CFL Bulbs that really last for 5 Years

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

  1. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    Nice site for comparison.

    You can put a Diode in series with a Incandescent bulb and they will last much longer at a reduced light output. The filament don't get as stressed from ON/OFF cycles.
  2. capecod

    capecod New Member

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    We too used to use burned out bulbs for targets. They would float and bob around in the ocean and they were hard to hit, but tons of fun.
  3. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    Yes that counts , LOL.

    What is really cool is shooting the picture tube on the TV set.
  4. capecod

    capecod New Member

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    Done that too, but didnt want to be the first to say it.
  5. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    Now that's really low Glass:p
  6. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    That reminds me of one of my old screen names; DIMWIT:p

    OOOOOR, you could use a dimmer and keep it on low setting, then turn it up after you switch it on.
  7. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    How many times a day do you turn on your closet lights? The duration is less of an issue than the number of on/off cycles. The classic burnout is bathrooms with short-timer occupancy sensors that might cycle a dozen or more times per day, when other sockets typically see fewer than five.

    There have been some bad designs out there that fail from cheap capacitors in the ballasts- your 13W GE twistys might fall into that category, or they ran too much current in the filaments during the on cycles(?). Your experience would not be typical of the industry as a whole. Instant-on cycle number issues aren't "instant death", by any means. I have some instant-on 11W GE globe bulbs in the bathroom that have been going for coming up on 4 years now despite numerous daily cycles. And I have some 14W delayed start twistys from GreenLite that have been in service for more than 15 years in other sockets as well as a handful of programmed start 19W R30s from TCP that are of similar age, with a gazillion hours on them. The adhesive that held the ballast housing to the edison-base gave up on one of the TCPs a year or so ago, but it was still working, despite being visibly crooked and loose (but not dangling by the wires). I had to break the wires and use pliers to unscrew it, but after more than a dozen years service that bulb didn't owe me a thing.

    Without data logging it's all about perception (capecod12 seems to think a 100W incandescent has lifespan just 'cuz they get dusty before they burn out :) ) I'll take the word of those who design this stuff. You'll find that the labeled lifespan of instant-ons are shorter that those that hesitate, and almost all longer-life CFLs have a programmed start delay to be kind to the filaments.

    Hoarding 100W bulbs is silly. They're sold even in places with outright bans (like Germany), as space heaters. Given their luminous efficiency, that's at least truth in labeling. :)

    DonL: The incandescent with the diode in series has the same number of on/off cycles, but idles along at a much lower temperature which dramatically reduces the rate of metal being vaporized. From a bulb-life point of view it's no different from using a dimmer running at about half-power. But imposing DC load biases on the grid isn't being very nice to the power transformers. A few 100W bulbs aren't going have much affect, but at higher power half-cycling the DC bias can cause the iron cores of the transformer to saturate, creating a world of current & voltage regulation hurt. A dozen or so years back I designed multi-kilowatt heating element controls maintaining the chemical temperatures on 2-part spray foam equipment that modulated the power output by counting half-cycles,switched on the zero crossing. The firmware layer kept track of how many half-cycles were in each direction, using algorithms for never letting one get ahead of the other, independently of the average power, to keep from smoking the power transformers to the building.
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    I know that the power company frowns on some switching supplies, Just because of the fact that the meters won't read proper power usage if you switch at certain rates. You can do the same thing with capacitors.

    Sounds like you had some fun.
  9. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    Lost another 26W CFL

    I am starting to think the the GE CFLs are not as good as others.

    Guess I need to change Brands.

    The Hour usage was not even 500 hours, Claims to be good for up to 8000Hrs. BS.

    Guess The UP TO, covers their claims...
  10. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    I have not had much luck with the Bright Effects brand that Lowes carries either. Bought 2 2packs in Feb 2011, 2 bulbs failed by Dec 2011. no smell, no burned look, just kaputsky. I have to call Bright Effects to get warranty replacements some day when I remember. Lowes would not take them back, as the model I bought from them is no longer stocked. I did not argue with them. I pick my fights. Lowes made 58 cuts for me on some marble tiles I bought from them at no charge for the cuts. They do up to only 2 cuts for free normally:)
  11. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    I do not blame you at all.


    What do you think about the sylvania CFLs ?

    I know they made one of the best Vacuum tubes. They were standard in my Collins Gear.
  12. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    I've had pretty good luck with 15W or under GE twistys and decorator bulbs, even R30s in base-up recessed ceiling apps. I had one infant-death on 10W twisty that failed in 2 weeks, but the replacement has been there at least 3 years (not sure if it's been 5 yet, but it might be), and it's in a high number on/off cycle and longer than average duty cycle socket in the entry hall.

