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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:45 pm 
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Roffensian wrote:
I think it's $200 - $300 from memory.

That's not too bad. I've just been checking out their website, as I'm not familiar with their lines. They've got some interesting stuff.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 1:18 pm 
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From the Ball website:

"Self powered Micro Gas Lights (3H) are a novel light source manufactured by means of an innovative Swiss laser technology. It provides superior long-life brightness - 100 times better than current markings using luminous paint, and with a useful life easily reaching 25 years."

Assuming that's true, I wonder what they mean by "useful life." I would presume it means still visible, but given the degeneration of tritium, it would seem they wouldn't be at their original brightness by that time.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 2:13 pm 
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JacksonStone wrote:
From the Ball website:

"Self powered Micro Gas Lights (3H) are a novel light source manufactured by means of an innovative Swiss laser technology. It provides superior long-life brightness - 100 times better than current markings using luminous paint, and with a useful life easily reaching 25 years."

Assuming that's true, I wonder what they mean by "useful life." I would presume it means still visible, but given the degeneration of tritium, it would seem they wouldn't be at their original brightness by that time.



They won't be at their original brightness the day after they are produced - such is the nature of tritium. 25 years is slightly more than two half lifes so there will be a little less than 25% of the original lume left. While that might still be visible I'm not sure that I would be too happy with that given that it's supposed to be a feature.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:49 pm 
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I would say a more appropriate life expectancy for the tumes is about 12 years if you want to maintain thier ideal function.

If you are going to service it say every 5, and you bought it new, it would be safe to say it would be made within 1 year of the purchase, it would be in for it's first service within 5-6 of purchase and it's second service 10-11 years after it was made. At that point, I would change the tubes.

Tritium is a radioactive gas creates light by it's molecules coliding with the phosphor coating on the inside of the tubes. After the first 12 years (half-life) it would be 50% of it's original output, time for me to change it up. Maybe they would have Super Tritium by then that is 100 times better than it is now! If you let it go 25 years, it will be 25% and that is pretty much suck like Roff said.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 3:56 pm 
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JustinFournier wrote:
Maybe they would have Super Tritium by then that is 100 times better than it is now! If you let it go 25 years, it will be 25% and that is pretty much suck like Roff said.

Ball is making it sound as if they have some kind of "Super Tritium" now. My understanding of tritium's properties is just as you and Roff have said, but Ball's hyperbole made me wonder if somehow they've advanced the properties to the point where it would last longer. I'm doubtful of that, but still curious.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:01 pm 
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JacksonStone wrote:
JustinFournier wrote:
Maybe they would have Super Tritium by then that is 100 times better than it is now! If you let it go 25 years, it will be 25% and that is pretty much suck like Roff said.

Ball is making it sound as if they have some kind of "Super Tritium" now. My understanding of tritium's properties is just as you and Roff have said, but Ball's hyperbole made me wonder if somehow they've advanced the properties to the point where it would last longer. I'm doubtful of that, but still curious.



Chemistry is chemistry. You can change the properties of the tube coating to improve the lume, but you can't change tritium's half life, you need a different radioactive material for that, and then you run in to some rather more significant issues...........


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:19 pm 
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Roffensian wrote:
JacksonStone wrote:
JustinFournier wrote:
Maybe they would have Super Tritium by then that is 100 times better than it is now! If you let it go 25 years, it will be 25% and that is pretty much suck like Roff said.

Ball is making it sound as if they have some kind of "Super Tritium" now. My understanding of tritium's properties is just as you and Roff have said, but Ball's hyperbole made me wonder if somehow they've advanced the properties to the point where it would last longer. I'm doubtful of that, but still curious.



Chemistry is chemistry. You can change the properties of the tube coating to improve the lume, but you can't change tritium's half life, you need a different radioactive material for that, and then you run in to some rather more significant issues...........


And no one needs radioactive Ball(s) :roll: Sorry.

