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Old 12-16-2014, 09:27 PM   #81
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I was reluctant to start with the CFL bulbs, but as the cost came down and the "energy savings" pressure got greater, I finally started replacing old incandescents with them. Maybe they are efficient when running, but I suffered pretty high loss of bulbs at no where near the promised lifetime. The cost was much much higher than the incandescents ever were. Plus the light is not as good and now I have these toxic waste burnt out bulbs that I have to make a special trip to the hazardous waste collection center to dispose of.

Partly because of these CLF experiences, I held off on LEDs for a long time, especially as the price was sky high. But last year I saw some at Costco for a reasonable price and got some to try. None has expired yet, which is still no where near their promised lifespan, but much better results than I had with CFL. Also, I like the light. Very much like the incandescents I replaced. I tried ordering some specialty LED bulbs for a chandelier by mail order, but two shipments arrived with 50% broken bulbs, so that didn't work and they all were returned.
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Old 12-16-2014, 10:07 PM   #82
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I was reluctant to start with the CFL bulbs, but as the cost came down and the "energy savings" pressure got greater, I finally started replacing old incandescents with them. Maybe they are efficient when running, but I suffered pretty high loss of bulbs at no where near the promised lifetime. The cost was much much higher than the incandescents ever were. Plus the light is not as good and now I have these toxic waste burnt out bulbs that I have to make a special trip to the hazardous waste collection center to dispose of.

Partly because of these CLF experiences, I held off on LEDs for a long time, especially as the price was sky high. But last year I saw some at Costco for a reasonable price and got some to try. None has expired yet, which is still no where near their promised lifespan, but much better results than I had with CFL. Also, I like the light. Very much like the incandescents I replaced. I tried ordering some specialty LED bulbs for a chandelier by mail order, but two shipments arrived with 50% broken bulbs, so that didn't work and they all were returned.
Note that both Lowes and Home Depot will take burned out CFL bulbs and handle them.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:38 AM   #83
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Awesome, I did not know that. Thanks.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:52 AM   #84
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Note that both Lowes and Home Depot will take burned out CFL bulbs and handle them.
They also take batteries (except lead acid).
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:13 AM   #85
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It may never happen, but it seems to me that there needs to be a standard in force whereby lighting circuits in new homes are designed for low voltage DC. The major electronics would be at a new DC breaker panel.

Then all the fixtures would require minimal electronics. The fixtures design could get very creative. Heat would be less of a problem since everything would be designed for it.

Of course, there are issues like ceiling fans, etc. But that's probably still solvable.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:30 AM   #86
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It may never happen, but it seems to me that there needs to be a standard in force whereby lighting circuits in new homes are designed for low voltage DC. The major electronics would be at a new DC breaker panel.

Then all the fixtures would require minimal electronics. The fixtures design could get very creative. Heat would be less of a problem since everything would be designed for it.

Of course, there are issues like ceiling fans, etc. But that's probably still solvable.
I like the idea, for all the reasons you gave. But, the inertia and initial costs are probably too great. At this point I'd settle for more efficient and long-lived transformers in the components to get the 120 VAC to 6V (or whatever). Or, if they are going to make them crappy, then standardize the transformers and make them replaceable so we can fix these LED lights, etc when they die. I'd bet half the "mortality" of CFLs in actual use caused by the electronics, not the "bulb" itself.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:51 AM   #87
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.... Or, if they are going to make them crappy, then standardize the transformers and make them replaceable so we can fix these LED lights, etc when they die. I'd bet half the "mortality" of CFLs in actual use caused by the electronics, not the "bulb" itself.
I agree with this - light fixture designers and bulb manufacturers need to change their thinking from mere Edison-filament replacements (see my recent post). Separating the electronics from the LEDS would be a good step. Build the electronics into an easily replaced module that could reside in the fixture, more room for the LEDS, and the electronics would be away from the heat of the LEDs.

A 60W equivalent presently uses about 20 LEDs, at ~ 3.3V each, that's 66 volts, so the step down isn't the big issue - this is all done with switching circuits, and some capacitor storage to avoid flicker while the 60 cycle power goes through its sinusoid.

Further, just providing a low DC voltage like 6V or so doesn't solve much. LEDs are current devices, the voltage is a by-product of their design and the current that is applied. You can't just feed them voltage, you need to feed them current. You can't do that from a common source like a breaker box. For example, turn on one light, and you need to supply X amps. Turn on two and now you need 2X amps. It just doesn't work from a common supply. But voltage devices do work from a common supply, they draw the current they each need as a function of voltage.

Even with low voltage DC, you would still need a switching circuit to provide a constant current to the LEDs. So you haven't eliminated much in the way of electronics anyhow. You can use a plain old resistor to limit current at a given voltage (this is common with low power LEDs), but the R wastes energy, a switching circuit is more efficient.

