CFL Bulbs that really last for 5 Years

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by DonL, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    northfork, california
    Isnt that a dumb and dumber proposition? Lets allow the Chinese child workers to poison themselves in China, so that those same poisons that would be properly handled by OSHA in American factories, arrive in the US to be broken and the chemicals dispersed in our homes anyway. SMART.

    Our utility subsidizes CFL's to about 4 for $1.29! But mostly grocery stores only take them and hide them in a obscure aisle behind their 4 for 6$ bulbs. I have a long track and had three quartz halogens and 6 CFL's in it. the quartz guys have been dead for a year now.

    No more 100 watt bulbs after Jan 1. If you want a great one, go to Graingers and buy 'railroad' signal lamps. Go forever. My grandparents had an old Edison 60 watt bulb high up in their hallway. They said it was installed in 1918, and was running still in 1957. Wish I had saved it.

    Give LED's 3 years and they'll be 4 for $1.29
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Look what happened to that SOLAR-bama fiasco. Turned out they couldn't make the panels at price to compete with chinese imports'
  3. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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    Actually they had a design that was unproven, and the world price of silicon tanked recently, like will happen to LED's soon due to overcapacity.

    This Solar mega plant in San Luis Obispo, largest on earth being built is using US components and NOT taking a penny from our pockets. There is some hope.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  4. Bobelectric

    Bobelectric Electrical Contractor

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    Eighty Four,Pa. 15330
    If L E D lamps are so efficient, why do the recessed spotlamps have a big metal heat sink?
  5. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    To keep them Cool ?

    There is still wasted heat. Unless it is wintertime.

    I am sure they push them to the Limit.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  6. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    Efficiency of a light bulb is the ratio of heat produced vs light output per watt. Yes, LED's generate heat, more than a little, still they generate more light output per watt consumed and less heat per watt consumed than other devices. Oh, and to answer your question: to keep from overheating that tiny little junction that generates both.
  7. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    That makes a lot of sense.

    Do You remember the Number of Hours the ones you bought recently are rated for.

    I don't remember if you said or not. If You did CRS got the best of me.
  8. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    my next visit to the basement, I'll look at the boxes. I'm not sure if it says that, but they have a 3 year warranty. I'll let you know.
  9. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    I think they rate most LEDs for 3 years at 24 hours a day.

    The CFL lamps that I have are rated for 5 Years, with a 4 hour per day usage.

    I Don't think that they know how long the LED will REALLY last.

    I have seen a normal LED last for Very many Years. But the lights are pushed to the Limit.

    Yet to be seen if the Lights will last very long.

    I have seen a lot of new traffic lights with dead segments.
    There is one in town that looks like a smiley face. Some segments even Blink.

    I wonder if they short out or open up, when they die.

    A normal led shorts out if you use the wrong limit resistor. Until they smoke and open.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  10. drick

    drick In the Trades

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    392
    The problem I've experienced with the LEDs is not that they burn out, but that they output less and less light as time goes on. As an example we outfitted a gas station canopy with LED lights a year ago. When it was first done and I drove by at night I was impressed with the light output. It was as good as, if not better than the mercury vapor lamps they replaced. Now only a year later with the arrays on about 12 hours a day I think it would be safe to say they have dimmed by 25%-35%. None of the lights have failed and none of the LEDs in the arrays appear to be out, but they all seemed to have dimmed equally. I'm not sure how much dimming of the LEDs constitutes a failure, but IMO if these arrays dim any further they will need to be replaced as the canopy lighting is now toward the low end of acceptable.

    I was aware that this was a problem with the original LED lights dimming, but I thought that had been worked out. I would be hesitant to spend big money on LED bulbs until I know they will last a very long time.


    As far as CFLs, I have 21 installed in outside lights around my home that are lighted 4 hours a day on average. All 21 were installed 5 years ago at the same time. Since then 5 have failed. One the first year, then 2 last year and two this year. The remaining 16 have over 7000 hours on them so far. That seems pretty good to me anyway.

    I also have more CFLs inside. In an open air fixture the bulbs last forever. In the bathroom they last about as long as a regular bulb, maybe a little less. In a closed fixture they die within 6 months. I have not tried the CFLs designed to go into recessed lights and don't plan to as I would miss not being able to properly dim my lights.


    -rick
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Good Info Rick, Thank You.
  12. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    That's not what I've found in checking specs, and I've been noting this for years. When you look at general A19 light bulb replacements, the LED's are not more efficient than a CFL. Even now, if I look at the 40W equivalent I see that the $10 Ecosmart LED uses 8.6W and puts out only 429 lumens versus $1.50 each for a 9W CFL that puts out 550 lumens. (In this case the LED is marginally less efficient.) LED's and CFL's in actual general lighting applications with similar color hue have had nearly the same lumens/watt. And the LED replacements for this style top out in the 60W range, unlike the CFL's.

    The advantage to LED's was in replacing things like R30's/directional configurations, not general lighting. In that app. the CFL performs poorly and has a lower than normal lumens/watt, while the LED excels because it is best at directional lighting. But when it comes to replacing a standard incandescent lamp bulb, the CFL is an easy winner.

    Longterm LED's should become more efficient than CFL's can be, but by the time you get the spectra corrected and the diffuser in place the LED has lost all of its edge.
  13. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    897
    Location:
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    Have you done a lux meter comparision of a new set with one that has been in service for a year or two? I've used a simple one to determine warm up time on CFL's. By comparing a spare or new-in-box sample of the same model you could verify your impression. If you think they have dimmed by 25-35% visually, then they've likely dimmed by far more than that. You would be amazed at how little light some CFL's start up with when cold (room temp) vs. their normal output 1-2 minutes later. They can look perhaps half as bright but instead be putting out 1/8th as much light.

