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View Full Version : CFLs and Power Factor - do you pay for it?



nheng
01-16-2009, 07:59 PM
I have a love/hate relationship with CFL bulbs. While they do save energy, the spectrum of many of them suck. The prices are way too high for a cheap import, almost $4 for soft white and almost $5 for daylight, in 2 packs (100W). Then there's the slow (unbearable in cold climates) turn-on times.

Top that off with a very high failure rate for every bulb I've bought in the last 2 years (100% failure rate for several Sylvania 3 packs) and the fact that incandescents will be illegal some time after 2012 ... now in the UK and good ole California. JTiers posted some lovely photos a while back of burned out bases and there are other stories of tubes that have blown out, etc. spewing their mercury mist across your living or work space :eek:

My curiosity got the best of me regarding their actual consumed wattage so I tested several. Voltage delivered to the bulb was 118v rms, current and watts as shown. Both are the Home Depot n'vision brand.

60 Watt bulb - labeled 13W, measured 0.195 amps (rms), wattage = 23W

100 Watt bulb - labeled 24W, measured 0.389 amps, wattage = 46W !!

WTF? Wondering about power factor in these but never having read up on it, I did so and found that it is around 0.55, pretty close to the measurements.

So, my question is, does your utility charge you for the power factor via the newer meters that can track actual power?

Den

Evan
01-16-2009, 08:20 PM
If they aren't already doing it they will soon. It's in the plan. If you don't see an adjustment for power factor it's unlikely that they are charging it. I'm pretty sure they will have to break it out like the natural gas energy factor.

J Tiers
01-16-2009, 11:14 PM
They will absolutely have to break it out, because it will be different for everyone..... they will not be able to apply a generalized adder to everyone (at least not without PSC approval).

But first they have to get it onto the "tariffs", the Public Service Commission has to approve it, and set a rate for it, and all sorts of gobbledegook. Naturally they will need meters that read it, instead of being set to ignore it.

They can NOT just add it on at will, because the rates are set and subject to approval by the PSC. That is true of most any "regulated monopoly" such as the power company, although some types contract with municipalities, such as cablc companies, etc, and have rates set that way, or may have rates unregulated within a certain range, etc.

BTW, your "power" readings should be characterized as "apparent power" or "VA" (volt-amperes). Only the actual wattage readings are "power".

It would cost a little extra to make the bulbs actually "look like" a resistor, with a high PF, but it is perfectly "possible" to do that*. However, you might note that even per your figures, the VA reading gives a substantial reduction vs the incandescent light. The VA is about half the resistive draw of the incandescent, and the actual power is 25% or so.

*At my prior employer, I designed a power supply for a 2500 watt audio amplifier which measured out at a power factor of 0.999. That is only milliamps of harmonic current in many amps of draw. It obviously can be done for CF bulbs, but may not be practical as long as the manufacturers and buyers are willing to practically commit murder for a half-cent price reduction.

rdfeil
01-17-2009, 12:01 AM
Nheng,
That is an interesting set of figures. A .55 power factor is nuts. I will have to make some measurements on this. I have a very good power factor meter, the only problem is that the current transformer is to large for the small current of a single cf bulb, I will have to get a low current ct for my meter or do it with a scope and a shunt.

J
Around here the local power companies charge industrial 3 phase customers for power factor already, single phase industrial and residential customers are not currently metered for power factor but all it would take is a meter change. Our power companies (public utility districts actually) don't add the power factor surcharge until the power factor drops below .95 for one county and .90 for the other. If the power factor drops below the threshold then the multiplier kicks in for the whole power factor and the total usage of the billing period. I have seen the power factor charge for a medium sized facility in excess of 30% of the bill. It is really frightening when I can sell a $100,000.00 automatic correction bank and have it pay for itself in less than 1 year :). I hope that you are right about the tariff issue and that if the power factor issue with CF lighting is true that everyone takes a step back and re-evaluates the benefit of these lamps.

Robin

J Tiers
01-17-2009, 12:45 AM
The PF at 0.55 seems low, but a lightly loaded rectifier/capacitor filter system DOES typically have a low PF.

