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sharps_eng
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
sharps_eng   1/10/2012 11:20:39 PM
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Designers have always been able to make cheap and nasty products using electrolytics; toys, power supplies and other gadgets. LED lamps are just another example. Good quality power supplies use 105C electrolytics running at maybe 65-70C, giving many years lifetime. Only if there are mass returns, customer feedback or bad publicity will manufacturers put more quality into their designs. Like with water quality, ordinary consumers cannot judge this kind of quality issue, so the only solution has to be a market standard protecting consumer rights, with statuatory enforcement. This could be checked at the point of import, just as with toys.

Bert22306
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Bert22306   1/10/2012 11:32:29 PM
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Interesting comments, even though they initially sounded negative. Of course, cheap components will fail. But I have only had one CFL fail prematurely, i.e. about as soon as an incandescent. Every single other one has lasted considerably longer. I mean, years and years. But true, I have not used CFLs in the oven or in the refrigerator. I do not understand the comment about heat; "... the actual life of the device is generally much shorter due to higher temperature of operation of the device and due to the non-LED components in the assembly." "Higher temperature of operation" compared to what? Surely, not to incandescents! I'll agree that if the electronic components overheat, especially when these are cheap, they will fail prematurely. But, you know, we now have computers operating in side the engine compartment of cars, even on hot summer days. Lighting loads in average homes are a hefty percentage of the overall electric load, especially in homes with gas heat and gas stove. It makes a lot of sense to get rid of the waste caused by ancient design white-hot filaments. If there is one silver lining behind the ban of incandescents, it is that this will encourage serious development efforts in alternatives, LEDs in particular. I see CFLs as a transitional solution at best. Necessity is the mother of invention.

oreyc
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
oreyc   1/13/2012 8:41:04 PM
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I believe the temperature comment is based on the premise that LED power output are specified at 25° and that unless properly heatsinked, the higher the temperature the less light output with aging and less service life, probably 70° max temp is acceptable, but many work above this limit, so life span is not what is publicized.

Kevin.Jackson
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Kevin.Jackson   1/18/2012 2:22:45 PM
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I've tossed dozens of short operating life CFLs. I've never tried but, does anyone expect any kind of product support from a no name Chinese manufacturer? Each of the three lighting technologies discussed has their advantages and disadvantages. And each has its uses. LEDs are stupid expensive, will they cost more than incandescents over their life? Probably. If lighting were possible that used zero electricity, it still wouldn't make sense to use it if it costs $10 million per bulb. CFLs last no time at my house but if you fixed that they still wouldn't work in my oven or outdoors on cold nights. In the end, the consumer should be informed in a truthful manner and allowed to pick appropriate lighting for the situation. He should not be forced into new technology by a bureaucracy.

divide_by_zero
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
divide_by_zero   1/11/2012 4:41:59 PM
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Cheap electrolytics will fail sooner than good ones, but especially at elevated temperatures. Most of the big cap manufacturers have a few lines of high-ripple long-life 'lytics which are typically used in linear fluorescent ballasts. The office I'm sitting in now is lit by high-efficiency electronic ballasts made in 1995. Very few have failed since installation. Getting long life out of aluminum caps is simply a matter of selecting the correct cap and applying the necessary level of derating. The same applies to magnetics used in lighting. Good transformer and inductor design entails using core material appropriate for the switching frequency used and careful attention to issues with skin effect in windings. Insulation must be selected based on worst-case temperatures in the rated range of the lamp. I have performed a few autopsies on CFLs in my home which died after only 3000 hours or so and found evidence of overheated windings in inductors. Heat sinking for switching devices in most cheap CFLs I have taken apart is pretty minimal. This is a case where size matters. Tiny packages are nice if you can get the heat out, but this is not typically a priority in these products. I haven't bought any cheap LED lamps yet, but the more expensive ones I've bought have pretty generous heat sinking for both the ballast and the LEDs. As with lots of other consumer goods, price is the only thing most people consider when shopping. This market in yet another race to the bottom, with junk designed by amateurs leading the way. Efficient lighting is in bad need of some standards.

