum voltage of 250 volts, nominal voltage of 330 volts, maximum voltage of 360 volts, maximum energy of 28 watt-seconds, and maximum average power of 1.87 watts. Life expectancy at 28 joules and 330 volts is 1,000 flashes. I suspect that some equivalents may have a maximum reliably safe energy anywhere from 15 to 35 watt-seconds or joules. I also expect the maximum safe average power to be 2.5 watts if ventillation is good, the voltage is 300 to 360 volts, and the energy is 6 to 15 joules.

I believe this tube can handle 3 to probably 3.2 watts average input power with moderate flash energy of a few to around 10 W-S.

I have not done much testing, but expect that approx. 3/4 joule of energy is required to get half this tube's ultimate efficiency (1 joule for the Electronic Goldmine one below) and roughly 100 uF of capacitance is necessary to get a daylight-like spectrum without significantly prominent xenon ion spectrum lines.

Electronic Goldmine's A1033 flashtube/reflector combination has a flashtube very similar to the BGA-3030, but about 3.5 mm. in diameter, which they claim can handle 50 joules. I believe it can handle 4 watts average power with favorable flash energy of a few joules, but life expectancy in strobe duty may be disappointing.

Please note that EG&G Heimann Division also makes a tube of the same shape and outside diameter, but with a slightly wider inside diameter of 2.1 mm and a slightly shorter length (not including leads) of 42 mm. The EG&G tube matching this description is the CGA4230. EG&G's ratings for this one are minimum voltage of 220 volts, nominal voltage of 380 volts, maximum voltage of 400 volts, maximum energy of 36 watt-seconds, and maximum average power of 3.6 watts. Its life expectancy at 36 joules and 380 volts is 1,000 flashes. I suspect the lower-rating BGA3030 and any equivalents thereof are more common than the CGA4230 and any equivalents it has.

Maximum flash energy is 60 W-S according to both Heimann and Mouser.

Minimum voltage is 210 volts and maximum voltage is 350 volts and nominal voltage is 330 volts according to Heimann. Nominal voltage is 360 volts according to Mouser. The lower max. voltage published by Heimann is probably conservative and it should be safe to exceed that 350 volt figure by a little.

Life expectancy according to both Heimann and Mouser is 3000 flashes, probably at 330-360 volts and 60 watt-seconds. Maximum average power input according to Heimann is 6 watts, but life expectancy in repeated strobe use may be disappointing especially with higher flash energy.

I do not know the minimum energy to get half the ultimate efficiency but it is probably in the ballpark of 1 joule. I do not know the minimum capacitance to get a good daylight-like spectrum but this is probably around 100 to maybe as much as 220 microfarads.

Heimann's specifications: Anode voltage 200 volts minimum, 330 nominal, 350 maximum. Maximum energy 22 W-S, although Electronic Goldmine only claims 10 for theirs. Max. average power input 2.2 watts. I think it can withstand 3 watts with flash energy at a favorable level of a few W-S. Heimann's life rating is 3000 flashes at 22 joules, 330 volts, and 2.2 watts.

I have yet to do much testing, but I believe the energy required to get half the ultimate efficiency is around .9 W-S. I believe the minimum capacitance to get a daylight-like spectrum without much bright line content is around 100 uF.

All of these are similar enough to be interchangeable, at least in most equipment that has these flashtubes.

Excelitas' ratings are minimum voltage of 200 or 220 volts, nominal voltage of 500 volts, maximum voltage of 550 volts, maximum flash energy of 6 watt-seconds, and maximum average power of 6 watts. Life expectancy at 6 joules and 500 volts is 5 million flashes.

Amglo's ratings are minimum voltage of 250 volts, typical voltage of 350 volts, maximum voltage of 400 volts, maximum flash energy of 6 joules and maximum average power input of 6 watts.

Radio Shack's ratings vary. The maximum voltage according to the worst rating I ever heard from Radio Shack is 300 volts. For high energy flashing, I recommend voltages around 280 to 330 volts. I have heard all sorts of maximum energy ratings for these tubes, but I once cracked one with about 30 joules at a favorable voltage. I would say the maximum reliably safe energy is 15 joules at 300 to 330 volts. I would derate this in proportion to voltage below 300 volts (.05 joule per volt). I would derate this linearly from 15 joules at 330 volts to 6 joules at 450 volts (.075 joules per volt). This tube will survive 15 joules at lower voltages down to 200 volts and normally survive 20 joules around 280-300 volts, but end discoloration will occur more quickly.

