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Toshiba Ends Incandescent Bulb Production After 120 Years

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the bright-ideas dept.

Power 430

angry tapir writes "Toshiba has stopped production of mass-market incandescent light bulbs, putting an end to a 120-year manufacturing history of the products. The company, which is one of Japan's largest makers of lighting products, had planned to halt production next year but brought up the date by a year. It will now focus on more energy efficient products, including LED (light-emitting diode) lights, which contain a handful of white LEDs and draw a fraction of the power of incandescent bulbs."

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so long... (5, Insightful)

eexaa (1252378) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507600)

....and thanks for all the friendly warm light.

Re:so long... (5, Informative)

BeardedChimp (1416531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507864)

And now for the entirely predictable posts claiming low power lighting causes cancer, are crap, and cause global warming...

The first argument goes the mercury in CFLs is going to kill us. This argument comes up and is destroyed every time. It will suffice to say there is little mercury, isn't that dangerous and burning coal puts out a lot more.

Then we attack the lights. They are crap, taking too long to turn on, not being bright enough and so forth. Arguments that might have been true 10 years ago but have been entirely overcome unless you insist on buying the cheapest pos you can find.

I titter when I hear that because incandescent bulbs warm your house it means you don't need as much heating so you are saving energy and helping the environment! This argument is so weak all I'll say is heating in summer?

Then there is people claiming that CFLs give them headaches, if I had more time I'd point out the studies where people are shown to have similar sensitivity as those who sense EM fields.

This time instead of continuing to spout discredited crap, do a bit of research.

Re:so long... (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508074)

How about this: the color of the light emitted by CFLs and LEDs is ugly, and sometimes even hard on the eyes (especially with LEDs).

For me, this is reason enough to stick with incandescent bulbs for the places I spend most of my time.

If you consider my above statements to be "crap" then you shouldn't have skipped class on the day they talked about the light spectrum. The spectrum emitted unquestionably differs between lighting technologies.

Re:so long... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508146)

Agreed, even high quality CFLs gives off harsh light, and LEDs are even worse.

Re:so long... (4, Informative)

Algan (20532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508246)

Get CFLs that provide light with a color temperature of 2700K. That's approximately the color temperature of an incandescent bulb, and, to my untrained eyes, the color seems identical.

Make sure you look for 2700K on the package. "Soft, warm white" might be 3000K, and you will notice the difference.

Re:so long... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508262)

Now that most of the European Union has effectively outlawed incadescents and replaced them with CFLs, has the EU power demand dropped?

Nope.

Giant. Waste. Of. Legislators' Time. It would have made more sense for them to mandate all homes meet PassivHaus standards, such that heating/cooling is virtually nothing. Figure 66% less heating/cooling energy use per home, or about 2000 kWh for my house, equals $180 saved each month.

have you checked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508380)

"Now that most of the European Union has effectively outlawed incadescents and replaced them with CFLs, has the EU power demand dropped?

Nope."

Two problems:

1) If they've only just made them illegal, then there are still mostly incandescents out there at the moment
2) Have you even checked?

Re:so long... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508402)

Now that most of the European Union has effectively outlawed incadescents and replaced them with CFLs, has the EU power demand dropped?

Nope.

They aren't outlawing existing incandescents, and I don't know about you, but in my house the (few remaining) incandescent bulbs didn't all suddenly die when the supposed ruling on sales of lighting changed. Did you consider that perhaps it might take a little bit of time for this to have an effect?

Re:so long... (3, Funny)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508364)

You claim a:
(X) medical ( ) economic ( ) environmental (X) aesthetic
issue with CFL or LED-produced light. Your view is incorrect and/or irrelevant, here's why:

( ) Double-blind tests have proved people don't notice the difference anyway
(X) There is no evidence that CFL or LED light causes headaches
(X) The bulbs are available with different colour temperatures
( ) Modern CFLs attain full brightness very quickly
( ) LED bulbs attain full brightness instantly
( ) You are basing your argument on a 50-cent bulb bought at a discount store.
( ) Producing the extra electricity required to use an incandescent bulb releases more mercury into the atmosphere than is in a CFL
( ) Your oil/gas central heating is more efficient than using lights to heat your house
( ) You have to cool your house using inefficient air conditioning for most of the year
( ) The savings are negligible, compared to other efficiency gains that could be made
( ) As demand increases new bulbs will reduce in price

Re:so long... (2, Interesting)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508450)

I'm not going to take sides, but you CAN buy CFLs in different color temperatures. Incadescent bulbs put out light at around 2500k or so, and you can get CFLs that range from about that all the way up to nearly 10000k, which borders on actinic (12000k).

Myself, I use different "colors" and strengths of CFLs depending on the area of my house and what's going on. examples:

garage - very bright, very harsh lighting: 150w CFL floods with no diffusers running at either 8500k or 9500k, can't remember. cold, blueish light. too bright to look straight at
kitchen - warm, diffuse light: 50w CFL diffused globes running at 4500k. faintly yellow and pleasant
bathroom where wife does makeup - golden light, intended to mimic sunlight: 75w CFL naked coils running at 3000k. yellow and fairly bright.

Re:so long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508076)

You knocked down not one, but FOUR straw men! You're my hero.

Re:so long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508104)

heating in summer - depends where you live - up here in the very north of europe we have our heating on all the time.

Still trying CFLs though but they never last anywhere near as claimed. I have a huge bag full of those waiting for a safe place to dispose of them and they were certainly no where near the cheapest. My only other gripe is the coldness of the light - I would much prefer something closer to halogen.

