Need a new porch light fixture. LEDs ready yet?


The light bulb in the fixture on the ceiling of my front porch died last week; I tried to disassemble the fixture and find that it will take destructive measures to get it apart.
First of all, I'm having a hard time finding an outdoor light fixture as low profile as the one that's there. There's only maybe 6" or so between the ceiling of the porch and the top of the screen door.
Secondly, I was wondering if LED lights would be suitable for such an application, and if so, any specific recommendations would be appreciated. I feel kinda guilty leaving a 25W incandescent on for hours just so I can see the doorknob if I come home late at night.
nate
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On Fri 25 Jul 2008 05:39:55p, Nate Nagel told us...

Obviously, finding a fixture that fits is the biggest problem. If you can find a fixture where the socket(s) are mounted horizontally instead of vertically, you should have room to add a screw-in light sensor control into which you screw the bulb. We use that arrangement on our front light and, in fact, use a 7-watt CFL "bug" light. The light doesn't come on untiil twilight and stays on for about 8 hours. Many of the controls are adjustable for both when they come on and how long they stay on afterwards.
I doubt seriously if you will find a suitable (or attractive) LED light for that purpose.
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On Fri 25 Jul 2008 05:39:55p, Nate Nagel told us...

Here's an example of what might work. Even if you can't fit the light sensor in the housing, you can certainly reduce the wattage by using a CFL.
    http://tinyurl.com/5h3f7r
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

Are there any CFLs on the market that don't suck for outdoor applications? The last ones I tried, about two years ago, took forever to warm up, and I hear this as a common complaint.
nate
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Get a CFL that is rated for an appliance applications, they do much better.
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On Sat 26 Jul 2008 05:23:16a, Nate Nagel told us...

It still varies, but most of the ones I have reach their full brightness in seconds, not minutes. Over ten years ago I was using an early version in a post lamp at our house in Ohio. It, too, warmed up quickly even in the winter. It was the type where the tube was separate from the base, so only replaced the tube once in 12 years. Besides, you mentioned that you'd like to have the light on when you arrive home. Since you won't be there, does it matter that much how long it takes to warm up?
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

Not really, but I guess the engineer/anal retentive part of me thinks that it does.
I guess the discussion is irrelevant at this point, as I spent the morning repairing the old light fixture. It's actually kinda cool, fabricated out of soldered copper L-shapes and has a nice patina (well, it should, being almost 60 years old.) I didn't see anything online or in my local hardware emporia that I liked as much, so I went ahead to see if I could salvage it. I managed to replace the one stud that was keeping me from disassembling it, ran the shade through the dishwasher, and for good measure took an old extension cord and cut it up to provide new leads for the bulbholder, as the originals were a bit brittle. Actually found some 9W ("40W") CFLs at the Despot this AM when I went to pick up some vice-grips so one is in there for now, but I think there's still some 25W incandescents floating around if I'm not happy with it.
nate
(cheap, or environmentally conscious? You decide.)
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On Sat 26 Jul 2008 10:32:23a, Nate Nagel told us...

As to the fixture itself, I'd say preserving a bit of the past. Cheap, no. environmentally conscious, yes by reducing your wattage and increasing bulb life by your choice of CFL.
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HDs are fine I have about 15 outside, a 9w equal a 40 watt bulb, HD has 14w on sale for only .72c each in a 4 pack, get the soft white ones.
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Leds are not ready fo prime time yet based on cost vs Cfls on cost.
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Nate Nagel wrote:

You can get them but they aren't cheap. A couple of sources are http://www.theledlight.com/led-fixtures.html and http://www.ledhomelighting.net/category_297_AC_Hard_Wired_Fixtures.html .
Another option is to put LED bulbs in ordinary fixtures. http://www.cyberguys.com/templates/SearchProducts.asp?categoryIDW2 lists a variety of screw in LED bulbs, with the brightest being roughly equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent--again though they aren't cheap.
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They may be pricey but it may be worth it in the long run.
I live in FL but I have read lots of complaints about cold weather performance of CFLs.
Unanswered questions: What is the average life vs CFLs? I have had CFLs with a disappointing life. Are they dimmable?
I would expect that the prices will come down as they mature. Just like anything else that was expensive when first out. For example TVs, VCRs, computers, digital cameras, etc
Charlie
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Charlie Bress wrote:

The LEDs themselves should be good for more than ten years of continuous operation, if they are given clean power and adequate cooling, but they need a power supply to get the right voltage and that power supply if it's not well made may not last as long. Nice thing about bulbs with 150 LEDs is that you can lose a few without any major effect on brightness.
Dimmability depends on the power supply--some have switching supplies that run them at full brightness from 80-240 volts, which would pretty well preclude dimming--others may have transformers and rectifiers and those would in principle be dimmable. Read the fine print on the specific units you're interested in and if necessary ask the vendor. The ones with external power supplies should be easily dimmable by putting a potentiometer in the low voltage wire--just make sure it's rated for the required current.

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