I tested efficiency at various energies at 280 volts. The efficiency is half that of the 15-joule level at 1.5 joules, and 80 percent of the 15-joule level at 5.5 joules, and 90 percent of the 15-joule level at 8 joules. Better low-energy efficiency will probably be obtained at higher voltages with especially conductive capacitors such as axial lead foil types and maybe some motor run types and some axial lead electrolytics, or (best) parallel banks of small motor run capacitors or capacitors made for pulse use.

This flashtube is made mainly for strobelight and warning beacon use. It works well at moderate energy levels of a few joules and highish voltages in the 400 to 550 volt range. Its spectrum under these conditions is low on deep red and color film photographs taken under these conditions will probably have a green-blue tint.

This flashtube requires around 680 to maybe around 1,000 uF to efficiently produce a daylight-like spectrum without significant ion spectrum lines. To safely handle this and to avoid a bluish color, the voltage would be on the low side - maybe 200-250 volts. Efficiency is probably reduced below 240-250 volts. This flashtube is not the first choice for color photography.

At energy levels and voltages favorable to high efficiency, this flashtube will probably safely handle an average power of 8 watts if ventillation is reasonably good. At unfavorable voltages and energy levels, the maximum safe average power can be as low as 5 watts or maybe a little less.

Approx. arc length 45 mm, tubing bore 4-4.5 mm, estimated xenon pressure 70-80 Torr - and these figures vary a little from one brand or production run to another. Estimated Ko typically 11 ohms-amps^.5.

Ratings
by Excelitas, in a top Google hit from Excelitas.

BUB 0641
datasheet at Excelitas.

Nominal anode voltage 400 volts, should work from 300 to 450 volts, and to 800 volts at lower energy of 10 joules or less.

Maximum flash energy 100 joules according to Mouser. I would derate this proportionately with voltage below 400 volts. Energy handling probably also decreases for higher voltages. I estimate maximum average power to be 12 watts, 15 with favorable voltage (400-600 volts) and favorable flash energy of at least 10 joules.

I estimate the efficiency to be half of ultimate efficiency at 4 joules.

This tube has lowish xenon pressure that I estimate to be 70 Torr, and I estimate roughly 470- 1000 uF of capacitance would be needed to get a daylight-like spectrum. This tube is probably intended mainly as a strobe tube.

Approx. arc length 80 mm, tubing bore 6 mm, estimated Ko 12 ohms-amps^.5.

Nominal anode voltage 450 volts, should work from 400 to 800 volts.

Maximum flash energy 125 joules according to Mouser. I would derate this proportionately with voltage below 450 volts. Energy handling should be good to much higher voltages, probably at least 700 and maybe 800 volts.

I estimate average power handling to be 15 watts, and this prefers higher voltages.

Estimated capacitance needed to get a daylight-like spectrum 220 uF. My recommended voltages for use for photoflash (daylight-like spectrum) 450-550 volts.

Estimated energy required to get half the ultimate efficiency 4 joules.

Approx. arc length 125 mm, tubing bore 4 mm, estimated Ko 28 ohms-amps^.5.

Nominal anode voltage 450 volts, should work from 400 to 550 volts. Higher voltages to 800 volts should be OK at moderate flash energy up to 20 joules.

Maximum flash energy 250 joules according to Mouser. I would derate this proportionately with voltage below 450 volts. Energy handling may decrease above 450 volts.

I estimate average power handling to be 25 watts.

This tube has a very low xenon pressure that I estimate to be 40 Torr or maybe a little less. I estimate the capacitance needed to get a daylight-like spectrum to be around 680-1000 uF. This tube is probably intended more as a strobe tube than as a photoflash tube. The low xenon pressure will probably reduce the efficiency a little, especially in production of a daylight-like continuous spectrum good for color slide film photography. Expect the color to be a bit more bluish or green-bluish than usual.

Estimated energy required to get half the ultimate efficiency: 4 joules.