Course that's just my experience.

Re:so long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508162)

So what increased the demand, if not CFL's, for mercury; to the point where China reopened all those mercury mining operations? Mining operations that pump huge amounts of waste mercury straight into the rivers and out into the sea.

Sure they should have better, and enforced, environmental regulations; but there is more to the mercury story than just the tiny amount in any given bulb.

Re:so long... (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508164)

>>>unless you insist on buying the cheapest POS you can find.

I have Philips bulbs. I timed my 60watt-equivalent (13 watt actual) and it took 4 minutes to reach full brightness. And no it wasn't just a bad set, because identical bulbs I bought a year later still exhibited the same behavior.

I was not aware Philips make crap products?

And then there's the expense. Why should I spend $3.50 per bulb when I can get an incandescent for around 25 cents. And the incandescents have not been stagnate. New laser-carved filments inside old incandescents can produce the same brightness as a 60 watt, but only use 40 watts.

So CFL v. old bulb == savings of about 25 watts * 1 hours a day (typical) * 30 days == 3 kWh saved off my 3000 kWh bill. Wow. Times 9 cents per kwH == 27 cents. Holy crap. Now I can buy one-third of a twinkie!

POINT:

Shouldn't our priorities be focused on more energy-expensive things like heating/cooling? If all new home standards were increased to "PassivHaus" standards, which bring heat/cooling to almost nothing, we'd save HUGE amount of energy.

I tried the whole CFL deal.
For fifteen years.
And now I'm switching back

Incandescents are the better technology due to simplicity (it's a resistor), cheapness (even poor people can afford them), ease-of-disposal (no need to empty the room like EPA recommends), cleanness (not reactive power), and does not interfere with radio waves (like radio, tv, wifi, et cetera). After fifteen years of testing CFLs, I've concluded they are inferior.

Re:so long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508316)

> Now I can buy one-third of a twinkie!

A twinkie cost $1? I thought there were two in a pack (hence the name twinkies).

You can buy 2/3 of a twinkie; or is that a onekie?

Hmm Is a box of 10 called tenkies? Maybe deckies?

Re:so long... (1)

b06r011 (763282) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508218)

Wow... take it easy. For what it is worth, i really like some of the low-energy bulbs. I can move my angle poise lamp without burning my hand now. But I'll still be sad to see the end of incandescent bulbs. After all, what am i going to do with my Lava Lamp?

Re:so long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508228)

And now for the entirely predictable posts claiming low power lighting causes cancer, are crap, and cause global warming...

The first argument goes the mercury in CFLs is going to kill us. This argument comes up and is destroyed every time. It will suffice to say there is little mercury, isn't that dangerous and burning coal puts out a lot more.

Then we attack the lights. They are crap, taking too long to turn on, not being bright enough and so forth. Arguments that might have been true 10 years ago but have been entirely overcome unless you insist on buying the cheapest pos you can find.

I titter when I hear that because incandescent bulbs warm your house it means you don't need as much heating so you are saving energy and helping the environment!
This argument is so weak all I'll say is heating in summer?

Then there is people claiming that CFLs give them headaches, if I had more time I'd point out the studies where people are shown to have similar sensitivity as those who sense EM fields.

This time instead of continuing to spout discredited crap, do a bit of research.

well my problem is i can't read /. under CFL lighting. i've never heard of anyone successfully debunk that

Re:so long... (1, Troll)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508294)

And now for the entirely predictable posts claiming low power lighting causes cancer, are crap, and cause global warming...

CFLs are largely crap.

Then we attack the lights. They are crap, taking too long to turn on, not being bright enough and so forth. Arguments that might have been true 10 years ago but have been entirely overcome unless you insist on buying the cheapest pos you can find.

They do take too long to turn on, the quality of light still sucks, and many of them still have noticable flicker and buzz. The passage of time has not decreased these arguments; that's just marketing. Put the same old crap in new packaging and claim the new stuff doesn't have any of the problems of the old stuff.

Oh, yeah, and they largely don't live up to their lifetime claims, which throws the whole cost and energy argument into doubt.

Then there is people claiming that CFLs give them headaches, if I had more time I'd point out the studies where people are shown to have similar sensitivity as those who sense EM fields.

I can sense the EM fields coming out of a CFL; if I couldn't, they'd be useless. Headaches caused by flicker (and yes, some of them DO flicker) aren't in the same category as headaches caused by wifi.

Re:so long... (4, Informative)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508304)

Then there is people claiming that CFLs give them headaches, if I had more time I'd point out the studies where people are shown to have similar sensitivity as those who sense EM fields.

While I don't get headaches directly from CFLs, if I do have one, I typically find that some CFLs will make it worse (When I get a headache, I'm typically very sensitive to light. The fact that some bulbs make it worse than others leads me to believe there may be something about sensitivity to certain light frequencies) The difference, is that it's only SOME CFLs that cause it... The light output varies from model to model, and while I wouldn't avoid CFLs because of it, I may avoid certain models... EM sensitivity I think is largely psychological, but I do think that light sensitivity is a very real effect (But definitely does have some psychological effect)...