Between that time-lapsed shot Justin found on the forum and the hype on Ball's website you might expect a watch brighter than the sun when opening the box... The tritium tubes are just bright enough to be read - they aren't blindingly bright and they will degrade.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:41 pm 
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Iantheklutz wrote:
The tritium tubes are just bright enough to be read...

If they're anything like the Meprolight sights on my Kimber, then I'd say that's an apt description. Meprolight likes to hype their tritium tubes, too. While the tubes are certainly visible once my eyes have accustomed to a low-light environment, they're not what I would call bright by any means. I've only had the piece for four years. I can only imagine what the tubes will look like in another eight.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:04 pm 
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As a lume material, the only advantages that tritium has is the consistent (short term) lume - i.e. it doesn't fade overnight, and the fact that it doesn't need charging.

It's nowhere near as bright as SuperLuminova when the lights first go out.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:05 pm 
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Agreed, for me Tritium is simply about not having to charge the lume. Works anytime. I often find when driving my car (no clock in it) I look at my Ling, only to have it too dark to read. I have a UV LED flashlight but doing my wallet-phone-keys check does not yet include charging the lume on my watch with a UV light.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:26 am 
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I did some research and have provided a culmination of the findings from a number of sources, below are some facts on both Super Luminova and Tritium Tubes:

Super Luminova

Because it is not a chemical process but a modification of a crystal, Superluminova doesn’t lose its effectiveness over time; GTLS half life is 12.5 years, and it maintains constant brightness throughout its life. Superluminova, however, will never lose its luminous quality, though it does have to be charged by a light source.

Sunlight activated Super-LumiNova initially glows much more brightly than tritium. After about 2 hours, its luminosity declines to the same intensity as tritium. For the next 6 hours, its brightness continues to wane until the value of 7nCd/mm2.

What makes one Superluminova watch’s luminosity better than another? It comes down to the amount of material used and the way it is applied to the watch. None of the watch brands do their own application of Superluminova; it’s all done by small ateliers throughout Switzerland. Companies specify how much, how and where to apply the Superluminova material, and that’s what makes the difference.

“The determining factor is the amount and thickness of Superluminova material, as well as the color, because Superluminova comes in a number of colors, the more material you apply on the dial and the hands, the higher the light storage capacity. Watch brands can use different grain sizes of Superluminova material. For certain designs, the small grains are used to make smooth, shiny surfaces, but they are a little weaker.” - Albert Zeller, managing director of RC Tritec maker of Superluminova

There are a few variables involved in persuading a watch lume to soak up lots of photons:

The dominant wavelength of the illuminating light
The strength (illuminance) of the illumination
The length of time for which the watch is illuminated

Luminous pigments are charged by the UV content of the light, and there is some UV content in most light sources - some more than others. LED UV lamps deliver a good punch, peaking at 365nm or so. Daylight (D65) fluorescent lamps are pretty good, as are the "cool white" or "bright white" variety. Mercury vapor lamps are rich in UV, but sodium lamps are not. The good old-fashioned tungsten lamps have some UV content, but not a lot (sorry, Mr Edison - your time has passed).

Tritium Gas Tubes

In watches that use Tritium (officially, gaseous Tritium light source or GTLS), glass tubes holding Tritium gas are placed in the watch under the crystal. “The tubes are made of borosilicate glass, which is temperature resistant,” explains Jakob Bänziger, general manager of MB-Microtec. “The tubes are sent to us in large sections, then we make the tubes smaller and longer. We wash them and apply a coating of phosphorous material inside, then we close them on one end, pump out the air, fill them with Tritium gas, and then we have a light source which is half a meter in length. We then seal off the lengths with a special laser technology that we developed ourselves 25 years ago. We do a lot of testing to make sure they have the right brightness and, more importantly, that the tubes are not leaking."

The level of brightness of the tubes is determined by the pressure of Tritium in the tube, which is determined by the amount of Tritium gas present (from 0 to 2.5 bar of gas). There is, according to Bänziger, no official standard, but MB-Microtec has established a few sizes of GTLSs, and the company can also make custom sizes as long as it is technically possible.