RWatkins
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
RWatkins   1/11/2012 5:28:18 PM
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Hi All, In response to these well considered comments, it seems some clarifications and responses may be appropriate. IRT sharps_eng "Good quality power supplies use 105C electrolytics running at maybe 65-70C": You are very correct. The problem is what happens when "cost reductions" are applied or when a CFL/LED device is placed in an enclosed incandescent fixture. The CFL/LED device is way under the typical 60W rating of the fixture, but fails in typically only a week or two. A big piece of this failure where I have post-mortemed seems to be aluminum electrolytics, and yes sometimes magnetics. IRT Bert22306: I am sorry for sounding negative, but both as a consumer and a designer of electronics it can be very frustrating to be "sold a bill of goods" where a much higher priced device is supposed to pay for itself over life, if only its life was as advertised. My experience has been pretty good for exposed bulb lighting (though the dimming-with-age issue becomes very obvious when replacing devices that have failed), but direct replacement of incandescent lamps in incandescent fixtures is a BIG problem for those of us in older homes that could be easily addressed by proper choice of components and design for efficient drive circuitry especially in LED devices. We both agree on reducing electrical load. I have for years been looking at off-grid power, and lighting loads are a noticeable part of the budget...

RWatkins
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
RWatkins   1/11/2012 5:29:42 PM
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(continuation because I am too long winded) IRT divide_by_zero: We are in agreement in all of what you have said. One additional point is that newer CFL and LED units that are available at consumer outlets are almost all part of your "race to the bottom". If it makes you all feel a little better, I started using CFL devices pretty extensively in my non-enclosed applications (free-standing lamps, bathroom exposed bulb fixtures, ceiling-look-down lamps, etc.) back in the mid '90s, and have been using LED devices in similar applications for a few years now. Even without payback, it is my opinion that we who are technologists should help lead the charge to more efficient use of our resources. I keep trying refrigerator and enclosed fixture applications occasionally, and yard light applications fairly regularly, and have yet to be satisfied there is a good replacement for the incandescent, I use halogen if available, bulb in these types of applications.

Bert22306
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Bert22306   1/11/2012 8:24:02 PM
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I forgot to mention one possible issue with CFLs, which may also apply to LEDs. It seems that you're better off with the full size Edison base, than the miniature base. My take is, the full size base dissipates heat better. One lamp we have had a habit of eating incandescent bulbs on a rgular basis. I tried a CFL, and it too failed prematurely. So I changed the lamp socket to a full size Edison, and so far so good. I've been testing a CFL in an enclosed, upside down configuration, in a bathroom fixture. Worst case scenario, I would think, although it's a full size Edison base. It's been okay so far, about maybe 6 months.

625kinc
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
625kinc   1/12/2012 7:46:17 AM
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Excellent comment: "I forgot to mention one possible issue with CFLs, which may also apply to LEDs. It seems that you're better off with the full size Edison base, than the miniature base. My take is, the full size base dissipates heat better." - Bert22306. I have been going nuts trying to figure out what is going on. It makes sense to pay attention to heat dissipation possibly with an adapter, Edison-to-Edison or candelabra-to-Edison adapter. They are not free but compared to replacing a prematurely burnt out CFL or worse, LED, they are cheap. Bob Wilson

katgod
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
katgod   1/12/2012 7:23:19 PM
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In my opinion you are correct about the the base size, I found that even though one of my Edison bases was full size when I looked at it closely it turned out to have almost no metal in it (I assume this makes it very cheap) I replaced it with an Edison with much more metal in the contact area because I put an LED bulb in it. LED are more efficient which I think everyone here knows. LEDs don't radiate IR energy away as an incandescent would so the heat sinking and ambient temperature are always a concern for both the LED and the electrolytics if you want long life.

Kevin.Jackson
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Kevin.Jackson   1/18/2012 2:35:50 PM
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Okay, replace all my lamps with CFLs (which I've mostly done), then replace all my CFLs with LEDs, then replace all my sockets so they can be better heat sinks, then replace all my fixtures that don't have good airflow. What's next? Replace my oven's heating element to one that won't get hot and replace my world with one that doesnt get cold? Engineers love to tinker, most of the public doesn't. I have an all electric home with resistive heat (I'm in the southern US, it doesn't get too cold) so I appreciate the warmth the old fashioned lamps provide in the winter and they are slightly more efficent than the heating elements in my central heater.