As for the mercury argument, it only plays if you break a bulb. Sure, coal may put out more, but what's the average effect on each person with coal? I'd bet it's less than if you broke a bulb (and were directly exposed to the mercury). However with that said is the amount that's contained in a CFL dangerous? Is it beyond the LEL? The amount of mercury in a typical CFL is around 4mg (http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls_mercury [energystar.gov] )... Based on the MSDS http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/M1599.htm [jtbaker.com] , that amount is WELL above the airborne exposure limits (40 times the OSHA upper limit). So the dangers of mercury are real, but the flip side of that argument is how many bulbs are broken? If you have a habit of breaking them, then perhaps it's a real concern. If you've never broken a bulb in your life, perhaps it doesn't concern you (Since exposure one time isn't nearly as bad as a repeated exposure)... But to say that it isn't dangerous is extremely short sighted and blatently ignoring the facts. Sure it's not a mitigate-able danger (just don't break the bulb), but it still exists...

This time instead of continuing to spout discredited crap, do a bit of research.

Ummm... No comment...

Re:so long... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508328)

Then there is people claiming that CFLs give them headaches, if I had more time I'd point out the studies where people are shown to have similar sensitivity as those who sense EM fields.

I'm very sensitive to the placebo effect, you insensitive clod! Now I'm going to have to replace all my bulbs AGAIN in addition to making a new tinfoil hat!

Re:so long... (1)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508384)

A few thoughts.

I have tried three or four different brands of CFL's. All of them take longer to turn on than an incandescent. Some of them are still usable. However... with incandescents, I can buy whatever cheapass brand I want, and they still work. I now have several packages of generally useless light bulbs that combined cost me $30 to find out that they suck. Moreover, I have to remember which brands do and do not suck, and no, just buying the expensive ones doesn't cut it. This is a lot of annoyance for something as simple as a light bulb.

The argument about heating during the winter is weak? Not everyone lives in California. I spend $1,000 in propane every winter. I spend zero dollars on air conditioning during the summer. Any excess heat put out during the winter is definitely going to work. Central Ohio isn't exactly the frozen tundra, either. I'm working on improving insulation in my house for the winter, but that's not going to make me suddenly grow a giant air conditioning bill. Now, the excess heat shouldn't be as cost-effective as the propane, but it's not waste inherently.

Finally, a point that no one seems to mention - what about all of the legacy light fixtures that CFL's don't fit in? I tried three different CFL bulbs and none of them fit in my garage opener. The same holds for three or four other fixtures in the house, as well as several of our lamps. Time to buy all new fixtures for the house and install them just to save a $3 a year in energy costs?

Look, I use CFL's in a lot of places in my house. In some spaces I really like that they don't burn out as often, or that they don't put off as much heat. In some use cases it doesn't matter that if you pick a random one off the shelf at a hardware store there's a 50% chance it's not going to turn on before you've already walked across the room. But they aren't a unilateral improvement over incandescents, and it'd be nice if people stopped pretending that they were.

Re:so long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508412)

Replaced all the light bulbs in my home last year, the power bill went down by a lot, and now I have white light, that is far easier on the eyes for me than the yellow one from incandescent light bulbs.

Re:so long... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508426)

in case you're wondering, the first 2 arguments are not surprising. The rest are beyond outlandish.

The mercury in the CFL isn't going to kill us, but I think it's something easy for people to have irrational concern over. Really, people probably think "mercury = bad", and then drop it at that. That part wouldn't even be unfounded, even if the amount in a CFL is ridiculously small.

The second issue is also a concern - I don't have a factual basis but when comparing 60 watt incandescents to 40 watt LED's, there definitely seems to be a huge difference in the lighting of a room. I do understand that technically, the LED's should be more efficient with significantly more lumens, but maybe someone else with an actual science background might be able to explain why better than I can. I'm sure it could have been the specific set of LED's I purchased but the difference was huge for equal wattage.

Meanwhile, I'm talking about LED even. they should be *brighter* than CFR's.

Re:so long... (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508072)

"There's your answer, fishbulb"

Hmmm... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508230)

Normally I'd just point out that CFLs are now available even from non-specialized retailers in a wide variety of color temperatures, so you can easily replicate the dingy yellow tinge of an incandescent if you prefer it, and I wouldn't bother to wonder why you prefer it.

But this is Slashdot, so I don't need to wonder, do I?

GO OUTSIDE

I know, there appears to be a giant hovering thermonuclear explosion hovering terrifyingly in the air. But, I promise, it won't hurt you. Just don't stand under it unprotected for more than a few hours straight, and don't stare directly at it. Look instead at the things around you which it has brightened. Notice the white (perhaps slightly bluish to your eyes) colors? That's the result of the object that non-geeks call the Sun, which puts out non-yellow light and which was actually responsible for most visible light for most of human history. Now look into places which the sun doesn't directly brighten, what we call the shade. You see the colors there, even more dramatically blue? Those are lit by what is called the sky - the thing above you that looks kind of like a far-away blue ceiling.

I know, this non-yellow light may be associated with some sort of pain for you - perhaps outside is where you remember failing at sports, or being teased, or being assaulted or shunned as a small child? I feel for you, but remember: it's not the light's fault. This strange, bluish outside light is actually just as friendly as the glowing tungsten wires of mother's basement. Your eyes may even have already started to adjust, so that this light looks as normal to you do as it does to normal humans. Go on back inside for now, that's enough for one day, just remember what you've learned: real light can be friendly too.

Maybe I never noticed... (3, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507606)

...but are Toshiba bulbs available over here in America, possibly under a different name? I don't recall ever seeing Toshiba-branded light bulbs on shelves here...

