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Panasonic's New LED Bulbs Shine For 19 Years

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the shine-on dept.

Earth 710

Mike writes "As lighting manufacturers phase out the incandescent bulb, and CFLs look set to define the future of lighting, Panasonic recently unveiled a remarkable 60-watt household LED bulb that they claim can last up to 19 years (if used 5-1/2 hours a day). With a lifespan 40 times longer than their incandescent counterparts, Panasonic's new EverLed bulbs are the most efficient LEDs ever to be produced. They are set to debut in Japan on October 21st. Let's hope that as the technology is refined their significant cost barrier will drop — $40 still seems pretty pricey for a light bulb, even one that promises to save $23 a year in energy costs."

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But still... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29436771)

incandescents have the advantage of putting off a lot of heat, if you're going to use one as a cheap heat lamp and light provider.

Re:But still... (2, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436901)

Why the hell is this offtopic? It's true - this hippie-frenzy focus on non-incandescent light sources is idiotic. Any time you're running any kind of active heating, the thermal inefficiency of incandescent lights becomes a nonissue because the heat output is not wasted. And with the usage cycle they're talking about, a $0.90 incandescent bulb should last at least 2 years. While I agree that it's nice to see LED lighting starting to measure up to the good old bulb-and-tungsten-wire approach, I don't think there's much concrete reason to move away from incandescents in cold climates. Hot climates, there's a small but measurable advantage.

Re:But still... (4, Insightful)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436977)

So incandescent bulbs are a bad thing in most of the world for about a third of the year (summer) and in some of the world most of the year. If you happen to be running air-conditioning at the same time as an incandescent bulb, you're just pumping money out of the window.

Not to mention the fact that having a heat source 6 inches from your ceiling is generally not the most efficient way to heat a room. It makes far more sense to save the energy wasted from the bulb, and spend it in an efficient central heating system instead, where strategically placed radiators and vents can put the heat where it's actually needed.

Re:But still... (5, Funny)

Kagura (843695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437063)

The problem is the weight. They're made of led.

Re:But still... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29437069)

Small but measurable? There are only a few metrics for light bulb, and this thing improves significantly on two: efficiency and longevity. As far as light bulbs go, LED is BIG deal, a logical and significant progression of technology, with or without hippie circle jerk.

Heat output of incandescent is decidedly a waste because light bulbs are used to generate light, not heat. Even in places with cold winter, you may not want your lighting fixtures to generate heat, and once summer rolls around you definitely don't want your lighting fixtures pumping out heat.

Re:But still... (2, Informative)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437247)

Where I live the norm is to have thermostatically controlled gas central heating. Also the difference between summer and winter daylight hours is significant. Air conditioning is extremely rare in domestic properties anywhere in the U.K.

This means in the summer I hardly use artificial lighting, until late at night where the heat output of an incandescent light bulb can make a noticeable difference in taking the late night chill off a room.

In the autumn and winter, I have the central heating on when it is dark because it is cold, and as it thermostatically controlled the heat from the incandescent light bulbs means my central heating works a little less. If I replace these with energy efficient bulbs it will just make my central heating work harder.

The advantage of any energy efficient light bulb where I live is going to me marginal at best, and potentially negative when you take the manufacturing of the bulb into account.

Just because you happen to live somewhere where all this is not the case does not mean I don't.

I have saved more carbon output by insulating my house properly and installing a modern condensing boiler than I could ever save from switching to energy efficient light bulbs by several orders of magnitude. If every house in the UK was brought up to the same standard of insulation as mine is now we could easily meet our Kyoto targets doing just that.

Re:But still... (2, Insightful)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437113)

Yup. A halogen desk lamp makes a great accessory during Winter. It is more efficient than using a CFL and oil heating. I don't typically need to warm up my whole office, just the place I sit. The light also looks better than CFLs, or even regular incandescent bulbs. And halogen lamps are both hotter and 40% more efficient than regular incandescent bulbs.

Re:But still... (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437219)

And with the usage cycle they're talking about, a $0.90 incandescent bulb should last at least 2 years.

Not likely. 2*365*5.5h=4015h. As I recall, incandescent bulbs last about 800-1000h.

