Flourecent globes vs incandescent

The greenest watt is the one you don't have to create. Energy efficiency is the low hanging fruit of greening our homes. Ask your questions or post your energy efficiency tips in here!

Re: Flourecent globes vs incandescent

Postby zzsstt » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:09 pm

Benny wrote:Yes zzsstt - SOME CFL's do have a low PF and so account should be made of the extra line losses in their power rating, BUT if you read the specs carefully you can buy CFL's with >0.9 PF. The ECObulbs I bought are 0.93 - see here ...http://www.ecobulb.com/nz/Technical.htm (Sorry if this forum doesn't like such links but its useful info' and I'm not connected with them at all).


Like everything, you can get a good one or a poor one. Unfortunately the legislation that we must all use CFL's did not specify whether they should be designed well or not, nor does the packaging of most brands make any reference to the power factor, nor for that matter would the average buyer have any idea what a power factor was.

Joe Average will go to the local supermarket and buy what is on offer, making the assumptions that

a/ he has to

and

b/ they are all the same but at different prices

In fact we both know that they are far from being all the same. The ECObulbs that you bought may be quite reasonable, but the mainsteam supermarket items are most certainly NOT. [Out of interest, the units I have tested are all sourced from supermarkets, from both the cheapy ranges and the "premium" ones]. I would suggest that 99% of the CFL's sold are very poor, because most people buy from spermarkets, and don't read the labels (not that the labels I have seen have mentioned PF!).
zzsstt
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 1296
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:27 pm

Re: Flourecent globes vs incandescent

Postby Benny » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:16 pm

I agree zzsstt, most people will buy the cheapest they can find - and then complain when they don't last 8000hrs. I also agree that explaining PF to the average person is very hard but I try.
Even if a CFL has 0.5 PF, when its only using 25% of the power of an incandescent, the nett power being used will be far less than the incandescent. The low PF doesn't mean twice as much power has to be generated, just that the current in the line will be higher and so the losses will be higher. Its still reactive power and not real power.

Did you measure the PF on the range of globes you bought ? Were they all 0.5 ?
Benny
Solar Evangelist
Solar Evangelist
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:40 pm

Re: Flourecent globes vs incandescent

Postby zzsstt » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:18 pm

I measured a few, the worst were down at 0.5, the best were very slightly better but none managed to get above the 0.6's. Interestingly the premium brands were no better than the cheapys, the worst globe I measured was a premium brand.

My own experience with CFL's is not good. For no real reason other than experimenting, I bought a lot of CFL's when they first hit the market (a that time with "7 year life" claims). I very carefully did not use them in frequently switched areas - the original ones (must be nearly 15 years ago now!) stated that they were not for use in frequently switched areas like bathrooms, nor in areas where "instant light" was required (the example given was staircase landings, from memory). They were very disappointing, rarely lasting more than a year, but their light output was OK.

Since them I have bought many more. I have tried various brands (from cheap supermarket brands to ultra-premiums), and my opinion has not changed. The globes have changed, however:

1/ I do not remember the original units showing the excessively long warm up times that some now exhibit. I have some premium brand globes that are particularly bad. The trait seems to impact the special shaped globes worst (candles etc.) but I have one particular type of premium brand globe that quite literally takes 2 seconds to produce any light, and then oh_so_slowly fades up to full brightness over the next couple of minutes or so. I am not kidding when I say you have to switch it on and stand and wait 10 seconds before venturing across the room, at which time there is a dull light only just enough to be safe. When fully warmed up the light is quite bright however.

2/ The more recent globes do not tend to "fail" completely and suddenly like the older ones did. Instead they seem to reduce their ouput and end up (after perhaps 18 months) producing a dull yellow glow. This is most noticeable when replacing one globe (due to failure) in a twin globe luminaire. The affect is so noticeable that these days I simply replace both globes at the same time, rather than have bright white next to dull yellow! Nonetheless if a room in daily use (illuminated all evening) is lit to a level comfortable for reading by new CFL's of any brand I have tried, within 18 months there is a requirement to either change the globes or provide supplemental light.

3/ There is now a far greater range of sizes, colours, shapes and power outputs.