    I'm surprised to hear of this LED dimming problem as the CFL backlight in LCD TV's is supposed to be a problem over the long haul since it dims and shifts color spectrum over time. Supposedly LED TV's won't have this limitation.

    I haven't experienced premature CFL deaths in either of these two scenarios, fortunately. (It could be a brand thing I suppose.) I've got at least 8 CFL's in closed fixtures indoors at present and haven't lost any of them that I can recall (3.5 years in this home.) I did have some early GE failures in another home and I think some were enclosed, but the GE's seemed to fail earlier wherever they were which is one of the many reasons why I haven't bought them in years.

    I've got plenty of CFL's in open fixtures in bathrooms, roughly two dozen. I've lost at least one, perhaps two in ~3 years...but some of these had been in other homes for years before this.

    CFL's have severe dimming when used outdoors in winter (and there are some temp limitations on them.) Still, I have some of the enclosed R30/R20 types in cans outside. I don't use them much but I haven't had a failure. I've also got some standard CFL's in enclosed and non-enclosed fixtures outdoors, plus 4 in garage door openers. The garage door opener ones have done well as temps there are more moderate.
  14. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    Location:
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    I suspect you are describing exactly what I am, but we aren't on the same page with respect to terminology.

    That's not general lighting with the R30's. That is directional. R30's are directional designs and that is the worst application for a CFL. The LED's by nature tend to be directional, while CFL's are not. Add the enclosure to the CFL and you have a lot of light loss and lower luminous efficiency, trying to force light into a cone pattern that they aren't particularly good at doing. When you try to use LED's for general area lighting (as in a table lamp) you are asking it to do what it is worst at. When I think of task lighting I think of spots/tracks/cans.
  15. drick

    drick In the Trades

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    392
    Heh, we don't own a lux meter. Its not a cost thing, just that we wouldn't have had much use for it. However, if this customer calls back complaining we may end up buying one.

    I'm not sure that this is an apples to apples comparison. With an LED light you are generally trying to get the most Lumens you can out of the fewest LEDs so they are run at 100% output all the time. The original LED lights had problems because operating them in this manner generated a lot of heat that couldn't be dispersed fast enough resulting in damage to the LED itself that showed up as reduced light output. This is why they have the heat sinks on them now and supposedly this and some manufacturing changes overcame the problem. With a TV you have a lot more surface area to spread the LEDs over thus reducing the heat problem. You also wouldn't be likely won't run the TV at full brightness reducing the heat problem further still.

    I agree that some brands may have ballasts that can better handle the increased heat in an inclosed fixture, however I tried two different brands and both failed in a short time in my enclosed fixtures. My solution was to swap out the fixtures for some open ones and I have not had a lamp failure in those locations since. Maybe I should try again. What brand CFLs are you using? Since swapping out the fixtures I have discovered that you can buy CFLs made specifically for enclosed fixtures. However I'd rather not pay the price premium for those bulbs if there is something that works that I can get locally.

    I think its the short cycling that is killing them in the bathroom. The CFLs in the bathroom last for years (usually) before failing, so I'm not saying they fail right after I install them, but on the same switch I have incandescent bulbs that last just as long or longer.

    They do have a minimum start temperature. Fortunately for the ones I'm using outside its something like -15F so I've never had even one fail to light do to temperature. The CFLs I am using outside all have covers over the tube itself allowing the bulb to warm up and put out full lumens eventually.

    -rick
  16. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Since our utility [without fanfare] subdizes 4 packs of bulbs of every type and wattage of cfl for $1.29, its almost a moot point, and when I find them hidden in the grocery store, I fill the cart to the top. That is actually less than the old edisons.

    I won't touch an LED except for camping lanterns, for about 3 years. Remember that Beta-Max vcr you bought for 300 1980 dollars?

    I dont leave home without a AA maglite. They waited years after the led storm to bring one out because they didnt trust them. Good men. And the 2 that I finally bought are garbage and died very early. Back to the great basic mag-lite and they go for about 3 years in my pocket.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
  17. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    The boxes say th ebulbs have a life expectancy of 35,000 hours:p:rolleyes: That works out to about 4 years left on continuously. These i bought go on for a few hours a day only. Sometimes I am an early adopter, sometimes not.
  18. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    That is not bad at all, If they really last that long.

    Sounds like I will be better off sticking to my 130 Volt Industrial Incandescent bulbs for now.

    I have a 130 Volt Industrial Incandescent on the same light switch in my bath room, and it has outlasted 2 CFLs.
  19. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    The Brookstone 3 AAA battery LED flashlight I bought years ago for about 35 bucks:eek:, still works great, and is too bright to look at. (me, not being so bright myself sometimes, did look at it. stupid idea!). I only changed the battery once, last week, as it seemed a little dim. the batteries were down a little more than a full volt combined, down to less that 3.5 volts, but it was still very useable, and "almost" too bright to look at!. The little switch on it has always been a little problematical, and it has a lifetime warranty. this light has been discontinued. After the holiday crunch, I might take a ride to the Mall's Brookstone and see how good their warranty is on it in reality.
  20. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    Hey I have some of those, Payed $4.99, spent more for good batteries.

    I think they were discontinued because of that piss poor switch.
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