Re:But still... (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437213)

incandescents have the advantage of putting off a lot of heat, if you're going to use one as a cheap heat lamp and light provider.

*And* you can melt cheese on them !

Of course since most of the energy put into an incandescent gets turned into heat whether you want it to or not, you might as well get a dedicated device that would likely perform better and only do so when you need it to.

ROI (4, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436773)

$40 still seems pretty pricey for a light bulb,

one that saves 23$ a year, which lasts a whopping 19 years ? yup, some people are stupid.

Re:ROI (4, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436781)

But compact fluorescents cost $2, save almost as much power/year, and last about 10 years. They are the most cost effective.

Re:ROI (-1, Troll)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436795)

Thanks for the detailed analysis of your hard numbers. We all appreciate it.

Light bulb as a service (-1, Flamebait)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436813)

But compact fluorescents cost $2, save almost as much power/year, and last about 10 years. They are the most cost effective.

till you break them and contaminate the room in mercury. Professional remediation is about $3000.

Maybe we should go to a lightbulbs as a service model. You pay $40 per year and I will supply you with up to 20 light bulbs.

Re:Light bulb as a service (5, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436863)

till you break them and contaminate the room in mercury. Professional remediation is about $3000.

You forgot to finish your thought with "if you compeletely and unjustifiably overreact.

Re:Light bulb as a service (5, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436959)

$3000 se ms a lit le high to me too. I pai ted a gar ge once and fou d some merc ry rol ing arou d on the floor as I was pres ure wash ng. I just sco ped it up with a du tpan and put it in a jar. I'm perf ctly fine, it's not like I'm dead or hand ca ped or anyth ng now.

Re:Light bulb as a service (3, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437135)

"Mercury concentration in the study room air often exceeds the Maine Ambient Air Guideline (MAAG) of 300 nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m3) for some period of time, with short excursions over 25,000 ng/m3, sometimes over 50,000 ng/m3, and possibly over 100,000 ng/m3 from the breakage of a single compact fluorescent lamp. "

study [maine.gov]

Re:Light bulb as a service (3, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437071)

The mercury release caused by burning coal (burning coal releases quite a bit of mercury into the air) to produce the extra energy to run an incandescent for a year is more than the mercury contained in one CF.

Should CFs be disposed of properly? Yes.
Is one broken CF a hazmat issue? No.

Re:ROI (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436861)

Bah, your duty as an overpaid tech geek is to be an early adopter for overpriced ultra high end stuff based on new technologies. That way the volumes go up and everyone else can afford it. By which point you've moved on. It's the circle of life.

Re:ROI (3, Insightful)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436869)

10 years? I've yet to have the spiral CCFLs last over 1.5 years.

Re:ROI (4, Informative)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436903)

I have only CFL's in my house. not one of them has broken since i moved in in june last year. 3 of those i brought with me from my previous house, which i have i used there for nearly 5 years.

Re:ROI (-1, Troll)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437043)

I have only CFL's in my house.

Do you spend the first two minutes after entering a room and turning on the lights, blundering around and bumping into things?

Oh well, when my incandescents blow, I'll be in the same boat, thanks to EU law.

Re:ROI (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437117)

there is no such Eu law. that's a myth, like much of the nonsense about health and safety. unless of course you can find a credible source.

Re:ROI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29437119)

What are you even talking about?

Re:ROI (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437125)

Don't use the cheap rubbish your electricity company sent you. Get some decent ones, and you will find they light up a lot quicker.

Re:ROI (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437151)

I have only CFL's in my house.

Do you spend the first two minutes after entering a room and turning on the lights, blundering around and bumping into things?

15 years ago I could have done, only, not really. Not in the last 10 years though, and not even with the £1 Asda bulbs in the last 5 years.

Oh well, when my incandescents blow, I'll be in the same boat, thanks to EU law.

Before blaming the EU for everything, perhaps check how the UK MEPs voted.

Re:ROI (1)

!coward (168942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437181)

I believe you're making the same mistake people made regarding plasma TVs earlier in the year. When the EU passed those Community Directives (or whatever it is they're called) it was mostly about efficiency, ie not wasting (too much) energy. IIRC, they didn't actually forbid any product per se.