4/ The manufacturers claims for ife expectancy have reduced from 7 years to 4 years.

I still think they were more to do with marketing and profit than any geniune overall benefit to the planet.
zzsstt
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 1296
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:27 pm

Re: Flourecent globes vs incandescent

Postby Benny » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:38 pm

Sorry to hear you've had such a bad experience with CFL's zzsstt. I've heard similar stories but also just as many who are very happy with their long life, instant on globes.
Anyway hopefully thats all old hat now. LED's are the future ! I've started replacing my CFL's as they fail with LED's. The first one cost $80 for 5W. Now I have 7 and 13W LED globes for about $40 that are way brighter - they make the first one look very dim but I'm glad to have encouraged the startups to continue development.
Will the LED's live up to 20 000 and even 40 000 hr lifetime predictions ? Who knows.
And there are similar problems with several companies making wild claims about brightness (equivalent to a 50W halogen when they only have 1/3 the lumen output etc). If only everyone had a scientific education and knew enough to challenge these claims.....
At least the LED's will have PF1 ( I think ?) and no toxic mercury residues - most of the globe mass is in the Al heat sink. Sorry to hijack the thread to CFL vs incandescent vs LED.
Benny
Solar Evangelist
Solar Evangelist
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:40 pm

Re: Flourecent globes vs incandescent

Postby zzsstt » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:32 pm

Lighting is an interesting subject indeed. Many people have "positive experiences" with CFL's, but that may be down to the CFL, or the person or the usage. For example, many rooms are massively over-lit. In that situation, a slightly slow startup may not be noticeable, and it is quite possible that a 30% reduction in output over 18 months would be equally unnoticed as the homeowner adjusted to the gradual reduction. What makes the reduced output very noticeable to me is that many of the fittings in my old cottage are dual globe, and when one globe is replaced the imbalance between it and the older one is astounding.

I have tested a couple of the earlier LED's and their light output was quite poor. I must admit that I have not tested the latest versions, hopefully they are better. Unfortunately I have been involved in both marketing and "mean time before failure" calculations, and have learnt not to put too much store in either!

Of course the reality behind all of this is that the absolute worst lightbulb, or tap, or car, or toilet does not in fact consume any resources whatsoever until it is used. A low flow tap? All taps are low flow if we only turn them on a small amount! Yet of course we are encouraged to buy a new tap, car, or toilet on the promise that it will "save the world". Turning lights off when they are not needed, only turning the shower on to half flow and showering quickly, or (as most people on tank water have done for ages) putting a brick or two in the toilet cistern would probably save far more resources, but it doesn't make any money!

Generally, I suspect, buying "eco" products makes money for the supplier, and makes us feel like we are doing the right thing without actually reducing our overall consumption habit. Of course I may be wrong, in which case with all the PV systems being installed and the mandatory use of CFLs, I imagine that we shall see power stations closing down and no further over-demand situations in mid summer.......Any bets?
zzsstt
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 1296
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:27 pm

Re: Flourecent globes vs incandescent

Postby greg c » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:38 pm

We have been using Compact Flouros for the last 20 years. My observations.

1. They don't seem to be as good quality now as they used to be, but then they used to cost $30ea. Buy from a well known manufacturer of Dutch origin and you won't go wrong

2. Obviously the longer they are left on per switch on the longer they last. The lamp in the outside light which is an 11watt with separate iron ballast holds the record and lasted 19 years, being left on for many hours in the night waiting for teenage children to return. The shortest life is the one in the toilet, lasting about 2-3 years.

3. I have several twin 9 watt units/iron ballast where I had to convert light fittings in the early days. These seem to be longer lived than the all in one electronic type, but I have no figures to prove it. It is nice to just replace the lamp and re-use the other equipment. These days with electronic ballasts getting cheaper they would have those and have the higher efficiency.

4. The mercury issue is a no brainer to me. If you use incandescent lamps you have no control over the mercury emissions, with CFLs you have total control.

