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'[TECH] Better-designed CFL's?'
2008\07\26@054350 by Forrest Christian

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The lighting in my house is almost 100% CFL's.  However, I've got a
couple of locations that seem to resist the use of a CFL.   I was
wondering if anyone had any input into how to find a CFL useful for
those spots.

The first spot is a light fixture which is attached to a ceiling fan.  
For whatever reason, this spot seems to eat CFL's.   That is, the CFL's
don't seem to last even as long as a Incandescent in this location.  
Other than the fan, the only unique thing about this location is that it
is attached to a X10 fluorescent-rated appliance-style wall switch,
which I've used similar ones of before and never had a problem, so I can
only assume there is something either about the vibration or about the
fan motor sharing a neutral with the CFL.  I've tried a couple of
different types in here with the same effect.  I've seen "fan CFL's" -
but these seem to be only a CFL in a prettier enclosure (globe covering
the CFL tube), and quite a bit more expensive.   Plus, they only seem to
be available locally in low wattage - I need a 75 or 100W equivalent at
this location.

The other location is in an area which gets cold in the winter.  
Evidentally CFL's don't like sub-zero temps.  The current one won't even
start in sub-zero temps - and will actually shut itself off if it gets
too cold.   I've had others in there, but none that I would call even
close to a cold-weather success.    It also seems that operating
temperatures aren't listed on these things.  

Both of these are in locations where it is a pain to change the bulb, so
I really want to run a CFL - for longevity as much as energy savings.  
But I haven't found anything that actually seems to work yet.

I would have thought that some higher-quality CFL's would have sprung up
for situations like these but the manufacturers all seem to be focusing
on trying to get and keep the costs around $1/bulb.

Ideas?

-forrest


2008\07\26@112306 by Herbert Graf

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On Sat, 2008-07-26 at 03:42 -0600, Forrest Christian wrote:
> The lighting in my house is almost 100% CFL's.  However, I've got a
> couple of locations that seem to resist the use of a CFL.   I was
> wondering if anyone had any input into how to find a CFL useful for
> those spots.
>
> The first spot is a light fixture which is attached to a ceiling fan.  
> For whatever reason, this spot seems to eat CFL's.   That is, the CFL's

My guess is it's the enclosed "upside down" they don't like. CFLs can
run hot, they are not designed to run upside down and enclosing them is
even worse.

> The other location is in an area which gets cold in the winter.  
> Evidentally CFL's don't like sub-zero temps.  The current one won't even
> start in sub-zero temps - and will actually shut itself off if it gets
> too cold.   I've had others in there, but none that I would call even
> close to a cold-weather success.    It also seems that operating
> temperatures aren't listed on these things.  

This one doesn't make sense. I have multiple bulbs outdoors, and in the
winter they work fine. When it's really cold (< -20C) they may take a
minute or two to reach full brightness, but aside from that they always
work.

As a solution to your problems, first thing I'd do is buy a Phillips
Marathon CFL. While they are a little more expensive, they are the best
performing ones I've used. Generally, they start up REALLY quickly
(usually indistinguishable from an incandescent), reach full brightness
very quickly, and so far I haven't had one fail.

OTOH cheaper brands have many issues. They either start up slowly,
and/or take a long time to get to full brightness, even when warm. I
have had a few of those fail, in each case they were replaced with a
Phillips bulb and since then no failures.

TTYL

2008\07\26@153450 by Forrest W Christian

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Herbert Graf wrote:
> My guess is it's the enclosed "upside down" they don't like. CFLs can
> run hot, they are not designed to run upside down and enclosing them is
> even worse.

Not designed for "upside down"?  Really?   I would say that over 75% of
the CFL's  have in place, and know of in place, are Upside down - that
is the base is on the ceiling and the bulb is hanging down - opposite of
what you'd have in say a table lamp (the type of with a lampshade).
That is an interesting tidbit.

This particular bulb isn't enclosed right now either (when the second
one failed, I left the globe off to help try to diagnose the problem
easier).

> This one doesn't make sense. I have multiple bulbs outdoors, and in the
> winter they work fine. When it's really cold (< -20C) they may take a
> minute or two to reach full brightness, but aside from that they always
> work.

Maybe I should have clarified sub-zero.   For me, sub-zero means
sub-zero F...  That is, below -20*C.    During December and Jan, the
average low is around -10*C, with many days lower than that.   The
average high during those same months is not above freezing.  So these
bulbs get *cold*.

Down to a certain temperature they typically start slower, but never
reach their full light potential.   Colder than that they often don't
start.   The one that's in there right now could be a -20*C detector if
coupled with a suitable light sensor.

{Quote hidden}

That's the information I was looking for.   I've bought "expensive"
bulbs in the past, but as you probably know "expensive" does not
necessarily equal quaility... sometimes it means a business decision to
sell more at a larger margin.