Of course, the practical effect was that older plasmas (which were huge power-hogs) and "standard" incandescent lightbulbs became effectively verboten. But just like with newer plasma techologies (which now place them, in terms of average consumption, pretty close to same-year/same-generation LCDs and even lower when compared to earlier models [even LED LCDs can't lower backlight that much, so the rated maximum consumption is very close to the average, whereas maximum consumption on plasmas is the power used with an all-white screen when the brightness is set to max, which is far from the typical setting]), there are newer types of incandescent lightbulbs being produced (or at least they were announced) that would be a lot more efficient, still be "genuinely" incandescent, and priced competitively with both older incandescent and CFLs (something to do with a double-enclosure or something). These would be OK under the new european guidelines.

Now, about these EverLed: they seem to be offering two versions for each model. Original link FTA [panasonic.jp] , or (if you're like me and can't read japanese), the Babelfish translation [yahoo.com] . Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

It seems they have the typical cold/blue/super-white version as well as a warm/yellowish one.

Around my house, we mostly use the "cold"/bland-whiteish CFL variety. Only in my "studio" (which is really just the glorified inverse of a basement -- ie, it used to be the attic before we did the renovations) do I use efficient, read low-powered, "warm" CFLs.

Though they don't bother me like they seem to do with some people (something about the frequency?!), the light is always a bit dim (with both types) and figuring out the difference between dark shades (of say gray or brown) and black is a real pain -- the spectrum reflected back at you just seems off, if you know what I mean.

Still, they do the job for the most part, end up lasting long enough to be worth the investment and give me that stupid warm fuzzy feeling inside of not being an energy hog.

Interestingly, the translated version of Panasonic's product page does have this to say:

The LED illumination which works the light of 16,700,000 color, the magnificent é¾ milk cave, is easy, the light/write raises fantastically.

Next to a picture of a man using one of these EverLed to light up a cave.. I wonder what they mean by 16,7M colors? The cave does look very "natural" in that light but I hesitate to trust any promotional photo.

Re:ROI (4, Interesting)

lazybeam (162300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437059)

CFLs in my house have died within a year: the ones installed in the bathroom and kitchen. They don't like the humidity and heat which is why I'm not surprised. The others have lasted since Feb 2007. Brands don't seem to matter.

Re:ROI (2, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437201)

It's unwritten law that you don't take the lightbulbs when you move house; It's just being a cheapskate. Like taking the carpets, or the hooks off the back of doors. My parents have had to walk around with candles before now because the idiot who sold the house too every bulb, and this was before the time of 24 hour shopping in the UK. They had to drag boxes out in front of the car to see what was in them.

I swear to God if anybody does that to me when I'm moving into the house they've sold, I'm turning up at their forwarding address and peeing in their letterbox.

Re:ROI (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437239)

I swear to God if anybody does that to me when I'm moving into the house they've sold, I'm turning up at their forwarding address and peeing in their letterbox.

Even if they leave you a very polite note explaining that since they paid $40 per bulb for their LED bulbs they (quite reasonably) wanted to take them with them?

(What I would do if swapping to LED bulbs would be to put the bulbs I take out in a box somewhere and reinstate them when leaving.)

Re:ROI (1)

gpsxsirus (1101849) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437251)

I bought some CFL's for my apartment. Put them in the two pole lamps in my living room. Turn the first one on and the bulb blew out on me. My brother then without thinking turned the other lap on (a touch lamp) and that one blew out. Turns out they don't play nice with lamps that have dimmer settings, which is ALL of my lamps. Also the touch lamp now only has two settings on and off. On is when the lamp is plugged in, off is when you unplug the lamp. Was brand new too.

Re:ROI (1, Informative)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437131)

I've yet to have the spiral CCFLs last over 1.5 years.

Same here. They can last that long in theory, but the ballasts go dead in a year or two. If a LED works like it should, it will be ballast-free and actually last until the thing burns itself to a crisp inside.(ie - failure from wearing out vs defect)

Also, don't underestimate the benefit to the utility companies which have to generate extra power for CF bulbs vs other technologies. Less load means less brownouts and so on. If these are full-wave, in fact, they will use less than half the energy of a CF, looked at this way.