Anything that makes current draw look "not-like-a-sine-wave" is just as bad as a phase-shifted sine wave current draw, which is the classic definition of bad power factor.

The effect of such a rectifier system is to delay current draw until the peak of the sine wave, at which point a substantial current pulse occurs.

With a larger capacitor, the current pulse is quite large, and lasts only a short time. That will have a rotten power factor.

With a smaller capacitor, it starts earlier, and lasts longer, improving the power factor. A heavy load has the same effect of PF improvement, as does an input inductor, found on many large VFDs (50Hp and above).

The filter cap for a CFL is pretty small, the fried ones I have show 22uF. However, the other half of that is that the tube probably won't "fire" until it has a certain minimum voltage. The small capacitor won't "hold up" voltage very long as the sine wave is on the downslope.

The effect of the tube is thus to delay current draw until later in the cycle, and probably cut it off at an equivalent voltage as the sine wave heads for zero. That would make it similar to a rectifier system with a large capacitor, and give a bad PF.

A PF of 0.55 could be quite possible. The PF of a rectifier system can be lower than that, depending on values and conditions.

I am aware that industrial customers are charged for many things that are not chargeable to the residential customer. PF, Max demand, lots of things which the dumb consumer is not charged for.

And I was very amused to hear that the local Fox News outlet showed a guy who installs PF correction caps on houses....... report was complete with the dramatic reduction of current draw on an unloaded motor..... great demonstration..... too bad that the reality is that residential meters actually still have a correction feature to correct out the effect of power factor, and register only kilowatt hours. So people will not realize any savings from the devices.

Ryobiguy
01-17-2009, 12:58 AM
Curious, lets try this out... I've got a consumer plug-through meter: http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/travelpower/7657/

Bulb is listed as 18 watt, 120V, 290ma, meter reads :
120.9 V
.33 amps
29 watts
44 VA
.66 PF

-Matt

Paul Alciatore
01-17-2009, 02:24 AM
Curious, lets try this out... I've got a consumer plug-through meter: http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/travelpower/7657/

Bulb is listed as 18 watt, 120V, 290ma, meter reads :
120.9 V
.33 amps
29 watts
44 VA
.66 PF

-Matt

Matt,

I wouldn't put too much faith in that device. Using it's own figures:

120.0 Volts X 0.33 Amps = 39.9 VA

But it says 44 VA. A 10% error somewhere. Not very accurate. Cheap analog meters are rarely any worse than 5% accuracy spec. Cheap digital ones (this one is digital) are usually 1% or 2%, good ones are far better.

But what do you expect from a place that calls itself "thinkgeek".

rdfeil
01-17-2009, 02:41 AM
Matt's post really tells it all... they are well aware of the power factor problem just not telling the public what it means. The ratings Matt provided say that the bulb is rated at 120 volts, .29 amps and 18 watts. Now if we do the math assuming a power factor of 1 then watts=volts X amps or 120 X .29 = 34.8 watts HMMMM not 18 watts as claimed. Now if we assume that the 18 watts claimed is real power and the 34.8 watts is the apparent power then: power factor = real / apparent or 18/34.8 = .517 and that sucks. If this is the case then you can bet that I will be hording tungsten filament incandescent bulbs and gladly paying the power bill for power that I really used :D

I do see the problem for the utility companies and they will start billing as is appropriate. With a lousy power factor the metered power is not the actual power drawn from the power grid, so the billing is incorrect. Also, the utility has to build the grid to be able to supply the current needed and that cost money, with poor power factor the actual current appears to be less than it actually is and someone is going to pay for the upgrades to the grid :rolleyes: .

Robin

PS: Not to gloat but the power in my county is the second cheapest in the country, I think .021/KWH so burning power is not a problem cost wise.