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Old 12-17-2014, 09:07 AM   #88
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Oh, another reason low voltage DC distribution would not be a good idea:

Recall that a 60W equivalent takes 20 separate LEDs. With a 120V source, they put all the LEDs in series, and drive them with a single current source circuit. But with a low voltage supply, you can't series them. You would need 20 separate switching circuits. Actually, they'd probably use the switching circuit to step the voltage back up to provide a constant current at ~ 66V, just converting it back up anyhow.

Something like 48V DC might help with a simpler switcher (would not need to store energy to avoid flicker), but the pros do not outweigh the cons.

I still like the idea of separating the electronics from the LEDs.

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Old 12-17-2014, 11:45 AM   #89
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This will be kinda cool


San Francisco street lights will animate subway trains below - Greater Greater Washington
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Old 12-17-2014, 11:56 AM   #90
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Oh, another reason low voltage DC distribution would not be a good idea:

...

I still like the idea of separating the electronics from the LEDs.

-ERD50
OK, I'll go with that.
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Old 12-17-2014, 12:19 PM   #91
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I generally pair the types of lamps with the type of use and location.

Lights on dimmer circuits that limit the current inrush, particularly where the bulbs are in hard to reach locations, get halogen lamps. They'll last a very long time, many years, in this use.

Standing lights or lights which are switched on and remain on for long periods of time, such as hall lights left on overnight, will get CFL bulbs. The useful life of CFL bulbs is limited more by on/off cycling than by simple use. I've also been experimenting with a few LED lamps for this use with good results. It has been several years since I replaced any of these lamps.

Lights which are on for only short periods of time, or are frequently cycled, get incandescent bubs, pressurized xenon, or halogen lamps. These handle frequent cycling on and off very well. All the bathroom lights are in this class in our home.
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:21 PM   #92
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light fixture designers and bulb manufacturers need to change their thinking from mere Edison-filament replacements (see my recent post). Separating the electronics from the LEDS would be a good step. Build the electronics into an easily replaced module that could reside in the fixture, more room for the LEDS, and the electronics would be away from the heat of the LEDs.
Industry-standard electonics packages (for CFLs and LEDs) would be best, but I'd settle for manufacturer proprietary ones at this point (if they'd commit to making them for 10 years or so).

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A 60W equivalent presently uses about 20 LEDs, at ~ 3.3V each, that's 66 volts, so the step down isn't the big issue
Oh, they are in series. I didn't know that. Well, that's gonna impact the service life of the unit, isn't it? Sure, the 20 LED's might have an average life of 30,000 hours, but when the first one dies (20K hours? 5K? Right out of the box?) I'll need to buy a whole new bulb rather than just keep using it with a 5% diminution in output.
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Old 12-17-2014, 02:06 PM   #93
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...

Oh, they are in series. I didn't know that. Well, that's gonna impact the service life of the unit, isn't it? Sure, the 20 LED's might have an average life of 30,000 hours, but when the first one dies (20K hours? 5K? Right out of the box?) I'll need to buy a whole new bulb rather than just keep using it with a 5% diminution in output.
Well, that 'lifetime' spec is confusing and misleading. The number that is advertised is the L70 number - the point at which the LED has dimmed to 70% of its original lumen output, it will likely last for years longer. But yes, weakest link applies, but I bet the switching circuit caps go first.

The Truth About LED Lifetimes - Digital Lumens

LEDs can also fail short, not sure which mode is most common though.
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Old 12-17-2014, 02:17 PM   #94
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Did you have to show the receipt DW throws away almost all things that are not 'needed'... a warranty on a $10 item is not 'needed'....
Nope - luckily as I had changed credit cards since last spring and they wouldn't have been able to look them up. They just told me to go grab 3 new ones and bring them up to the service desk.
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Old 12-17-2014, 04:44 PM   #95
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Purchased a Brighton 6W LED A19 at Staples for $4.99. That is their house brand. Side of the box says 22.8 year life at 3 hours each day. Laughably, the warranty on the box says 1 year. Made in China.
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Old 12-17-2014, 07:21 PM   #96
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Related to this, I updated an old thread on my success with LED Christmas lights:

LED Christmas Lights, please educate me.

-ERD50
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Old 12-21-2014, 11:40 AM   #97
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I put Cree Ecosmarts in a bunch of my cans two years ago and have had one fail. I just took it back to HD without a receipt and got a new one. The remainder of my cans have Philips LEDs which are also two years old and have had no failures. Good quality light and we have also seen a $20+ drop in electricity costs according to the DH.

The entrance light has those little flame shaped incandescent bulbs because I am unable to decide on a replacement fixture and the reading lamps over our bed have the hybrid incandescents because they alternatives are too heavy and make the lamps sag. There are also incandescent bulbs in the garage door openers for a total of eight incandescents left in the house. The wall mounted reading lamps are slated to go, but I'm too lazy to do the requisite wall patching
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:17 AM   #98
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I just bought an LED bulb, a 75W-equivalent, for the breakfast area ceiling fan/light. This is the area that is most often lighted. I had bought a 60W-equivalent a while back, just to see what the output light looked like. And I really do not see the advantage compared to the newer CFLs, other than the LEDs are dimmable and can be made into spot lights.