Re:ROI (3, Interesting)

Kumiorava (95318) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436909)

In a lamp test by a Finnish magazine the 3 EUR fluorescent lamp died at 3000 hours. The more expensive ones are still going on but starting to show longer warming times, stains/cracks and other problems. In addition to these problems fluorescents are hazardous waste and should be recycled. At 10x longer lifespan the LED light sounds like a good deal to me.

Re:ROI (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436999)

CFs use $3 yr more power than the LED (13W instead of 6.9W) and you need 2 of them for 20 years so the cost would be 3*19 +2*2 = $65; still more than the $40 cost of the bulb.

Re:ROI (5, Informative)

Firehed (942385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437037)

The bulb in TFA (I know, I know... but it wasn't in TFS) is rated 6.9w consumption, and is presumably the 60w-equivalent referenced in the summary. Most "60w" CFLs take around 12-15w if memory serves - so these LED bulbs are about twice as efficient. Save $23/yr for 19 years vs $12/yr for 5 years (you say 10, but they're usually rated to five and I've almost never seen one last more than two; they seem very sensitive to older wiring). It pays for itself in less than two years compared to an incandescent, and in four compared to a CFL.

Of course, that's all assuming they actually last that long. I don't doubt the power consumption ratings, but as I said I've never seen a CFL last anywhere near it's rated life. My understanding is that they have a limited number of starts due to the ignition ballast (which is external to the bulb in standard fluorescent tubes); I'd assume that if you have older wiring or other factors that may cause frequent power sags you'll burn through those starts unusually fast. That seems to be the case at my house, or would at least make some degree of sense to me. I could be dead wrong about the reasoning, but CFLs unquestionably die faster than incandescent bulbs around here. Hopefully this isn't an issue with LED bulbs.

Re:ROI (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437079)

I bought some cheap (£2, 1W, 30W equivalent) LED bulbs. They claim to last 15000 hours, after that long the box says they'll keep working, but won't be as bright.

Re:ROI (1)

lazybeam (162300) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437085)

In theory LEDs don't care about how many times they are switched. Normal LEDs are dimmed by adjusting the PWM - they are switched thousands of times per second - this is more efficient than simply using a bigger series resistor.

I say "in theory" because these LEDs could be different to "normal" LEDs. (Driver circuitry etc)

Re:ROI (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437133)

The issue with LED bulbs is that they fade when they get older.

Look at the LEDs on your keyboard. If you are like most people with a desktop machine, the num lock is on all the time, and you never use the scroll lock. Even after a year, the scroll lock light will be about twice as bright as the num lock light.

Re:ROI (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437193)

But compact fluorescents cost $2, save almost as much power/year, and last about 10 years.

Best I've ever gotten from a CFL is about two years. Where can you find any with that kind of service life?

-jcr

Re:ROI (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437221)

Fluorescent lights don't work for places where the light is switched on/off frequently, like toilets or corridors at home. LEDs are perfect for those.

Re:ROI (3, Insightful)

paul248 (536459) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436809)

You only save $23 a year if you compare against an incandescent bulb, which is like comparing your car's fuel economy against a school bus. When you compare these bulbs to CFLs, they make much less economic sense, unless you're worried about Mercury pollution.

Re:ROI (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437149)

I guess mercury pollution is preferable to arsenic pollution.

Re:ROI (2, Interesting)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437249)

And what's a little mercury pollution? Its not like that stuffs harmful.

I'll take LEDs any day over a CFL. I refuse to switch to those, they're just too hazardous for home use. I'll go to leds when the color temperature works out, until then its good old incandecents.

Re:ROI (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29436823)

$40 for a light bulb? dumb investment.
1) due to accidents, overvoltage or simply moving out of the apartment, a light bulb won't last you 19 years.
2) would you buy a $40.000 laptop because it comes with 19 years guarantee? what if they come up with something more efficient and cheaper two years from now?

Re:ROI (1)

shadowblaster (1565487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436913)

I would bet that the first generation commercial incandescents and CFLs probably cost about the same if not more in real terms.

Like any other technology, LED bulb will go down in price as they mature and economy of scale effect kicks in.

