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Light Bulbs
Old 01-08-2009, 05:18 AM   #1
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Light Bulbs

I go into Home Depot last night to get some light bulbs for the house. I need 25W and 40W bulbs. I paid $2.97 for a 2 pack of GE soft white 25W bulbs, and $.88 for a 4 pack of GE soft white 40W bulbs. Same manufacturer....what gives with the price? Neither of them were on sale!

Mike
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Old 01-08-2009, 05:31 AM   #2
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Everyone must be buying CFL's so the incandescent ones are way overstocked?
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:22 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by wrigley View Post
I go into Home Depot last night to get some light bulbs for the house. I need 25W and 40W bulbs. I paid $2.97 for a 2 pack of GE soft white 25W bulbs, and $.88 for a 4 pack of GE soft white 40W bulbs. Same manufacturer....what gives with the price? Neither of them were on sale!

Mike
I don't know! Maybe GE sells more 40W bulbs (than 25W bulbs), bringing the price down? Doesn't sound like a likely explanation but I can't think of any other.
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:01 AM   #4
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Bulb prices are all over the place..I use GE Reveal ( costly, but worth it IMO) and I find Wal*Mart generally whips all the others by 20 - 30%.
In this particular line, the Depot seems to always be the highest..:confused:
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:10 AM   #5
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I paid $1 for four globe-enclosed CFLs the other day. Twenty-five cents each.
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:58 AM   #6
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For those who like the quality of the old style of lights for some uses, like reading, you might try getting 130Volt bulbs. Their lifespan can be amazing (although of course they use more juice). We have some flood lights in our hall ceiling and outside decks that were installed by the contractor in 1979. Hard to believe.
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:22 AM   #7
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For those who like the quality of the old style of lights for some uses, like reading, you might try getting 130Volt bulbs.
Where, typically, would I find these for sale?

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Old 01-08-2009, 10:28 AM   #8
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Both Home Depot and Lowe's sell them, usually they are call contractors/commercial. You have to ask the store.

I got into this voltage thing, because when we moved into this house, when we put in bulbs in lamps, they lasted 6 weeks or so. Came to find out that our utility runs the voltage at the high end usually around 123V. Bulbs that are rated for 115v, don't hold up against this situation.
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:50 AM   #9
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W/ regard to 130V bulbs, we used them in a number of applications but no longer do. They create much more heat - if used with the base up and the glass envelope down we found that the base of the bulb would discolor to a grey as would the receptacle. The insulating sleeve around the receptacle would get so hot it would crumble and we ended up replacing light fixtures. If you look at the lumens put out by the 130V bulbs you find they are much lower than comparable wattage 120V bulbs. (think that a 75W 130V bulb put out less light than a 60W 120V as i recall). They do last much longer though.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:04 AM   #10
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The rated lumens of a bulb are correct only if the real voltage is the same as the rated voltage of that bulb. In our situation with voltage 7% higher than the 115 bulb rating, bulbs burned hotter, and brighter, and burned out sooner. The 130v bulbs have tougher filaments, and would produce about 95% of the stated lumens. (130v divided by 123v).

We haven't had the problems mentioned by calmloki, but that doesn't mean that you couldn't.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:30 AM   #11
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I paid $1 for four globe-enclosed CFLs the other day. Twenty-five cents each.
Al, where did you find CFL's for 25c each? Two years age when we moved into our new house I change every bulb out to CFL's after a couple months. There's quits an energy savings and the CFL's last much longer. Haven't had one burn out yet. They have all kinds out now--spot light type, flood type and various wattages. I'm still unsure about what happens if you break one. Mercury, you know. Have heard a couple horror stories but don't know how true they are. I've been sold on cost effectiveness since 1992 when I was president of a condo association. We went out on a limb and changed the entire lot of bulbs for CFL's. The energy savings was outstanding and we didn't have to go around changing burned out incandescents. More on CFL's--I find that some brands take about 30 seconds to come to full lighting capacity--mostly the flood type. I never use anything less that 13 watts which is equivalent to a 60w encandescent. Anyone out there have experience tieh the CFL's (good and/or bad)?
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:43 AM   #12
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Was just looking for some simple math - found this in Wiki:
Incandescent light bulb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(look at voltage, lifetime, light output section)


