This site is supported by the advertisements on it, please disable your AdBlocker so we can continue to provide you with the quality content you expect.
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Screw-in Fluorescent Bulbs

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by aquabillpers, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    2
    The Federal government has been pushing these for years because they use less electricity per lumen than do incandescent bulbs. And they do.

    The bulbs are marketed as "33 watts same as 100" and "25 watts same as 100", for example. The "same as" seems to refer to the lumens produced.

    However, we here know that "lumens" is not a very good measure of the of the utility of a light; PUR and Lux are much better.

    Today I received a Milwaukee SM700 lux meter. To learn a little about it before I did any damage to anything, I set up an experiment to compare the utility of incandescent and screw-in fluorescents , as far as room lighting is concerned.

    I tested three bulbs in a fixture over my kitchen table. The reflector is about 14 inches in diameter and probably not very efficient. The bulbs were mounted in a "point down" position. The lux meter was placed 35 inches beneath the bulb and moved to different locations under the reflector, and the readings noted.

    These are the results:

    GE 100 watt soft white incandescent: 440 - 450 lux

    GE 60 watt soft white incandescent: 240 - 255 lux

    Walmart ("GV" brand) 23 watt, "same as 100 watt" screw-in fluorescent: 245 - 260 lux. The bulb was new.

    It is apparent that the spiral fluorescent bulbs do not produce nearly as much usable light as do 100 watt incandescent bulbs. They are the same as 60 watt incandescent lamps in that regard. Indeed, since the output of the fluorescents will degrade over time, the "same as 100" bulbs will actually not even be up to the level of 60 watt incandescents.

    Walmart is a reputable company; the Federal Government is - well, what we make it, I guess. But as someone said, "Trust but verify."

    Good luck!

    Bill
     
  2. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    0
    What was the K rating and CRI?

    There have been some newspaper reports in the UK of lobbyists that are claiming that the new 'equivalent to' bulbs aren't as bright as the incandescents they are supposedly comparable to and are dangerous for partially sighted people etc.

    Problem is they are all buying the off the shelf cheapy ones which in the UK for some reason are 2700K which obviously aren't going to looks bright :D

    What you have to concede though is that even with the bulb you have which may not have a great CRI is still nearly 3 x brighter than incandescent 23 - 60

    AC
     
  3. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    2
    Well, when I am eating breakfast and reading the paper, I don't care very much about Kelvin ratings and CRI. I just want to be able to see what I am eating. :)

    My point was to show that the screw-in fluorescent bulbs are not as bright as they are touted to be.

    No, I don't have to concede that because they are not. The one I tested would have the "brightness" of about a 40 watt incandescent or a little more, after a few weeks.

    Bill
     
  4. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    0
    I only used to use 40W incandescents anyway :D My whole house is 11W CFs now (cheap 2700K ones that cost a £1 each ;))

    Saves me money on the leccy bill

    AC
     
  5. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,077
    Likes Received:
    4
    True on the electric bill. I really don't much care for the failure modes on these. They have really cheap electronics in them, the power factor seems to be in the .5 range ( you only pay for what you use, but the power company has to generate roughly double the power due to the way it sees the load ), you need to dispose of them properly vs. chuck them in the trash, and when they go they seem to smolder. I've had two go that have filled the place with smoke. One with actual flames that melted the casing and blackened the glass shade. The idea of leaving a hall light on and having one go up like that when I'm not around does not give me the warm and fuzzies.

    You also don't want to use dimmers as they don't really "like" the way it's done and tend to burn out much sooner from what I've read. I have also read the mechanical timers are best for these vs. digital timers for much the same reason. However, newer ones might actually be less combustible if they bothered to put in a better safety margin on the components. I guess it depends on how cheap the "bulb" maker decided to be.

    In all cases this seems to be mostly due to the cheap electronic "ballasts" they cram into the socket. The larger PC and T5 and other flourescents don't seem to have these issues although I've heard of some MH ballasts toasting themselves as well. Dimming remains problematic though without spending some $$$ for better ballasts.

    It's unfortunate that just as the filament bulb makers are getting around ( finally ) to making them more efficient they mandate the spirals. In any event, I'm confident that LEDs will displace the spirals in short order, at least for the more directional lighting like can lights and other similar uses. Until that happens my can lights have 9 watt spirals in them. They're certainly more than bright enough until I can get a 5 Watt LED in there. I just make damned sure the lights are off when I'm not around. The cats don't seem to need them anyway. :)

    -
    S
     
  6. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    0
    The strange thing is these cheapys have all been in situ for a year and not 1 problem.

    My leccy company sent me 2 Philips ones for free so I swopped them into my kitchen and lounge thinking that Philips would be better than cheapys.

    They lasted 2 days and 4 days!!! No fire or anything like that just stopped working.

    the cheapys are back in now ;)
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
    Staff Member Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,517
    Likes Received:
    405
    I think I'll test the Milk Lux meter with the PAR meter.
    I know someone who has one here.

    Be a week or so, but yes, those spirals put out less light than you might think, allow them to warm up also prior to measurement, say 10 min or so.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yes, I did that. The meter reading rose from about 150 to 250 in 3 to 5 minutes and stayed there. I thought the meter was broken until I though about it a little. :)

    Bill
     
  9. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,077
    Likes Received:
    4
    Well, good to know the newer ones don't seem quite so prone to combustion. Unfortunately I have quite the mix at this point so I think I'll leave them off when I leave the house. :)

    I have noticed that some of them seem to take a long time to hit full brightness. There are times I'm out of the room and the lights off by the time they come up. Some don't but I have no rhyme or reason on them as some of the newer ones seem to take the longest, but who knows how long they've been on the shelf? I haven't bothered to check on the brands though so that's pretty anecdotal.