Re:ROI (4, Insightful)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437051)

accidents, overvoltage or simply moving out of the apartment

accidents : LED's are VERY durable.
overvoltage : do you live in a third world country ?
moving out : take them with you

19 years

more efficient : maybe OLED's, and they're not market-ready. And 2 years from now means I allready have my investment + 6$ back.

Re:ROI (0)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437207)

overvoltage : do you live in a third world country ?

What, only third world countries have lightning now?

-jcr

Re:ROI (2, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437187)

There are places where the cost to reach a light bulb to change it is prohibitive. It could be theater marquee lights, lights atop a vaulted ceiling, or places behind a recessed opening that takes a lot of disassembly to get to. So even though $40 might be expensive up front, not having to set up scaffolding 30-40 feet up to get to some fixtures is worth it to some.

Re:ROI (2, Interesting)

Pinkfud (781828) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436825)

Provided the claim has any base in reality. I have been using CFLs for years, and so far my luck with them has been uniformly bad. They burn out in 3 to 6 months in my application. Possibly my environment is too hot for the electronics inside.

Re:ROI (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437025)

My family rent houses out to students. We fitted CFL lights in all the places where you need a ladder to change them for obvious reasons. It seems like some CFL bulbs fail really quickly - much sooner than you'd expect based on the rated life. Still you can RMA them and get a new bulb for free. Sooner or later it seems like you get good ones, and they do have the expected life.

Still, my guess is that LED bulbs should in the long run be more efficient and have longer lifespans.

Re:ROI (1)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436897)

Not great for renters/share houses. Personally I when I rented, my CFL's came with me, but sometimes you don't have the luxury of being able to do that.

Re:ROI (1, Troll)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436979)

A 60 watt bulb burning for 5.5 hours a day uses about 120KWH a year. My non-peak electricity (i.e. night time when I would be using the lights) is $0.063/kwh. That math is $7.60/YEAR for electricity. Electric rates would have to be almost $0.18US, which is my peak rate during the summer months (it drops to about $0.086US for what passes for winter in Phoenix.) So a 6watt LED bulb would use 1/10th of electricity, saving around $7/year.And I doubt if more than 3 of the incandescent bulbs are used more than 4-5 hours on average a night.

I just bought a pack of ten 60 watt bulbs for $3. So each bulb is an upfront cost of $39.70 whenever a bulb burns out, and has a payback of over 5 years. I'm not going to keep a pack of 10 around the house, I'm going to go out and have to buy one whenever a bulb burns out. I have lived in my house now for 6 years, and just ran out of my first pack.I have a few CFLs in drawers because I don't like them, and about half of the lights we use the most are florescent.

Unless these LED lights can be used in dimmers, I won't buy them because it makes all of my dimmers (three of which are wireless RF in high ceiling fans) useless. Which is another reason I don't buy CFLs. I assume the LEDs will work in dimmers, although the article doesn't state that.

I just replaced my refrigerator because the old one finally died, and using a Kill-A-Watt meter found out it uses about $5/month in electricity. I didn't buy a high-efficiency fridge to save money on electricity, I bought a fridge that happens to be a high-efficiency fridge because it has two separate compressors that keep food SOOO much better. We are throwing out far less food now because things don't get freezer burn and produce doesn't go bad as quickly. And it's bigger, uses LED lights so it's brighter inside, and has some cool drawers and shelves that make it easier to get to the food.

I will spend money on things that are efficient, as long as the efficiencies are worth it to me. An ROI of 5 years on a light bulb isn't worth it because I can't 'see' the savings, it's buried in my electric bill which seems to keep going up and up. I've bought enough long-life light bulbs and other items in my life that didn't last to have little trust in such claims. Spending $2,400 on a refrigerator was worth it because I realized the gains immediately in food savings, something much easier to see.

Re:ROI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29437139)

Dimmable CFLs do exist.

http://www.google.com/search?q=dimmable+cfl

Re:ROI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29437021)

one that saves 23$ a year, which lasts a whopping 19 years ? yup, some people are stupid.

Most LED bulbs have different spectrum of output, with strong blue peak, that can damage eyes after long use. I wonder how the ophthalmologist bills balance this another way. But of course, you wouldn't know that, some people are stupid.

Re:ROI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29437109)

$40 still seems pretty pricey for a light bulb,

one that saves 23$ a year, which lasts a whopping 19 years ? yup, some people are stupid.

