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Power Hardware

GE Closes Last US Light Bulb Factory 797

Posted by samzenpus
from the bright-idea dept.
pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the US is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s. What made the plant vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014 but rather than setting off a boom in the US manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas. GE developed a plan to see what it would take to retrofit a plant that makes traditional incandescents into one that makes CFLs but even with a $40 million investment the new plant's CFLs would have cost about 50 percent more than those from China. 'Everybody's jumping on the green bandwagon,' says Pat Doyle, 54, who has worked at the plant for 26 years. But 'we've been sold out. First sold out by the government. Then sold out by GE.'"
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GE Closes Last US Light Bulb Factory

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  • I loath CFL lights. They don't last ANYWHERE near the reports say they will. Yet the power LED on one of my computers is still happily running (after 24 hours a day for 10 years).

    And LEDs don't require you to use a hazmat suit to pick up pieces if you break one (since they contain Mercury).

  • by Jeremi (14640) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:24PM (#33546602) Homepage

    And LEDs don't require you to use a hazmat suit to pick up pieces if you break one (since they contain Mercury).

    LED light bulbs are available [homedepot.com].... pricey, but perhaps worth it?

  • Writer of history. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ostracus (1354233) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:26PM (#33546630) Journal

    "The Washington Post reports that last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the US is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s.

    Debatable about the innovation (read some of the comments) [arstechnica.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:30PM (#33546662)

    Actually, the mercury in your food comes mostly from the generation of electricity by burning coal. After combustion, it gets vented into the atmosphere and then rains down into the food chain. Landfills don't leak a lot of mercury into the food chain comparatively.

  • by Cochonou (576531) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:30PM (#33546672) Homepage
    Yes, but your the LED on your computer is precisely not a "power LED": it doesn't light up a thing. For LEDs, life expectancy is directely correlated to output power.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:31PM (#33546690)

    This is just a symptom of the operating focus for GE. They no longer have a consumer interest. There are several companies working on high efficiency Halogen bulbs using IR reflective coatings to reflect heat back against the filament. In addition there is a significant amount of work updating the tungsten filament itself, basically sputtering the wire to texture it. GE has put little effort into updating their manufacturing technology, just milking it for profit. I recently swapped my 75 Watt PAR 30 lamps for 48 Watt lamps with the same Lumen output. Philips brand, though I have no idea who manufactures the coated capsules for their bulbs. The light output is excellent quality. Most of my general purpose lighting is CFL, modern CFL is very good, but I find that direct tungsten is more comfortable for reading, and these high efficiency Tungsten bulbs are very nice. Certainly less efficient than 18 Watt CFL, but much better than the 75 Watt Halogens they replace.

    I am not going to fault GE for their shift in focus to commercial, that is just the way it is.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:44PM (#33546792)

    Of the bill, maybe, but of energy usage, it's about 12%, of a residential pie that is itself about 20% of U.S. energy usage. So residential lighting is about 2 1/2% of U.S. energy usage, and from the best category of energy usage (electricity).

  • Re:CFL "Green?" (Score:4, Informative)

    by OnePumpChump (1560417) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:53PM (#33546860)
    Even with the most conservative estimates for mercury output and the proportion of power generated by coal and the most unforgiving ones for CFL mercury content and power savings, the power saved by CFLs results in less mercury being released into the environment than they could themselves release.

    http://www.energy.gs/2007/05/cfl-mercury-myths.html [energy.gs]
    http://www.energyrace.com/commentary/more_on_mercury_coal_and_cfls_updated/ [energyrace.com]
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/news/4217864 [popularmechanics.com]
  • by Camel Pilot (78781) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:53PM (#33546862) Homepage Journal

    we pick up and vacuum up the pieces of broken CFLs without hazmat suits all the time,

    Actually vacuuming is the one thing you are not suppose to do!

    http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.html [epa.gov]

    And sure the ill effects of one or two might not be noticeable but if you have young'ns in house it may long term

  • CFL (Score:2, Informative)

    by thewolfe (1325995) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:57PM (#33546890)
    We've all been duped on the CFL lights. I think they are dead-even with incandescent lights as far as "carbon footprint"; here is why: I switched all of my bulbs to CFL about 2 years ago. I have had 4 of them "burn" up. They get really, really hot, emitting that burnt electronics smell and go out.
    Regular filament bulbs:

    Glass and metal
    CFL bulbs:
    A little mercury vapor
    glass
    phosphors
    printed circuit board
    resistors
    capacitors
    metal
    solder
    transformer
    Ok, the CFL save some energy, but they sure add more pollutants (the circuit boards and mercury) to the system WITHOUT the long-life promised.
  • Re:CFLs won't last (Score:5, Informative)

    by westlake (615356) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:01PM (#33546928)

    In 3 to 5 years when all the CFLs start dying, there will be a huge furor over the mercury they contain leeching into landfills.