Approx. arc length 160 mm, tubing bore 6 mm, estimated Ko 21 ohms-amps^.5.

The tube is a 2-turn coil (vertical axis) in a glass "dome" (dome-tipped tube) that has holes in it to allow for cooling. This whole assembly is on a ring-shaped base with three pins slightly wider than banana plugs.

This is a quartz tube with massive ratings: Maximum energy of 3200 joules and maximum power of several hundred watts with forced air cooling (at least a kilowatt short term) and probably a couple hundred watts without forced air cooling. I have given it 700-800 watts average power without forced air cooling long enough to make the tubing glow red-hot, even orangish (800 degrees C?) and it survived, although I do not recommend such abuse.

Recommended voltage is 700 volts to at least a kilovolt. I would derate
energy and power proportionately with voltage below 900 volts. I think
this tube has better efficiency at higher voltages of at least 900 volts.

In my experience, this tube sometimes self-fires at voltages as low as
1600 volts. I would not design equipment to use nearly this much voltage
for the main energy storage capacitor for this tube.

For impressive life expectancy I would avoid using energy over 1000 joules.

Estimated energy requirement to get half the ultimate efficiency is 15-20 joules.

This tube triggers easily and does not need more than 4 kilovolts to trigger in my experience.

Approx. arc length 220 mm, tubing bore 6 mm, estimated xenon pressure 80 Torr, estimated Ko 28 ohms-amps^.5.

Estimated minimum capacitance for daylight-like largely continuous spectrum is 300 microfarads.

This is a quartz tube and has high energy and power ratings.

This is a ring-shaped tube on a ring-shaped base and having a glass
tubular "dome" over the tube with a hole in the dome tip for ventillation.

Maximum energy is at least a kilojoule but I prefer to not exceed 500 joules in
order to get impressive life expectancy. It is used in the Powerlight 1500SL
light unit. That light unit easily delivers 150 watts of average power but the
tube may prefer somewhat less long-term unless forced air cooling is used.

Recommended voltage 400-525 volts for photoflash duty, but much more (at
least 800 volts) is OK in strobe use with lower energy of 50 joules or
less. I would derate energy and power handling proportionately with
voltage below 500 volts.

Estimated energy required to get half the ultimate efficiency is 20-25
joules, although more (at least 60 maybe 100 joules) seems needed to make
the arc expand enough to solidly and evenly fill the flashtube.

This tube has a higher requirement for trigger voltage than many other tubes - I would recommend at least 6 kilovolts for reliable triggering.

Approx. arc length 110 mm, tubing bore 10 mm, xenon pressure estimated 80 Torr, estimated Ko 11 ohms-amps^.5.

Estimated minimum capacitance for daylight-like mainly-continuous spectrum is 1500 microfarads.

I have seen an energy rating of 2400 joules that I consider optimistic for a tube this size, considering the size of the electrodes. I consider 1200 joules more realistic and recommend not exceeding 400, maybe 500 joules if you want very long life with heavily repeated flashing.

I recommend mainly 500-700 volts, preferably 600-700 volts for this tube - lower for lower color temperature of hardly over 5500K, higher but no more than 700 volts for higher energy handling capability. I would also go easier on the energy with voltages under 600 volts.

Average power input - I can only guess 50 watts long term, maybe more especially if you hack off the outer tube (watch for nasty UV including shortwave!).

Projected energy requirement to achieve half the ultimate efficiency is 10-12 joules. Projected capacitance needed for a daylight-like spectrum is roughly 200 uF.

Approx. arc length 125 mm, tubing bore 5 mm, estimated xenon pressure 125 Torr (maybe 150), estimated Ko 25 ohms-amps^.5. Expect good efficiency with the xenon pressure being higher than that of many flashtubes!

This is a long large flashtube mostly used in photocopiers. Its ratings by Excelitas are for using it gently so that it would have life expectancy of 15 million flashes. Its main ratings are for flash energy of 200 joules with voltage of 1500 volts minimum, 2100 volts nomimal, 2200 volts maximum, with 1 flash per 1.1 seconds at the maximum recommended flash energy, which means maximum average input power of 180 watts.