I say this is bullshit. They will never last this long. There are no lab condiditions in customers' homes. 19 are a long time and a lot can happen. Sure put them in a dry, temperature-regulated box and operate them in ideal on-off cycles and they might last 19 years. They won't in the real world though.

Not impressive lifetime for an LED (4, Informative)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436779)

That's 38,143 hours. Not great for LEDs, actually. Most newer white LEDs are rated for 50k to 100k hours.

Re:Not impressive lifetime for an LED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29436987)

Try to light your home with those then.

Re:Not impressive lifetime for an LED (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437055)

Aren't LED lifetimes usually rated to the point at which they hit half brightness, not die completely? And don't white LEDs tend to turn blue over time due to the powder stuff (sorry, it's almost 4am, I can't be bothered to look up the technical term) they use to adjust the color to white fading unevenly, or something to that general effect?

In either case, it doesn't matter. If the apocalypse hasn't come in 19 years, you can bet your ass that we'll have much cheaper and better alternatives available.

re: whine on you crazy diamond (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29437077)

Things don't become useless just because they are marginally suboptimal. 38k hours really is close enough to the 50-100k range you quoted, unless you're playing horseshoes or hand grenades.

Re:Not impressive lifetime for an LED (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437243)

Well, as brought up elsewhere in this thread, perhaps they are not using a capacitor in there with a bridge rectifier and so ignoring half of the 50/60 Hz cycle (also turning the LED on and off very fast). This might reduce its life... I am not an EE, so I could have no clue...

Philips (2, Insightful)

PARENA (413947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436797)

If this is the longest one lasting, then how come the Philips led 'bulb' I have says 20 years?

Re:Philips (4, Funny)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437075)

Because in 18 years a bunch of heavy-set guys in Panasonic overalls will come around and make sure your Philips bulb has a little "accident".

Hope they put a capacitor in there (4, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436801)

I hope they put a capacitor in there with a bridge rectifier instead of just ignoring half of the 50/60 Hz cycle.

Re:Hope they put a capacitor in there (3, Interesting)

fons (190526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436837)

Seems an interesting comment, but I don't understand it.
Could you explain this to me?

Re:Hope they put a capacitor in there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29436985)

LED's operate on DC power, one rail is posative and then they swap. ignoring half the cycle means that the LED is on only when the first rail is posative so its flashing on and off really fast.

Re:Hope they put a capacitor in there (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29437019)

A typical bulb sees 50Hz 110V or 240V coming into it. When the signal goes above 0V it starts to glow, when it goes below 0V it starts to glow, back and forth faster than the eye can see.
LEDs don't work on a negative signal so the signal needs to be rectified. Half wave rectification means that when it goes above 0V you start getting power to the LED, when you go below 0V you don't. So the LED is on for only half the time. Full wave rectification flips the negative part to the positive side and you get something more closely resembling what normal bulbs do.

In real laymen terms:
Full wave is fine,
Half wave is a flickery mess.

Re:Hope they put a capacitor in there (2, Informative)

bami (1376931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437165)

Addendum:

And the capacitor is there to keep the current going for the time the voltage is around 0V. This isn't really a problem for incandescent light bulbs since they after-glow for the time there is no voltage on the bulb, so you get a consistent glow. This is not the case with CFL's as they only marginally afterglow, and even worse with LEDs since they don't glow at all when the power is cut.

Without it:
Normal lightbulb: pretty consistent light
CFL: 50hz or 60hz flicker
LED: 25hz or 30hz flicker (without rectifier).

No wonder people get headaches from standing around in CFL's all the time.

Re:Hope they put a capacitor in there (5, Informative)

paul248 (536459) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436847)

You really think Philips would try selling a half-wave rectified LED emitter for $40? That would be so unbelievably awful, you'd probably see return rates close to 100%.

Hell, even the LED Christmas lights I bought at Wal-mart last year are full-wave.

Re:Hope they put a capacitor in there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29436917)

Er, Panasonic, not Philips. Same difference.

Re:Hope they put a capacitor in there (5, Funny)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436893)

You do realize why the Borg are so bad at making dimmer switches don't you?
Resistance is futile.