Evan
01-17-2009, 05:04 AM
CFL bulbs are only the most visible part of the problem. The utility companies are faced with an explosion of devices that generate harmonic distortion of the sine wave because they don't come close to a power factor of 1. This does a lot more than cost them money in generating capacity. It makes it very difficult to maintain something that still looks like a sine wave. This has wide implications for the entire North American grid because of all the interconnections. You can't just switch on another part of the grid by throwing the great big knife switch or something. The systems must be synchronized very accurately at the point where the interconnect takes place.

Problems caused by electronic switching power supplies as loads make it far more difficult to match up various parts of the grid. It's bad enough that in order to tie large parts of the system power is converted to DC and then back to AC via very large and expensive convertors at the interties.

J Tiers
01-17-2009, 10:25 AM
Now if we do the math assuming a power factor of 1 then watts=volts X amps or 120 X .29 = 34.8 watts HMMMM not 18 watts as claimed. Now if we assume that the 18 watts claimed is real power and the 34.8 watts is the apparent power then: power factor = real / apparent or 18/34.8 = .517 and that sucks. If this is the case then you can bet that I will be hording tungsten filament incandescent bulbs and gladly paying the power bill for power that I really used

Then you LOSE, suckah.:D

If you notice, even with the poor PF, the equivalent apparent power for a 100W bulb is around twice as large as a 100W equivalent CF.

So usually, the net current draw for a CF is STILL LOWER, despite the PF issue.




I do see the problem for the utility companies and they will start billing as is appropriate. With a lousy power factor the metered power is not the actual power drawn from the power grid, so the billing is incorrect. Also, the utility has to build the grid to be able to supply the current needed and that cost money, with poor power factor the actual current appears to be less than it actually is and someone is going to pay for the upgrades to the grid.


The grid can be cheaply "upgraded" by improving the power factor.

That can be relatively cheaply done by adding PF correction capacitors at strategic places. The power companies, not being complete dorks, have been well aware of this for almost 100 years now......... and do that on a regular basis.

The effect of poor power factor on DISTRIBUTION is therefore minimal if correction is installed.

The main problems are twofold......

1) the billing issue, loads that mess up the PF are not penalized unless they are industrial. So a ton of poor PF in houses can only be addressed in the mass, by a distribution-level corrector.

2) In large apartment buildings, poor power factor and harmonic generation cause the current in the neutral to go up drastically. It can be larger than the current in any one phase wire, and require an upsized neutral.

In europe, where the grid seems to be more fragile than in the US, its a big issue, because in typical european material-minimizing fashion, the neutral may not be sized even as large as the phase wires, because they count on balance. In the US the neutral must be equal sized.

vinito
01-17-2009, 10:44 AM
If incandescent bulbs are criminalized, then maybe I'll do some experimenting with beam spread and convert my whole house to bright LED lighting. It seems that all flashlight makers are pouncing on it the past couple years. The thing I'd look forward to is not having to change bulbs for several years. Seems like the couple CFLs I've used don't last long either. I'm sure that has been engineered into them. The lack of "warm-up time" is appealing too - that's something about fluorescents that drives me insaner every time.

Just can't buy anything decent anymore. Capitalism is making my project list longer all the time. A log cabin in the woods is looking better every day. I think that's where my retirement vector is heading. The normal path sure doesn't look acceptable.

Evan
01-17-2009, 12:05 PM
I'm already using LED lighting. My work light at this work station is a 3 watt 12 volt LED that is a drop in for a 20 watt halogen track light bulb. It is about the same brightness and has a perfectly even 90 degree beam spread. I also have a couple of lower power LED bulbs in other locations as 24/7 lighting that give sufficient visibility to navigate stairs etc. As the price comes down I'll be switching gradually to LED. They now have drop in replacements for fluorescent tubes that use about 8 watts and have the same output but they are still expensive. That is changing as the are now integrating multiple emitters on a single die. LED bulbs are now available with outputs up around 1000 lumens.

Liger Zero
01-17-2009, 01:45 PM
I read somewhere that despite the energy savings at the end user's location CF bulbs actually were worse for the environment overall than a regular filament bulb because the manufacturing process used far more energy, they require more materials (diodes/transformers all have to be manufactured as well) and labor and of course the mercury issue.

