The false economy of in home LED lighting

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dchomak
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The false economy of in home LED lighting

I was in Home Depot today and I went outside to get my camera because there is something that I noticed that I needed to share with you all. Of course right now we are in the beginning stages of the LED revolution. It is an exciting time for us and we are really into LED’s and flashlights and what not. HOWEVER…….

First up a display of 60 watt equivalent CFL’s Notice the special price of 4 for $0.97 that is less than 25 cents each! The reason being that the State of Connecticut is subsidizing the regular price of $6.97. Our tax dollars at work.
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Now this next pic shows the lumen output of the CFL’s 900 lumens using 14 watts, about 64 lumens/watt
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The next pic is of a display, nearby, of LED light bulbs. Notice the price of $9.97. That is because the State of Connecticut is, once again, subsidizing the regular price of $23.97.

But in the same pic, notice the lumen output and wattage. 800 lumens using 13 watts, about 62 lumens/watt
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I am posting this, not because of the great prices, but because the CFL’s actually are more efficient than the LED’s
Bottom line is a 25 cent bulb gives more lumens per watt than the $10.00 bulb!
Now let me ask everyone, HOW is that being GREEN.
BTW, it could be argued, anytime one spends MORE to be green, they are, actually being LESS green. It actually takes MORE business activity to both produce the more “green” item, and more economic activity to earn the money to pay for it. The fact that the government gets involved will all this just makes it worse.

Someday factories will be churning out LED bulbs for pennies, I know, but until then LED bulbs are just a toy for people who have the need to feel good about themselves while they “save the planet”

As I said earlier, during this early stage of the LED revolution, It is both fun and exciting to witness the rapid advances being made. It’s just that we need to be aware of the practicality of it all as it advances.

Edited by: sb56637 on 12/18/2012 - 06:17
garrybunk
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I've noticed this LED vs. CFL phenomenon in charts in hardware store ads where they show the cost of the bulb, the lifetime, wattage consumed, and cost per year (maybe some other stats) and it's right there in front of you to show you how darn cheap the CFL's are compared to the LED equivalent (even without subsidized prices).  Nobody in their right mind would buy the LED bulb unless they are what I call "Enviro-Nazis" and think they are going to save the world because their bulbs consumed 2 watts less energy!

And don't the LED's home bulbs still have issues with "beam pattern" for use as area lighting?

-Garry

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chiefinspectorfinch
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CFL bulbs are catastrophe that should never had happened. Not only they use harmful substances but most of them have really bad CRI, they tend to flicker, whine, die-out much before they should, not usable for high count on/off cycle applications, they need warming up…

Actually I belive that CFL’s are more complicated to produce that average LED bulb but whole industry chain has adopted them and this is the reason why are they relatively cheap.

Most importantly they cannot be recycled efficiently and are long term problem. All of this time we could of been using halogen variants that are approx. 30% more efficient than standard bulbs but are simple and cheap to produce. If all of the energy to push CFL’s were directed to LED from beginning things would look much more different by now.

If it has to be fluorescent technology then T5 lamps with efficiency od 100+ lm/w are way to go.

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Pulsar
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the CFL contain hazmat, and you are not even allowed to just throw them in your trash. you will get a fine if they find out you are. also, not good if you break one. i have never liked the performance of CFL, price is good now, but they were once ridiculously priced too.

scaru
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I personally like LEDs both for the efficiency and because I like LEDs. Silly Fun to take them apart and see what LEDs they use. 

Speedsix
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I just started buying the led bulbs because you can get them for $10-15 each. I have never liked the CFLs and will be glad when LEDs are the standard. That being said, I don’t think the LEDs I have been buying are anything special.

I think I will go back to CFLs until the price/performance improves to the point where they are worth the investment.

dct73
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Right on dchomak. It makes no business sense at all to buy led bulbs yet. Give it a few years though and things will probably change for the better.

weiser
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Currently it’s hard to argue for LED over CFL. Even if you’re buying them at Costco here in Montana without any kind of store discount you’re paying less than $1 per bulb (again, taxes at work).

