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Sunday, September 30, 2012

LED Light bulbs

I have seperately blogged my experiences with LED replacements for halogen bulbs, where their size, low heat and beam characteristics work well, but what about normal light bulbs i.e the kind you have in ceiling lights, reading lights and elsewhere ?

While on holiday in the USA I picked up a couple of small golf ball LED bulbs with ES fittings. These were to replace the two conventional light bulbs in my fridge freezer. They work well in this setting, and while a bit dimmer the light quality works well. While only on for a few minutes while the door was open, using conventional bulbs in a fridge bugged me, as it seemed they would introduce some heat into the fridge.

Recenetly i purchased a 60 watt equivalent LED bulb from my usual supplier, simplyLED, to see how far these have come. This one was advertised as a true 60 watt bulb replacement in terms of brightness and colour temperature.

As you can see the bulb has a semi opaque cover and some yellow sections are visible inside. I guess this is to improve the colour mix. The bulb is not quite the same shape as a classic light bulb and would not fit in the cheap glass bulkhead light fittings I have outside. However it will fit in any open light fitting, for example a standard lamp.

In the above picture you can see it in use in an under stairs cupboard. The light give full power from switch on and appears to get only slightly warm. It is very bright , and i would estimate it is at least as bright as a 60 watt bulb. It also gives good diffuse light. LED bulbs work well as halogen replacements because their point sources are similar. In a bulb where the light has to radiate in all directions , this is harder to do with the tiny LED point sources. This bulb seems to have addressed that problem well. light colour is quite good, though still a little cool for my liking , with some blue tint to light emerging from the sides.

So a good replacement bulb. It only consumes around 8 watts , so it uses half the power of a CFL and close to 10% of the power of the conventional bulb it replaces. Life expectancy is said to be 25 years. However cost was £15.

I think that costs will have to drop for these bulbs to show significant advantages over CFL bulbs which use only fractionally more power, but cost a few pounds. Some give better light quality , and wile they all improve after a few minutes, some are bright from turn on. CFL bulbs do seem to fail , and I doubt they still make the 25 year claims they once did.

For the present I'll be using CFL bulbs in these applications, but ill keep my eyes on LED light bulbs to see how they improve.

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