Update 7/8/2018: I remember from a copy of an EG&G Heimann catalog that I received in 1996 that 200 joule flashes can be repeated at a rate up to 1.3 Hz, for average input power of 260 watts, with life expectancy of 10 million flashes. I suspect this 260 watts depends on good ventillation or mild forced air cooling, and/or needs to be derated proportionately with the main energy storage capacitor voltage if that is less than 2100 volts. I also suspect that this flashtube has greater temperature rise as flash energy decreases below 200 joules. (If average power input is unchanged and flash frequency increases - update 1/7/2019.) However, I expect the efficiency loss (and increased tube heating) from lower flash energy to be mitigated from use of higher voltage (more than 2100 volts) at the main energy storage capacitor.

I think this flashlamp is good for somewhat higher voltages, to at least 2500 volts without resorting to series inductor tricks with flash energy of 500 joules or less, up to 3000 volts with 100 joules or less.

As for flash energy, I think this flashlamp is good for flash energy up to 500 maybe 1000 joules, especially with voltage of 2100-2500 volts, depending on desired life expectancy. Its electrodes are small in comparison to the length and diameter of this flashtube, because this flashtube was designed for unusually low flash energy, flash charge in coulombs, and low average power and low average current, in comparison to other quartz flashlamps.

The current company that owns what used to be EG&G Heimann is Excelitas, and they publish some ratings for the JG 7905 flashlamp at http://www.excelitas.com/Lists/Flashlamps/DispForm.aspx?ID=47

I consider the 1500 volt minimum as excessively low, and I recommend at least 1600 preferably at least 1700 volts for reliable flashing.

I consider it OK to use up to 6% maybe 10% more voltage than I recommend in my guidelines for most photoflash and some strobe use, even higher voltage when the flash energy is 100 joules or less.

Flashtube tubing inside diameter is 8 mm, arc length is about 490 mm. Estimated xenon pressure is 140 - 200 Torr. Estimated minimum capacitance for a daylight-like spectrum is 100-140 microfarads, when the voltage is high enough to favor the xenon ion spectrum if capacitance is small. Estimated energy needed to get half the efficiency achieved with 1,000 joules is 100-130 joules. My estimate of this flashlamp's Ko is 62-67 ohms-amps^.5.

Usage with 2,000 volts and 60 joules requires a series inductor.

Without a series inductor, I recommend much lower voltage around 1200 volts with flash energy of 60 to 400 watt-seconds, a little more voltage with lower flash energy. I recommend that maximum average power be derated linearly with voltage from 120 watts, as voltage is decreased from 2000 volts. This means 72 watts at 1200 volts. Maximum average power handling is less if the flash frequency is more than 2 flashes per second. Estimated amount of energy required to achieve half the efficiency achieved with a few hundred joules is 22-25 joules.

Rated life expectancy is 4 million flashes at 60 joules and 2000 volts, and I expect the same if flash energy and voltage are decreased by equal percentages (such as with 36 joules and 1200 volts). I expect reasonable life expectancy with up to 300 joules at 1200 volts (no inductor necessary), or 500 joules at 2,000 volts (with a 390 microhenry inductor, or a little less inductance if extreme care is taken to minimize resistance).

Estimated capacitance required to efficiently achieve a daylight-like continuous spectrum: 38 microfarads.

UPDATE 12/11/2018: This lamp is used with an "individual control cabinet" that has three capacitors totaling 27 microfarads (1.25, 2.75 and 23 microfarads), relays for selecting capacitors for three different flash intensities, a power supply for charging these capacitors to 2,000 volts DC, and an inductor that is used when the 23 microfarad capacitor is used with the other capacitors. This flashlamp can be used safely with up to 4 microfarads charged to 2,000 volts without an inductor.

These are quartz linear flashlamps that are designed for water cooling. The INP3-7/80A has a coating, apparently a dichroic one, that blocks UV. The IFP-800 does not have the coating that the INP3-7/80A has. The IFP-800 produces at least some ozone-forming UV.

I have not yet identified the seal technology, so I cannot yet rule out a need to keep the temperature of the seals well below 150 degrees C. These flashlamps are on eBay at very low prices. These lamps are also available from sources other than eBay.

I have seen what appears as two different xenon pressure versions of both of these flashlamps, with discernably different discharge characteristics when tested on a neon sign transformer.