Re:Maybe I never noticed... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31507792)

Dumb.
LEDS have a smaller visual spectrum = inferior. Light bulbs are hot because they are throwing out light in all spectrum ranges - and heat. Ask a doctor, dentist or surgeon - nope real lights for them.
If you live in North Dakota or London, heat in the middle of winter is not wasted, and a plasma in the middle of winter also a good idea.

I'd like to see a smaller tuned conventional light, supplemented by leds. A good idea, as they 'blow'. All led ones will hang around, meaning the factories will hit a wall in the future.

Re:Maybe I never noticed... (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508034)

The supposed longevity of led lights is highly overrated. By law, traffic signals have been switching over to LED for a few years around here. within months of installation you can see random gaps in the face of the light as individual LEDs fail. In many cases more than half the LEDs in those lights have failed.

Re:Maybe I never noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508274)

I doubt it's the LEDs themselves, but the shoddy soldering job on the board they are attached too, given that the stop lights are in all sorts of weather conditions, natural, and man made (busses and trucks going by) let alone vibrations from from all sorts of sources, like vehicles rushing by, you may no think they are much, but look at the design of a standard stop light pole, Big pole sticking out of the ground with a giant arm hanging out 1/2 way a crossed the street, that had to be an amp for that.

Re:Maybe I never noticed... (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508338)

The LEDs are probably wired in series strings. If one fails open, the entire string fails. If one fails short, the rest are subject to more current and are more likely to fail.

This isn't a problem with LEDs, it's a problem with bad circuit design.

Re:Maybe I never noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508126)

LEDs are commonly used in Coal mining operations and other areas because they produce little or not heat. Igniting coal dust would suck in a coal mine. Also, LEDs are quite different than a few years ago. Check out Rigid Industries and their LED bars. They make some exceptional offroad lighting which offer nice driving beams patterns. Not intended for road use, but with the right beam shape I am sure its possible. I would have to search, but I am even sure I saw an Infinity car at a car show with LED driving lights (something like $2k per headlight). But cant search for that and get back to work at the same time.

Re:Maybe I never noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508144)

Where to even begin...

Incandescents are not hot because they are throwing out light in all spectrum ranges. They are hot because the filament needs to be heated sufficiently for the blackbody radiation to emit sufficiently in the visible wavelengths. In fact, *hotter* incandescents are *more efficient* at producing visible light. That's why a halogen bulb is moderately more efficient than a "normal" bulb.

Sure, waste heat isn't a total loss if you're heating the building (assuming the light is used indoors.) But even then, that's electric heating, which is a pretty piss poor way of heating. And in hot environments where you are cooling the building, that waste heat counts double as the AC has to work harder to remove it.

I have no idea what your last sentence even means, so I can't refute it. Good job.

Re:Maybe I never noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508036)

I don't think I've ever seen them in Japan either, if only because I can't remember the last time I saw household incandescent lighting in Japan. They've been using florescents pretty much exclusively for at least 15 years (not because the Japanese are such great environmental paragons, but because electricity is far more expensive there.)

Re:Maybe I never noticed... (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508084)

Maybe its because they aren't worth the cost of shipping. I'd imagine standard incandescents are less dense than packing peanuts, and likely have one of the lowest $/sq ft values in shipping. I think all the ones I've seen and used are definitely GE.

Re:Maybe I never noticed... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508136)

The commercial units of the major bulb brands (Philips, GE, Sylvania) sometimes cross-purchase and rebrand bulbs for retail sale. I would not be surprised if rebranded Toshiba bulbs were available under another name in the US.

We (Philips) have written down our incandescent production assets and we're preparing to write down most of the halogen assets as well. Incandescents are not permitted for retail sale in most of the western world now, and halogens are about to be phased out in Europe. Halogena will stick around for a while because it passes the US efficiency standards, but we've been moving toward all LED for a while. The business is moving from production to luminaires (installation and design, computerized light management and efficiency systems). It's kind of funny because that's basically our original international business (the first international contract for Philips was lighting a museum in Russia). You should see some of the cool shit that Philips Color Kinetics is doing these days, and we've been buying up smaller "boutique" luminaires businesses lately.

Another possibility is "fashion" lighting with replaceable light components. There are models for a continued lighting business in the absence of bulb production. The reality is that bulb production has become even more commoditized over the last ten years or so than it was. Incandescents were moved to Mexico, then to China, and the same has happened with CFL. TL might be next (we still have TL production in the US, but we also have it in China). Halogen/HID could be the last man standing.

You can argue about the quality of the jobs in the production vs the luminaires business, but the reality is that the production jobs have been centered in less-developed parts of the country, often rural, with a less-educated workforce (the original "offshoring"). The luminares jobs require more education and are primarily centered in urban areas (the jobs are located near the customers). It's a major change for us.

Break over, back to the real job.

Flashlights (2, Interesting)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507620)

I love my LED flashlights. I was a fan of Maglights, but the stupid bulbs would break. My five LED flashlights last a lot longer and I have yet to break and LED. Plus they put out more light than incandescent bulbs while using the same amount of battery charge.

Re:Flashlights (4, Informative)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507652)

Mag makes LED torches too

Re:Flashlights (2, Informative)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507720)

indeed, I have one that's already 3 years old. Still working fine. 10+ Hours of light with 1 set of batteries.

Re:Flashlights (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508102)

3 years is nothing for a flashlight. but a 3 year old fleshlight would be a different story :)

Re:Flashlights (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507804)

A perfect example of how Mag hasn't done any innovation or design work since the creation of their original lights.

