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Old 10-20-2010, 11:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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$20 LED bulbs - first light

Home Depot's web page sells 40 watt equivalent LED bulbs for <$20. My home has some old rotatable and dimmable ceiling lights where LED bulbs would make sense, so I gave them a try.

I wasn't expecting 40 watt bulbs to give off enough light, but was pleasantly surprised. They're bright, 3000K temperature/color, and only consume 9W apiece.

I should post a photo showing an LED light and 19th century incandescent bulb side-by-side. The difference is impressive: but you've all seen that already, with LED flashlights.

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Old 10-20-2010, 12:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm glad that you're looking for ways to save energy and willing to spend money to do it, but let me share the following comparison.

The incumbent in my light fixtures is the GE Energy Smart CFL:
13W
825lm (60W eqiv, they say)
63lm/W
$2

The EcoSmart LED is actually less efficient than a CFL:
9W
429lm
48lm/W
$18

I'm still waiting for an LED bulb with higher efficiency than a CFL. They're rumored to exist, but they're not for sale at any big box retailer that I've seen.
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The average lifespan of an LED bulb is 60,000 hours v. 10,000 hrs for a CFL. More importantly, the LED bulb doesn't have any mercury in its composition, but the CFLs do.
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SentraSE-R View Post
The average lifespan of an LED bulb is 60,000 hours v. 10,000 hrs for a CFL. More importantly, the LED bulb doesn't have any mercury in its composition, but the CFLs do.
...simple, don't "eat" either one (wink,wink).

...I've worked with LEDs since the early 1980's...and beta-tested the first blue LED's from Panasonic (Japan) and Cree (USA) as optical 'targets' for automated missile tracking systems:

...red LED for long wavelength and blue LED for short wavelength...the two "ends" of the optical spectrum.

Last edited by gone-ot; 10-20-2010 at 07:11 PM..
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The biggest problem with CFLs is that they can't be dimmed, and the 2 "dimmable" CFLs I bought were horrible (only went down to about 60% brightness before turning off altogether, and they only came in cold white).

At the moment I'm using OSRAM halogens on the lights with dimmers, as they use 25% less power than normal bulbs. The ~15lm/W for halogens really makes me want LEDs, but there aren't any LEDs that are bright enough to replace a 60-100W bulb at a reasonable price.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The secondary water supply for my city is contaminated by mercury from old gold mines in the hills above. I think we all know that the hazardous metals in batteries, CFLs, and circuit boards will continue to be a landfill problem for a long time to come. I prefer not to contribute to the problem, to the best of my ability.

I selectively chose the dimmable fixtures for my trial with LEDs because dimmable CFLs do such a poor job. Secondly, LEDs are pretty directional, and these 40 W LEDs replace 40 W incandescent directional floodlamps. At $18/bulb, I did have to be selective where & how often I used them.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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CFLs are hazardous waste, and need to be disposed of properly - not thrown in the trash. You can take dead CFLs to Home Depot, and they'll dispose of them properly, for free. On a related note, lots of electronics retailers accept dead rechargeable batteries for recycling.

I like LEDs where I only need a handful of lumens. I've got one lighting up my desk and keyboard. It's an LED sidemarker bulb in a Honda Insight socket, powered straight off my computer's +12V rail.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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They (hopefully) recover the mercury to be reused in other bulbs. And guess what the coal that we burn to make electricity contains? Begins with 'm' ends with 'y' -- you save enough electricity using CFL's to more than offset the mercury contained in them. It is about 3mg per bulb.

1000Bulbs.com has stopped selling *all* dimmable CFL's -- I strongly suspect because they don't work very well. I have some, but we rarely dim 'em, so I think I just swap out the dimmers for switches...

Some LED's are not dimmable either.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a fixture in my kitchen with six 50w halogen light bulbs. It has great light but uses too much power. For the past year I have been experimenting with different LED replacement bulbs. So far the best is a 3 watt bulb that has white, not bluish light.

Unfortunately the early LED bulbs did not last as long as claimed due to overheating the kryponite of LED bulbs. So if you see any LED bulbs without heat sinks surrounding the LED be careful.

I remember seeing a Mythbusters show comparing bulbs LED bulbs, to CFL's and incandect are not adversly effected by frequently turning lights off, then on.

I still think LED bulbs need to drop in price, and increase output, before CFL's will go the way of the typerwriter repairman.

The Federal Trade Commission last Wednesday brought a suit against an LED bulb manufacturer, Lights of America, for exaggerating the light output and expected life of its LED bulbs.

Here's a link to a good comparison article in CNET:
LED bulbs in the home: So far, so good | Green Tech - CNET News
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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DealExtreme: $14.00 E27 6W 6-LED 540-Lumen 6000K White Light Bulb (85~265V AC)

That is very tempting, 6W at 90lm/W for $14 shipped. Shame most of the light fittings in this house are bayonet instead of edison screw. I might buy one and see if it's worth the hassle of replacing fittings.

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