David Ashton
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
David Ashton   1/11/2012 10:02:30 PM
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@ divide_by_zero: "As with lots of other consumer goods, price is the only thing most people consider when shopping. " Very true. Which gives governments a good reason to legislate for quality of production in these items. Which will cost to enforce, pushing the price up more. Maybe enforcing guaranteed lifetimes might help, but that's difficult to prove..... Unlike Bert, I've had plenty of CFLs fail in less than, or not much more than, the average life of an incandescent. Those I have taken apart (mainly cheap chinese ones) often exhibit signs of cheap electrolytics (swollen and/or popped case). And Roger Watkins comments in the article mentioned the mercury issue with CFL disposal....at least LEDs are a bit better in that regard.

Duane Benson
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Duane Benson   1/11/2012 10:33:03 PM
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I started dating and tracking my CFLs because they seemed to fail quite often. I would typically get 30 - 90 days life. Some have lasted longer, but a short life is typical in my home. Unfortunately, must of my fixtures are built in to the house and are upside down enclosed or both. Some would say that I'm not using the CFLs properly. I'd counter that they aren't designed properly. What good is a device that works near perfect in the lab, but prematurely fails such a large percentage of the time in the field? If it's not designed to be used in its end application setting, it's simply not a product.

Bert22306
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Bert22306   1/11/2012 10:38:36 PM
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You're right, Duane. CFLs, or preferably LEDs, have to become more universally applicable. My thinking is, though, that as long as incandescent bulbs are sold, this will never happen. Because the bean counters won't invest in improving these more advanced lighting products.

mosspp
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
mosspp   1/13/2012 8:52:54 PM
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Please re-think your last paragraph. How did personal transportation advance i.e., the automobile without banning the horse and buggy? How did cell phones become so ubiquitous without banning the land line? And finally, how did Edison's light bulb succeed without banning candles? The cost of LEDs used for lighting continues to drop due to market forces. LED lighting is on target to compete favorably in the areas of both cost and reliability with the curly-fry bulbs that some of you seem so fond of. Add the cost of a haz-mat suit needed for disposal of a CFL, LED lighting is probably less expensive now! Please . . . let's let the market decide which products succeed and which fail without resorting to the temptation to ban things that people use and need every day.

Bert22306
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Bert22306   1/13/2012 9:34:07 PM
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The answers are simple: when a new device is much easier to use, or much more practical, than what came before, obviously it will win out. But if the new device is a big improvement that the average joe doesn't fully grasp, then industry by itself is incredibly lazy about going to it. So let me turn this one back to you. What did it take to make the auto industry get out of the stone age, and go to fuel injection instead of crude carburators? The bean counters couldn't care less, as long as people continued to buy cars. It took the more stringent EPA rules, which required 3-way catalytic converters, which in turn could not survive with prmitive carburators. At long last! And the Detroit bean counters screaming all the way. What did it take to get HDTV deployed, with receivers available at reasonable price? It wasn't until the FCC's Chairman Michael Powell set a date certain for analog cutoff that things finally got rolling. What did it take to make people stop blowing smoke in my face, in restaurants, elevators, and on long airplane trips? The so-called "marketplace"? It seems that CFLs bring out the "libertarian" in a lot of people, even though these davanced lighing technologies are huge improvements over the stone age white hot filament. All laws are not bad.

Kevin.Jackson
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Kevin.Jackson   1/18/2012 2:40:39 PM
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Judging by their performance, they're not at all advanced.

stuart.yaniger
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
stuart.yaniger   1/18/2012 11:39:59 AM
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"Please . . . let's let the market decide which products succeed and which fail without resorting to the temptation to ban things that people use and need every day." Unfortunately, that train left the station a long time ago. Our Besserwissers can't allow us to have choices since we might make the wrong ones.

lighthouse
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
lighthouse   8/10/2012 5:02:06 AM
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Essence philosophy: about seeing the advantage of what is created as a reason for existence, rather than look for a disadvantage as a reason for destruction. Progress is welcomed - not feared. Progress brings more choice and more advantages, a progress helped - not hindered - by allowing competition against that which already exists. http://tonn.ie

gsdg90
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
gsdg90   1/12/2012 4:55:04 PM
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I find that CFL's sometimes don't even work right out of the box when purchased from stores such as CVS pharmacy! An industry standard and a consumer-recognized logo could help here. Retailers that care about quality will keep counterfeits off their shelves.

David Ashton
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
David Ashton   1/15/2012 1:07:51 AM
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Too right. Mosspp is right in that Market forces will provide a carrot, but as Bert points out there needs to be a stick too.

Tom W4SDR
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Tom W4SDR   1/12/2012 3:49:02 PM
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For the most part, MTBF is calculated by two methods: a. MIL-HDBK-217F has well intentioned, but vague component ratings dated from 1991. Many components we use now did not exist in 1991. Calculating MTBF with this commonly accepted method often results in fairy-tales at worst, and wishful thinking at best. b. Monitoring excruciatingly controlled field-failure data. But only after the product has been put into customer hands. The "real world" value of this data is a function of how tightly you control the application and environment. To what degree to you think this is being done with new light bulbs from China? Using a lab power supply, you can make a bulb last longer than you'd care to monitor. In the real world, lightning spikes, sags and dips on the AC mains are a huge contributor to component fatigue and "unexpected" failure. Maybe a private entity like UL could be sustained by testing and publishing real failure-rate data for a fee. China enjoys selling counterfeit electronics that puts human life at risk. We may design with the proper capacitors and reliability ratings. But the 105C cap maybe a 70C reject. China pollutes the distribution channels with garbage parts melted off of discarded PCB's via campfire heat. We enable China, and gleefully punish high-achieving domestic companies with unions, taxes and regulations that force them to move off shore. We get excited over wiz-kid gov't bureaucrats who will make wise decisions as to what bulb we use, and toilet we flush. Does this move from a technological question, and off to a philosophical point? Yes - and it already has, if you're paying attention! Read what Francisco d'Anconia has to say: http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/economics/money/1826-francisco-s-money-speech.html We can regulate ourselves, but not until we're unshackled. Or, would you prefer that gov't regulate your life, protect and feed you, and to dictate the products you use? You can have that life in any penitentiary.

RWatkins
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
RWatkins   1/12/2012 5:04:17 PM
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Tom, a minor comment on your referenced article: I grew up with a classmate named Tom Petters (google him and you will see what he ultimately achieved) who became the penultimate money-ipulator. I agree with dAnconia that money, like a gun, is not bad in and of itself. However, the temptations and greed it feeds often are, and this was a hidden point of my letter in the first place.

katgod
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
katgod   1/12/2012 7:43:31 PM
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Interesting you trash the Chinese products because they basically have a free for all mentality and then say you want no regulation so we can produce the same kind of junk here, I am not sure which it is you really want. I assume it is the self regulation they have in China because you feel we are shackled here. While I am sure most of us agree that sometimes we are over regulated, I am pretty sure there is a line that needs to be walked.

RWatkins
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
RWatkins   1/13/2012 4:01:49 PM
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katgod, please understand that not all Chinese products are bad, and in truth it is a minority of such products. However, due to the economic circumstances of the people producing the goods, as well as the unwillingness of most non-Chinese companies to place on-site representatives at the Chinese manufacturing plant, many EE's (myself included) have seen multiple cases of unauthorized substitute parts that were disastrous, and known of many more. The counterfeit parts phenomenon was only in the fringes until recently and is now a BIG problem in China. Replacement of specified materials is a longstanding problem (lead-painted glasses, sulfa-drugs in pig intestines, cadmium alloy cast princess crown toys, etc.).

David Ashton
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
David Ashton   1/15/2012 1:35:14 AM
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I don't want over-regulation, but then I don't want no regulation either. I don't want to live in a police state, but we do need police around. I agree that the current situation is laughable, in that governments decree that we have to stop using incandescent bulbs, but happily let in cheap crappy Chinese CFLs that may use less energy than incandescents, but do far more damage to the environment. The first CFLs I used were the old ones with separate (passive) ballast and plug-in tube. Some of them are still working today, and have only needed a few new tubes over the years.

Bert22306
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Bert22306   1/15/2012 11:02:26 PM
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It may be true that CFLs do more damage to the environment (although here in the US, you can dispose of old ones in special bins at certain stores). But I think the main point is, the government is not mandating use of CFLs. The ideal situation would be if lighting companies would get serious and develop LEDs or other types. To me, this is very much like the fuel injection evolution in cars. The government did not tell auto companies HOW to achieve the low emissions. The feasibility of doing via catalytic converters had been demonstrated, so the bureaucrats knew that this could be done. But that's as far as they went. It was the auto companies that realized that using 3-way catalytic converters, along with precisely metered fuel and air, was the way to go. And everyone came out ahead. In this case, CFLs are certainly not the answer. But ONLY if the archaic incandescents are finally banned will the marketplace develop the better answers. And we all know they can, because we're all engineers, right?

David Ashton
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
David Ashton   1/15/2012 11:14:30 PM
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Here in Australia, you can't buy incandescents except in special sizes (eg for sewing machines, "golf ball" bulbs etc - and a lot of those are the halogen type. I've never seen a disposal bin for CFLs here though, and the shops are flooded with cheap chinese crappy ones which I've learned to avoid. At one point the govt gave energy credits for CFLs so you could get them from some utility companies for free - usually awkward long sizes though. I have a whole bunch which I am slowly getting through.

R0ckstar
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
R0ckstar   1/12/2012 7:19:51 PM
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I've heard about people having longevity problems with CFLs. Personally, I've had pretty good luck with them. In general, they've lasted far longer than the edison bulbs in typical fixtures around the house, but I did have a problematic fixture at one time that continuously popped both edison and CFL bulbs. While I was later upgrading the outlets in the room, I discovered a loose connection. These outlets were on the same circuit as the fixture. Once I tightened it, no more problems. I think many of these reported problems have as much to do with older house wiring and wiring/switch fatigue as anything else. These bulbs, after all, are being installed in unique "systems" that comes with their own issues.

IFTLE
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
IFTLE   1/12/2012 8:52:27 PM
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I agree whole heartedly with Schweber. See my analysis here. [http://www.electroiq.com/blogs/insights_from_leading_edge/2011/08/iftle-63-bidding-adieu-to-lester-lightbulb.html] This is yet another example of politics trying to sell something to the citizen with incomplete and incorrect science. To the fellow who contends that all of his CFL are lasting many years, I have had the opposite perspective. Everyone I know is having premature failures and are complaining that these $5 bulbs are lasting less than a year (same as incandescents)

David Ashton
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
David Ashton   1/15/2012 10:15:32 AM
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I don't buy the cheap CFLs any more. I spend a couple $ more and get Philips or another well known brand, and I find I DO get a decent life out of them. The return on those couple of extra $ is pretty good.

Bernard.Ryan
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Bernard.Ryan   1/13/2012 8:54:13 PM
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I've had a set 4 of bathroom ceiling mounted CFL's that came with the house in 94 that have never been changed and still work. Only problem is slow turn-on to full brightness compared to incident bulbs. I also have about 15 ceiling mount mini-flood style bulds that have never been changed since we have had teh house. Maybe we just have good AC service in our area?

oreyc
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
oreyc   1/13/2012 9:02:50 PM
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I do believe that most CFLs are not well designed as they don´t contemplate inrush current, lower input voltage and other abnormalities that make this simple electronics fail under normal use (someone mentioned spikes) they are designed with the $ in mind and not perfomance, to me they are designed to FAIL, so most people will just go out and purchase another part, after a year most pepole forget (no tracking...) and just go out and purchase a new unit, exactly what the desiners wanted. As for the Al caps, a good hi temp part will do the job, but they are expensive....I agree with all of you and Duane Benson is right, most parts are just poorly designed.

WKetel
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
WKetel   1/14/2012 11:08:27 PM
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Regarding the concern about inrush current, which did not seem to get much attention: Incandescent lamps have a much higher inrush than most devices, because the resistance is so very nonlinear. Hook a 100 watt 120 volt lamp to a lab power supply and see the amazing amount of current that it draws at 12 and 24 volts. So inrush is one of those non-issues. The other concerns are certainly valid.

David Ashton
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
David Ashton   1/15/2012 10:13:03 AM
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I had a light fixture in a previous house that was on a dimmer that had to be turned down to switch off and switched on to lowest brightness. And the incandescent bulbs lasted as long as I was in that house. Where I am now, I do have a dimmer, but a separate switch so it is possible to switch them on at full brightness. I have replaced quite a few bulbs so far. Incandescents will last a loooong time if you turn them on slowly.

BicycleBill
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
BicycleBill   1/15/2012 1:49:42 PM
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Many incandescent in higher-wattage applications(show lighting spotlights, for example) actually run a small amount of current through the bulb when it is nominally off—to increase the life by minimizing thermal shock to the filament. You don't want these bulbs blowing out when you turn up the lights during a show. And even if they don’t blow out during the show, they are expensive bulbs and are often awkward to replace. So a little bit of leakage current and "wasted power" pays big returns.

bk11
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
bk11   1/16/2012 2:50:38 PM
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I'm surprised that this topic usually generates little discussion about the purported inefficiencies of incandescent lighting. While it may be true that much of the energy used by these devices is given off as heat, this doesn't mean that that energy is wasted. This time of year, it just means that my furnace doesn't have to work quite so hard to heat my house. What this means to me is that for about 7 months of the year, my incandescent bulbs are 100% efficient. That makes their lifetime efficiency average much better than the 5% - 7% normally quoted. Not bad for an inexpensive, non-toxic, and reliable product.

RWatkins
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
RWatkins   1/16/2012 3:56:26 PM
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In northern climates, you are very correct. Think about TX, CA, AZ, OK... where this heat is bad twice.

Bert22306
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Bert22306   1/16/2012 8:30:06 PM
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As far as I'm concerned, the inefficiency of incandescents is THE issue. So if it's not dicussed enough, that is indeed a problem, and perhaps one that the public at large doesn't fully appreciate. CFLs use about 1/4 of the power of incandescents, for a given amount of light. LEDs need about 1/5 of the power of an incandescent. These are big savings, when you consider that the load of electric lighting is a hefty percentage of the total, especially in gas-heated homes. As to your point, I'd agree that the heat created by inefficient light bulbs might take some of the load off the furnace, but light bulbs even do that job very inefficiently too. No one would defend the efficiency of resistive electric heating, as a means to heat a home. It's better to save that electricity, and either apply it to heat pump heating, which uses the heat content of the ambient outside air to heat the home, or save that electricity entirely and let an efficient gas furnace do the heating job. There's nothing 100 percent efficient about any form of resistive electric heating. And then, of course, there are the other seasons of the year.

divide_by_zero
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
divide_by_zero   1/18/2012 4:03:17 PM
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The thermal efficiency of most electrical generators is on the order of 35-40%, with some combined-cycle gas plants at 45% or so. On a well-to-heater or mine-to-heater basis, electric resistance heat is extremely inefficient. My older gas furnace is 80% efficient, and 90% or more is what most people buy these days. Unless you only need heat once in a while or in a small room, it's also quite expensive.

RB3200
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
RB3200   1/23/2012 4:17:06 PM
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In my house we use a geothermal heatpump for heating and cooling. It runs about 300% efficient on the electric power used for the compressor and fan (which uses the old A/C air ducts in the house for distribution), when compared to resistive heating with the same amount of power. Now that we have converted the electric bill to type "whole house electric heating", the monthly electric bill has averaged around $110 for the past year. RE: CFL or LED failure in demanding circumstances: I have seen stores offering "rugged" or "appliance" incandescents, and they seem to not be phased out because it is a known fact that even regular incandescents are not suitable for all circunstances (oven, microwave, refrigerator, outdoors, ceiling fan).

RB3200
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
RB3200   1/23/2012 4:21:16 PM
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I forgot to mention that we live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A place with harsh winters and often hot summers as well.