If that is in fact true why is there such a huge push for CF bulbs?

I can't get an honest answer from anyone other than "OMG! CF BULBS MAKE YOUR BILL LOWER."

J Tiers
01-17-2009, 01:52 PM
The true cost depends on longevity, obviously.

The glass etc in the incandescent is not cost-free, nor environmentally benign.

But if the CFL lasted 8 years, and used 1/4 the amount of energy, while on for 8 hours per day.......The cost of the incandescent, energy wise as to use, would be 292000 watt hours, vs 73000 watt hours for the CFL.

One watt hour is 3600 joules. Therefore, the usage of the incandescent would be one billion joules. The CFL would use a bit over 250 million joules. The difference, of 750 million joules, is probably enough to manufacture the CFL, although I have not split it out.

not only that, but you would probably use more than one incandescent.

Now, with some cheap CFLs, they last 6 months, much less than a regular bulb, but obviously have a larger impact environmentally. That is a loss, certainly, as it would take 16 CFLs to go 8 years.

I have had old CFLs last 12 years of useful life..... the old ballast type. They most likely saved their cost, in every way.

Evan
01-17-2009, 01:58 PM
The answer is simple but tied up with other issues. CF bulbs do save energy in use. That is the main thing. This means fewer power plants and less greenhouse gasses and less global warming. At least that is the stated reasons. Other reasons exist. If a product costs twice as much and lasts twice as long and has the same percentage markup the manufacturer makes twice the profit up front instead of waiting until the half price product wears out and must be replaced. In big business that is a huge reason to push a product even if it looks like a wash in the long run. It isn't a wash though since that up front income can be invested and makes money.

aboard_epsilon
01-17-2009, 02:48 PM
Soon there will be a disposal charge on them .
You will no longer be allowed to stick them in your bin/trash can
Inspectors will examine your bin contents in the hope of catching you out and imposing fixed penalty charge on you ..
They are already doing this in the UK ..not for cfl's, but other stuff.
People in the UK are already being fined huge amounts ..just for putting the bin out before 7 am....and all sorts of minor stuff
but recycling newspaper seems to be failing ...as other stuff

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1104741/Recycling-crisis-Taxpayers-foot-UKs-growing-waste-paper-mountain-market-collapses.html

so it wont be long coming.

knowing uk .......the fixed penalty funds the department giving it out ..so as department grows ...so will the fixed penalty.

Department in the end basically exists to fund itself.

I can see the disposal charge exceeding the manufacturing charge ...as the plant that recycles is subjected to all sorts of rules and regs .....and probably more fines ...and eventually, we resort to export ...by the time we get to this stage ....mercury content in them will be massively exaggerated by the media...and that will be the end of them .......i predict less than ten years ...


all the best.markj

noah katz
01-17-2009, 09:08 PM
I'm very picky about color of light and avoided CFL's for years for that reason.

I find these indistinguishable from incandescent (I paid more for dimmable):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NCUSH0

J Tiers
01-17-2009, 09:33 PM
I'm very picky about color of light and avoided CFL's for years for that reason.


That is why LED lights do NOT get into my house......

Not to mention the fact that they cost many times more, tend to be task lighting (spot) only, and are really NOT that efficient. They are in some cases considerably less efficient than a CFL.

The "efficiency" of the LED must be propped-up by the directivity, so that they are said to be more efficient "at lighting your task area" than another type..... So far, the actual watts-to-lumens conversion efficiency has not been very stellar for the LED lights I have looked at.

Adding that to the fact that so many LED lights are spot task lighting, the "fake" color renditions they give, and the extremely high cost, and the surprisingly low predicted life, they just don't make any sense.

The "fix" for those problems has been "only months away" for several years now.........

But they simply are not ready for mass usage at reasonable costs. If I wanted to actually buy one, I still have to buy them over the internet, without being able to see their color rendition, and with only the most sketchy and starry-eyed "redacted" specifications for efficiency etc.

And, many of them will STILL have a relatively poor power factor, since many are stacked in series. That means the "traditional" delay in the current draw, and a relatively large pulse in the center of the voltage waveform.

