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Are compact fluorescent bulbs interchangeable/all the same?
Yes and No. Compact flourescents come in dozens of sizes and various
folded shappes to fit various applications, including your living room
BUT the long-double-tube triphosphor ones commonly used for aquaria are
pretty much interchangeable within certain limits. If they are the
same length and rated for the same wattage, then you should not have a
problem interchanging one brand for another. There are, however, two
styles of plug-ends and sockets -- 4 pins in a straight row or 4 pins
in a 2-over-2 layout depending on whether they were manufactured by (or
under license from) Panasonic on the one hand or Philips. Electrically
these two types are not different, but you want to fit the sockets
you've got rather than change the sockets to fit the bulbs.
The 13watt bulbs usually a GX23 base (two pin). The 36-55watt bulbs
have a 2G11 base (four pins in a row) or GY10q base (four pins in a
square). I've only seen 96watt bulbs with a GY10q base (four pins in a
square) because only Panasonic makes these bulbs (or they are made
under license from Panasonic).
Check out AH Supply at http://www.ahsupply.com. They have pretty good
prices on most sizes. They also carry high frequency transformers at
very good prices.
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