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I'm just trying to work out what this is:

enter image description here

Neither the tube nor the blue box has any markings whatsoever that I can see. The tube is about 10cm long and appears to be transparent plastic with white stripes on the outside and a long thickish white filament in the middle. The blue box has one 2-pin JST-PH connector on the side that goes to power (the red and black wires) and two 3-pin JST-PH connectors on the other side (just one is occupied with the connector for the light tube).

I'm guessing the blue box is an inverter and that the tube contains some kind of electroluminescent wire. The wire in the tube doesn't look at all blue but when it lights up the color is blue and quite bright. It can turn on and off quickly without any blinking, i.e. it's not a mini fluorescent tube.

I'm interested in replacing this part so any pointers as to what it is would be very welcome.


Answer

With the keywords cold cathode tube from @Justme, it proved simple to track down this item. I even found the identical design inverter (blue with the circular array of air holes). It appears to be a Logisys product. Their website seems to have been offline since 2017 but this item appears to be their 4" Cold Cathode Light Kit with Single Tube (with a blue tube, they also have various other colors). You can still find the details here on the Wayback Machine.

enter image description here

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Site rules: Questions on the repair of consumer electronics, appliances, or other devices must involve specific troubleshooting steps and demonstrate a good understanding of the underlying design of the device being repaired. - if it's not a repair question then it's likely a shopping question and subject to the same closure rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Nov 20, 2020 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes - I didn't feel it was a very electronics question but it comes out of an industrial robot - I don't feel it's exactly a standard consumer item. I thought people here would be far more likely to have an idea what it is than any other forum. I'm not trying to shop for a fun light - I'm trying to find out how I could replace this item that's used to indicate calibration failure and other things to do with the robots mechanics. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2020 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ The robot is quite old and while I do have documentation for a lot of the electronics this particular item is just a black box to me - as I said it has no distinguishing marks. Many other parts of the robot are easy to replace, e.g. photo interrupters etc., as they're very clearly marked with part numbers that I can just type into Digikey or Mouser. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2020 at 19:35

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That's a CCFL tube and the blue box is the power supply (inverter, driver) for it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Having looked this up, it does indeed appear to be a CCFL tube. Thanks. I didn't think it was one because it looked to have a filament but looking closer I guess what I took to be a filament is actually a skinny tube (the actual CCFL tube) and the outer plastic tube is just a protective case. I'm kind of surprised it's a CCFL tube because it can switch on and off quickly - I always associate the larger such tubes with a noticeable warm-up time during which they can blink on and off erratically. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 20, 2020 at 20:12

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