and this from Sylvania (see page 10):
View Engineering Bulletin

In that paper it's noted that a 60W 120V bulb operated at 125V will have increased luminosity from 890 to 1032 lumens - it's lifetime, however will only be 56% of it's 120V rated life! If Steve has higher than normal line voltage it would have an extreme effect on his bulb lifetime - much greater than i expected.

(oh - I want simpler math)
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:48 AM   #13
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The last time I went to Europe I brought back a few 100w 230V incandescent bulbs. They burn very dim at 120V (looks like the equivalent of a "regular" 120V bulb of about 20 watts) and the glass doesn't even get too hot to touch. I bought them to use in small "spot heat" applications (e.g. a drop-light placed inches from the well pump switch in the garage on cold nights, etc). I wanted a very high reliability heating element, and I expect this bulb will probably last 15 years even if I left it on continuously.

Calmoki: I'm surprised the 130V bulbs would cause excess heating of the fixture compared to 120V bulbs. Any theories on this?
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:52 AM   #14
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Al, where did you find CFL's for 25c each?
Those were at a RiteAid drug store. The brand is Greenlite. They also had some GE brand spirals for 33 cents each. Price may be low due to PG&E subsidies.

It's very common to see CFLs for under a dollar around here. I find that these cheap ones are lower quality, in that some will burn out after only a month or so. I got a bunch at Costco for a 15 cents per "bulb," but about 6/10 of those failed almost immediately. The remaining 4 are still going fine.

These globe type ones are nice, since they exactly match the existing incandescent bulbs (which are unscrewed so that they are off):

CFLs.jpg

Most (all?) of the CFLs produced today come on immediately, although they take a minute or two to come to full brightness.

The worry about breakage is way overblown, partly due to an urban myth story of someone who broke one and paid thousands for a hazmat team to clean it up.

Now that prices are so low, CFLs are appropriate even for lights that are on for short periods.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:29 PM   #15
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Most bulbs we have around the house are CFLs (overheads, spots, table/floor lamps, etc...). I used to hate the light CFLs produced at the beginning (you know, the harsh white glow typical of fluorescent lighting). I like the warm glow of incandescent bulbs. But now that they have come up with CFLs producing warmer light, I don't mind using them. In area where I want extra warmth, I use them in lamps fitted with shades that are lined with a golden reflective paper on the inside.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:33 PM   #16
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The last time I went to Europe I brought back a few 100w 230V incandescent bulbs. They burn very dim at 120V (looks like the equivalent of a "regular" 120V bulb of about 20 watts) and the glass doesn't even get too hot to touch. I bought them to use in small "spot heat" applications (e.g. a drop-light placed inches from the well pump switch in the garage on cold nights, etc). I wanted a very high reliability heating element, and I expect this bulb will probably last 15 years even if I left it on continuously.

Calmoki: I'm surprised the 130V bulbs would cause excess heating of the fixture compared to 120V bulbs. Any theories on this?
I'm guessing, and will gladly defer to a lighting engineer. But. Wiki says this:
Approximately 90% of the power consumed by an incandescent light bulb is emitted as heat, rather than as visible light.[47]
Luminous efficacy is a ratio of the visible light energy emitted ( the luminous flux) to the total power input to the lamp. It is measured in lumens per watt (lm/W). The maximum efficacy possible is 683 lm/W for monochromatic green light at 555 nanometres wavelength, the peak sensitivity of the human eye". And"...This comes about because the lower voltage lamps have a correspondingly thicker filament which has a smaller surface area than its thinner higher-voltage counterpart. The smaller surface area reduces the rate at which the filament evaporates which allows the filament to be run hotter for the same life". I am of the opinion that this is backwards, and that a thicker filament with less surface area will be associated with the higher voltage bulbs. Seems to me that a greater surface area/volume would result in higher heat at a given voltage and with the higher heat more of it's energy being emitted in the visible spectrum. If a 75W 130V bulb uses a greater proportion of it's energy emitting heat rather than light that could be why we noted fixture problems. Lifetime on your 230V bulb should be in decades and if high in heat,low in light just perfect for the application. Pure guess on my part though, and going against at least part of Wiki's undoubted veracity.

