Ring light for Meiji

My old florescent ring light on my scope is poopin’ out. Something
with the wiring that I can’t seem to fix. Before I buy a new one, has
anybody compared the LED to the tube? Which do you like better?

Thanks for the feedback,

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Hi Mark,

I’ve got both: the Otto Frei fluorescent, and a “daylight” LED
ringlight. (Had this bright idea to use the LED as a ringlight for
my camera too. Or at least that was how I justified it to myself.)

The LED isn’t quite as bright, but it’s dial variable. Which is
nice. Honestly, between the two of them, I don’t have much opinion.
The fluorescent is a smidge brighter, which makes it a bit harsher.
The LED is softer, but darker. Take your pick. If it means anything,
the fluorescent is mounted to my bench scope, while the LED is on
the one that I take around to school, and use for wax/random

Just for kicks, (and because I found one cheap) I picked up a 2 head
fiber-optic illuminator. Use the ringlight. The fiber-optics are
nice for setting up raking light, which can help pick out surface
variations, but you want to talk about harsh illumination! wow.

(Ah, the joys of craigslist in the silicon valley. Amazing the weird
stuff that floats by.) (Anybody want a laser? Optical rails?
Heidenhain DRO kit? Air compressor guaranteed to melt your fusebox?
The list is long…)


I now own one of each. I had a great deal of trouble locating a
circular florescent bulb last year when I accidentally broke it, and
was in the middle of a serious setting job I had to get done, NOW, so
I broke down and purchased the new LED system.

I love the new light. Being LED I can adjust the brightness when I
want less glare, which I could not do with the old light. I could be
happy using either one of these systems, but I do feel that the LED
provides a better light

I have since then located bulbs for the old light too, online, so I
now have the older system as a back up. I figured that this is a
good idea, as I was told by Stuller that the LED has to be returned
to the factory if it ever needs to be replaced. Typically, if a tool
or machine is going to fail, it does so right in the middle of a rush

If you haven’t already, you might try messing around with the
positioning of the starter (the thing that looks like a mercury
switch from a thermostat). I moved mine around a bit and it fixed it.
But the bulbs still go flat pretty frequently.

As to your question, we have both here, and while I prefer the light
from the tube, the LED ring light seems to be blowing it away from a
longevity standpoint. The LED is variable intensity, but in practice
no one here has ever used it at any setting other than full tilt. My
benchmates are split as to which light quality is superior, two of us
like the fluorescent, while two of us prefer the LED. It seems to be
dependent on which one we started with though. Personally, while it
may be slightly brighter and last ten times longer, I don’t like the
multiple reflections of all those individual LED light sources. Makes
polished edges and things with facets look fuzzy and hard to
distinguish to me. So I’ll stick with the fluorescent tube, even if
it isn’t quite as economically friendly in the long term.

Just for what it’s worth, the fluorescent tube is the same as the
one used in our LaserStar, and I have found a great disparity in
price for the same bulb depending on the source. I think GRS has the
best price and if I remember right, Otto Frei is also competitive. A
little shopping on the Internet might turn them up pretty cheap.

Dave Phelps

Thanks for the advice! I bought both (James, you planted that seed).
You were right about it being the switch Dave, but I got sick of
monkeying with it. I usually am using my scope with the ring light,
my 3 bulb florescent and a flexible goose-neck (Wolf) LED all
lighting up the work, it’s so bright I have to wear shades! I also
liked the idea of possibly using the ring light with my camera
Brian, I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks again.


Note From Ganoksin Staff:
Looking for a led work light for your jewelry projects? We recommend: