LED bulbs and specs...

RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
I finally bought some LED bulbs yesterday to give them a try. A large part of the decision was that Home Depot actually had "warm white" (VERY warm - 2700k!) Phillips brand bulbs available. I hadn't seen those before.

Overall, I'm impressed. The color is good, the form factor is good (these are all very close to the same size/shape of the conventional bulbs they replace so will fit any fixture) and they actually do "fill lighting" well, no noticeable bright or dark spots. I did find the "equivalent wattage" ratings a bit optimistic. A side-by-side test of a 12.5W/"60W equiv" LED and 15W CFL (that is about 5 years old, no less!) showed the CFL lit the room visibly better than the LED.

However, just like my CFLs, none of these are "outdoor rated". One (the 12.5W) says it can be used in "damp" locations, but not to be exposed to water. All three say "not for use where exposed to weather". But what, exactly, does that mean? Obviously they can't be put outside bare - or even in a standard motion sensor fixture. But does that also include being inside a (ventilated) fixture on the porch? It would still see the temp / humidity changes, but it isn't going to get rained on.

Considering the cost of these things, the only viable places to put them are where they would see fairly long run-time - and the porch light (still incandescent) is one of those. Nicely, my calculations show the energy savings would pay for the bulb in just a year, even at my cheap utility rates - if it lives that long! I'm tempted to try, never did with a CFL because they handle cold weather so poorly, but the cost... I'd hate to see it damaged the next time the humidity spiked!

Comments

  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: LED bulbs and specs...

    Looked at the Phillips also. I have one of the Echosmart 40W LED in my garage door opener.

    Like you, I am also looking to replace more of my CFL with LEDs.
  • Peter_VPeter_V Solar Expert Posts: 226 ✭✭✭
    Re: LED bulbs and specs...
    RandomJoe wrote: »
    However, just like my CFLs, none of these are "outdoor rated".

    Believe it or not Walmart carries outdoor rated LED lights for about $8. Only 2 watts but they are pretty bright and very white. It's a long skinny bulb (candelabra type) with numerous LEDs inside.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,054 admin
    Re: LED bulbs and specs...

    In general, if those are the "typical" LED cases (plastic cyclinder with dome and two leads out the bottom)--They typically do not last very long (maybe on the order of hundreds to a couple thousand hours).

    That type of LED packaging does a very poor job of pulling heat away from the LED die/phosphors.

    To get lots of light, the mfg. push a fair amount of current through the LED's which tends to "bake" them over time.

    If you look at the Phillps and other "high end LED" packages, you will find lots of metal and fins for heat sinking.

    If you do want to try those "LED cluster" type lights, get only a a few and try them for a year or so and see if they work well for your application or not.

    Costco BRAND LED floodlights on the cheap?
    I made it by Costco yesterday and they sell their own brand LED floodlights. Has anyone ever tried these out? They seem way too cheap to be any good. They were about $10 a pop. I almost picked one up just to try, but I've already spent too much lately on my lighting OCD.
    ...
    I will take a stab that these bulbs are cluster style, meaning that there are a bunch of 5mm LED's in the bulb. They will have odd coloring, won't spread the light that well and won't have a good heat sink on them, so they wont last.

    Wal mart has some bulbs at this price point, and a lot of them don't work out of the box, the rest fail within 6 months.

    When you buy a LED light bulb they need to have a high powered LED in them or they are not worth it! Yes, they are expensive, but they last sooo long, and they are tough to break. So in the end you are paying less.
    ...
    I am with Atlanta Light Bulbs and you are exactly correct, LED lamps are basically like anything else we buy. There is good, better & best. A good LED should be made of aluminum & high density plastic. This is due to the fact that there is an LED driver inside that lamp which makes it operate...that driver gets extremely hot so when the LED lamp is made of some type of metal, and "fins" as I call them..air can circulate around the lamp and cool it so it will not overheat and fail. Cheap LEDs are cheap they are avaialable and right now are giving LEDs a bad name, they do save you money on your electric bill but are not always the brightest as the cheap ones typically just have a bunch of "LED indicator lamps" clustered together inside the lamp itself. This is the inexpensive way to put a bunch of indicator lamps together put them into a lamp and give you LED light....Good ones will have very few LEDs and they will be big chips, with a photo optic lens on top of the chip to harness and expand the light so basically the bulb design is working with the chip to deliver clean crisp light!
    And more...
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: LED bulbs and specs...

    Yes, the two larger Phillips bulbs I bought definitely have plenty of heat sink and metal - and HEAVY!

    The 8W bulb is metal heat sink for the entire "neck" portion of the standard bulb shape, with just the round dome portion actual "light". The 12.5W model is quite unique - it is actually almost all metal housing, with three "windows" around the "rim" (where the round dome portion would be) that are "light". It is especially hefty.

    The smaller 2W one has no heat sink at all, but also generates no heat to speak of. Reaching up and grabbing the entire bulb in my hand after several hours, it's just barely warm to the touch.

    I've never been pleased with the "clusters of LEDs" models, those are what I've seen for so long and thus why I stayed away until now. These were clearly different, indeed the 8W and 2W look just like a filament bulb when operating.

    Finally tried my "flicker test". These do no better at that! When I'm running my Outback system on inverter, with certain loads operating (especially my Macbook Pro with 24" Cinema Display) something happens to the waveform that causes any CFL bulbs on the inverter to visibly flicker. I got that happening again, switched to the 8W LED, and the flicker was even worse! Oh well... On the plus side, I was also able to determine that my new iMac does NOT induce flickering, so at least I can compute flicker-free during power outages! :p
  • bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: LED bulbs and specs...

    I noticed the same coverage issues when I bought my first LED bulbs a few years ago, but finally saw an adequate product from Lights of America. They sell these at Sams Club for $13, I just bought 2 more a few days ago (but for some reason SC doesn't advertise them on the net, so here is a link where you can at least see the product.)

    The site show a couple of different versions. Browse the other images, and see the one 'smooth' lamp without the heatsinks-this is the one SC sells for $13.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003FL8XWS/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_3?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000HJDAE2&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0RR0RW0X7YRPYVCKZSYR

    I realize these may not fit your fixture, but they provide a wide area coverage. Not quite as bright as a 23W CFL, their overall temp rang is closer to what I perceive as natural sunlight( My mother has one over her kitchen counter, and she says it is much better for seeing vegetable's true color). I have owned a couple of these already for over a year. Neither have burned out, nor gotten toasty to the touch they way the CFL does.

    About outdoor use, if you have a weather-resistant fixture, then should not the lamp inside be protected?
    RandomJoe wrote: »
    I've never been pleased with the "clusters of LEDs" models, those are what I've seen for so long and thus why I stayed away until now. These were clearly different, indeed the 8W and 2W look just like a filament bulb when operating.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: LED bulbs and specs...
    Peter_V wrote: »
    Believe it or not Walmart carries outdoor rated LED lights for about $8. Only 2 watts but they are pretty bright and very white. It's a long skinny bulb (candelabra type) with numerous LEDs inside.
    I've been using 4 of these to light my driveway for about a year now, although the ones I get at Wal*Mart Canada are only 1 1/5 watts, and cost $16, which sucks, but they do the job, directing the light down on the road, instead of lighting the upper tree branches and the sky. They are protected from direct rain contact though. Also have a 6 watt LED to light the yard. Not as bright as we had in the past, but hey, you get used to it and the beauty of them compared to CFL outdoor use, is the fact that in cold weather, they're instant on, no warm up required. Perhaps one reason the little ones have lasted so long is that I don't leave them on all night, and during winter, when they're used the most due to the short days, they stay cold. Also, my inverter is feeding them more or less 110 volts, instead of grid power often hanging around 128 volts. I've seen this high voltage in a lot of places around Nova Scotia. Makes me wonder if it's a tool used by Nova Scotia Power to increase the wattage consumption of appliances etc. Instead of a 10% rate increase, go with 9% then push up voltage and end up with 10% anyway.
  • keyturbocarskeyturbocars Solar Expert Posts: 375 ✭✭
    Re: LED bulbs and specs...
    n3qik wrote: »
    Looked at the Phillips also. I have one of the Echosmart 40W LED in my garage door opener.

    Like you, I am also looking to replace more of my CFL with LEDs.

    I'm also experimenting with 3 of those Ecosmart 40W bulbs from Home Depot. So far, I am pleased with the way they work. They seem to be well made with a good amount of heat sink area at the base. They are assembled in the US, so hopefully that means that quality will be better. The base gets pretty warm (hot) after extended use. At $18 each, they are not cheap, but more reasonable than some other LED lights I've seen. I hope the cost of LED bulbs keep coming down. The rest of the house is CFL and they are more economical right now.

    Edward
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: LED bulbs and specs...

    Well, there's been one development I sure haven't liked. The two smaller bulbs are instant-on, but the 12.5W "60W equivalent" takes a VERY noticeable and annoying second or two after flipping the switch before it blinks on! Don't know if that's a defect, or just the way it is designed...
  • SteveKSteveK Solar Expert Posts: 277 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: LED bulbs and specs...

    We outfitted our entire house with these:

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_107305-3-78496_0__?productId=3228295&Ntt=led+light+bulb&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dled%2Blight%2Bbulb%26page%3D2

    I really like these bulbs, they consume 8.5W, run a bit warm at the base but cast a nice warm color. They have the beefed up Alu cooling fins too.

    Very rugged, We dropped one from ceiling height and the glass shattered on the floor. Darned thing still works fine in a reading lamp but is to directional for anything else without the diffuser/globe. They were pricey. Home Depot sells the identical one's for 5 dollars less per bulb under a different brand here:

    http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xh3/R-202188260/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

    This is subjective but I feel they light as well as the CFL's we replaced that consumed 13W....

    Just read Keyturbocars post, so ditto....
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
  • vcallawayvcallaway Solar Expert Posts: 157 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: LED bulbs and specs...

    Thanks for posting that.

    The one lighting argument my wife and I have is over her touch lamp next to the bed. Since this is dimable I may just spring for one and try it.
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