Using a rectifier and filter may actually worsen the PF. And the cost of some sort of power factor corrector would add only MORE cost on top of the already much higher cost of the LEDs.

NOT ready for prime time...........

dp
01-17-2009, 09:53 PM
I'm very picky about color of light and avoided CFL's for years for that reason.

I find these indistinguishable from incandescent (I paid more for dimmable):

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000NCUSH0

I've never seen a dimmable CFL here but I have an application for them. The local PUD office sells CFL's for a dollar each, well below the price found in stores. And of course they take a loss for it and the rate payers pick up the difference. In my rental home I swapped every incandescant for a CFL as an experiment - the stove and fridge being the only exceptions. It amounts to about 30 lamps, total. After a month of operation they're all still working.

All the lamps have a warm incandescent color else I'd have chucked the lot of them. The only time I appreciate the slow startup is first thing in the morning while I'm putting on a pot of coffee with one eye still shut :)

J Tiers
01-17-2009, 10:54 PM
Most new CFLs are instant start...... the old flash and warm up ones lasted forever, though.

Some newer ones come on right away, but have to warm up to be bright. Presumably that is what you mean.

dp
01-17-2009, 11:40 PM
Most new CFLs are instant start...... the old flash and warm up ones lasted forever, though.

Some newer ones come on right away, but have to warm up to be bright. Presumably that is what you mean.

It's pretty cold here so they all start up noticeably dim then brighten to full after about 2 minutes. The outdoor lamps are the slowest and dimmest at start. I have some older (like 8 months older) "spots" I use for task lights in the kitchen that take 5 minutes to reach max - they glow a dim purple initially.

J Tiers
01-18-2009, 10:42 AM
Yeah, the 12V ones in the (unheated) garage take a LONG time to warm up at 0F.

Which brings up another issue with CFLs. They really hate to be turned on and off... Apparently none of them have a 'soft-start" feature, so they come on drawing full current in the electronics, which eventually fail from the abuse.

A soft start might cost another nickel or so, which would be an intolerably huge price rise.....:rolleyes:

Evan
01-18-2009, 10:58 AM
I installed about 30 of the 26 watt CFLs in my garage when I renovated the shop in 2006. So far only 2 have burned out even though they get abused by turning on and off regularly. We use almost exclusively CFL bulbs and have very few problems with burn out with the exception of the bathroom where they really take a lot of on-off abuse. Altogether I have about 70 or so CFL bulbs in use and at this point three LED bulbs. I happen to prefer the electric blue white light of very high color temperature lighting. The closer it is to looking like sunlight the better. It has been demonstrated that high color temperature lighting cuts down on the incidence and severity of Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues).

JoeFin
01-18-2009, 11:04 AM
Guys –

I remember when VFDs would totally load down any system with Harmonics – this was pre-1994. You have to remember Harmonic’s loading is “Logarithmic” in nature

In 1993 U.L. quietly announced (mainly to help VFD manufactures avoid litigation because of all the electrical fires) in 1994 they would no longer give their listing approval to any device that causes ‘X’ amount of harmonics.

Boy – did they clean up their act overnight

J Tiers
01-18-2009, 11:55 AM
I happen to prefer the electric blue white light of very high color temperature lighting. The closer it is to looking like sunlight the better. It has been demonstrated that high color temperature lighting cuts down on the incidence and severity of Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues).

We have a very large number of CFLs. And since we stopped buying the ones from Home Depot, we have had no more "exploding CFLs". A few we do turn on and off more, and those have not shown poor life when of a more known brand than "Commercial Electric" (Feit) from HD.

But, it's odd that you would characterize the "electric blue" light as closer to sunlight.

In general, color temperature is the best guide. And usually, the correct color temperature for sunlight will also give the best color rendition, compared to sunlight.

Now, that "electric blue" gives an exceptionally poor color rendition, besides being a very "cold" and depressing lighting color. So it seems that it is not particularly close to sunlight.