5. It is just nice not to have to replace lamps very often, trouble is when you have to replace you forget where you have the spares it was so long ago

cheers

Greg
User avatar
greg c
Solar Evangelist
Solar Evangelist
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:03 pm

Re: Flourecent globes vs incandescent

Postby antoni » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:26 pm

Hi I had incandesent last up 15 years + STILL GO ONE IN THE BED ROOM 25 YEARS costing $ 1 or less......not $15.00 + at the time and only last 6 to 12 months............
on most nights for 4 to 6 hours ,, 60 watts running with a dimer set at low....still works.
Didnt change light bulbs like iI do now,,,,,
Most lights I need to turn on to get something out of a room not wait mins for it to light up....
We turn lights off to save power... ??? not left on...so they last longer ?
They may get better ,,, but I see it as con ......
PS GOT a box of dead cfls..
Flourecent tubes 4footer 36 watters do last for a long time 4 to 5 years in the work shop,,,,can be on for 5 mins or 5 hours,,,

Tony
antoni
Solar Supporter
Solar Supporter
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:18 pm

Re: Flourecent globes vs incandescent

Postby Benny » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:35 am

Running an incandescent globe on a dimmer will make it last much longer. They fail because over time the tungsten filament is running so hot it gradually evaporates, gets thinner/weaker and eventually burns out so if its dimmed it runs much cooler.
Its good that you get such great life out of a cheap globe Tony but have you calculated the running costs over those 20years compared to a CFL (I know I'm wasting my typing here because you're convinced the CFL wouldn't last that long). Maybe time to jump straight to an LED ? A 5W LED could probably replace a dimmed 60W incendescent. Yes it will cost you $30 - $40 but work out the savings in power and emissions over 20years.

What a lot of people with halogens don't realise is that halogens will burn out much quicker if they are regularly run dimmed. A halogen is basically an incandescent filament inside a small, quartz, halogen gas filled tube. The idea is that as the tungsten evaporates it hits the very hot quartz tube but can't condense on it as it is also very hot and eventually returns to the filament. But if the lamp is dimmed the tungsten does condense on the cool walls and the filament burns out quicker. (or something like that anyway)
Benny
Solar Evangelist
Solar Evangelist
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 3:40 pm

Re: Flourecent globes vs incandescent

Postby zzsstt » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:18 pm

What I find fascinating, and have never seen explained in sensible terms, is why there is such a massive difference between CFL user experiences. Some people find they come on instantly and last "forever", Others (like me) find they warm up slowly and fail as quickly if not quicker than an incandescent.

I know it's not that I'm buying cheap globes, because I've tried various brands with much the same results.

I do know that the more modern styles (candles, full globes etc.) seem to warm up far more slowly than the linear styles, though I have not considered why that should be, given that presumably the guts of the globe are much the same?

I have been very careful only to use CFL's in situations where the are switched on all evening, so rapid switching is not to blame.

I don't think it's a voltage issue, because I have used them both in rural areas with large voltage swings and spikes, and also in metro situations where (whilst I have never measured it) I assume the voltage is more stable.

Perhaps it's a heat issue. My usage of CFL's tends to be in oyster style fittings, which have no real ventilation. Could it be that CFLs, do not like being enclosed?
zzsstt
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 1296
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:27 pm

Re: Flourecent globes vs incandescent

Postby Tracker » Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:54 pm

zzsstt wrote:is why there is such a massive difference between CFL user experiences. Some people find they come on instantly and last "forever",


Very good question... .. .. . As an analogy, can I refer a very early post about LED's, Chinese LED's that work fine for a few hours and then start to pulse on and off.. LED's that had a rated 80,000 hours life (or whatever it is)
I assume that the whisker-Connector separates from the LED chip and cycles with the temperature Open/closed/open...
I am talking about MANY to most of the same batch, so it's not a random thing... It's a pure poor-quality issue ! .. . Make it look good and once it's sold, it's not OUR issue, thinks the manufacturer..

Could I also highlight the temperature of the Electronics in many CLF's.... . .
I have not studied the controller-temperature Vs Make, but some run so hot, that they discolor within a short time.
We can be certain that they were not built with Mil-Spec/High-Temp components, so why would they not fail .. ?
.
.
Tracker
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 5111
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:54 am
Location: SYDNEY --- EA - Network, Retailer - EA

PreviousNext

Return to Energy Efficiency

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

new solar power specials