Tag: ge

Repairable light bulbs?

Repairable light bulbs?

LED Bulb
Premature failed LED bulb
As an electronics guy, when something fails I like to figure out what failed and then why.

When lights fail, well they just fail!

Not so much with the CFL or LED variety.

led bulb taken by me
LED bulb with clear dome etched by some sort of out gassing from something.
Today I want to examine this bulb, an LED bulb that did not last the advertised amount of time by any stretch of the imagination.

The first thing to notice that there was some sort of out-gassing during its use which adhered to the inside of the plastic dome and actually etched the plastic in such a way that it is no longer translucent but rather opaque even after I cleaned it with 409.

The reason I pulled it apart is that it became dim.

Failed LED
Here you can see the electronics of the LED bulb and possibly you can see the loose leg of the electrolytic capacitor.
After disassembling it, I found that the electrolytic capacitor had become un-soldered on one of its legs.

Re-soldering it and re-assembling it, the bulb became bright again for about a minute until it flickered and quit.

LED
Bulb working after repair

LED
Same bulb flickering before second failure
Removing and testing the capacitors they were both in tolerance and I suspect OK.

LED Bulb
Testing electrolytic cap,
Checking the LED’s one by one, I found one that was dead.  As I tested each with a DVM the good LEDS would slightly illuminate.  98% of these when biased correctly would illuminate properly.  One of them was much dimmer than the rest, and one of them would not light at all.

Failed LED bulb
Dead LED at the end of my thumb
If I were of the mind to, I could replace the dead LED and the dim LED and I would guess I would obtain more hours of life out of the collective bunch of LED’s

LED lights being in series to me says that when one fails, the light is dead and trashed.  Much like that lousy string of Christmas lights that are a real bugger to keep going.

Dead LED
Dead bulb from another angle

Failed LED
IF you look carefully you can see some brown substance near the end of the last LED, I think that is the chemical that is responsible for the out-gassing and subsequent pitting of the plastic dome.

  • Does it make financial sense to “repair” light bulbs?
  • Will dead LED bulbs fill the garbage dumps with the same frequency of regular light bulbs or CFL bulbs?
  • The good news about LED bulbs is that there is no lead in the solder as it is Tin.

I would be interested in knowing what actually out-gassed from the light during its use?

What actually pitted or etched the plastic?

Looking closely you will see what looks like flux, that suggest that there is heat generated with use.

Failed LED
Here is a closer look at the dead LED and the brown substance.
I am thinking about holding on to this bulb and when another like it fails, making one out of two, just because.  Is my time worth more than this, of course it is!  Does this interest me enough to prove a point? Yes.  

While LED bulbs will save you cost in operation, will that cost be offset by the cost and reliability of the bulb?  Even though there is a warranty on these bulbs as well as CFL bulbs, do you know anyone that puts a date on them when installed and then keeps up with the sales slip in case they don’t last the warranty?
I don’t think that you can prove much, and it would really be up to the benevolence of the store where you purchased them from to replace your product..

-Best

(c) All rights Reserved 2015

CFL, LED Revisited

CFL, LED Revisited

CFL, LED Revisited

Dimmable_LED_and_CFLBig corporations really suck when they go the extra mile forcing one to buy expensive stuff.

Under the guise of “saving the planet” we have lost it!

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First off let me just rant a little about the planet. The Earth has been around 4.5 billion years.  Man has been around for about 6 million of those years but, we only have we been a “threat” to the planet the last 150 years or so.

When I say threat, not really.  One lucky strike from a meteor and we are done!  Toast, the next life form to take hold will hopefully be more evolved than some of our peers who think money is the answer to everything no matter who they screw!

Industrialization is claimed to be the largest threat to the planet along with the ever increasing population.  I agree that millions of people all creating waste emissions from gasses to solids, probably are not doing the earth any good but, do you really for just one minute think that one Volcano, or large fire does not do as much if not more damage to the eco-system than man?

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There is a super volcano that is due to erupt any moment in Yellow stone park.  When that bad boy goes off it will be a life changer!

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Then tell me about coal power plants or Gas guzzling SUv’s.

