Three generations of LED bulbs

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by bwilson4web, May 18, 2013.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    We have replaced most of our house lights with Cold Florescent Lights (CFL) only to discover their quality left a lot to be desired. Electronic Design News did an analysis and traced the problem to cheap capacitors in the power electronics that could not handle the temperature swings. But this is not something one can see when buying them at the hardware store. Still, we knew lighting LEDs were coming so we've been experimenting:
    [​IMG]
    The generations:
    1. mob of single LEDs with a power supply base - notice it is the same ceramic-style, plastic base as the failing CFL. Weak, it works like a cloud of point sources. Rated 1.5W, a dim, medium K (i.e., redish hue) bulb, not satisfactory.
    2. LEDs on a stick - this design lays the LED chips on a rectangular center post. The power supply has heat fins on a metal band around the base. Rated 4W, 3000K, also a redish hue but acceptable when mixed with the few, remaining, high K CFLs.
    3. three LEDs with advanced lenses - this one has a nearly all metal base with substantially increased heat fins. The lense diverts the LED light in a nearly uniform pattern. Rated 6W, 6000K, like sunlight, entirely acceptable. Looking at them directly is uncomfortable but does not leave 'spots' on the eyes when you look away. I ordered a case and we are just waiting for the CFLs to die.
    Here we see the light emitting side:
    [​IMG]

    This is what it looks like in our TV room:
    [​IMG]
    • 11:00 - the second generation LED with redish tint
    • 2:00 - one of the new LEDs
    • 5:00 - one to two remaining CFL
    • 7:00 - the other new LED
    • 8:00 - the other CFL
    The new ones run just over $8/each and there may yet be quality issues to work out. But compared to incandescent lights:
    With incandescent lights, we not only paid more electricity to turn on a dimmer bulb, in the summer we had to run the air conditioner harder to get the heat out. If the reliability of these LEDs prove out (and the heat fins are a good start) we're probably going all LEDs with the exception of the oven.

    One thing that I just realized is an incandescent bulb either works or is burned out. In this case, there is a single power supply (I think) but failure of any of the three LED elements would make it dimmer but still have light. LED lights have the potential of being 'fail soft'.

    BTW, I'm one of those folks who perceives the flicker of florescent bulbs and have been bothered by them for most of my life. These LED lights don't flicker and I love it.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i can't use the flourescent either. we don't use much light for any period of time except where we sit at night to read. can you recommend an led to replace a 60w flood in a 6" recessed can? thanks!
     
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Edison or candelabra base?

    There are Edison to candelabra adapters and I would have no problem with using these in your application.

    These are candelabra base LEDs but I'm starting to see some Edison base bulbs that look interesting. I've sent an email asking about ordering a case or what sort of quantify, price break-points might exist. The one I'm looking at comes in 7W and 9W with different K values. Short of doing more extensive testing, I can't recommend one, yet.

    It is important to ask what are the ambient temperature range limits. If they can't handle temperatures below freezing, they have the crappy caps and should probably be avoided.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  4. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Great write-up!

    I had a lot of EAR (Early Adopter's Remorse) when CFLs came out, but they've come a long way in 20 years with them.
    We're dipping the toe in more slowly with LED lighting, but we do use a couple of the 3W candelabra units for aux lighting.
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    mine are edison. i'll keep watching for altenatives. i want to switch eventually, and i suppose incan's are going the way of the horse and buggy. thanks!
     
  6. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    When we were able to move back into our house... I swapped out all the lights and lamps in and on the house with LEDs except in the appliances, the garage tubes, and the kitchen 4-tube overhead.... dramatic reduction in energy costs compared to what I used to pay when we lived in it last.

    As was the reduction in costs when I swapped out all of the christmas lights to LEDs.

    Susan was angry as all get out when she learned how much it cost (errr, I spent) to install... but we've almost recouped the entire amount of the upgrade in just the last year... next year is gravy... and so on.

    I'm going to install directed recessed LED cans in the kitchen over the food prep and cooking areas after I get the fences up and the rental down the street finished.
     
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  7. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    The Cree bulbs from Home Depot are cheap ($9 and $12 for the 40W/60W equivalents). On the outside they look just like an incandescent. The light they make and the spread is just like an incandescent too. For my mom who was stockpiling oldschool bulbs because she hated the light output of the CFLs, these LED bulbs work perfectly and she is buying more to replace the failing incandescents. If it passes her eye test, it is a winner in my book.

    I have CFLs everywhere and they keep on going but I did replace the floodlights outside with LED floods and they turn on instantly with higher brightness and half the power.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    If you go to Home Depot they have really nice 60 watt CREE replacements for the recessed cans for about $35. Home Depot also has EcoSmart large LED floods which I have 3 in recessed cans, mixed review from me. The cheapest alternative I have seen is large LED flood at Costco for about $20 Fiet I believe. I will try one.

    I got one of new CREE 40w bulbs at home for $9 (actually $9.90 ) have not tried it yet.

    I have a Philips Ambient LED 60-watt equiv. that failed and Philips sent me a full refund. I am saving the bad LED bulb for the first PriusChat member who wishes to conduct the autopsy.
     
  9. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Just want to second that you make sure the LED is rated for an enclosed space. I'm not sure if a recessed can qualifies as one, but it might if the bulb nearly seals up the can. The eventual heat build up in the space can kill the the bulb.

    The local power company is offering rebates on LEDs in southern NC. It's at the register at Costco. My father, IIRC, paid $5 for 60watt equivalents in standard bulbs. They are Feits.
     
  10. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    The seems to be a common Prius owner characteristic, willing to pay a higher purchase price for lower operational and maintenance costs.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    are led's hotter than incandescents, or do they not tolerate heat as well?
     
  12. ftl

    ftl Explicator

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    The power consumption of a 60W equivalent LED lamp is about 13W, so the heat dissipation is correspondingly reduced. If a fixture is rated for 60W incandescents, LEDs should have no problem.
     
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  13. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    They are significantly cooler but they require an AC-to-DC converter to power the LED chips. They typically are limited to maximum temperatures significantly less than 100C. In contrast an incandescent bulb can heat and 'boil water.' You can get a 2nd degree burn touching an incandescent bulb after half a hour.

    Unfortunately, CFL and LED are not sold with a temperature rating. For general use, I would prefer to see a general automotive grade, temperature range: -25C to +85C.

    The problem typically is the electrolytic capacitors:
    Source: Capacitor Characteristics and Specifications

    Bob Wilson
     
  14. Trebuchet

    Trebuchet Senior Member

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    Great info, thanks! So far . . .

    15% LED
    70% CFL
    10% FLR
    05% INC
     
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