    Or not.

    In the United States, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that if all 270 million compact fluorescent lamps sold in 2007 were sent to landfill sites, that this would represent around 0.13 metric tons, or 0.1% of all U.S. emissions of mercury (around 104 metric tons that year.) Compact fluorescent lamp [wikipedia.org]

  • by slapout (93640) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:02PM (#33546932)

    "If they were dangerous, the government would never allow them to be sold" -- that's a joke, right?

    Proper cleanup steps are only a two page PDF:

    Cleaning Up a Broken Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL)
    Fluorescent light bulbs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass
    tubing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends the following cleanup
    and disposal steps:
    Before Cleanup: Air Out the Room
      Have people and pets leave the room, and don't let anyone walk through the
    breakage area on their way out.
      Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
      Shut off the central forcedair heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.
    Cleanup Steps for Hard Surfaces
      Carefully scoop up glass pieces and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and
    place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed
    plastic bag.
      Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass
    fragments and powder.
      Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes. Place
    towels in the glass jar or plastic bag.
      Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
    Cleanup Steps for Carpeting or Rug
      Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid
    (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
      Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass
    fragments and powder.
      If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area
    where the bulb was broken.
      Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or
    vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.
    Cleanup Steps for Clothing, Bedding and Other Soft Materials
      If clothing or bedding materials come in direct contact with broken glass or
    mercurycontaining powder from inside the bulb that may stick to the fabric, the
    clothing or bedding should be thrown away. Do not wash such clothing or
    bedding because mercury fragments in the clothing may contaminate the
    machine and/or pollute sewage.
      You can, however, wash clothing or other materials that have been exposed to
    the mercury vapor from a broken CFL, such as the clothing you are wearing when
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency June 2010
    you cleaned up the broken CFL, as long as that clothing has not come into direct
    contact with the materials from the broken bulb.
      If shoes come into direct contact with broken glass or mercurycontaining
    powder from the bulb, wipe them off with damp paper towels or disposable wet
    wipes. Place the towels or wipes in a glass jar or plastic bag for disposal.
    Disposal of Cleanup Materials
      Immediately place all cleanup materials outdoors in a trash container or
    protected area for the next normal trash pickup.
      Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing cleanup
    materials.
      Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your
    specific area. Some states do not allow such trash disposal. Instead, they require
    that broken and unbroken mercurycontaining bulbs be taken to a local recycling
    center.
    Future Cleaning of Carpeting or Rug: Air Out the Room During and After Vacuuming
      The next several times you vacuum, shut off the central forcedair heating/air
    conditioning system and open a window before vacuuming.
      Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open
    for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:09PM (#33547030)

    ap.

    Anybody know where I can get good 800-1000 lumen LED bulbs, that fit in regular A19 socket with 4" clearance (too many are 5" or more tall, and don't fit in many fixtures), and don't have a fan and heatsink?

    Try here: http://www.earthled.com/ [earthled.com]

    Home Depot is also starting to stock LED bulbs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:17PM (#33547126)

    First, you have the problem of power factor, which means that with fluorescent bulbs, you're often drawing a lot more power than you think, it just isn't getting metered that way.

    I'm sorry, this doesn't make any sense. Are you talking about reactive power here? Reactive power is important in grid control... but it is not energy. Energy is the issue here. Fluorescent bulbs do not, in fact, use more energy than incandescent-- they use less.

    Second, you have the spectrum of light, which because it is balanced towards the blue end and because it isn't a continuous spectrum, isn't perceived as being of equal brightness.