BUT.. they’re annoying. They often flicker and they have to warm up. If you’re not so much going for cost savings as opposed to convenience and energy savings, then LED is still the better option. However, if cost is a major factor then you’re stuck with CFL’s for a few more years. I can hardly wait to ditch my CFL’s in the kitchen and living room because of the two disadvantages I listed. It would probably be about a $100 investment. I should probably just pull the trigger.

Bort
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LED bulbs are mostly profit, but not for the retailer, a $20 LED costs the store maybe $18.
I agree that right now they are very overpriced, in time with more competition the profit margins will fall as well as prices, and hopefully in a generation or two the led chips will be 100lm/watt at 15 watts, when i can replace a 100W bulb with an led for under $10 (preferably closer to $5), then the full scale LED revolution will happen!
CFLs are ok, the made in china bottom of the barrel garbage that dies in 6 months has been mostly weeded out, but gave the technology a bad name, and the mercury in them is arguably less then what is emitted into the atmosphere from a coal burning plant.

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sixfink
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Ah yes, the wonderful GREEN scam movement! Don’t we all just absolutely adore totalitarian ideas and ideals of all kind?

Last week, they had a radio play for children on the radio. Guess what they told the little listeners? Not using any electricity or cars or modern technology at all would be the answer. Yus, what a marvellously irresponsible way to teach children a false idea about how the world is NOT working. Ill propaganda at its best.

As far as CFLs are concerned, can’t say that I like them much. I can’t operate my scroll saw properly, the oscillating blade gets all blurry in my vision and I can’t see where I am cutting. They are good for lighting up my brother’s garage, though.

Slim Pickens
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Do CFL and LED luminaire manufacturers measure output in-house? Does ANSI regulate testing for home illumination products, or what..?

Flashlights have FL-1, so you’d think home illumination would be under greater scrutiny due to the huge market, energy impact, and so on.

JAS
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In my books going GREEN => Do nothing LOL.

The best part of home LED unlike CFL is, easy to DIY.

fyesilova
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CFL and LED efficiencies are equivalent or near today,
but in future, LED will be more efficient. Then paying extra for it may be reasonable.

They both include a circuit, and one of my LED bulb just failed because of the circuit malfunction.
I have retrieved 6×1W leds from it. They work ok with a 24V supply.

One of my CFL bulb was exploded in a closed fixture, the CFL part was broken because of a capacitor on the circuit that has exploded.

So their life do not depend on it’s technology but the quality of the complete product.

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gords1001
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The CFL’s we get here now are instant on no flicker (this coming from a brit, we don’t seem to notice pwm either), I can cope with them but miss in-cans tbh.

weiser
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gords1001 wrote:
The CFL’s we get here now are instant on no flicker (this coming from a brit, we don’t seem to notice pwm either), I can cope with them but miss in-cans tbh.

I didn’t realize there was such a thing as instant on CFL. I guess I’ll have to look around.

As for flicker, I’m not sure if it’s the individual bulb or the amount of voltage going to that bulb. Currently I only have flicker issues in the living room.

feilox
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CFL are pretty good compared to incan. That 4mg of mercury ain’t so bad considering the pollution companies do illegally.

Don wrote:
It sounds like the XM LEDs won’t really be suitable for flashlight use. Pity…

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weiser wrote:
gords1001 wrote:
The CFL’s we get here now are instant on no flicker (this coming from a brit, we don’t seem to notice pwm either), I can cope with them but miss in-cans tbh.

I didn’t realize there was such a thing as instant on CFL. I guess I’ll have to look around.

As for flicker, I’m not sure if it’s the individual bulb or the amount of voltage going to that bulb. Currently I only have flicker issues in the living room.

AFAIK at least in tubes, the “old” thumb sized strikes / ignitors are pretty slow but newer electronic ones are the way to go.
They light up faster and last longer.