In my case, I find the blue light quite depressing and nasty. I don't like to work in it. But I LIKE the winter sunlight, even the evening bluish color sunlight, although that isn't as "happy". Of course I like summer sunlight also. I have to mix in some "warm white" color bulbs with any od the blue to get it to a decent sunlight color that I can stand.

The very worst is the LED blue light..... That is intolerable.

What makes the blue light, in YOUR opinion, closer to sunlight?

clint
01-18-2009, 12:51 PM
Just my opinion on some of the colors

I also prefer the blue light, I find that I can see much better with it, I also find that it does not take as much blue light to find small details, no eye strain etc, my eyes are just happier with blue light. One problem with blue light I have found is I can not sleep with a blue light around me, it drives me crazy to even see a reflection of blue light while trying to sleep... I have two kids, so having a small amount of lighting on for bedtime is a must.

Clint

jkilroy
01-18-2009, 01:04 PM
JT, if you stopped buying them at Home Depot where and what brand did you start buying. I went though a ton of those "curly" type CFL's because they were overheating in track light cans. Now that I have gone to spot style CFL's (with reflectors) most of those problems have gone away.

Anyone want to comment on "cold cathode" CFL's? I see them for sale, these are the dimable CFL's. I understand they operate at room temp and most have an advertised 25,000 hour life span. Of course they are double the price most of the time as well.

dp
01-18-2009, 03:01 PM
Regarding the "sunlight" color of the CFLs - I installed a bulb in the porch lamp that is one of the bluish colors. In the evening when I look out through the glass blocks at the porch it does look like natural sunlight, but as found in shade, not direct sunlight. In fact they look exactly like a typical cloudy day in Seattle.

And they are pretty much like the lamps people use to counter winter blahs as Evan observes. In the inner offices of places I've worked those are quite commonly used and of course around here we see a lot of them. Oddly, the last place I worked had several offices that were kept quite dark. I prefer dim lighting when keyboarding which drives my wife mad :)

nheng
01-18-2009, 03:38 PM
The inrush current is high and while I haven't measured any yet but you can here different types of switches arc, I'm not surprised that turning them on is a problem :)

So, now we're supposed to tell our kids to leave the lights on?

The mercury levels in the CFLs, even with the 2006 cap applied, I believe are about at 1/2 to 2/3 of what the OLD 4 foot fluorescent tubes were. Only difference is that in a home shop or similar environment, these things have lasted 10, 20 years or so.

I agree with other posters in that once the problem with the mercury is fully realized, we'll be paying to dispose of them.

Let's see, $5 for the 100W bulb, approximate average 8 months til failure (my present data for the last 2 years), a buck or so to recycle, fuel for the car to get to the recycling point, travel and expense to buy replacement (even warranty replacement will have to be shopped for) ... and on and on.

We are becoming a society of morons.

Proof ... yesterday, I went to Circuit City to get one of my kids a webcam for college. I noticed that many of the red tag prices were higher than you could buy a product for just about anywhere else. The checkout lines were deep. Idiots.

Sorry, <RANT OFF>

Evan
01-18-2009, 04:09 PM
I pay about $2 to $3 for a 26 watt CFL. They go on sale regularly three for 6 to 10 for a three pack.


What makes the blue light, in YOUR opinion, closer to sunlight?

Higher color temperature is bluer. It's not my opinion.

Color temperatures:

Incandescent= 2500K
Halogen = 3200K
average cool white fluorescent = 4200K

SUNLIGHT= 6500 Kelvin

J Tiers
01-18-2009, 06:42 PM
Higher color temperature is bluer. It's not my opinion.


It IS your opinion that it is closer perception-wise to natural sunlight....

The light, if it WERE closer to natural sunlight would render colors as natural sunlight will.

It does not.

You may prefer it, you may be of the opinion that "bluer" is closer to natural sunlight.

Evidently the same "meter-measured" color temp can be produced with radically different spectra.

That does not CAUSE blue light to BE the same as natural sunlight....... to the eye.

noah katz
01-18-2009, 07:51 PM
"The light, if it WERE closer to natural sunlight would render colors as natural sunlight will."