    Actually, the reason that fluorescent bulbs are more energy efficient is because their emission puts out more of its light in the parts of the spectrum that the human eye uses efficiently, not less. Incandescents are way too red-rich. (As should be obvious-- there's no way to get a thermal source to an emission temperature of 5800K, which is the sun's temperature.)

  • Re:huh (Score:3, Informative)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:18PM (#33547142)

    What I don't get is this: if China can produce CFLs at half the price (which doesn't surprise me), then why couldn't they also produce incandescents at half the price?

    They probably could, if you ignore the startup costs of the plant. But if you've already got a US-based plant, the startup costs of that plant are sunk and don't figure into a comparison with foreign plants. OTOH, when you would either need to convert the local plant or start a foreign plant, the conversion costs of the local plant do need to be considered.

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:20PM (#33547154) Journal

    Yes, it sucks that the market for candles disappeared but you have to adapt and compete. If you can't make CFLs competitively, then you lose your job. It's that simple.

    Part of the problem is that China has not historically allowed its currency to float. In other words, China has stacked the deck in its favor. Personally, I blame Clinton, who granted most favored nation status to China without meaningful free-market reforms.

  • Re:GE rules OK (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pentium100 (1240090) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:23PM (#33547180)

    I think if you add a resistor in series with the halogen bulb you may be able to bring the temperature down enough so that the color is the same as that of a regular incandescent bulb. I know that running halogens at too low temperature shortens their life, but a small decrease actually increases the life.

  • Re:The easy way out (Score:5, Informative)

    by Entropy2016 (751922) <entropy2016@yahoo . c om> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:27PM (#33547222)

    The LED light does actually produce significant heat. It's nowhere near as much heat as an incandescent or CFL, but because LED's have such a very low heat tolerance (heat reduces their lifespan), keeping them cooled them isn't as easy as simply removing the AC/DC converter.

  • by Idiomatick (976696) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:41PM (#33547344)
    Either they aren't enough lumens (sometimes by a lot) or they are directional. This might not be a big problem if someone designed your house with floodlight style bulbs in mind but they didn't. So for MOST purposes, not all CFLs are the best option.

    Once these two issues get sorted out they will crush the market. I believe they will crush the market so completely that lightbulbs will come with the house and will turn into something you get at a hardware store once every 20 years. Houses will be designed with them in mind since they have some design advantages. They are cold, so you can safely enclose them and cram them into tight places. They are nigh immortal, so you can put them in places that don't need to be even remotely accessible. Embedded into the ceiling behind a screwed down panel suddenly seems reasonable. Same with putting lights VERY high in homes with a loft.

    Of course changes won't be apparent for a number of years since homes change rather slowly in north america. But in Japan where they treat houses like disposable camera You'll start seeing some of the effects the new lighting has on homes.
  • Re:The easy way out (Score:3, Informative)

    by kg8484 (1755554) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:46PM (#33547394)
    1. The DC circuits would be in addition to AC circuits
    2. DC motors do exist
  • Re:huh (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dialecticus (1433989) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:57PM (#33547464)

    What I don't get is this: if China can produce CFLs at half the price (which doesn't surprise me), then why couldn't they also produce incandescents at half the price? In other words, why hadn't the plant closed long before the advent of CFLs?

    My guess is that incandescent bulbs can be made cheaply both in the USA and in China because they contain no environmental pollutants, whereas CFLs, on the other hand, contain mercury, and it's probable that the environmental regulations in China are sufficiently loose to allow them to streamline the manufacturing process in ways that simply cannot be done legally in the USA.

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @02:58PM (#33547472) Journal
    You're missing the context:

    Yes, it sucks that the market for candles disappeared but you have to adapt and compete. If you can't make CFLs competitively, then you lose your job. It's that simple.

    This isn't that the market for candles disappeared but rather the government banned candles. This is not the free market at work but rather the government screwing us (again)

    When electric lighting became available, the government didn't ban candles and lanterns. They didn't need to because people preferred electric lighting. Given a choice between CFL and incandescent light bulbs, many people prefer incandescents. I've heard stores of people in Europe and the US filling up their garages and closets with incandescents so they'll have a lifetime supply. I doubt that will happen when CFLs are replaced with LEDs (or something else).

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:04PM (#33547516)

    And they are required to by law.

    http://library.findlaw.com/2002/Dec/19/132442.html [findlaw.com]

    The high-frequency ballasts that run these bulbs have been around for 20 years at least.