Despite High Emissions, New Coal Power Plants Planned in Germany...AACHEN, GERMANY - MAY 15:  Behind the open-pit coal mine Gartzweiler exhaust rises from cooling towers at the lignit coal-fired power stations Frimmersdorf, Neurath and Niederaussem May 15, 2007 near Aachen, Germany. The four German major energy providers Vattenfall, RWE, E.on and EnBW plan to invest more than 30 billion euros in construction and infrastructure of cole conducted power plants in Germany.  (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)
Despite High Emissions, New Coal Power Plants Planned in Germany…AACHEN, GERMANY – MAY 15: Behind the open-pit coal mine Gartzweiler exhaust rises from cooling towers at the lignit coal-fired power stations Frimmersdorf, Neurath and Niederaussem May 15, 2007 near Aachen, Germany. The four German major energy providers Vattenfall, RWE, E.on and EnBW plan to invest more than 30 billion euros in construction and infrastructure of cole conducted power plants in Germany. (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Yes, we are burning fossil fuels “dinosaurs” to heat and cool our homes and to drive our gas burning vehicles to and from the job and what have you.

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If you really want to solve global warming first you really need to get truthful with the numbers, and facts, as what has been published thus far is to push a “carbon credit agenda” to make the rich richer and in the end is simply another tax!

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Now, back to bulbs.

edisonlight

Edison through trial and error “brute force” came up with an incandescent light bulb.

The typical light in your home burns 60 watts of electricity.

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It took me a few minutes to do the math for you, so here it is in a spreadsheet.

kw used for lighting

You can do any further multiplication you like, as in how many of these bulbs do you have and how long do you really leave them on.

The 100 and the 60 are representing incandescent “old school” bulbs.

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The 12 is representing a CFL bulb and the 3 watt is representing the LED variety.

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Basing the cost per kilowatt hour at 8.5 cents, this is what it would look like to run one bulb for a year never turning it off.

So, if you want to save the earth…or money, lets look at how and where you would put what kind of bulb.

defective GE bulb
Here is the bulb that failed prematurely. Notice the black around the inside of the plastic. This thing got hot before it stopped working and the important part of this is that the fuse did not blow!

I also think that we were pushed into using them by congress via some backroom deal with GE or some other maker of these things through the good folks at AVE K, you know lobbyist.  Like republicans or not, this was a GW Bush thing and I think it smells.

gw-bush

CFL or any fluorescent bulb must stay on for a minimum of 15 minutes or you shorten the life of the bulb.  That means, don’t put them in places that you turn the light on for a few moments and then off again.  CFL or fluorescent tubes should go into places that you energize them, and then leave them on for hours, like a kitchen, family room or porch light.

This bulb died because the capacitor died.  If you look at it you will see that it has bubbled up on the top.  Checking the capacitor it is non functional.

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GE must have purchased a plethora of bad capacitors from China!

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If you look at the actual glass you will notice that there is no black around the base, this bulb died way too young…

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LED bulbs don’t just quit “usually” unlike an incandescent of fluorescent.  They grow dim over time as they age and one day you will notice that it is not very bright, and replace it.  I like them in bathrooms and closets, desk lights and lights in areas where I don’t want a lot of heat generated.

LED bulb replacing CFL bulb which replaced an incandescent bulb.
LED bulb replacing CFL bulb which replaced an incandescent bulb.

The average cost of a CFL or LED bulb however is much higher than its incandescent counterpart.

While they have come down in price, they are still no where as inexpensive as an incandescent.

A box of 4 or even 6 on sale, was around $1.  The CFL is around $2 each but that is now.  When they first came out they were about $4 each.  As other manufacturers entered into the arena the price came down.  

The same is true of LED bulbs.  These bulbs can get downright pricey!

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As far as function goes we have the incandescent with fewest complications.  A filament across the two electrodes sealed into a vacuum.  Apply the right voltage and suitable current that the filament will light and there will be light, and heat!

incandescent-lightbulb

Fluorescent is much more complex in that there is two filaments and high voltage applied which ionizes the gas inside.  This gas reacts to the phosphorescent coating inside the bulb making light,  And oh yes, they have mercury in them.

1280-CFL-bulb-skin-damage

The CFL takes in 110 or 220 depending upon your location and converts it into the voltages and currents needed to start the process as well as maintain the process while voltage is applied.  If you look inside the base of a CFL bulb you will see a host of associated circuitry to accomplish this task.

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LED Bulbs are less complex in that they use minimal components to convert the voltages into the needed voltages to run the LED’s.

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IMG_0389 There is not much heat and the circuitry is not complex.  LED bulbs should really be less expensive than CFL and I look for that to be the case as time marches on.  Currently you are still paying for the novelty much like the early adopters of flat screen TV’s.

Pay attention to these bulbs when you buy them as they must be set up for “dimmable” circuits if you intend to use them in a legacy lighting system that had incandescent lighting in it. 

A plug for these guys..
A plug for these guys..

It is up to you, do the math!

-Best

(c) All rights reserved 2015