How the FUCK can you have a gigantic chunk of aluminum and fuck up your thermal management so badly that your emitter/power supply circuitry overheats!

http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=119665&highlight=mag-led [candlepowerforums.com]

Re:Flashlights (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507808)

I tried Mag LED lights, but I couldn't find one that was as bright as even the cheapest off-brand out there. They used to be among the best, but I think they've stagnated in their development and now they're trying to play catch-up. The Rayovac Energizer Sportsman Extreme series is my new favorite. The 4W, 3-C cell light is $18 at Meijer and pumps out 150 lumens. Even their mini lights put out 55 lumens. There isn't a Maglight out there that comes even close.

Re:Flashlights (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507772)

I love my LED flashlights. I was a fan of Maglights, but the stupid bulbs would break.

You can have both: http://www.maglite.com/AA_Cell_LED.asp [maglite.com] There's even conversion kits that you can use to upgrade your old ones.

 

Re:Flashlights (1)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507778)

They appear brighter when you look at them, but the light doesn't carry nearly as far. I have NEVER seen an LED flashlight that can shine as far as a Maglight. Plus I just like the feel of a steel maglight with 6 D-Cell batteries.

Re:Flashlights (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507882)

They appear brighter when you look at them, but the light doesn't carry nearly as far. I have NEVER seen an LED flashlight that can shine as far as a Maglight. Plus I just like the feel of a steel maglight with 6 D-Cell batteries.

Go try the Rayovacs I mentioned a couple of posts up. You can set trees on fire from 100 yards with those things!

Re:Flashlights (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508030)

They appear brighter when you look at them, but the light doesn't carry nearly as far. I have NEVER seen an LED flashlight that can shine as far as a Maglight. Plus I just like the feel of a steel maglight with 6 D-Cell batteries.

My bike lights are LED. The best thing is I use them for about half an hour every day and only need to replace the 4 AA batteries every six months or so. Older people tell me you used to have to carry round spare batteries and bulbs in case the light failed.

Having said that, I only cycle in a well-lit city -- mostly my lights are to be seen, rather than to see by. If I was cycling in the countryside I'd want something brighter, and that'd probably mean a halogen light and regular recharging of the battery pack.

Re:Flashlights (2, Interesting)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508170)

>mostly my lights are to be seen

Get two, and space them horizontally. The reason cyclists (and motorcyclists) get run over is because they are one-dimensional objects.

I've seen avid cyclists with orange jackets and flashing lights all over the place, but as long as you're 1-D, the driver's eye will not be able to perform depth-perception on you.

Imagine how many motorcycle accidents could be prevented with TWO headlights (and tail lights). Mass stupidity makes me cringe, especially when the fix is 0.2% of the cost of the bike. But hey, my LOUD pipes will save me...not.

Re:Flashlights (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508044)

Streamlight survivor. I have one on my turnout gear. Plus, it has a low-power mode and a flasher mode (good for getting attention).

Buggy Whips? (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507630)

Are they still making buggy whips?

Re:Buggy Whips? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31507774)

Are they still making buggy whips?

Because you no longer live in a world where you need artificial illumination of some kind???

Re:Buggy Whips? (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507966)

Yeah, but people don't use them for the original intended purpose, so the company doesn't really talk about it. Hitachi is in the same boat.

Better to burn our than to fade away (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507632)

At least they'll be able to trash their remaining stock without getting mercury all over the goddamn place.

Re:Better to burn our than to fade away (2, Insightful)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507830)

And that way their remaining stock wont be used to produce extra mercury from coal burning power plants!

Go, go LED (4, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507634)

Excellent! Glad to see that they're moving into LED lighting; I love LED lights. I've been testing out several of the early model LED lights in my house, and they have been working great-- low power requirement, long life. And the technology has been getting better very rapidly.

(And, unlike incandescent and CFLs, they're not particularly fragile).

Re:Go, go LED (1)

cryoman23 (1646557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507688)

ya i always wonderered since the move to fluorescent why they didn't go with LEDs because i for one don't like the idea of something fragile containing mercury...

Re:Go, go LED (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508086)

There's more mercury in a can of tuna.

(Apparently.)

Re:Go, go LED (1)

cryoman23 (1646557) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508174)

wow didn't know that... good thing i don't like tuna :)

Re:Go, go LED (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508408)

CFL are a lot cheaper, and are easily cost justified.

LEDs are extremely efficient, and can be built extremely durable, and lack the mercury vapor issues of a CFL, but until recently a single 60W-equivalent lightbulb might set you back $75 or more compared to $2-3 for a CFL or a less than a buck for an incandescent.

So, from a cost perspective, CFLs are clearly cheaper over their lifespan than an incandescent. They cost an 4-5 times what an incandescent does, but they last a lot longer and they draw something in the vicinity of 10% of the incandescent's power. Even the cheapest of cheapskates can justify a CFL conversion for frequently-used fixtures, because they pay for themselves in a big hurry. I kept all my old incandescent bulbs and I install them in fixtures I rarely use (makes more sense than throwing them out, and since the fixtures are rarely used I wouldn't be saving much power anyway).

LEDs have come down, but a 60-watt equivalent can still cost $50-60, over ten times what even a CFL does, and only reduce the power draw by about half compared to CFL. Most LED bulbs I've seen have been in the 25-30W equivalent range and still cost over ten bucks.