RWatkins
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
RWatkins   1/16/2012 9:01:49 PM
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In amplification of what Bert22306 has said, a "standard" 100W GE 48690 bulb is rated for about 1260 lumens output, or 13 lumens per watt, and lower wattage lamps tend to be less efficient with a 40W GE 81869 lamp at 370 lumens output, or 9.3 lumens per watt. A Cree XMLAWT-00-0000-000LT50E4 is rated for 133 lumens per watt output at 2.03 watts. Assuming an 85% efficient drive circuit (a fairly good one) and an operating LED junction temperature of 120C (20% flux output derate), that will result in 90 lumens per watt. This is closer to reality, providing about an 7X to 10X electrical savings, mostly in environmental heat rejection. Even more of interest is to look at the plot of white LED efficiency with time noting that incandescents plateaued decades ago, the LEDs are still rapidly improving.

NorthernPiker
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
NorthernPiker   1/18/2012 1:08:13 AM
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Because of their mercury content, the premature failure of CFLs is an issue in regions where there is no recycling of bulbs. My local Home Depot has recycle bins; otherwise, I wouldn't use CFLs since I find they typically fail too soon (after several thousand hours) to prevent an emission of mercury from coal plants greater than their own mercury content.

Kevin.Jackson
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Kevin.Jackson   1/18/2012 2:55:25 PM
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I reviewed the lighting choices at my local home store recently. CFLs that said clearly on the package "Equlivent to a 60W incandescent lamp" did not put out nearly as much light as a 60W incandescent according to the lumen ratings on each bulb's package. It's no wonder people hesitate to purchase these products when the deception starts right on the package.

divide_by_zero
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
divide_by_zero   1/18/2012 4:12:09 PM
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I recently performed a post-mortem on a CFL in a ceiling can fixture in my employer's office hallway. It was a 20W unit, which I told our former maintenance guy NOT to buy because it would overheat. Still, this one lasted about 6 years. It was visibly overheated where the tube exited the plastic base. Its fuse was blown and both BJTs were shorted. It cap, a Samhwa 105° unit, still measured 22µF. Its inductor was still in good shape. These lamps run about 70 hours/week. I'd say we got our money's worth on that unit. We now use 13W bulbs in our can fixtures to prevent over heating. They're plenty bright for the application.

bcarso
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
bcarso   1/18/2012 6:06:54 PM
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I suppose in this age of RF everywhere it's naive to wish for fewer emission sources, but I find CFLs in bench lamps impossibly noisy. Now at least LED lighting could be done with quiet d.c., not of course something that would form a simple screw-in replacement for incandescents et al. At least some "specialty" incandescents will remain available, like the halogen type I use now. Brad Wood

WKetel
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
WKetel   1/18/2012 10:25:08 PM
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Once again, one partial solution, or at least a way for consumers to fight back against short CFL life, is to mandate labeling every unit with the manufacturers name and build date. And make it clear that we really do not care about any economic hardship this requirement creates. It will help consumers remember who produces the junk, which will hopefully result in the marketplace sorting out the good products. Of course, it does need to be applied to all the products.

Bert22306
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Bert22306   1/18/2012 11:34:37 PM
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FYI, we have had very good luck with Sylvania and Utilitech CFLs. It's possible that some brands use cheaper components that cause premature failure. And again, the one premature failure we experienced was a CFL with that miniature candelabra base, buried inside a pretend-candle stick, which very likely caused heat stress. Parenthetically, that same fake candle stick had been singed from the heat of the previous incandescent bulbs, which had a habit of failing premturely in this same lamp. So incandescents aren't immune to heat stress either. I rebuilt that lamp, this time with a full size, metal Edison base, that does not sit inside the candle stick. And of course replaced the singed candle stick too.

rtapl123
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
rtapl123   1/19/2012 4:27:26 AM
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Engineers who aren't capable of buying CFLs that work? Are you able to buy stuff for your company that works? My CFL's do just fine. They save me money and I don't have to clamber on a chair or ladder to replace them as often. They don't get stuck in the socket like incandescents. Get yourselves a copy of Consumer's Reports so you can learn to buy stuff that works.

mac_droz
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
mac_droz   1/19/2012 9:33:01 AM
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It is important to understand that CFLs are a good option when they are placed "bulb up" to avoid overheating and they stay on for long periods of time. I have CFLs in all side lamps in my flat. I like when it is bright and it takes 100W total to light up 3 rooms and a kitchen (in winter time they stay on for 10 hours so I use 1kWh / day). They are not good for rapid on/off operation however (bathrooms, storage rooms, halls) - it takes too much time for them to warm up. I use halogens there - no problem with power usage because they stay on only for short time. As for the lifetime: buy ONLY good brands with the "warm" start (it takes them a second to light up after turning on) and use them as described. I have Philips CFLs that have more than 10 years now.