What I understand in CFL-tubes vs. LED is:
- With LED you can achieve smaller power consumption – but you will sit in a little bit darker room.
-With LED you can probably pretty soon AFFORDABLY get same lm/W BUT you will still most likely get not-so-good color rendering as in 9xx tubes.

gerald_clark
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You can dim LED.

texaspyro
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There was some recent tests of CFL bulbs that showed that they can emit a rather high level of UV radiation. Plus they contain all that yummy mercury. Also, the lm/watt of CFL bulbs drop much faster than LED bulbs. They may say that they have a couple more lumens/watt than LEDs. but that doesn’t last very long.

My whole house is now lit by LEDs… all 300+ bulbs! CFLs were considered… for about 10 milliseconds… http://budgetlightforum.com/node/9179

nqcken
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after years of replacing my incans with cfl i am just disgusted with cfl’s! lousy light, longevity is a joke, messy or difficult to dispose of properly. i agree that in the past led bulbs were pricey with unpleasant light temp however my wife decorates with strings of xmas tree string lights, i was going broke, now she has switched to led strings and i could care less how many she uses. i put in some of the older 3 watt versions of the cree bulbs that are high temp and really not usuable for interior lighting but only cost $3 from china. now have them in several outdoor and inaccessible locations some running 24×7. lets see, 3watts divivded into 1000 multiplied by 24h by what? 15 cents a kwhh? pretty cheap. meanwhile for interior use phillips has now introduced a new application which addresses many concerns, warm color temp, dimmable, reasonable light distribution. see here:

http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-Light-Bulbs-LED-Light-Bulbs/Philips/...

these prices are really coming down, i am now going to replace those hard to access lights in my ceiling fan (20 feet up) and remove the cfls (2 of 4 which are still functional plus the dead one and the one that flickers constantly). government subsidies? please! the feds subsidize, farms, crops, foreign nations, dictators, why not promote technology that will ultimately overtake all the incans and cfls and provide us poor slobs that are not rich with a way to light our houses and environs with leds? i dont hear anyone bitching about the government subsidizing 123!

sorry for the rant but i just had to replace another 4 cfls in my kitchen. enviro-nazi? ahh geez, c’mon guys, take a walk and get out some. Smile btw: some day i am going to compute how many lights i need to replace with leds to balance of the kwh’s i use for my hot tub! Smile right now i realize it is perhaps not cost efficient but i like leds and spend my money on lots of things that do not rise to the level of providing my home with essential lighting for instance my growing collection of led flashlights.

ken

ken

texaspyro
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I was replacing at least one or two bulbs a week. Since switching to LEDs, I have not replaced a single bulb in over two years. With modern, quaility LED bulbs, color temp and tint is not an issue. The ones in my office and kitchen are Sylvania UltraLED 3000K, 95 CRI.

Silverman
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The problem with both CFLs and LEDs is that neither one will work in my daughters’ easy-bake oven! Wink

Seriously though, I’ve always disliked CFLs and I can’t wait until LEDs come down in price. We just redid our bathroom and I installed 5 LED pot lights (HALO brand?). Couldn’t be happier other than the $.

weiser
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gerald_clark wrote:
You can dim LED.

You can also dim CFL, as well as halogen Wink

PCC
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CFL = mature technology. Is it any wonder they’re so cheap?
LED = new technology. This means higher prices and lower performance right now.

Will CFLs offer higher lumens per watt in the future? Not very likely. Will LEDs offer higher lumens per watt in the future? Absolutely!

One thing that has been touched upon: CFLs, in my experience, don’t last. They’re cheaper to buy, but, you will be replacing them about as often as replacing incandescent bulbs. I’ve never bought an LED light bulb replacement so I can’t speak to its longevity, but, I’m guessing that they will last longer per bulb than CFLs. This should offset the higher price of them.

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… and open my stupid mouth and get banned:

here goes…

I accept as axiomatic that not one soul on this forum is a shill for the political parties. Therefore it’s doubly disturbing to see the customary misinformation being rolled out here. Please excuse me if I seem to single out any individual, because I only take issue with the misinformation, not the person repeating it. I believe the OP, dchomak, is onto a very good point.

