My subdivision has gates with 2 post lights, each with 2 mini candelabra
base bulbs, plus 2 150 watt floods (tube type lamp) on the sign. The
post lights each used 2 60 watt incandescent lamp. We were changing one
lamp every few months. So, I though, LEDs. I bought a single LED flood
fixture, with 2 20 watt LED patch arrays and appropriate electronics to
drive them ... about $40. For the lamp posts, I used 5 watt frosted LED
flame shaped bulbs from Lowe's.
This all reduced the power drain by a whole lot as they are on, dusk
to dawn. At the same time I also bought 2 of the flame shaped bulbs
with a medium base for my own 2 lamp posts, which are only on from dusk
This was September of 2013. So far, the flood is still ok, with the
exception of some physical damage either by an animal or a 2 legged
animal. I really think it was a bear or deer foraging around for some
food, because if a person wanted to break it, it would have been really
broken. And it looked like it was just bumped really hard. Out of the
6 LED bulbs, one failed after about 2 weeks ... replaced by Lowe's.
Last week, another failed ... Lowe's also replaced it. These are
supposed to have 25000 hour lives, however, by my estimate, that one
only lasted about 2400 hours; maybe only 1/10 of the estimated lives.
Anyway, the test goes on. As long as Lowe's stands behind them, I'll
keep replacing them. And, actually, if they had lasted 10,000 or 15,000
hours, I probably wouldn't have said anything. The service rate is
still less than the old bulbs. I would have loved to dissect the bulb
and find out if the electronics or the LED failed. Unfortunately, I had
to surrender it to Lowe's. My money would be on the electronics and not
the LED itself.
On Monday, May 19, 2014 10:30:39 AM UTC-4, Art Todesco wrote:
Thanks for the real world info. It helps confirm my skepticism. Based on experience with CFL, I wasn't going to buy LED's when they were $35,
only to find out that they failed early. Your 33% failure rate at one
year isn't a good sign. But I didn't factor in that you could get
Lowes to replace them a year or more later. Any idea how long after
purchase Lowes will still do that? The fact that the price has been
cut in half is also making them look better.
Talking about taking things back, I bought a Jane Magnolia from a
local nursery a few weeks ago. They were on sale for $25. It started
to have a few flowers open up, then we got hit with cold weather again.
I figured that just delayed it, but the rest never opened and the few
leaves trying to come out look diseased. Then I looked at the trunks.
They had these funnly looking little things, like the size of a toothpick,
but 1/2" long sticking out off the trunks all over. I finally
realized those things were sawdust. The damn thing is full of some
kind of little borers that have killed it. Never saw anything like it.
They have a no refunds, no returns sign. Next time I'm over there
I'm going to have a talk with them anyway. Maybe if they had it happen
to the ones there and they know the lifecycle, etc they will admit
that it was infected when I bought it. That seems likely to me. I
never saw that kind of small borer here before in my entire life.
Kind of a distincitve, obvious trail it leaves too.
If regular incandescent bulbs were failing every few months, I would tend
to suspect a problem with the fixture. You might need to seal the fixture
better to keep moisture out. With the power turned off, you might want to
clean the bulb socket and add some kind of corrosion inhibitor to the
threads when you screw the new bulbs in.
I've been using CFL bulbs (standard medium base) in our outdoor fixtures
for the last ten years. They're enclosed fixtures, but open on the bottom.
The bulb mounts upside down. I've only replaced two or three bulbs in the
last ten years (out of four fixtures).
Another possibility is vibration. I would think an LED bulb would handle
that OK, but you could try bulbs designed for ceiling fans as they have
When I say that we were replacing a bulb (incandescent) every few
months, that was one out of the 6. Those bulbs are usually marked 2000
or 3000 hours. That's roughly about 6 to 8 months of dusk to dawn use.
Scattered throughout the year, that's about every few months.
I agree that moisture incursion could be a problem, especially if
incandescents failed early. Heat buildup can also be a problem, and I had a
number of premature failures in fixtures that were "glass tube down" so that
the heat of the lamp rose up and heated the electronics "pod." Sealing the
fixture too tightly against moisture could result in a greater heat
build-up. That's probably not an issue for you using fixtures that are open
at the bottom.