It does not."

It's not just color temp, CRI (color rendering index) is important as well.

I've got 3500's in my garage, CRI of 73 I think, which should be warmer than sunlit, but they still look colder.

The CFL's I have in the house have a nice golden hue (no mention of color temp or CRI on the box, though it does say PF =.9); I wish there were 4 ft tubes like that.

wierdscience
01-18-2009, 08:15 PM
In the past year I have bought CF bulbs from Wally world,Home Depot and Lowe's.None of them are currently alive.The quality has definitely gone down.I have some old ones that are 5-6 years old that are still working fine,it's only the newer ones that are failing.

My solution is to save the box they came in along with the receipt and re-fill the box with the dead ones as they go out.Then it's back to the store for new ones FOC since they don't make it even near the warranty.

The whole thing really galls me.Why they don't make a higher quality ballast and sell a replacement bulb makes no sense other than shear stupidity.

J Tiers
01-18-2009, 08:58 PM
The whole thing really galls me.Why they don't make a higher quality ballast and sell a replacement bulb makes no sense other than shear stupidity.

You have to realize these are ALL coming from china.

In china, manufacturing, most all of it, is oriented at lowest "first cost", i.e. what you pay at the store. This is because the importers have trained everyone that way.

The manufacturers will "kill for a half cent", because THEIR customers (the importers) are greedy for the last bit of $$. That $5,000 savings over a million bulbs can pay part of the shipping.....I figure you get about 40,000 bulbs per shipping container, so it takes 25 containers per million, but who's counting?

So, a half cent per unit is huge (in the mind of the importer), and can trigger a change of manufacturers.... Small wonder that there is no market (apparently) for a better quality unit. Nobody will pay 10 cents more to get a better unit... except you, and me.

Let's not even ask if the UL recognition is valid or a fake.......

BTW... the older round style CFLs always had a replaceable bulb....... BUT, when I would try to BUY one, I would run into problems... Either

1) the bulb type had changed, totally new numbers printed on what may well have been the same bulb.... so no way to tell if its compatible, despite it being the exact same brand.

2) Replacement bulbs were simply not stocked

3) you could buy a replacement bulb for $12, but an equivalent entire new CFL for $7. Oh, and the bulb would likely have the different number on it, so it was a bit of a risk even if you were pig-headed enough to buy a replacement bulb at higher cost than new.


Per the CRI....

Yes, that too. My point was that indeed the blue-light specials" do NOT mimic natural sunlight in the one single place where they SHOULD...... making things LOOK like they do in sunlight.

I come from the music world, where you can "stick" your specs where the sun don't shine, what matters is what it SOUNDS like. And it isn't subjective, I know people who can literally tell you what wood was used in the neck just from playing the guitar, blindfolded.

aboard_epsilon
01-18-2009, 09:07 PM
hmmm
i know this is going to sound expensive

but
what if you made a fibre optics system for a house with one light source

would that one light source be able to be, say 150 watts and light the whole house ..

or you could maybe flip diverter switch to direct all light to the room youre in .

sound good ?

all the best.markj

Evan
01-18-2009, 09:19 PM
It's not just color temp, CRI (color rendering index) is important as well.


Color rendering index plays no part in how the light affects your brain. Color temperature is a comparison of the light output on a standard white card compared to the radiation an ideal black body will emit at a particular temperature. It's the "color" of white that matters. I have in my basement shop a window that is artificially illuminated to fool the eye into thinking it is sunny outside. The window is really completely blocked off to save heat and a very high color temperature 48" tube is installed behind a pane of frosted glass. I put that in for this winter and it really works. Even though I know perfectly well where the light is coming from I still catch myself thinking for a split second that it is sunny outside.

http://metalshopborealis.ca/pics5/spectra1.jpg

Here is a comparison of the spectra of the lamp and the fading daylight outside. Since the two images were taken in the same frame it is a valid comparison. The histogram shows the spectra as two distinct sets of peaks because of the luminance difference but that makes no difference to the color content of each source. As you can see the daylight fluorescent tube is a very close match to the natural indirect daylight spectrum. The tube is a little higher in the green as shown by the relative positions of the spectral peaks but the overall spectrum is very close to daylight. You don't need a spectral plot to see that the CFL bulb in the grinder lamp is very high in red. It's a standard warm white CFL.

http://metalshopborealis.ca/pics5/spectra2.jpg

oldtiffie
01-18-2009, 09:20 PM
Let's not get too serious here.

