Sunbeam Dual Colored Cold Cathode

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Introduction


I believe that cold cathodes are the best source for case lighting, and we have all seen the standard one-colored ones. For a long time if you wanted to have 2 colors in your case you would have to buy two different cold cathodes and have them both running, but this is not the case anymore. Xoxide sent over a dual colored cold cathode which is made by Sunbeam Technology. At this time the dual colored cold cathode is only available in blue and red combinations but I am sure in the future more will be offered. When I first saw these I wanted one because not often does a new innovative product come into the market like this one.

Specifications

  • Length: 12.25 inches of pure light.
  • Diameter: Demand +/- 350mA at 12VDC.
  • Average Current Demand +/- 4.3w.
  • .25 inches Encasing
  • Encased in a 100% acrylic shell, enabling 360 degrees of light
  • Special coated 12V inverter for safety.
  • Huge Lifespan

The box of the cold cathode is just your plain box and on the outside you can see that it has a blue and red sticker on it meaning that it is a dual colored cold cathode. I have seen Sunbeam’s packaging before and it is really good, and this cold cathode is no different.

Click here for a larger image Click here for a larger image

The cold cathode comes wrapped in bubble wrap to protect it during shipping so the bulb doesn’t get broken and so the acrylic casing doesn’t get all scratched up. The cathode is very professional looking; it has the cubes on each end to make mounting easier, not to mention that if you are going to be putting it on the bottom of your case you wouldn’t have to use Velcro. The cubes no the end also are good because that means that the cathode isn’t just resting on the case which would make it easy to be scratched or broken if something happens. Because the cathode is raised up about a centimeter it will shine brighter I think because it will reflect better off the surface of your case.

Click here for a larger image

This is a complete kit and comes with everything you will need to install and run the cold cathode. The inverter comes attached to the set of wires with the Molex connector and where you will hook your switch up. The switch doesn’t come soldered onto the wires which makes installation and uninstallation easier. The inverter, which we will look at in a minute, is wrapped in Velcro. The other parts that come with the kit are 2 pieces of Velcro for the mounting of the cathode, a piece of Velcro to mount the inverter, the switch, and a template for the switch so that you can mount it correctly. I love that they included all of these things; all of it will make installation easy and help it to look really nice. Instructions are also included in the kit which explain how to install and setup your cold cathode because not everyone will know how.

Click here for a larger image Click here for a larger image

The inverter comes wrapped in Velcro to insulate it, usually I prefer to see heat shrink around the inverter but I find this to be a very good method for a few reasons. The inverter is able to hold two cold cathodes, which means if you want to put another on or take one off you will need to get to the plugs. If the inverter had heat shrink around it this would be difficult, but because Velcro is used you are able to take it off and get to the plugs. Another reason why this is good is that you will be able to mount it anywhere in your case just by sticking it to the other piece of Velcro provided.


Click here for a larger image Click here for a larger image

Test Bed

  • EPoX 8K3A+
  • 1800+ Athlon XP
  • 80GB Maxtor ATA133 HDD
  • GeIL 256MB PC3500 (review to come)
  • Asus Geforce 2 GTS 64MB
  • Cooler Master ATC-101-SX2
  • Zalman 300w PSU (review to come)
  • Sound Blaster Live! Value
  • ATi TV Wonder VE
  • 10/100 NIC
  • Plextor 40x12x40 CDRW (review to come)
  • pioneer 16x DVD

I didn’t install the switch for the kit to any case because I did not have to really put it on. Instead I put the dual cathode into my Cooler Master ATC-101-SX2 case and hooked up everything so that it would work. I ran the cold cathode for a few hours to make sure that everything worked how it was supposed to and to see what it looked like in my case.

After running the cathode for a few hours the inverter did get a little hot but did not fail. Sunbeam will be changing the inverter casing to a new plastic one, which will give it better ventilation and keep it even more insulated. Below are some pictures that I took of the dual colored cold cathode in action. As usual my camera does not like to take pictures of light very well so that’s why they don’t look the best. As you can see this cold cathode is awesome, I really love the dual color effect and was supprised how well the light stayed apart from each other. I figured that the red and blue would mix making some kind of purple color.

Click here for a larger image Click here for a larger image

Conclusion

I have used a lot of cold cathodes from a lot of differant companies and this is one of the best. I really like this dual colored cold cathode because it looks really cool and is something new and unique. I really like that the kit is so complete; you get everything you would need which is the cathode itself, inverter, switch, mounting hardware, Molex wire, and instructions.

Xoxide has chosen to carry a great product and I cant wait to see what’s next from Sunbeam Technology. The only thing that is needs to be fixed is the inverter, personally I don’t find it to be that bad, but I know that some other people have had problems with it. I know that the new inverter cover from Sunbeam Technology is going to be much better than the current one, but until then this one should work just fine. The cost of this dual colored cold cathode kit costs only $33.99, which is only a few dollars more than the single colored ones which makes it a great deal.

Overall I am going to give this product a 9.5/10 and award it the OCmodshop Seal of Approval, I would like to thank Chris from Xoxide for sending this over for review.

Pros:
  • Very bright
  • Dual colors
  • Great packaging
  • Inverter can handle two cathodes
  • Instructions included
  • Cubes on the end of the cathode
  • Switch, Velcro, and mounting template provided

Cons:

  • Inverter insulation could be better
Brandon Turnbull is a technology enthusiast living in southern California. He has written numerous articles and tutorials about PC overclocking and modification.