Between the garage, the basement, etc, I have about 20 light fixtures in my house. If I did a complete CFL conversion, I would expect to pay about $50-75 and probably save about $5 a month on my electric bill, so overall they'd pay for themselves in about a year, give or take. CFLs last about 5 years, so I get 4 years of pure savings. Assuming I had to replace each bulb about once every 5 years, in 20 years I'd have an average of 16 years of savings. That was easy for me to justify (though I didn't do a complete conversion - as I said before rarely used bulbs are still incandescent because it made no sense to convert them, plus I have a few dimming fixtures that need incandescent).

If I did a complete LED conversion, I could expect to pay somewhere in the vicinity of $1000-1200 and are marginally more efficient than CFLs so I'd probably save about $7 a month on my electric bill over incandescent. That means it would take almost 12 years for the LEDs to pay for themselves in energy savings. LEDs last about 20 years, supposedly, so I'd enjoy 8 years of savings. Even if I only converted the most-used bulbs I'd still be looking at an outlay in the $700 range and it would take 8 years to pay that back in energy savings.

LED is far, far better than incandescent in terms of long-term costs. However, CFL beats them quite handily and requires a lot less of a cash outlay today.

When 60-100W equivalent LEDs get down to $10 a bulb, they'll be worth the premium over CFL. Not at $60, or really even $20.

Re:Go, go LED (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507736)

Are they making dimmable LED lights yet?
Last time I looked nobody was.
I ended up making my own by using arrays of LEDs.

Re:Go, go LED (2, Informative)

Mashdar (876825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507898)

There has been dimmable LED lighting for years. Good luck finding quality LED fixtures for under $400, though.

Re:Go, go LED (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508278)

Philips A60 Master LED is dimmable. Might be 230v only though

Re:Go, go LED (1)

homey1337 (1656791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507928)

(And, unlike incandescent and CFLs, they're not particularly fragile).

Amen to that; I dropped two LED lights from 7ft onto a concrete floor and they bounced... and then worked.

Re:Go, go LED (1)

Mashdar (876825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507952)

LED is a bunch of hype with very few advantages over fluorescents. They are not much more efficient, and while they have advantages if you have extremely tight beam requirements (ie for LEED outdoor purposes), they cost so much more than fluorescents that no one with a normal budget should even be considering. The best trait of LEDs is how small they are, which is not usefull in typical home and office lighting (but is for task lighting, flashlights, etc). LED is a very powerful world in today's faux-green marketplace, so the LEDs-are-great myth will live on.

There is a reason why LED lighting products are always compared to incandescent for ROI purposes. LED to CFL is not impressive at all. Maybe a 30 year ROI for the same lumens output. And if you try to go the cheap LED route, they will not be properly heat-sinked and you will end up with very dim LEDs in no time.

Re:Go, go LED (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508270)

Wow you're right, efficiency of LED's and CFL's is roughly the same. That sucks, I thought LED's were better.

However, LED's are improving exponentially (like Moore's law), so if that continues, we could be in for a treat. Source: Wikipedia.

Re:Go, go LED (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508432)

If you have dimmers, then CFL's are a no go. The "dimmable" CFL's go from about 80% - 100%, which sucks. LED's are wonderful in a dimmer. I've tested one, and loved it, but it was $120 for one that fit in my recessed can light, and I have about 12 of those recessed can lights in my house. I'll have to wait till they really drop in price!

Re:Go, go LED (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508070)

I love LED lighting too... when I get good quality bulbs. Currently, LEDs suffer from the same problems as the early CFL lights. There are good and bad LED lights on the market, but I've found that buying the more expensive ones or even the better brands is by no means a guarantee of getting a good one. Right now I will not buy any LED light unless it's a known good one, i.e. I have seen it in action.

The most common problems that persist in many of the LED bulbs on the market are:
- Less bright than advertised
- "warm" LED light is actually a horrible yellow/green tint
- "white" LED light is an awful cold blue tint.

Re:Go, go LED (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508082)

I bought some 1.5W LED lights a couple of years ago to replace some 50W halogen lights. They weren't as bright, had a narrower "spot", but they were whiter (which some people don't like). They're also noticeably dimmer now compared to when they were new -- I'm sure they'll last the 10000 hours (or whatever), but probably at only 25% of their original brightness. I still use them in my bedroom (where I don't need much light) but I've taken them out of the kitchen.

Conclusion: spend more than £2 per bulb next time.
(The halogen bulbs they replaced were about £1.)

Famous phrase.... (2, Funny)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507646)

Kids in 2082 studying history:


Teacher: And in 1960, it was John Kennedy who said 'It is better to light a LED than to curse the darkness....'"

Efficiency (3, Insightful)

wh1pp3t (1286918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507662)

It will now focus on more energy efficient products, including LED (light-emitting diode) lights, which contain a handful of white LEDs and draw a fraction of the power of incandescent bulbs.

That use much more power and materials to manufacture than incandescent bulbs.

I just love corporations using global stewardship to cover up apparent profit motives.
/sarcasm

Re:Efficiency (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31507750)

And cost 50 times as much! I happen to love incandescent bulbs and can buy a four pack for around $1. Home depot is selling LED bulbs and the cheapest one is $49.95! How many decades of use will that take to pay for itself?

Re:Efficiency (1)

bluesatin (1350681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507844)

Don't forget the price of convenience, changing a bulb can be incredibly annoying when they're in an awkward location or housing.