UPDATE 8/5 2018 - I will soon post a photo that shows various markings on these lamps that *may* correlate with the xenon pressure.

Arc length is about 80 mm, tubing bore is estimated as 7.2 mm. As of 7/7/2018, my preliminary estimates of xenon pressure are 450-480 Torr for the higher pressure version and 200 Torr for the lower pressure version. I will soon post photos here showing different discharge characteristics and spectral characteristics of the two different xenon pressure versions of these lamps. My preliminary estimate of Ko is 14.2 ohms-amps^.5 for the higher pressure version and 12.1 ohm-amp^.5 for the lower pressure version. If you don't know which version you have, I recommend designing for 13.5 ohms-amps^.5.

UPDATE late evening 7/9/2018

This is a slightly overexposed, slightly color-corrected photo of two of these lamps in series, being powered by a neon sign transformer. The arc dances around more in the higher pressure version, less in the lower pressure version.

NOTE - the arc dances around less when only one flashlamp is powered by a neon sign transformer, as opposed to two or more lamps in series. When one lamp of the low pressure version and no others is powered by a neon sign transformer, its arc may stand still and straight.

The arc has a color that is slightly purplish white or "slightly purplish grayish white" in the high pressure version, noticeably more bluish and somewhat dimmer in the low pressure version. CAUTION - the arc color may appear more bluish than shown here in rooms where persons have their vision "white balanced" on warmer color lighting with color temperature of 3500 K or less.

I will replace this photo with better ones sometime around the end of 2018.

Estimated minimum capacitance for a daylight-like spectrum is 180 microfarads (updated 12/10/2018) for the higher pressure version, 450 microfarads for the lower pressure version. Estimated energy required to achieve half the ultimate efficiency is 45 joules for the higher pressure version, 20 joules for the lower pressure version.

I publish guidelines here for quartz linear laser pump flashlamps.

My recommendations for usage of the low pressure version without a series inductor for photography: Main voltage 360-480 volts, maximum charge 1.61 coulombs, maximum energy 385 joules. The datasheet specifies 580 volts typical, 610 volts maximum for main voltage without a series inductor, so I figure maximum charge of 1.61 coulombs applies up to 580 volts, at which point the energy is 467 joules, and that 467 joules can easily be withstood without a series inductor up to 610 volts. With more than 480 volts and no series inductor, the color is likely to be more bluish than desired for photography with daylight film or a digital camera whose white balance is set to daylight unless a filter is used. These flashtubes are unlikely to fire easily with 480 volts or less applied to them, so I recommend having the main energy storage capacitor "feed" a small capacitor of a few microfarads (that is in parallel with the lamp) through a diode (that can pass through the high discharge current), with this smaller capacitor also being "fed" through a second diode by a source of higher DC voltage of at least 600 volts. I cannot yet rule out the need for even higher voltage because the datasheet for the INP3-7/80A specifies use without a series inductor with a simmer current of 1.2 amps from a source of 1200 volts. (NOTE: Such simmering will necessitate water cooling.)

These flashlamps need a higher trigger voltage than most photoflash flashtubes do, 12 kilovolts for external triggering, although the lower pressure version may trigger reliably with 10 kilovolts. The datasheets for these flashlamps specify greater trigger voltages and other trigger specifications.

Datasheet for the INP3-7/80A in
Russian, PDF format.

Datasheet for the INP3-7/80A
translated to English, plain text format.

Datasheet for the IFP 800 in
Russian, JPEG format.

Datasheet for the IFP 800
translated to English, plain text format.

I thank Dr. Duncan Cadd in England for sending me these datasheets.

Estimated minimum energy to get half the ultimate efficiency is about 13 joules for the FXQ-1302-3, about 11 joules for the older FX-103C-3.

Estimated minimum capacitance for efficiently producing a continuous spectrum is 63 uF for the FXQ-1302-3 and 75-80 uF for the older FX-103C-3.

These flashtubes will safely work without inductors with lower voltages of 600-750 volts and energy levels at least up to 150 joules, and up to at least 300 joules with the FXQ-1302-3.

I publish guidelines for quartz linear xenon flashlamps here.

Written by Don Klipstein.

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