  • by Ark42 (522144) <slashdot@@@morpheussoftware...net> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:17PM (#33547620) Homepage

    Try here: http://www.earthled.com/ [earthled.com]

    Home Depot is also starting to stock LED bulbs.

    I have two EarthLED bulbs, a ZetaLux and EvoLux. They were not as cheap as I'd like, but the problem was that the ZetaLux is too long (5.5") and the EvoLux has a fan that is already quite noisy when the light is on, after only 1 year of use. Only the EvoLux has the Sh model that is the normal 4.5" height like all the regular bulbs and CFLs, so it can at least fit into common fixtures, but the fan sucks.

    I also have a Oznium.com X5 that is apparently no longer for sale. It's pretty dim, maybe a 40W replacement at best, but it was only 4" tall and cheaper than the EarthLEDs.

    The new ZetaLux 2 line looks interesting. They were not available last year and might actually be what I'm looking for. Size is 4.2", price is $35 for the Pro. 550 lumens might be bright enough. No fan making noise. I'll have to order one and see. Price could be lower and 550 lumens could be higher, but it's an improvement on the old models.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:22PM (#33547656)

    Bad math and Jenny McCarthy-style pseudo science (with a Fox question mark no less!).

    I'm ashamed of you slashdot.

    Fluorescents are 3x as efficient as incandescents. Yes, the efficiency is exaggerated on the labels because the bulbs don't quite put out as much light as the incandescents they are comparing against. But even if you correct for that fluorescents are far more efficient.

    Heck, to prove it, just light up a bulb and touch it. Feel that heat on the incandescent? That's wasted energy that didn't go to light. Now touch an equivalently bright fluorescent bulb, it's only a little warm.

    Power factor doesn't mean it's using more power than you would think from the wattage, it means it's using more CURRENT and less voltage. Anyway, changing phase like this (low power factor) doesn't mean that the meter isn't measuring correctly. If this were true, people would be strapping inductors onto the lines in their house right before the meter to get free power.

    Power factor is only an issue for the electric company, they have to adjust for it. And they are adept at adjusting for it. This is evidenced by how the electric companies are very interested in you using CFLs, my electric company sends me mail about it twice a year. If the low power factors of CFLs presented problems to them, they wouldn't do this, would they?

    If you don't like bluish CFLs, get yellowish ones. There are 3 colors, one is very yellow.

    I agree LEDs still have limitations. I'd like to get some for my hallway but I"m not ready to make that move yet.

    Dimmers are not suitable for fluorescent or LED bulbs, each should really be dimmed with a control signal instead of a rheostat. Hopefully this kind of technology will be common in homes soon so we can get rid of the buzzing from dimming fluorescent and LEDs.

    The government is subsidizing your fossil fuels significantly. You don't see it in your bill, because it isn't being subsidized by giving you money to give the electric companies to pay for electricity. We massively subsidize oil drilling and production.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/60-second-science/post.cfm?id=how-much-in-subsidies-do-fossil-fue-2009-09-18 [scientificamerican.com]

    Your electric bill would be noticeably higher without these subsidies and solar would look correspondingly a little cheaper.

  • by xtracto (837672) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:38PM (#33547776) Journal

    WTF are you smoking? there's no mention of your troll comment in the linked page.

    Moreover to GP, who said that using a vacuum cleaner was bad, he is wrong:

    If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.

  • Re:The easy way out (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:35PM (#33548270)

    Why do you need a converter? The LEDs themselves are used are rectifying diodes.

  • Re:CFL (Score:3, Informative)

    by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:45PM (#33548350)

    What is the cost, in MJ, of the recycling of the CFL bulbs vs simple disposal of the incandescent bulbs?

    I'll bet it's less than the cost of making half a dozen new incandescent bulbs that would have burned out in the mean time, especially since the raw materials get reused instead of refined from scratch.

    But try to use a little common sense before you ask strawman questions. Do you really think that it takes a 1000 lb pile of coal to recycle 3 ounces of material?

    What is the environmental cost of the increased mercury being added to our landfills (for those who don't properly recycle)?

    Less than the environmental cost of the larger amount of mercury in the coal would have released freely into the atmosphere.