Re:Efficiency (2, Funny)

Scutter (18425) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507900)

Don't forget the price of convenience, changing a bulb can be incredibly annoying when they're in an awkward location or housing.

That's why I never step it up to Red Alert.

Re:Efficiency (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507924)

CFLs were double-digit expensive in the '90s too. Now I can get a 4-pack at Home Depot for $1.67 (albeit subsidized by the power company to the tune of $4 or so).

Re:Efficiency (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508220)

Come on, this is Slashdot! Using Google for a few minutes you get you the answer?

A 13 W LED produces the same amount of light as a 40W incandescent bulb. According to studies, LEDs have an expected lifespan of roughly 50 times that of an incandescent bulb (1000 hours), albeit with reduced efficiency. Apparently the US Department of energy uses a factor of 25. (sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Led#Sustainable_lighting and http://www.ehow.com/facts_5551995_incandescent-vs-led-power-consumption.html) so lets go with 25000 hours for a 13 W LED to be conservative.

So your LED will last at least 25 times as long and use a third of the electricity.

You will need to factor in your local electricity costs, but using an average of 12c/kWh (source http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/cost.html), you will save 0.027(kW)*25000(hours)*12(c/kWh) 8100 cents over the lifetime of the LED. Add to that the fact that you would have bought $25 dollars worth of bulbs in that period as well, you will have been $56 better off over the lifetime of the LED. This of course does not include any environmental costs saved by the two thirds reduction in energy requirements or incurred by the higher production costs of the LED.

And to try to answer your question directly: taking 3.4 hours a day average light use (just picking a number here, fill in your own if you want) means you save 3.4(h/day)*0.027(kW)*12(c/kWh) = 1.1 cents a day. That means you earn back the extra $49 in a bit over 12 years. This does not factor in the fact that your normal bulbs will have needed to be replaced several times during that period, adding to the savings, nor the fact that we can pretty much count on electricity getting more expensive over time, not cheaper.

So how many decades? 1.2, using these numbers.

Re:Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508378)

The typical 60W bulb uses 60kWh over its typical lifetime of 1000 power on hours. Assuming a price of $0.15 per kWh, that's $10 for the bulb and the electricity to get 1000 hours of light. CFLs produce the same amount of light with one fifth to one fourth of the energy and last 3-10 times as long as incandescent bulbs. Let's assume the worst case: 3000 hours, 15W. That's $7 plus the price of the CFL for 3000 hours of light. You'd need three incandescent bulbs for 3000 hours, so $30. Unless the CFL costs more than $23, the CFL is cheaper, even under worst case assumptions.

LEDs are in the same efficiency ballpark as CFLs, but last even longer. Assume 9000 hours: $21 for the electricity plus $50 for the LED bulb compared to $90 total for nine incandescent bulbs and the electricity they use. Even at the outrageously high price of $50 per bulb, the LED comes out ahead. And you don't need to crank the air conditioning as hard because LEDs don't heat the room, and you don't need to change all your bulbs every few months, and LEDs don't lose their efficiency when dimmed, unlike incandescent bulbs which use almost the same energy when dimmed because they turn into space heaters, and LED fixtures can be built more economically because they don't need to be able to stand as much heat, and...

Re:Efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31507920)

So, LEDs cost more money? Oh well, that means people will have to put in a little overtime at work. Or, I know, perhaps ask their boss if they can work on the weekend. Of course, that means driving to work, which puts pollution in the air. But anything to get non-polluting lightbulbs!

Re:Efficiency (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508006)

Is that power and materials per lightbulb or are the numbers adjusted to account for the fact that fluorescent lights last a heck of a lot longer than incandescent ones?

Re:Efficiency (1, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508258)

That use much more power and materials to manufacture than incandescent bulbs.

Numbers and links to the respective studies, please.

LED (light-emitting diode) (5, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507712)

I think by now you can stop expanding the LED acronym, especially on slashdot. Or are you someone who insists on putting devices for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation on sharks' heads?

Re:LED (light-emitting diode) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508134)

I think by now you can stop expanding the LED acronym, especially on slashdot. Or are you someone who insists on putting devices for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation on sharks' heads?

I do!

I love LED lights (2, Interesting)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507782)

And I've been waiting for the tech to get better and cheaper before switching. I will not use fluorescent lights in my home. My eyes are sensitive and they give me a headache, take too long to reach proper brightness, use mercury, and plus the color is off. I'd have switched to LED light, even with the higher prices, if they actually put out enough lumens. The highest I could find only put out the light equivalent of a 10-40W incandescent. It's fine for like going to the bathroom late at night or reading a book, but for working on anything important (art, fixing things, building things, etc) they are not acceptable. I hope this is a big enough push to get the tech moving along and the prices down.

Re:I love LED lights (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508038)

The color isn't off on the fluorescents, unless you get the 5k ones, which are too blue. The 3500k's are superior to incandescents - very white and bright. The 2700k's are probably about the same as incandescents - yellow.

Re:I love LED lights (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508430)

Yep, love my CFLs. I've found most of the color seems to come from the enclosures instead of the bulbs...