Re:Hope they put a capacitor in there (1)

arctanx (1187415) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437057)

I hope they put in some smarts so that it looks resistive rather than cutting off the peaks like a capacitor and bridge rectifier does.

Re:Hope they put a capacitor in there (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437167)

I hope they put in some smarts so that it looks resistive rather than cutting off the peaks like a capacitor and bridge rectifier does.

If I remember correctly, power factor correction is a requirement nowadays (for European household electrical equipment, at least). So I would guess so.

Irony (0)

Joebert (946227) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436803)

You know in a few years, those Pollock jokes about solar powered flashlights aren't going to be too far off the mark, judging by recent events.

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29436963)

They already exist? You can get solar powered LED light key chains. The little bit of solar light that happens to fall on your keys every once and a while is enough to charge the battery.

but what about the faliure rate? (1)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436815)

In my experiance, LED bulbs have a very high faliure rate. Granted i got the cheapest ones i could find, but still...

LED diffusion problems (4, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436851)

The LED lights I've seen are too directed. They don't light up a room all that well. Whatever spot the LEDs are aimed at is more illuminated, and everywhere else less illuminated than with CFLs or incandescents.

Re:LED diffusion problems (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437087)

The LED lights I've seen are too directed. They don't light up a room all that well. Whatever spot the LEDs are aimed at is more illuminated, and everywhere else less illuminated than with CFLs or incandescents.

This can usually be alleviated by a good design of emitter geometry, lens and diffuser. Unfortunately, designing good lenses is difficult, and fabricating and assembling the resulting complex shapes is expensive.

Summary Misleading (3, Interesting)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436873)

Summary

Panasonic recently unveiled a remarkable 60-watt household LED bulb that they claim can last up to 19 years

TFA

The bulbs use only an eighth the power of incandescents. That means a 60-watt-equivalent LED bulb would cost only 300 yen (about $3) a year instead of 2,380 yen ($25.80)--a significant savings over a lifetime.

The box pictured on the right has "6.9w", which if as good as a 60 watt incandescent, is probably only a watt or two better than the equivalent CFL.

Re:Summary Misleading (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436955)

A 13W CFL is equivalent to a 60W incandescent so the 6.9W LED is still almost half of the CFL load.

Re:Summary Misleading (1)

Techman83 (949264) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437007)

Depends on the CFL I guess, the 11watt ones I have are way brighter then a 60watt globe.

How can they know for sure ? (1, Insightful)

Atreide (16473) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436877)

Does it mean they have tested that technology for 19 years and their bulb just died ?

Man if MS could test their product that way ! :)

Re:How can they know for sure ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29436981)

Does it mean they have tested that technology for 19 years and their bulb just died ?

Sadly no. There's much simpler explanation. It only means that they have invented a time machine.

Re:How can they know for sure ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29436989)

No, they tested 100 of them for (19/100) years.

actually, more likely, they used a Bellcore or similar MTBF estimation .

19 years, huh? (2, Insightful)

merikari (205531) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436883)

I'll believe when I see it.

Light temperature (5, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436921)

My main problem with LEDs that I have seen is that their light is to cold and white. It hurts my eyes and causes migraines. I didn't see a temperature quoted in the article.

Re:Light temperature (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29436983)

From link in TFA: Available in "Daylight" and warm "Lamp" colors

Not that they list a figure for what these are. I've seen cheep 'warm white' CFLs that have a colour rating higher than the expensive brand 'cool white'

Re:Light temperature (4, Informative)

rdebath (884132) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437161)

This is because the really bright white LEDs are actually monochrome blue, they have a phosphor that converts some of that blue light into other colours, but not normally enough for a nice (sun like) colour.

There are other techniques that seem to convert the frequencies better; or they could use the old trick of putting different colour LEDs in one bulb. But for the moment if you want highest efficiency you're stuck with lots of blue in the light and a "cold" feel.

One point though, white LEDs are normally closer to the spectrum of the sun than incandescents, it's just that the blue spike is in the opposite direction to the very reduced blues you get from a incandescent. This is a known problem, so the conversions will continue to get better.

60W bulb (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29436937)

I didn't RTFA, but wouldn't a 60W LED bulb use the same amount of energy as a 60W incandescent one? Or do they mean it's "equivalent to a 60W incandescent bulb"? We should start measuring in lumen before we don't know what the hell is going on.