  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:15PM (#33548522) Journal
    Dimmers are not suitable for fluorescent or LED bulbs, each should really be dimmed with a control signal instead of a rheostat. Hopefully this kind of technology will be common in homes soon so we can get rid of the buzzing from dimming fluorescent and LEDs.

    The National Semiconductor LM3445 -- which I helped design -- is a fantastic LED driver specifically designed to decode standard wall triac dimmers. It works better than an incandescent light does: I haven't seen a design yet where it couldn't manage 1000:1 dim ratio from full on to as dim as possible. (Which means the light is emitting photons too dimly for you to see except in an extremely dark room.) There are many others coming onto the market right now that do the same thing, but I think we have a first-to-market advantage. Lightbulbs based on our chip are showing up in Home Depot and the like.

    My guess is that within a couple years only the cheapest LED lights won't be dimmable because it's such a common expectation.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:19PM (#33548546) Journal

    I'm sorry, this doesn't make any sense. Are you talking about reactive power here? Reactive power is important in grid control... but it is not energy.

    I'm talking about the power factor [wikipedia.org], and yes, that is referring to reactive loads, but yes, it IS energy. It is momentary energy which is then followed by pushing energy back towards the grid (effectively), but when you look at the peak loading on the generator capacity, it must be able to handle the worst case combination of those reactive loads, not just the average case. Otherwise, you have a momentary brownout. The same holds true for every wire, every transformer, etc. along the path from the generators to your house.

    Worse, because it is synchronized with the sine wave cycle, having a million of them means that a million are all drawing more current at once. It isn't randomized where one would be drawing more current while another draws less. You should not be so quick to dismiss the importance of the power factor of equipment that you put on the grid. Even though your power bill may look a lot lower, the actual impact on the grid and on generation capacity may or may not be lower to nearly the same degree.

    Actually, the reason that fluorescent bulbs are more energy efficient is because their emission puts out more of its light in the parts of the spectrum that the human eye uses efficiently, not less

    That's theoretically true, but the difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there is no difference. In practice, no matter how bright you turn a blue lamp, you will always see it as being dark because blue reminds you of nighttime. Psychologically speaking, blue-tinted light is perceptually darker than reddish light even if it is of far greater brightness in terms of your actual ability to see and distinguish objects and color. And other things like skin tone are poorly perceived in fluorescent light as well, which contributes to that perception.

    Incandescents are way too red-rich. (As should be obvious-- there's no way to get a thermal source to an emission temperature of 5800K, which is the sun's temperature.)

    Color temperature isn't the entire story. The human eye was designed for a continuous spectrum with the peak somewhere in the neighborhood of 5600K or so. Fluorescent lights produce a discrete spectrum with very little coverage of the red end of the spectrum at all. Although the average color temperature matches more closely, the discontinuity of the spectrum produces holes in your color perception that the human eye wasn't really designed to handle. We tolerate it, but not so well.

    Also, bear in mind that CFL efficiency isn't all that great. In the best case, you're talking about a 4x improvement in lumens per watt. In the worst case (a cheap CFL versus a halogen), it is barely a 3x improvement. If you discover, as I did, that it requires significantly more lights to provide the same perception of brightness in a particular room, a 3x difference in wattage can disappear like that. And if you have a power factor of 0.5 (not at all uncommon for CFLs), you are effectively only getting a 1.5x difference in wattage in terms of peak generator capacity.

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:26PM (#33548606) Homepage Journal

    While I agree with the intent behind this legislation, the problem is that there are a few applications where CFLs simply are NOT good.

    An example is closet and bathroom lights. The CFL makers themselves say not to use the CFLs in areas where you'll be switching the light on only for a few seconds or a couple of minutes. This wear causes them to fail very quickly, totally negating any efficiency advantage.

    Livingroom lights, great - closet, a waste.
    Also, things like garage lights in cold climates - a CFL can take 20 minutes to get up to usable brightness when it's 5 degrees out. Doesn't matter to people in CA or FL, but in upstate NY and MN that's a problem.

  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:27PM (#33548616) Journal

    but perhaps worth it?

    Not a chance. "Fading White LEDs" [discovercircuits.com]

    LED's fade but it should take 50,000 hours before the fade is even 25%, unless the light is designed terribly and the LED's are running hot.