Re:I love LED lights (3, Informative)

Mashdar (876825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508266)

I work in the lighting field and have a few comments:
1)The reason you can't find bright LEDs to go in your A19 fixtures is that they cannot be properly heat-sinked. Shedding heat is really important for LEDs, and requires some very nice heavy duty fixtures to keep the lamps at full output (heat wears the LEDs out faster, and they dim gradually rather than burning out).
2) I refused to use CFLs in my house for years. You should buy several varieties and try them out, though. Some are actually very pleasing now. Sadly the choices for non-standard bulbs are still mostly terrible (I have yet to find a cheap R20 CFL I don't hate). Some of the Fiet lamps are for sale at walgreens for cheap and look pretty good. Seek lamps that say 3500K for the color temperature. (5000k will be very blue, 3000k or less will be reddish)
3) Reading is an activity which ideally should have good lighting. Don't strain your eyes :)

Re:I love LED lights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508336)

I'm amazed how often I see people say that about fluorescent lights in this day and age. Every single one of those "detriments" (except the use of a minute amount of mercury) hasn't been true for quite some time. At least not it good quality bulbs. Too many Americans seem to have been turned off by old technology or just plain cheap crap - my guess is a lot of people go out and buy the cheapest stuff they can and then swear the whole category off when (surprise!) it performs poorly.

Re:I love LED lights (1)

lemur3 (997863) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508410)

...I will not use fluorescent lights in my home. My eyes are sensitive and they give me a headache, take too long to reach proper brightness, use mercury, and plus the color is off. I'd have switched to LED light, even with the higher prices, if they actually put out enough lumens. The highest I could find only put out the light equivalent of a 10-40W incandescent....

Oh, you can see the lights flickering?! Wow that sure is sensitive! (those headaches couldn't be related to over-illumination, improper mixing of color temperatures, of course)

I can only see the 'too long to reach proper brightness' problem rarely being a problem. They take at most 5-10 seconds to reach full output these days, and before that point they provide a large amount of illumination... more than enough for any task you could be engaged in within 5 seconds of turning a light on.

You can get fluorescent bulbs in a giant variety of color temperatures...just like incandescent bulbs. The claim that 'the color is off' is foolish, you just didn't choose the right bulb for your tastes. Research!

LEDs can't be DIMMED Barry White rolling in GRAVE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31507892)

What to do when love is in the air, but all there is are those DAMNED BRIGHT LEDs?

Re:LEDs can't be DIMMED Barry White rolling in GRA (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508422)

You should use HALOGEN light for that purpose, those can be dimmed...

Flicker? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31507916)

Do you feel that flicker is a problem in LEDs? I suppose most of them are driven with PWM to reduce power consumption. Many times I can subconsciously feel the flicker and wonder whether it's healthy for human in long term. After all it's a light blinking on and off very rapidly. The 20kHz is fine for fluorescents but LEDs dim even faster and might require much higher frequency or even pure DC.

Re:Flicker? (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508080)

I can actually see the flicker when I run with an LED headlight: looking at my shoes, I can see about 3-5 impressions of the reflective strips in my retina. That doesn't bother me too much though - I suspect that the frequency is high enough that my eye doesn't try to adjust to it.

One gripe though - my head light makes everything superflat. Not sure if that's a feature of the rapid oscillations, or if that's a feature of every headlamp.

Re:Flicker? (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508208)

Head lamps should be on DC power and should not flicker.

who invented the incandescent light bulb ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31507964)

Clue, it wasn't Thomas Alva Edison ..

Energy saving bulbs and their lack of purpose.. (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508020)

My whole house is fitted with "energy saving lightbulbs". I hate them. Turning them on makes no difference to leaving them off. Whomever invented these pieces of crap should have just sold me an empty box, it saves even more energy, and I dont notice much of a difference. Incandescent bulbs are no longer being sold in the UK AFAIK. If more people feel the way I do I might open a black market trading floor for "old style" bulbs.

Re:Energy saving bulbs and their lack of purpose.. (1)

Mashdar (876825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508314)

You clearly have not been buying the right lamps :)

Re:Energy saving bulbs and their lack of purpose.. (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508344)

>Turning them on makes no difference to leaving them off.

Huh? I tend to leave mine on because they only draw about 11w. And after they warm up, they're brighter.

I don't get "banning" incandescents, though. There are places like bathrooms where you need the instant-on.

Losing the war ... (1)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508026)

Reportedly, Toshiba just couldn't compete with Sony's new "Blu-Bulb" technology.

Toshiba is just following (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508054)

General Electric stopped their product (at least in the US) of incandescent bulbs around a year ago. That story (which was not covered in slashdot as best I can tell) was probably more significant for the slashdot readers in North America - I know I still have quite a few GE incandescent bulbs in my house.

Bad News for Photophiles (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508062)

First they did it with audio, then with video (my beloved CRT just died), now lights (I don't think LED even with "Quantum Dots" can emit a smooth spectrum). I guess I'll just have to splash out on those special-run "tubes" for my lighting.

Do what I do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31508100)

and buy some candles. The flickering may bother some people, though.

Thanks /. (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508184)

I wasn't sure what LED stood for.

They're a good idea, but: (1)

fluffernutter (1411889) | more than 4 years ago | (#31508284)

Maybe it is because I am in Canada but we have spent at least a couple hundred dollars on various bulbs and have yet to find one that is as bright. I just haven't been impressed.. I would estimate the CFLs I have found are about the same as our other fixtures on three-quarters dim. We keep the CFLs in that room anyway, but every time I walk into it and turn the lights on I have to double-check by looking at the fixture that the lights turned on. Also, what has come of the concern that CFLs omit more UV then incandescent bulbs? One of my daughters has an autoimmune disease which makes UV very dangerous for her.
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