Bad mathematics? (4, Informative)

Teun (17872) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436965)

$40 still seems pretty pricey for a light bulb, even one that promises to save $23 a year in energy costs

You must be an accountant living on the outdated system of monthly and quarterly figures.
To have an amortisation within 2 years and outright profit for 17 years afterwards sounds like a pretty damn good investment.

Everything was soo much better in the old days (1)

SensiMillia (217366) | more than 4 years ago | (#29436969)

For instance, the good old light bulb. This one [centennialbulb.org] is going for over a hundred years and still counting.

I wonder how long it will takes before LED bulbs beat that (yes, at least a 108 years)

Re:Everything was soo much better in the old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29437045)

Drive a LED at an extremely low current and with good heat management and the lifetime goes exponentially up. Difference is a LED at low current actually gains efficiency while the centennial bulb is an efficiency nightmare.

halogen replacements? (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437009)

While I wouldn't mind using LED as replacements when the existing CFL wear out, particularly if they are less toxic when discarded, what I really need is a replacement for halogen small US base and bayonet, along with a few "candelabra" small base bulbs. Dimming would be a plus.

Anyone making those yet?

Long life bulbs cost versus cost of replacement... (4, Informative)

sl149q (1537343) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437027)

I was talking to the facilities manager at the local University... about cost to replace bulbs in some of his buildings.. In some cases it is literally in the many tens of thousands of dollars range. They have to bring scaffolding in with a small crew to erect and move around. (Doors too small for a lift.)

He would be more than happy to pay $42/bulb IFF it meant he didn't have to go back in for two decades.

Future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29437053)

I think anyone that knows anything about lighting technology knows that LEDs are the future and that CFLs are just a temporary replacement for incandescent. It wont be long before the cost gets down and LED becomes vastly superior to CFL. The municipalities that are mandating CFL are very short sighted.

That is, until something appears that is superior to LED, but that thing isn't even on the horizon yet.

What is 5-1/2 hours a day? (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437083)

Colour me stupid but what is 5-1/2 hours a day?

Did someone steal the decimal point off your keyboard? Or maybe even the comma, if you're from that part of the world?

C'mon, behave yourself.

Dimness (4, Interesting)

Masa (74401) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437107)

But how dim they get over time? It's pretty pointless to have a LED light that lasts 19 years, if the light gets so dim after few years that it is practically unusable.

What kills bulbs (1)

missileman (1101691) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437155)

...is power cycling them, not burn time.

Lets see how they fare when power cycled a few thousand times.

I've never had a CFL last more than a year or so. Mythbusters did some interesting testing on lamps a few years ago. IIRC they set up a rig that turned all the lamps on and off every 2 minutes, 24/7. Within a month I think they were all dead, except for the good old cheap to manufacture, low carbon footprint to manufacture, dimmable, yet inefficient filament incandescent bulb.

Lies, damn lies (1)

milosoftware (654147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437183)

They always lie about the amount of radiated light.

Put a 60W incandescent, "equivalent" tube, and "equivalent" LED next to each other. The good old light bulb is clearly brighter than the other two, and the LED is clearly even dimmer than the tube.

How come those manufacturers get away with such obvious errors?

What else is there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29437189)

CFLs contain mercury and I assume that most people just throw them in the trash when their done..either not having a clue they shouldn't be doing it or they just don't care. They consume much much more energy to make than normal bulbs and can emit UV if there are posphor issues.

If LED lighting is soo effiecient why do all bulbs I've ever seen that output any reasonable amount of light come with massive heatsinks? The output spectrum is hollow and the led lighting I've seen looks like crap. LEDs may be effecient but not significantly more so than CFLs.

Until vendors get their act together with a real solution that actually works I will keep buying the old incandescent crap.

I don't like new bulbs (1)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437197)

I don't like new bulbs, no matter what is claimed watts, it still feels like it is too dark in the room.

19 Years at What Brightness? (1)

MassiveForces (991813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29437245)

LEDs die by fading over time, they don't just go kaput. Over the 19 years, the brightness is sure to fade, the question is by how much until they determine that it needs replacing?
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