I understand how people were led to be afraid of Fluorescent lighting (WAY before pigtails were out, or did you forget), but the reality of the things doesn’t warrant such shrill hype. Yes, the PCBs in the ballasts could be an environmental disaster, in huge quantities; but in the fixture in your ceiling, not so much. The government failed to keep it out of the water and off the dirt roads of America. The mercury used to create the plasma is less than the amount we used to put in our mouths (and other orifices) to measure our temperature. (It’s true, we didn’t have ‘thermocouples for the Common Man’ a few years ago!!); AND, mercury isn’t all that bad for you, in the grand scheme of things!! In decades past, painting mercury on your body was a legitimate, medical treatment! The fact that it didn’t work doesn’t change the fact that it didn’t kill anybody either. Mercury-Terror, OTOH, has led otherwise brilliant people to say some of the strangest things… Likewise for the phosphors coating the inside of the tube! No, you don’t want to eat it, but who eats light bulbs anyway???

Can’t recycle the pigtails?? Why NOT??? I’m still waiting on one of mine to die, but when it does, I expect (based on commonly reported failure modes) the failure to be in the electronics. Google “Joule Thief” if you want to see what to do with the tube, after the electronics have died. Yes, you will learn how to light your pigtail with a AA battery. How is THAT for recycling??? How is that hard? And if the tube fails, the electronics donate pieces for those Joule Thief tricks!!! Does anyone ever look at the facts of these allegations?? (Sorry, I was raised by lawyers so it’s difficult for me NOT to think this way) Looks to me like recycling pigtails, circlites and tubes is a lot easier than the disinterested third parties would have us believe… And logic won’t let you slide unless you also show us “recycle the incans” and “recycle the LEDs” to compare.

Startups, an Anecdote: My wife likes the 4-lamp fixture over the bathroom mirror. I like ~sunlight-colored light, meaning if incandescent, I’m burning 100W each. OTOH, I can put 4 100W-equivalent CFLs in there, and tailor the color( s ) to suit whatever whim strikes her fancy, for a lot less Real-World wattage. But nevermind one microgram of that!!!! What makes all this worthwhile is this: When either of us walks into the incandescent-lighted bathroom at 02:35, the 500+Watt light-smack is a tangible, painful experience (hence “the Blinky”…). OTOH, the cool (temp, not color – they’re 5000K) CFLs take a few moments to come up to full brightness, which seems more friendly. Yes, I do ‘get’ that some people prefer instant-on. When it comes to Brake Lights or emergency lighting, I’m all for that, but not in the WC…

I would like to know how LED lights are “mostly profit”!!! When I try to design them for my own home, even at 10,000-unit Alibaba order quantities, with me building the circuits, I would starve if I got the whole Retail price myself, assuming they all sell!! (That’s extreme if you do the math, but not as hyperbolic as it sounds.) And that doesn’t pay the draymen who carry it to you, nor the store clerks who keep it safe until you buy it. I’d be happy with ‘cost coverage’!! Just to move the market forward! Maybe I’m shopping with the wrong suppliers… Pigtails, OTOH, have a few decades of manufacturing experience (and built-and-paid-for equipment) to draw upon.

Another nifty thing about fluorescents is they don’t have to have “that” shape or size!! I thought the pigtails would show everyone (who all seem to have forgotten NEON!!) that, but I’ve been proved wrong before… If I want to wash a wall with light of a specific color, and have only LED or fluorescent technology to use, my LED flashlight will be the only LED on the project! Some clever Chinese artist made a palm tree CFL out of colorful tubing & lit it. A friend owns one and I lust after it mightily. Is there any possible hope for LEDs becoming … ‘shapely’ … ??? Maybe — there’s certainly nothing stopping, say, Cree, from growing a wall-sized LED and pushing If through it, except that “pay for it” part, which is only possible in the extreme cases if some brutish thug forces a lot of us to do so.

dchomak, after reading this:

dchomak wrote:
BTW, it could be argued, anytime one spends MORE to be green, they are, actually being LESS green. It actually takes MORE business activity to both produce the more “green” item, and more economic activity to earn the money to pay for it. The fact that the government gets involved will all this just makes it worse.