I am not an engineer, nor do i play one - happy when lights go on when a switch is thrown.
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Old 01-08-2009, 12:39 PM   #17
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... they exactly match the existing incandescent bulbs (which are unscrewed so that they are off):
Al, I think we need a new word to describe you. I vote for "freap" - more than frugal yet not quite cheap.
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:19 PM   #18
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Nice selection of bulbs of all kinds, including CFLs, at Light bulbs, Rope Lights, Halogen and Fluorescent bulb - 1000-Bulbs - The Light Bulb Superstore ...
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:58 PM   #19
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W/ regard to 130V bulbs, we used them in a number of applications but no longer do. They create much more heat - ...
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Calmoki: I'm surprised the 130V bulbs would cause excess heating of the fixture compared to 120V bulbs. Any theories on this?
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I'm guessing, and will gladly defer to a lighting engineer. But. Wiki says this: // surface area stuff// Pure guess on my part though, and going against at least part of Wiki's undoubted veracity.

I am not an engineer, nor do i play one - happy when lights go on when a switch is thrown.
Wiki worded the surface area thing very poorly. But after some more doodling (ala the tire rotation thing ), a lower voltage bulb will have less surface area relative to it's size, so I think more of the heat stays trapped inside the filament.

A lower voltage bulb of equal watt consumption will need to have a shorter and/or thicker filament (assuming all other things equal, same filament material, etc). Lower Voltage, same Watts means lower Resistance, so R must come down, therefore thicker and/or shorter filament. So, let's assume same length filament, and some easy numbers:


100V, 100 W bulb: Requires 1 Amp, and a 100 Ohm filament.

50V, 100 W bulb: Requires 2 Amp, and a 25 Ohm filament.

A 25 Ohm filament is 1/4th the R of a 100 Ohm, so it requires 4x the cross sectional area (keeping the length and material the same). Increasing the Cross-sectional Area by a factor of 4 only increases the circumference ( or radius or diameter, and therefore the surface area) by a factor of 2.

So the low voltage bulb does have more total surface area, but a lower surface to volume ratio. The only part that can give off light is the surface, so I think what happens id the heat generated inside the center of the filament is just trapped.

Or, if the filament was 4X shorter, it would have less surface area (hey that was easier, too bad I thought of it second!)

A secondary effect is that generally, low voltage bulbs have shorter filaments ( or a combination of shorter & thicker), so more of the filament is close to the stand-offs. The standoffs absorb heat away from the filament, so that part does not incandesce. Also, the thicker filament will conduct more heat to the standoffs, also lowering the ability of the filament to incandesce. So when a high voltage bulb is run at its design voltage, it can be more efficient than a low voltage bulb run at its design voltage.

Bring on the LEDS!

Wait a minute - what was the question? :confused: .... Oh yeah, a 130V bulb running on 115V, producing the same lumens as 115V bulb on 115V will be less efficient and therefore hotter. Once you lower the voltage from the design voltage, the efficiency is going to drop. So, he was probably replacing 40W 115V bulbs with 60W, 75W or 100 W 130 V, or something along those lines. So, more heat generated.


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Old 01-08-2009, 05:31 PM   #20
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ERD50 is correct, except that Ohm's Law is for direct current. You have to convert AC to get a direct current voltage equivalent. The easy way to do this is to multiply the AC voltage by .707. This gets you close to the correct voltage to calculate amperage.
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