    -
    S
     
  10. orion2001

    orion2001 Guru Class Expert

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can you do a similar check when the bulb is horizontal and not pointed downwards? I've noticed that the Spiral CFL's are quite terrible with directional lighting, especially out the opposite end of the bulb. This is why they are terrible in overhead lamps (if fitted to point downwards). I do believe that you would see less of a difference if you compared both bulbs in a horizontal orientation.
     
  11. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    2,913
    Likes Received:
    44
    Last year I purchased 3-20 watt GE spiral screw-in bulbs, 6500K color temperature. When I tried them out one of the four was much dimmer than the other two, and it stayed that way. The difference looked like at least a factor of two. And, I have had those bulbs of varying wattages last from a week to 2-3 years in the same applications. I suspect the manufacturers aren't too good at quality control.
     
  12. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    0
    GE CFs are made in China!! They have recently been in trouble over the working conditions in the chinese 'partners' factory!!!

    As far as I know a lot of their ballasts are also made in china. No idea where their standard linears are made though.

    AC
     
  13. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    2
    That is an interesting point. It would seem that if more of the spiral bulb were exposed it would produce more usable light.

    So I dug out an old screw-in aluminum reflector, a GE 100 watt soft light incandescent bulb, and a new Walmart ("GV" brand) 23 watt, "same as 100 watt" screw-in fluorescent. I measured the light at a distance of about 22 inches from the bulb to the sensor on the meter.

    The fluorescent bulb was allowed to warm up for 10 minutes.

    The results:

    Incandescent bulb: 1135 to 1145 lux

    Screw-in fluorescent bulb: 480 lux

    Since the distances were different these results can't be compared directly to those of the earlier post, but in that one the incandescent produced about a 2.4 higher reading did the screw-in, while in this one it produced about a 1.8 higher reading.

    So you are right. A horizontal mounting does improve the utility of the screw-in compared to a 100 watt incandescent. But the 100 watt incandescent does produce significantly more usable light than than does the "same as" screw-in at, and it uses more energy to do that.

    I've written Walmart to complain about what I think is its deceptive packaging. If anything interesting comes from it I'll post it.

    Don Quixote de La Mancha

    aka Bill :)
     
  14. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,077
    Likes Received:
    4
    I think you'd need to send this kind of information to the Federal Trade Commision or the State or US Attorney General if you want to see anything done. Most likely that will be in the form of men in white coats with a special happy coat that lets you hug yourself then patting you on the head telling you what a good job you did. :D

    On a more poignent note, how many fixtures that people use have the the light where you can see the side of the spiral vs. the clip on dish type reflector which is more of an end view? If the reflector is doing its job properly much of the "side" light should be coming out the "end" of the bulb, if that makes any sense. That's probably more use to the algae scrubber crowd than the people who use the spirals in their hoods. Second to enclosed fixtures or the recessed can lights it's probably also one of the worst for heat buildup for the spirals, which probably doesn't help the "ballast" any.

    -
    S
     
  15. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    2
    I don't want to disillusion you, but "green" seems to be the policy of our government, and the law enforcement agencies will not give a high priority to issues like this, even though in this case the labeling is close to being fraudulent. One has to work with companies like Walmart, who have reputations to protect.

    I could go on with this, raising such questions as the long term benefits of windmills over nuclear plants, etc, but I won't. :)

    Don/Bill
     
  16. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    1,077
    Likes Received:
    4
    I don't think you actually could disillusion me regarding the US government. Sadly. OTOH, if Walmart doesn't care enough about their reputation to stop dealing with certain companies who are known to use sweatshop labor, they certainly aren't going to care enough to bother about some sketchy packaging claiming more light output than is contained within.

    Reading that again, the idea of opening up a box and having a beam of light come out does have some appeal. :)

    If the government were actually serious about a lot of things we'd be dumping money left/right/center into research into USEFUL alternative fuels and things like fusion power, better lighting/heating/cooling methods, and alcohol powered fuel cells instead of wasting time on hydrogen and ethanol fueled behemoths that only exist because of tax breaks to the car companies. But I think we've completely veered off topic at this point...
    -
    S
     
  17. SuperColey1

    SuperColey1 Guru Class Expert

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't forget that with both bulbs the idea is to get light to emit in all directions in a household setting therefore we're not looking at the light emitted downward. We need the total from all directions which is very hard to compare!!!

    Most of the bulbs in the UK Aren't spirals. I have 1 spiral I use on a clip on light but all the others are double fold ones like this:
    [​IMG]

    Don't know if they are any better?

    I assume we can take the figures on this type of retail statement as 'exaggerated'?
    Products - Lighting - High Lumen CFLs - Feit 23w EcoBulb® Twist (WhatsMyCO2.com)

    AC
     
  18. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
    Lifetime Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    2
    Here most screw-in fixtures are designed to reflect (or aim) the light downward. See "lampshade."

    I would think that the UK bulb that you pictured would produce more usable light, because there would be less restrike.

    That "EcoBulb" in the ad is the kind of bulb to which I am referring. Its listed price is about 3 times that which Walmart charges. It has a good name for these times, though. :)

    Bill
     
Loading...

Share This Page