PERFORMANCE
All the watches performed well. The Superluminova watches started out very bright but after a few hours started to lose luminosity. The
Tritium-equipped watches scored the best when it comes to the length of luminosity because they hold the same practical brightness for four to six years, although they didn't always start out as bright as the Superluminova watches. The time listing in the results is the
amount of time it took for the luminescence to dip below the ISO standard for visibility (ISO 3157) . Since Tritium-activated watches maintain brightness for years, the ranking is listed for brightness after three minutes.

SUPERLUMINOVA: TIME PERIOD OF LUMINOSITY
•Reactor Flux:12.05 hours
•Tutima DI300: 8.82 hours
•Panerai Luminor Marina: 7.68 hours
•RGM Lancaster: 5.83 hours
•Hamilton Khaki Frogman: 5.42 hours
•Chase-Durer Special Forces 1000: 2.37 hours

SUPERLUMINOVA: BRIGHTNESS AFTER THREE MINUTES
•Tutima DI300: 28,223 nCd/watch
•Reactor Flux: 24,060 nCd/watch
•Panerai Luminor Marina: 14,854 nCd/watch
•RGM Lancaster: 8,972 nCd/watch
•Hamilton Khaki Frogman: 7,075 nCd/watch
•Chase-Durer Special Forces 1000: 2,267 nCd/watch

TRITIUM-ACTIVATED: BRIGHTNESS AFTER THREE MINUTES LENGTH CONSTANT: AT LEAST 12.5 YEARS
•Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon TMT: 6,504 nCd/watch
•Mondaine SBB Sport Night, white face: 5,717 nCd/watch
•Luminox Model 7001: 3,612 nCd/watch
•Mondaine SBB Sport Night, black face: 3,000 nCd/watch

graph of H3 lume v. Luminova after equivalent charging
Image

The luminosity chosen really depends on what the watch buyer wants and needs. If requiring a watch that is luminous without having to be exposed to a light source, or requiring luminosity over a longer period of time than is possible with Superluminova, the user should consider
a watch that uses the Tritium gas tube technology. It may not glow as brightly as Superluminova at the beginning, but it will maintain a steady state of luminescence. If the watch needs to be visible throughout the night.


References:
http://reactorwatch.nl/PR/InSync%20_uminosity_article.pdf
http://horologyzone.com/watch/watch-school/glow-in-the-dark.html
http://kronometric.org/article/lume/

NOTE
Edited: Because it is not a chemical process but a modification of a crystal, Superluminova doesn’t lose its effectiveness over time; it's half life is 12.5 years, and it maintains constant brightness throughout its life.

Corrected to read: Because it is not a chemical process but a modification of a crystal, Superluminova doesn’t lose its effectiveness over time; GTLS half life is 12.5 years, and it maintains constant brightness throughout its life.

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Last edited by Montexn on Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:02 am 
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You've got some confusion going on there Montexn.

Tritium has an approximately 12.5 year half life, not SL. SL is not a radioactive isotope and doesn't have a half life.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:37 am 
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Roffensian wrote:
Tritium has an approximately 12.5 year half life, not SL. SL is not a radioactive isotope and doesn't have a half life.

That's what I was wondering about, too. If it doesn't lose its effectiveness over time, how can it have a half life? Otherwise, great research.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:45 am 
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Roffensian wrote:
You've got some confusion going on there Montexn.

Tritium has an approximately 12.5 year half life, not SL. SL is not a radioactive isotope and doesn't have a half life.


I know what you mean, but in my defense that was quoted directly from the reference I pulled this from....I thought the same thing. Check it out here http://reactorwatch.nl/PR/InSync%20_uminosity_article.pdf as I supplied the information as it was given by the references. I think the author of the article must have had a typo. I think he may of left out the GTLS in that portion of the sentence...not sure, but that is how it appears to me as well. I will take the liberty to edit and correct that submission however, as I agree it is misleading and I apologize for that error.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:20 am 
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Good work Richard. I agree on the SL half life issue.


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