    Within 5 years most good LED lights will include closed-loop feedback with sensors that check both the light intensity and color and correct for LED aging by changing how the LED's are driven (underdriving them at first, and including about 15% red LED's in with the whites) so soon we should have lights that provide arbitrarily perfect light until they fail, which should be after about 75,000 hours. And in any case, they're *way* more efficient than incandescents and in my opinion look better than CFL's.

    However, also in my opinion, the worry about mercury in CFL's is wildly overrated.

  • Re:The easy way out (Score:4, Informative)

    by mspohr (589790) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:34PM (#33548664)
    I have several strings of christmas lights that are LED. They don't have a current limiting resistor or a diode rectfier. They run straight off the AC. Work great.

    The forward voltage drop of the LEDs in series limits the current. The LEDs are actually "diodes" (that's the D part) so they don't need a rectifier diode.

  • Re:The easy way out (Score:1, Informative)

    by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday September 11, 2010 @05:45PM (#33548726) Homepage Journal

    "the reason for the HSF is to convert the AC to DC."

    BULLSHIT.

    The reason for the heatsink is because high output diodes get hot enough TO MELT THEMSELVES WITHOUT SUFFICIENT HEAT DISSIPATION.

    Learn your thermodynamics.

    BTW LED lighting is my job so prepare for a MASSIVE smackdown if you wanna go toe to toe.

  • by russotto (537200) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @09:21PM (#33549844) Journal

    Look, I have to live in North America for a few years. Now I can see the consequences of the absence of gov regulations on efficiency. The washing machine is a model which is technologically on par with the cheapest model on sale in supermarkets in Morocco (I shit you not).

    Probably similar to the one I had. Made in 1982 or thereabouts. Tub rusted out, so I replaced it with a Whirlpool. Made in Mexico based on a New Zealand design. I can't help it if you bought the cheapest piece of crap around.

    It was hell getting a cooking surface in vitro-ceramics. Convection oven? No can do unless you import it from Germany and sell a couple organs.

    My convection oven cost $600 and was made by GE (again in Mexico), though it was quite small. Someone I know spend a couple grand on his large one, which I believe was a Jenn-Aire, not from Germany.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @10:03PM (#33550022)

    If reactive power were power, then the laws of thermodynamics wouldn't hold, because the power in minus the power used (emitted as heat and light) minus the reactive power would not be net zero.

    And again, when the power factor drops, it doesn't changing anything about the power used, it only means you're using more current and less voltage. This does mean the electric company has to have more current available unless they can use proper capacitive or inductive adjustments to work around it. And they are good at working around it. This is why they don't mind and in fact suggest you use CFLs.

    Motors cause the same problem, so A/C presents a big issue to the grid. They're already rigged to deal with it.

    CFLs are 3x more efficient in lumens per watt (or perhaps a bit more). This is for equivalent amounts of light. Your argument that you need to add more light is no more valid than saying you need to add more light with incandescents.

    Yes, if you replace a 90 watt incandescent with an "equivalent" CFL replacement it will be dimmer, because the marketing people for CFLs are listing bogus figures. But even adjusting for this, CFLs are still 3x more efficient per lumen And that is a BIG difference.

    > Psychologically speaking, blue-tinted light is perceptually darker than reddish light even if it is of far greater brightness in terms of your actual ability to see and distinguish objects and color. And other things like skin tone are poorly perceived in fluorescent light as well, which contributes to that perception.

    No it isn't. The eye is most receptive to green, which is right between blue and yellow and the eye picks up on both yellow and blue very well. Bright blues are not seen as nighttime, they in fact are seen as very bright. See mercury vapor lamps, arc lamps, metal halide lamps, an acetylene torch or even the sun.

    Color rendition is a complex issue. If you get a CFL with the proper color temperature (just look at the CFL page on wikipedia), then skin tones look correct. Due the line spectra in fluorescent light, some other things may not render well depending on the CFL and the object. If you have an object which is colored through dyes, and it's trying to be green by mixing blue and yellow (instead of having any actual green reflection to it), it may look different under fluorescent light because the mix of blue and yellow emitted may not be equal on the CFL even if the overall color temperature is good. Again, note that skin is not one of these things. In general, recent fluorescent lamps are pretty good on color rendition (see color rendition index) but still are not as good as a hot radiator like incandescent bulbs or the sun.