I'm hoping LED's will soon cost the same as CFL's so I can abandon them. I
bought a number of n:Vision 23 watt bulbs a few years ago and they're all
becoming very slow to warm up. It's gotten so bad that I am going to have
to retire them to someplace where their slow warm up isn't quite the problem
it is in the living room or kitchen.
I did a test of an old v. new bulb in two identically clamp-type work
lights. I aimed both fixtures at a large piece of white foam core and then
photographed the "light blooms" on the board. It's very clear that the new
bulb is brighter. With the lens stopped down the pool of bright light for
the new bulb is much, much larger in diameter and brightness than the area
illuminated by the older one.
The only good news is that newer bulbs are about half the price of the ones
I bought just a few years ago. The real burn was the short life of the CFL
bulbs I bought when they first came out and were over $10 each. Not one of
them came anywhere near close to their claimed life span. )-: Lights of
America (made in China!) were the absolute worst. Some died within hours of
being turned on.
About 2 weeks ago, TSC (the Canadian break-away division of Tractor
Supply) was selling these:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Philips A 19 60 watt equivalent LED.
Interesting that my packaging is a little different. This one on Amazon
says 11w = 60 watt, savings $134.75.
Mine is 12W = 60 W, savings $132.
I don't quite get why Amazon is selling this for $58. Is that for a
I paid $4.99 each. I bought 6 of them, with plans to only use 1.
Seemed cheap enough. Very bright.
LED bulbs may be fabulous for the environment, but they arent always
the prettiest of fittings to look at. Philips is trying to fix that with
an update to one of their more popular LED bulbs, the A19. Sleeker and
even more efficient, the new A19 replaces inefficient 60-watt
incandescent bulbs without sacrificing style.
The new A19 ditches the gray cooling fins and yellow phosphor that gave
the previous version its industrial appearance. But the changes arent
all aesthetic; the previous A19 consumed 12. 5-watts and the new version
consumes only 11-watts. In addition to the new styling, the bulb is also
more dimmable than the previous version, with all of the great
efficiency benefits that LED provides.
Philips isnt spilling the beans on the new technology used to create
the bulb, employing what they call AirFlux technology to create the
sleek new look. No details have been released on what the technology
involves, but it is clear that it makes distinct visual improvements.
The bulb will come in soft white and daylight temperatures, produces 830
lumens, and will have a retail price of $24.97.
Wow. And I got them for $5 each. Cannuck bucks too.
I had a couple CFLs go up in flames when waxing furniture near them, apparently the spray wax was flammable.
After that I used a little caution around them.......
dont spray in their direction, spray on rag apply to whatever. Etc etc
\I bought one cree 60 watt dimmable LED for my pole light, nice white light:)
so far its working fine.
When I first started using CFL's several years ago, I had a lot of problems
with our ceiling fixtures that were completely closed in. Most of the CFL's
would quit working after a few months. However, all of the bulbs I've
bought in recent years have held up fine in the same fixtures. In fact, I
usually put 75 watt equivalent CFL's in the fixtures originally rated for
60 watt incandescents. Very little heat and long bulb life. That's
important when the ceiling fixtures are 12-14 feet off the floor. :)
My outdoor fixtures are open at the bottom but I wouldn't think heat
buildup would be as much of an issue outside where it's cooler. Of course,
if the fixture really seals up tight it might be something to look into.
I recently bought some CREE brand LED's at Home Depot for about $9 each.
I've been very happy with them so far. I will probably switch to the Cree
LED's when my current supply of CFL's runs out.
I notice that effect when I have to change one of the fluorescent tubes in
our undercabinet lights. When I put a new bulb in, suddenly the others look
dim and orange. But, in just a day or two they all seem to put out the same
color and brightness.
It's clear they've made a lot of improvements to the electronics of CFLs.
None of the new ones have gone to a smoky grave - yet. And as you've noted,
they are much more resistant to overheating and the electronics bays have
gotten much smaller.
Considering how I was misled by the CFL makers about longevity of the
earliest models, I'm going to wait until the prices are equal. Given the
manufacturing costs, that should be sooner than later.
I wonder when they state the light output in lumens on the package whether
it's measured when brand new or aged a few days?
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