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Our experiences with LED light bulb replacements

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Just reporting in that I'm still quite happy with my switch-over to LED bulbs.-mouser (October 20, 2015, 05:07 PM)
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Have you noticed any savings in electricity costs?

Well, i haven't paid attention but there can't be much doubt about their being significant savings since i had a 6-12 100w incandescent bulbs on at any given time.
Whether the savings make up for the high up front cost I don't know.

But if you read my first posts you'll see that my main motivation was to decrease the HEAT generation that was contributing to summer overheating, and in that respect I think i can anecdotally report an improvement.

I'd forgotten about this thread.

I saw the title of the thread and got all excited, but nobody has addressed the issue that troubles me. I cannot SEE with these awful replacements.

Where I live, it has been almost impossible to find a 100W incandescent for several years. In any event, I knew the end was coming, and so I started experimenting with different bulbs. NOTHING comes close to the efficiency of the now outlawed lighting I have enjoyed all my life.

My experience with LEDs has been even more disappointing than my experience with CFLs.  Because the little desk lamp in my computer room, with its tiny bulb, puts out such nice bright light, I expected the same from whatever LED I put in my reading lamps. But, no.  I cannot see. I read. I write, I work cross-word puzzles.  I sketch.  I paint my fingernails.  And, what will happen when those big round bulbs that light my bathroom die? How will I see to apply make-up?

I haunt Lowe’s lighting section. They are tired of me, and my questions, and my returns. Packaging may say “Replaces 100W incandescents” but for light output, that just isn’t so. I don’t care about heat. I don’t care about electrical usage. I don't care about life span. I just want illumination.

For my reading lamps, which is what I really care about, 1600 lumens should work, but part of the problem is what Mouser said here: 
3. Spotlight effect.  The LED bulbs are more directional -- which can be especially troublesome for fixtures where the bulb is pointing up.

But I’ve also had noise and flicker from both CFLs and LEDs. Horrible, horrible, and no relief in sight. 

-sazzen (May 23, 2014, 02:56 PM)
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3. Soft White is the only way to go, the cool temp bulbs get annoying very quickly.
-mouser (October 20, 2015, 05:07 PM)
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I'm the opposite - I like cool white. It's easier to read and see with.

Cool white is closer to natural sunlight, while soft white is closer to the light cast by fire.

@sazzen - Grab this piece of software (recommended by @IainB):

Play with it and see how the colour temperature drastically affects your perceptions.

My bet is that you'll fare better with high colour temperature lighting. Look for 5,000K to 6,500K or so. Those should be better for you to see/read/etc.

Incandescent lamps have a high CRI, which means they have a fuller light spectrum. CFLs and LEDs tend to have large gaps in their colour spectrums, and that makes visibility harder.

You'll need to do some research, but check into lamps with higher CRI ratings -- those will likely also help you out better than lower CRI rated lamps. As your minimum, look for lamps with a CRI of 80 or higher. Ideally, you want 100, but consider finding something around 90 as awesome.

Regarding the spotlight effect, LEDs come in a broad range, from 20 to 120+ degrees. Part of that is the lens used for the LED lamp. Bead and SMD lamps have broader dispersion than the 20~30 degrees of "hat" LEDs, though those can also be up to around 45 deg. So, there's a pretty wide range out there -- it depends a lot on the specific device and how it is built.

Here are some sites that get into a lot of detail about lighting:

There's a good amount of science in those to explain why incandescent lighting is better for some purposes.

This page here is absolutely ESSENTIAL reading:

The charts are very informative.

Interesting.  My problem has to do with physical configuration  :(

Have a spider lamp in the living room which uses 40W or 60W bulbs about the size of a golf ball which also has candelabra sockets.  No can find anything in the LED arena which will fit. 

Bed lamps on the headboard have a standard (?) socket, but needs flame-shaped bulbs in order to lift off the glass mantle for replacement.  (Yeah, I know, but even LEDs require replacement after a time - who knows, I might even live that long  :-\.)

Have a couple of desktop LEDs, one (1) clamp-on, one (1) desktop, over two (2) of the compter desks.  Adequate for typing, but inadequate for writing deposit slips or checks.

Biggest problem so far, however, is finding a functional chart - yes, I've searched - that equates watts to lumens.  I'll get an LED home that I think will work, but the light output is inadequate.  Colour balance is part of that problem, yet not the whole problem.  The directional issue is something I can deal with, for the most part, considering the nature of my ceiling fixtures (recessed, glassed over), but so far CFLs work reasonably well there.

By and large, my biggest issue with LEDs is equating light output 'tween watts and lumens.  Well, that and the fact that I've spent over a couple of hundred dollars experimenting - that's a pretty large expenditure for light source experiments that don't involve a nuclear reactor  :-\ :P.

Haven't had time yet to check those links, but as soon as we're through with the sailboats (annual maintenance, helping a friend who has a sailing school here), I'll check 'em out.

Lumens measure light output and Watts measure energy input.  They are two different things altogether.

When you see an LED bulb listed as "60 Watts equivalent" that means that it puts out light equivalent to the light put out by a 60 Watt incandescent bulb, but that's rather imprecise.  Different bulbs can put out different amounts of light for the same amount of energy. Many manufacturers list light output in Lumens on their packaging, which is the most reliable measure to judge by, but perceived brightness depends on many other factors like light temperature (higher temperatures equate to cooler light which is brighter to the human eye) and color rendition index (CRI).

A very quick rule of thumb is that LED (and CFL) bulbs produce 4 times as much light as a tungsten incandescent bulb using the same amount of electricity, but that can vary quite a bit.  Here's a Watts to Lumens calculator, but it's only as accurate as the efficiency of the individual bulb, which as noted above, can be highly variable between manufacturers and product lines.

As for candelabra base (E12) and flame shaped standard base (E26) bulbs, I had a hard time finding them a year ago, but no more - there are now many choices available.  Searching for candelabra base LED bulbs on Amazon will bring up dozens, and they seem to be readily available at my local Home Depot and Walmart too.  You can also get inexpensive E12 to E26 converters to use standard base LED bulbs in candelabra sockets.


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