Your "all of life" costs for those "green" and "planet-saving" light bulbs may be higher than you think if the item in today's paper here (in OZ) is anything to go by.

It seems that the "Nanny State" baton has been passed from here to the safe hands of others.

Thanks for taking over!!!

At the risk of a dreadful pun (intended!!) - "lighten up Dad".

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Paper-clippings/Light_bulb_moment1.jpg

J Tiers
01-18-2009, 09:39 PM
Yeah..... brought to you by the moon-suit folks.

I suppose they would have a heart attack and die if they saw someone clean up mercury with "flowers of suphur", or in plain terms, I would use sulphur dust.... If we post a video maybe they all WILL and so we'll be rid of them.

There are a lot of people who apparently have nothing to do, so they come up with "at risk", and other terms that essentially mean that "you look kinda like a person who I saw that had this problem, so you probably have it too".

The super-safe precautions are from the same source. And there is SOME sense in them... mercury IS poisonous, and it IS somewhat volatile.... But there is sensible, and there is ridiculous.

Reminds me of a committee I was briefly associated with... Coming up with standards for PA speakers to be hung up in buildings.... The committee ended up with recommendations that every supplier who was used for parts in such a speaker being required to carry X amount of insurance, and have traceability back to the materials...... NO distinction between a critical bolt and a freaking label.
I suggested that this was probably an economic impossibility, and was indignantly told that there was no cost limit to safety...... So I let them stew in their own juices.
IIRC, they eventually removed most of the parts that I suggested were unrealistic.....

In this case, the CFL often vents itself and evaporates the mercury anyhow..... Some of the ones that failed for me melted holes in the glass tube.

The spot you see is actually a hole, and the crack needs no introduction
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/burntCFL5.jpg

Evan, meters and scales don't matter a whit.... If it LOOKS wrong, it IS wrong........

Evan
01-18-2009, 09:56 PM
It looks right to me and that is what counts. It's more than what looks right though since the low color temperature lamps don't do much to relieve SAD.

J Tiers
01-19-2009, 12:38 AM
I'm good with that..... whatever works

In my case, it doesn't look right, so I use different ones.

Evidently I don't suffer from "Seasonal Affective Disorder". But then I get outside as much as possible year-around. Down here that works.... not so effective where the sun is low and weak.

Evan
01-19-2009, 03:22 AM
Down here that works.... not so effective where the sun is low and weak

Funny you should mention that. I took this picture a couple of weeks ago. That's the sun at noon.

http://metalshopborealis.ca/pics5/noonsun.jpg

dp
01-19-2009, 03:33 AM
Funny you should mention that. I took this picture a couple of weeks ago. That's the sun at noon.

I haven't seen the sun since two weeks before Christmas. We get rumors it's still out there.

noah katz
01-19-2009, 08:09 PM
Evan,

Are the lamps you're using the same ones that have been used for decades in supermarkets etc?

Maybe they're closer to sun spectrum, but I hate their ghastly blue/gray color.

Or are you using a newer variety with more red?

Also, the proper color target for natural sunlight is D65. D65 is 6500K, but the inverse is not necessarily true, though I forget the technicalities of why.

Evan
01-19-2009, 10:17 PM
I don't know about supermarkets but the tubes I use are not just cool white, they are rated as Daylight white. They are also much brighter than most fluorescents and put out 3400 lumens per tube. They also cost about $3.50 each but last a very long time.

J Tiers
01-19-2009, 11:01 PM
Ah... I use those for seed starting in the plant racks.

The plants like them, although I find that a mix of half cool white and half warm white is almost as good, and a whole lot cheaper.