I still have so many CFLs, and as I am happy with the light they put out, cannot see myself spending a lot more for LEDs which are not more efficient. The local Costco has a pack of 4 60W-equivalent CFLs for $0.88 (subsidized by the local power company). Son of a gun!

Early generations of CFLs had yellowish/greenish light. They were also a bit dim after being switched on, then slowly brightened up. However, the newer ones I bought at Costco turn on instantly and have good light.

So, I will not be buying any more LEDs. The LEDs are dimmable, but I do not use dimmers anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I agree with this - light fixture designers and bulb manufacturers need to change their thinking from mere Edison-filament replacements (see my recent post). Separating the electronics from the LEDS would be a good step. Build the electronics into an easily replaced module that could reside in the fixture, more room for the LEDS, and the electronics would be away from the heat of the LEDs.

A 60W equivalent presently uses about 20 LEDs, at ~ 3.3V each, that's 66 volts, so the step down isn't the big issue - this is all done with switching circuits, and some capacitor storage to avoid flicker while the 60 cycle power goes through its sinusoid.

Further, just providing a low DC voltage like 6V or so doesn't solve much. LEDs are current devices, the voltage is a by-product of their design and the current that is applied. You can't just feed them voltage, you need to feed them current. You can't do that from a common source like a breaker box. For example, turn on one light, and you need to supply X amps. Turn on two and now you need 2X amps. It just doesn't work from a common supply. But voltage devices do work from a common supply, they draw the current they each need as a function of voltage.

Even with low voltage DC, you would still need a switching circuit to provide a constant current to the LEDs. So you haven't eliminated much in the way of electronics anyhow. You can use a plain old resistor to limit current at a given voltage (this is common with low power LEDs), but the R wastes energy, a switching circuit is more efficient.

-ERD50
I have not taken apart a 120V LED to see the internal construction or the circuit. The LEDs I bought on eBay from China a few years ago to retrofit into my motorhome were meant for 12V applications. See photo below. The module diameter is about the size of a thumbnail, with an aluminum backing to be mounted onto a heat sink. The ones I got took 10W, and output 600 lumens or the same as a 60W incandescent bulb.

The module has 9 LEDs arranged as a 3x3 matrix, and connected as 3 parallel strings of 3 LEDs in series. So, the voltage is roughly about 10V, and the current about 1/3A through each string. I built a current source to drive them, as the 12V lead-acid battery voltage may range from 12.2V (under discharge) up to 14.2V when heavily charged.

I converted 10 of the 14 light fixtures inside the motorhome to these LEDs, and when I turned them all on, my wife had to wear shades. Good thing I put in the dimming capability. See the knobs and potentiometers I retrofitted into the light fixtures. The light quality is much better and less yellowish than the original 12V incandescent bulbs. And the light stays constant despite the varying voltage.

I am quite happy with these home-made lights. Each LED cost $6 back then, and the circuit for each fixture cost another $6 because I already had some parts on hand. The current regulator is a switching circuit, but the inductor is not visible because of the photo angle.

For boondocking, the power I use for lighting is negligible compared to what I use for the laptops or to watch TV.



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Old 12-23-2014, 07:54 AM   #99
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It may never happen, but it seems to me that there needs to be a standard in force whereby lighting circuits in new homes are designed for low voltage DC. The major electronics would be at a new DC breaker panel.

Then all the fixtures would require minimal electronics. The fixtures design could get very creative. Heat would be less of a problem since everything would be designed for it.

Of course, there are issues like ceiling fans, etc. But that's probably still solvable.
That time is not now - last week shopped for in cieling can lights. LED fixtures seemed to be OEM bulb specifc and 3 to 4x price of Insulation Contact (IC) traditional incandescant can lights.

Seemingly cool (in appearance and operating temperature) slim led panel lights need a small transformer. That transformer in many on line products is commonly not UL listed. I am an EE but not a licensed electrician - the 2014 code book i am studying is so far not very clear on this LED scenario... the most relevant example I found is a doorbell transformer. The industry needs some standards (interchangeability) for the transformers and associated dimmers/switches.
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Old 12-23-2014, 10:19 AM   #100
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Like many I have a supply of CFL bulbs to work through before I move to LED's. Those comparisons that show me saving big $$'s using LED bulbs compare them to incandescent bulbs. Most of mine are now CFL bulbs. While I can cost justify getting new LED bulbs to replace normal incandescent due to the savings in electricy, that is not true of the CFL bulbs.

Also, the LED bulbs that I do need (1600+ lumens) are still to big to fit the fixtures they would to into. No doubt that will change in the next few years. No rush.
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