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another LED article! March 16, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in LED Lights.
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LED are great for Hula Hoops.. But are they ready for general lighting?

LEDs are great for Hula Hoops.. But are they ready for general lighting?

 

Zoinks! Its me Dr Z! Here’s yet another LED article for today. This one is from the New York Times!

Gadzooks

Dr Z

www.zbulbs.com

 

March 13, 2009, 5:11 pm
General-Purpose LED Lighting: Not Quite Yet
By Azadeh Ensha

Philips’s E27 LED bulb, part of its Master series. Not quite an all-purpose replacement for the incandescent, but getting closer. Unless incandescent bulbs receive a quick upgrade, federal efficiency mandates will begin making them unwelcome on store shelves beginning in 2012.

Currently, the only viable mass-market alternative is the compact fluorescent light bulb — or C.F.L. — which, despite inarguable energy and cost savings over standard bulbs, have struggled with a variety of consumer concerns.

Meanwhile, makers of light-emitting diode, or LED, technology have so far fallen short of their goal to create another alternative to the incandescent, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying — and they appear to be getting closer.

Royal Philips Electronics, for example, recently introduced its new Master LED lamps to European markets. The electronics maker says the Master LED series combines the benefits of other technologies including incandescent, halogen and C.F.L., without any of their disadvantages.

The Master comes in three flavors — all of them marketed primarily as downlighting or accent lighting for hotels, bars and similar applications. Only the E27 bulb is described as being for “general” use.

The advantages of LEDs over C.F.L.s? Well, they don’t contain mercury or emit harmful ultraviolet rays, for starters. LEDs also turn on instantly, rather than requiring a bit of a ramp-up time to full brightness like compact fluorescents. And unlike C.F.L.’s, an LED’s life span is not shortened by being frequently switched on and off.

The time of the general purpose LED has been long promised. As Claudia H. Deutsch wrote two years ago in The New York Times:

Manufacturers are putting a lot of stock in light-emitting diodes — or LEDs. They operate with chips made of nontoxic materials and last for about 50,000 hours, compared with 1,000 hours for an incandescent and 6,000 for a compact fluorescent. … And, they are extremely energy efficient.

Indeed, for its part, Philips claims that its Master LED lamps can last up to 45,000 hours and provide up to 80 percent energy savings compared with standard low-wattage halogen and incandescent spot lamps. So what’s still holding the LED bulb back?

For one thing, there is the cost. Nowadays, a consumer can pick up a C.F.L. for as little as $2. The Philips Master LED is priced significantly higher. A quick search placed it at 30 euros or around $40 on this Web site — though over its lifetime, that could represent significant savings over other bulbs.

The character of the light is also an issue. At the moment, LEDs are better suited for spot and directional lighting, rather than the general-area lighting associated with, say, an incandescent floor lamp. And even innovative LED bulbs like the Master are only designed to replace up to a 40 watt incandescent bulb — or at least that’s roughly the amount of light a consumer might expect to get out of one.

Considering that a general purpose home lamp typically uses 60, 75 or 100 watts, that’s not very powerful.

Still, it’s not entirely fair to compare LEDs and C.F.L.’s — at least not yet. And as Nadarajah Narendran, the director of research at the Lighting Research Center in Troy, N.Y., puts it: “There are technical differences between C.F.L.’s and LEDs, but ultimately it comes down to the manufacturing process and the quality of the finished product. Even within the same technology, all products are not created equal.”

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