    Clearly the higher you go in power, the higher the temp of the ballast in an edison-base retrofit. LED modules are not immune either- the problem is the fact that edison sockets are designed to limit heat transfer out of the bulb to keep your house from burning down or burning your hand. The electronic ballasts are happier and live longer if they can be kept cool, and don't dissipate enough heat to cause a fire unless you go way out of your way to insulate them. (Most would fail and stop working well before reaching the kindling temp of wood.)

    TCP R20s & R30s seem to hang in there in recessed cans much longer than Phillips equivalents (which seem to have adhesive failures between the glass & base well before the rated hours, even though the bulb still works), but I've never gone more than 19W for any recessed can. I usually keep it 15W and under.

    Some of the box-store "brands" are OEMed from a number of different manufacturer. I know TCP has done some OEMing for discount stores and the like. The Home Despot EcoSmart lineup is from a number of vendors. (Some of the EcoSmart LED assemblies are made by CREE, but most are from other sources.)
  13. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison New Member

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    I have not had much luck with GE's 60W or 100W equivalent standard twisty CFL bulbs. Short life and not instant on, plus they are too blasted long to fit in over half of the applications (either for cosmetic or simply unable-to-fit reasons.) However GE's R20/R30 replacements are holding up (the enclosed twisty spiral). The aren't instant on and they take several minutes to reach full illumination, but I've had no early failures. And one set of six R30 60-65 W equivalents gets both high usage and a lot more cycles as it is in the kitchen.

    With the basic 40/60/100 W CFL equivalents they've used the same model number printed on the side of the bulb the whole time for at least 6 or 7 years, even though they've put three different names on the box. Don't know if the manufacturer is changing, but the basic bulb layout (including best-I've-tried fit dimensions) has not changed.

    Those closets were being used as "nightlights" for the kids in two different bedrooms back then. So the answer for them was ~1 on/off cycle per day. The GE 60W didn't come anywhere near their rated life time, even factoring in the long run time (which should have let them exceed the numbers by a long shot because they weren't cycled frequently.)

    I expect two of our bathrooms to short cycle a dozen times a day. The only CFL's I've used that had a problem with this were the non-instant on GE 60W's. So far the instant on n:Vision/EcoSmarts have lasted several times as long.
  14. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    The ones I have lost were in a Bathroom Open Vanity mirror fixture . Screw base Sockets mounted Horizontally.

    My problem must be a short cycle issue. They are not getting all that hot.

    I wonder if a soft start thermistor would help that issue ? They seemed to be working when turned off. They just don't turn on again.
  15. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    If they send you a coupon for new ones, and you don't have to send the old ones back, Then take them apart and see what fried. And we can compare notes.

    My bad GEs look like new.

    I measured the Color Temperature of these bad GEs and it is 0. lol

    I think I may try 2 different brands in the same fixture and see what ones last, with most on off cycles. Can do 4 Max lamps in the fixture of different brands, but that is a lot of ugly in the mirror.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  16. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    OK, one day I'll call them for the warranty info
  17. capecod

    capecod New Member

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    I am sick of these stupid replacement bulbs, but I certainly have read all your input on them.
    I will stick with the old bulbs until I find safe and good replacements.

    Interesting to know that the new streetlight bulbs in our area, ALL failed! Every single one! Yeah, they actually took out the old ones, though they functioned perfectly and were much brighter.
    So they gave us a 1-800 number to call to have them replaced. They were supposed to be 'better', but they turn off and on all night long. And buzz and crackle, and make odd sounds.
    And then they dont come on at all if they dont get replaced. But the off and on all night was so silly that it made our newspapers as a joke.

    The company has replaced almost all of them in our area thanks to our calls. And they work, but the new ones are dim. But at least they dont cycle on and off all night long.

    Another EPA goof. What did this cost? Who is responsible for this one?
  18. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

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  19. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    What was the technology of said street lights? (I can all but guarantee you the were not fluorescent, and probably not LED either.) What was the technology of the old ones? (I can all but guarantee you that they were not incandescent.)

    Some high-intensity-discharge systems have extremely short half-lives when cycled on/off multiple times per hour, and a poor implementation can all but guarantee that they fail within a month. The reasons for the ballasts turning off and undegoing a re-start cycle will vary, but this is usually a system or design problem.

    I doubt the EPA was in any way involved with the design & specification of this street lighting- these decisions are often driven by the local town or utility (or both) with a whole lot o' greenwashing and political bragging about saving the taxpayer money, but too often they try to do it on the ultra-cheap, costing double in the end. If you could post some URLs for the local newspaper scrawls relative to this system I'd read 'em.
  20. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades

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    They probably had the dusk/dawn photo sensor pointing toward the lights.

    That will hose any type of lighting system.
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