    > Fluorescent lights produce a discrete spectrum with very little coverage of the red end of the spectrum at all.

    This is not true. Just look at the picture on wikipedia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp [wikipedia.org]

    See the line spectra? The yellow to red area is very well covered.

    > And if you have a power factor of 0.5 (not at all uncommon for CFLs), you are effectively only getting a 1.5x difference in wattage in terms of peak generator capacity.

    Not only is 0.5 not uncommon, but figures close to it like 0.55 are the most common by far. But as to the latter part, again, this is all fixed by adjustments in the grid, these higher current peaks are not seen at the generators.

  • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @10:33PM (#33550146)

    That's theoretically true, but the difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there is no difference. In practice, no matter how bright you turn a blue lamp, you will always see it as being dark because blue reminds you of nighttime. Psychologically speaking, blue-tinted light is perceptually darker than reddish light even if it is of far greater brightness in terms of your actual ability to see and distinguish objects and color. And other things like skin tone are poorly perceived in fluorescent light as well, which contributes to that perception.

    What? I literally started using f.lux [stereopsis.com] a few weeks ago, and I get to sleep better at night now. I don't get as tired during the day. The nighttime light isn't blue-hued; it's red-hued.

    Also, blue light is daytime light. Red light is the light you see closer to sunset. The sunset is red for a reason.

    2k bulbs are shit for growing algae, too. The spectrum is too far towards red with the lower K bulbs to provide adequate PAR. This applies to both red and green macroalgae, and cyanobacteria, for sure.

    If you discover, as I did, that it requires significantly more lights to provide the same perception of brightness in a particular room, a 3x difference in wattage can disappear like that.

    Then buy a 2k temperature bulb, instead of the closer-to-actual-daylight 6k bulbs. They're even easier to find at your local Home Depot than the 6k, since they have more of them on the shelf. Don't hold back progess because you can't pick bulbs of the same color as your incandescents that are right next to the blue-er ones.

  • Re:The easy way out (Score:3, Informative)

    by skids (119237) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:47PM (#33550502) Homepage

    The mercury content of CFLs is a problem but it is overhyped. They are hardly poisoning the earth, especially given how much electricity comes from coal still.

    LEDs are caught up though, in a decade it'll be a mute point.

  • Re:The easy way out (Score:3, Informative)

    by skids (119237) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @11:54PM (#33550520) Homepage

    I'm sure folks thought the same when the last 5.25" floppy drive factory closed. Oh wait, no, they didn't, it takes a modern mentality to bring culture wars into matters of technology, especially to the point of advocating violence against an imaginary class of modern-day unwashed hippies which doesn't actually exist.

    Sometimes things just go obsolete. Deal with it.

  • Re:The easy way out (Score:3, Informative)

    by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile@NospaM.mindless.com> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @12:57AM (#33550768) Journal

    However there are no standard type bulbs that feature it...

    Oh [ledcentral.com.au], really? [ecosparks.com.au] Looks to me like someone with some real knowledge of thermal design in lighting has already blown your theories out of the water.

  • Re:Are they SURE!?!? (Score:3, Informative)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @04:21AM (#33551400) Journal

    Dimmable CFLs are expensive, and sucky.

    I bought some dimmable CFLs recently (and no, I'm not going to mention a brand, because I don't believe that the brand printed on the box makes any difference with CFLs).

    I plugged them into my Lutron dimmer switch, and fired 'em up. Lousy. Slow to turn on, horrific color. Actual dimming range went from "bright" to "a bit less bright," and then straight to "completely dark."

    So much for trying to be energy-efficient in my office. They do work well enough with a regular light switch in the pantry, but that's about the best use I could come up with for them -- the color of light produced is too unpleasant for any place where people actually spend time.

    The experience was bad enough that when I decided (a bit more recently) to install better lighting in my office, I did a complete polar opposite and put up MR16 halogens on a track. They dim just fine, and they're pretty. They're also expensive to run, but the office is almost always just lit by the dim glow of a few LCD screens, so I decided that I didn't need to care about efficiency.

Sentient plasmoids are a gas.

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