… my instant, immediate, urgent reply to you is, you NEED to write more!! Actually, WE (“the People”) need for you to write more, because this level of wisdom and insight has almost been extirpated in the general population, and We Will Miss It!!! You are equally correct about any “disinterested third party” (call it “government”, “religion”, “unions”, “guilds”, even fori like this one to some extent), and the manipulation of market reality over the bespoke issue is one proof of that.

I guess this is a long way of saying “thank you” for pointing that out!

I’m sorry to put (so soon) a proverbial cattle prod to any sacred cows, but I really don’t think it’s appropriate for me to know better and not do something about it. I promise not to let it become a problem… I’m just here for the DIY flashlight stuff, so I’ll go back to that & mind my manners now.

Now I await the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune…

“There is no darkness but ignorance.”

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The short answer is yes, LED bulb is far too expensive. After all they are based on the same principal. However …..

LED advantage is directional beam. So any time you need specific area illuminated then LED is far more efficient. My 1W LED flashlight properly positioned provides better illumination when reading than a 23W CFL. Same goes for any specific area need. Otherwise CFLs provide better general area light, such as entire room. I drive my kids crazy using flashlights when going to bed because they jiust can’t light up entire room properly. I am experimenting…

The other difference is longevity. LEDs are supposed to last my lifetime but power conversion circuit is not as roniust. I had a street lamp die after 2 years but LEDs were stil fine. An average person would simply throw away bulb hence loosing lonhgevity advantage. I recovered LEDs, added new driver and recycled 18650s and still use them now. So I will use their full potential but most would not know how or bother.

I tjhink CFLs are fine in general. I am selectively using LEDs for reading lights and other similar applications.

No really I am not flashoholic! Really I am not Sad

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Mr Dimbo, Mercury’s toxicity is well documented, and there are even limited treatments for mercury poisoning.
The profit is made by the manufacturer or distributor, for example, an xm-l chip costs $5, the circuitry $5, the casing and other materials $1. This is for top of the line stuff at retail, the bulbs in stores use older generation LEDs and are made by parts bought at wholesale, not retail, as well the manufacturing is done by machine, not by hand.

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I’ll say this though…I converted to nearly all LED indoor lighting in 2007 just because every darn bulb I had would last a couple weeks and burn out. I dont have that problem anymore.

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Speedsix
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Dimbo the Blinky.

I am pretty sure what you wrote was the definition of a “rant”. LOL !

You are not going to get banned. This isn’t CPF. Not only will you not get banned but I don’t think anyone here will even attack you for what you wrote. We accept all kinds here.

Back on topic, I feel a little foolish for buying a few led bulbs the other night. I am glad Lowes only had three bulbs left because I was about to deck my entire house with the $9.98 bulb that was recommended on this forum.

It does have decent color rendition but it just isnt very bright. A run of the mill CFL puts out more light and the ones I have been buying are fairly warm as well.

Led bulbs for the home are just not quit there yet. I think in just a few years, we will all be using them but for right now, CFLs are better for the money.

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i use CFLs just because they are cheap and my parents buy them. I don’t really have any complaints other than that they last about as long if not less than the good ole 100w incans. 7 year life? psh. but when LED prices come down more i would get them

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Silverman wrote:
The problem with both CFLs and LEDs is that neither one will work in my daughters’ easy-bake oven! Wink

Oh, it gets much, much worse! Wink

If we adopt CFLs we’re going to have to make much MORE Global Warming, or the chickens are in big trouble:

This night wasn’t even cold, and look at all that misery! The horror! 0:)

“There is no darkness but ignorance.”

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