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back to incandescents

2002-12-26 21:30:14+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

Sigh. Well, compact flourescents seemed like a good idea, We had most of the house switched over to them, and then... with the advent of the rainy season it's been dark again, and we've discovered that not only was our failure rate higher than with incandescents, of the compact flourescents that are still working most are quite dim. Charlene complained, and I finally put an incandescent next to a fairly new (a few month old) compact flourescent of supposedly the same light output and the difference was amazing. We're back to incandescent bulbs until the technology matures a bit more.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Invention and Design Work, productivity and environment ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-12-26 22:42:32+00 by: meuon

I bought some cheap ones at Home Despot and had similiar results. I've also bought expensive ones, that use an RF exciter (a few khz rather than 60/400hz) and seen them work better, but at much higher prices.

#Comment made: 2002-12-27 02:36:22+00 by: Pete

One I've got seems to have a two-stage warmup. A sub-second "glow" period, then significant but disappointing output, then some time later (1 minute?) it's at full output, which is pretty strong, actually. The room this one is in is really cold in the winter, so that might be playing a role.

#Comment made: 2002-12-27 02:57:20+00 by: Shawn

Are we talking about those energy-saving flourescents? We switched everything over to them in our last apartment because they were brighter. And I'm not getting the connection between rain outside and bulbs inside...

#Comment made: 2002-12-27 04:20:33+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yep, Shawn, we're talking about those energy-saving flourescents. The rain connection is that now that it's overcast we're spending a significant amount of time under artificial light. And our experience here is that starting out they're brighter, but very shortly, within a month or two, they're rather dimmer than incandescents. Because they started out brighter I didn't really notice, but Charlene spends more time at home, and more time where the output of computer screens isn't her primary source of light.

Pete, I've found that some of ours need to be jiggled, they'll start out dim and stay dim until they get whacked, but they tend to hit full brightness within a few seconds of turning on.

I've got some out here in my computer room which seem to be bright after a few months, so maybe as Meuon says it's a brand thing.

#Comment made: 2002-12-27 05:44:21+00 by: dws

The compact flourescents I picked up from Ikea are also on the dim side. I swapped the ones in my study out for a pair of expensive full-spectrum incandescents.

#Comment made: 2002-12-27 10:09:57+00 by: dexev

We've got some 60 watt equivalents next to real 60 watt bulbs, and I don't notice any difference -- other than the warmup period Pete mentioned. This is a recurring thread on alt.energy.homepower -- i'm sure google would find something.

#Comment made: 2002-12-27 18:02:55+00 by: Pete

GE claims a warm-up period of up to three minutes: http://www.gelighting.com/na/faq/faq_cfl.html

There's actually lots of good info there.

#Comment made: 2002-12-27 19:30:13+00 by: TheSHAD0W

CF has some definite advantages, and I'm not just talking about saving electricity. Back in NY my air conditioner was hard pressed to keep my room cool; it would work unendingly at full blast. When I switched to compact fluorescent (and full-sized fluorescent) lighting, the result was a noticeably cooler room.

I strongly recommend the Phillips brand of CF lighting. They act just as Pete described, above; they require a couple of minutes to reach peak brightness. When they do, they're quite bright, and the light produced is IMO more pleasing than with incandescents.

Of course, when full-spectrum LEDs get down to the right price level, CF is going to be worthless... :-)

#Comment made: 2002-12-29 04:25:19+00 by: Shawn

Hmmm... maybe we just weren't around them long enough. I'm familiar with the "warm-up" but after that ours always seemed brighter than our incandescents had been.

#Comment made: 2002-12-29 16:01:45+00 by: Pete

After reading through numerous usenet postings, it's clear that there's a wide range of quality out there. Lots of people bitched about the Lights of America brand.