AC Frequency UK: Why Does Filament Lamp Flash 25Hz?

In summary, @James2020 uses a high speed camera to capture still images and videos of oil lamp lighting. He finds the lighting to be very pleasant and recommends it for mental health reasons.
  • #1
James2020
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When I record slow motion video of my filament bulb lamp connected to mains, I can be completely sure that it flashes 25 times per second. This is half of the 50 hertz AC frequency. I would expect it to flash 100 times per second as the current reaches a node twice per cycle in it’s AC wave. Why is this not the case.
 
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  • #2
Welcome to PF.
Does the filament lamp have a dimmer?
What is the frame rate of your camera?
 
  • #3
No the lamp doesn’t have a dimmer.
The frame rate of the camera is 120fps whilst recording in slow motion. I can observe the lamp visibility dimming & brightening so it certainly seems that the frame rate is high enough.
Thank you.
 
  • #4
You are probably observing the beat between the 120 FPS and the 100 Hz energy emission you expected. Based on those numbers, the difference frequency is 20 Hz.
 
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  • #5
James2020 said:
The frame rate of the camera is 120fps whilst recording in slow motion.
The camera is recording 'samples' (frames) of the scene. Nyquist's Sampling theorem says that, to get an accurate version of a changing scene, you need to sample at twice the rate that the scene is changing. If you are looking to record 100Hz variations correctly then you would need (significantly more than) 200Hz sampling rate. What you are seeing is referred to as an Alias. @Baluncore correctly describes it as a "beat". It's just like the wagon wheels going backwards on old films.

To avoid this problem, use DC lighting!

It's easier to describe the same effect in audio. Digital sound ADCs always use a low pass filter at half the sampling frequency to prevent aliases of high input frequencies turning up as low frequency aliases. Your digital camera has a spatial filter (fuzzy layer over the sensor) to avoid jazzy alias patterns. And we all (?) remember the problem of fine patterns on clothing producing distracting aliases when displayed on analogue colour TV. (Yes- sampling problems come in on analogue systems too)
 
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  • #6
My guess is that the camera was designed to operate at 120 fps so as to have a zero flicker rate when operated in countries like the USA that have 60 Hz power.
It is possible that it can be switched to 100 fps for use in countries where 50 Hz power is used.
 
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  • #7
I am having the same problem with my CMOS astro camera when I try to use it indoors. The sharp on/off of LEDs in the home makes it hopeless for decent indoor shooting. The flicker is terrible and I can't use more than about 30fps. I must buy some oil lamps.

High speed cameras present a lot of problems with data capture. USB3 is needed and that (another story) is not without its problems.

@James2020 what is your method of recording at the fast frame rate?
 
  • #8
sophiecentaur said:
I must buy some oil lamps.
Aha, a renaissance man.

Oil lamp lighting is very pleasant, and IMO good for mental health. Not good for reading books, but fine for reading backlit screens.
 

Related to AC Frequency UK: Why Does Filament Lamp Flash 25Hz?

1. Why does the filament lamp flash at 25Hz in the UK?

The filament lamp in the UK flashes at 25Hz because the alternating current (AC) frequency in the UK is 50Hz. This means that the current changes direction 50 times per second, resulting in the filament lamp flashing at half that frequency, or 25Hz.

2. Is 25Hz the standard frequency for filament lamps in the UK?

Yes, 25Hz is the standard frequency for filament lamps in the UK. This is because the AC frequency in the UK has been set at 50Hz since the early 20th century, and filament lamps are designed to operate at half the AC frequency.

3. What would happen if the AC frequency in the UK changed?

If the AC frequency in the UK were to change, for example to 60Hz like in the United States, the filament lamp would flash at a different frequency. This could affect the brightness and lifespan of the lamp, as well as potentially causing flickering or other issues.

4. Can a filament lamp be used in a country with a different AC frequency?

Yes, a filament lamp can be used in a country with a different AC frequency, but it may not operate as efficiently or effectively. For example, if a 50Hz lamp is used in a country with a 60Hz frequency, it may appear brighter and have a shorter lifespan due to the increased frequency.

5. How does the AC frequency affect other electrical devices?

The AC frequency can affect other electrical devices in various ways. Some devices, like motors and clocks, may operate at a different speed or not at all if the frequency is changed. Other devices may experience flickering or other issues if the frequency is not compatible with their design. It is important to use devices designed for the specific AC frequency in the country where they will be used.

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