WestLED
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
WestLED   1/21/2012 3:58:38 AM
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What a load of misconstrued generalizations about LED and CFL. For the most part CFL's and LED are not even in the same playing field. As for the engineering of LED light sources, well I test before I sell. Needless to say good quality is hard to find. And yes there are some great manufacturing companies that engineer great light sources right here in USA and Europe! CFL's, well seems most consumers hate them, they do not work well in cold temps, and the light is rarely pleasing, and even worse they don't have any life from on/off app's. Trouble with the market is everyone wants to make a zillion dollars selling junk to dumb consumers, as they are perceived by the corporate world. here we go again the end-user gets burned! OK we need good standards that inform consumers, and we need the truth about LED's, not some load of organic fertilizer spewing from this guy. I'm surprised that EE Times even published this organic fertilizer from this guy. I have tested LED lighting in app's that the market hasn't even thought of yet. They far surpass CFL's in life, operating temps, and CRI.

WKetel
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
WKetel   1/26/2012 1:52:56 AM
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I just saw at a ham radio swap a booth selling LED light panels that simply had 2 strings of LEDs in opposite directions and one series resistor to limit the current, which the seller claimed was 22Ma. These were standard LED devices , 5mm with wire leads. Of course the one resistor did waste some energy, but there were no other electronic parts to fail, so the package would probably be very reliable. That could be another way to have reliable LED lighting, and probably fairly good efficiency as well. Only one current limiting resistor to waste power.

anon9303122
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
anon9303122   2/2/2012 4:10:03 PM
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It is true that CFL's and LED's are not in the same playing field. LED's are definitely the Prius's of the market. Higher efficiencies at much, much higher costs. So high in fact that at this time, you cannot recover the energy savings with the cost of the bulb. With CFL's selling at Sam's Club for about $2 a pop, I can buy 20 CFL's for the cost of one comparable LED. WestLED, keep pushing, because perhaps one day, maybe we'll get there.

Bert22306
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CEO
re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Bert22306   2/2/2012 8:22:11 PM
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It's all a matter of time and of how much incentive the bean counters in the lighting companies have, to invest in new production chains. The first CFLs I bought were just as expensive as the current LEDs. Now CFLs are getting cost competitive with archaic 1879 technology.

lighthouse
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
lighthouse   8/10/2012 5:03:51 AM
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Essence philosophy: about seeing the advantage of what is created as a reason for existence, rather than look for a disadvantage as a reason for destruction. Progress is welcomed - not feared. Progress brings more choice and more advantages, a progress helped - not hindered - by allowing competition against that which already exists. http://tonn.ie

lighthouse
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
lighthouse   8/10/2012 5:11:25 AM
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All lighting has advantages. No lighting technology can "replace" another. LEDs are ideal in sheet or panel form, Fluorescents in long tube form. They are compromised as politically pushed replacements for simple incandescent bulbs - in particular to achieve omnidirectional and broad spectrum and, not least, bright lighting in the small bulb format. As if that was not enough, overall society energy savings are marginal, c.1% grid energy use based on DoE and EU (UK, Cambridge) data, and still not using life cycle comparisons. Besides, from coal plant cycle operation, little coal (the main "culprit") is saved regardless of light bulb used. http://freedomlightbulb.org/p/deception-behind-banning-light-bulbs.html The Deception behind Light Bulb Switch Arguments 13 points, referenced

nejpski
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re: Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
nejpski   10/24/2012 2:45:06 AM
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Please note the link referenced above no longer exists. I AM very interested to know if there is another location. THanks



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