-forrest

2008\07\26@155151 by Vitaliy

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Forrest W Christian wrote:
>> My guess is it's the enclosed "upside down" they don't like. CFLs can
>> run hot, they are not designed to run upside down and enclosing them is
>> even worse.
>
> Not designed for "upside down"?  Really?

I had the same reaction, and I think Herbert is thinking of the problems
caused by operating the CFLs horizontally, not when they're used in the
usual ("upside down") manner.

My CFLs didn't last long in the ceiling fan fixture, but I'm fairly certain
that was because it has a dimmer switch.

{Quote hidden}

IIRC, it was Herbert who suggested using Philips bulbs in a similar thread a
while back, and I must say the difference is indeed very drastic (just as he
describes). Paradoxically, Philips bulbs weren't that much more expensive
(certainly not x2) than the other CFLs available at the store.

Vitaliy

PS You probably meant to say "..a business decision to sell LESS at a larger
margin" in your last sentence. Higher price = lower demand.

2008\07\27@003210 by Bob Blick

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Vitaliy wrote:

> IIRC, it was Herbert who suggested using Philips bulbs in a similar
> thread a while back, and I must say the difference is indeed very
> drastic (just as he describes). Paradoxically, Philips bulbs weren't
> that much more expensive (certainly not x2) than the other CFLs
> available at the store.

Philips does seem to have pretty good QC compared to off-brands.

In California CFL's are subsidised by the electric company. I have never
paid more than about a dollar for a CFL. Last time I bought some
(Philips brand at Costco) they were about $.75 for the "60 watt
equivalents" and $1.05 for the "100 watt equivalents".

Consequently I use them almost everywhere. The name brands have nicer
light and fewer early failures than the generics. But basically they
last a long time on average. Failure modes are pretty varied. Some have
almost melted down.

Slow starting at low temperatures and short lifespan at high
temperatures. So I don't use them in outdoor fixtures or in the attic.

I prefer them to white LEDs in terms of light quality. I have trouble
seeing with the light from white LEDs.

Cheerful regards,

Bob

2008\07\27@005416 by Forrest Christian

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Vitaliy wrote:
> PS You probably meant to say "..a business decision to sell LESS at a
> larger margin" in your last sentence. Higher price = lower demand.
Yes, that is what I meant to say :)

-forrest

2008\07\27@030945 by Vitaliy

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Bob Blick wrote:
> In California CFL's are subsidised by the electric company. I have never
> paid more than about a dollar for a CFL. Last time I bought some
> (Philips brand at Costco) they were about $.75 for the "60 watt
> equivalents" and $1.05 for the "100 watt equivalents".

Bob, since issue has come up in another thread, I would like to point out
that "subsidized" in this case simply means that government took your money,
gave it to the electric company (a government-protected monopoly), and let
it decide what kind of CFLs you should use. TANSTAAFL.

> Consequently I use them almost everywhere. The name brands have nicer
> light and fewer early failures than the generics. But basically they
> last a long time on average. Failure modes are pretty varied. Some have
> almost melted down.

I found that the difference is huge. Philips bulbs are instant-on, produce
better color spectrum, and last several times longer than generics. They
cost only about $1 more than unsubsidized generics.

Vitaliy

2008\07\27@110948 by Bob Blick

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Vitaliy wrote:

> Bob, since issue has come up in another thread, I would like to point out
> that "subsidized" in this case simply means that government took your money,
> gave it to the electric company (a government-protected monopoly), and let
> it decide what kind of CFLs you should use. TANSTAAFL.

I notice you have an interest in this "government is bad" idea. I have
seen lots of American historical motion pictures called "Westerns" and
it looks like the United States before "big government" wasn't such a
nice place even for gunslingers with lots of talent. Life seemed pretty
risky. And they didn't have modern forms of lighting like CFLs either.

There are plenty of places where government doesn't "take your money":
US Virgin Islands, Monaco, Dubai etc but I notice you don't choose to
live there. Why not, could it be there are other factors that are more
important? I don't mind "big government" "taking my money". I am doing
just fine thank you. Big government in California is responsible for the
clean air we now have. I remember Los Angeles air forty years ago. Every
time I am stuck in traffic in another state the smell of exhaust
surprises me until I remember they don't have such "big government"
regulations preventing them from having gross polluters on the road.

So perhaps I think giving incentives for people to use less energy has
multiple benefits, some may not be obvious.

But in my original email I really only mentioned the price subsidy
because I was thinking about my reasons for trying CFLs in every
possible application. At those prices it's hard not to.

Cheerful regards,

Bob

2008\07\27@123545 by Harold Hallikainen

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While I support efficient energy use, I've found that CFLs either don't
fit in our fixtures or don't produce enough light. We have several rooms
with built-in fluorescent tubes, and I try to keep lights off when
possible, but there are still a few incandescents.

I read a while back about an efficient incandescent lamp that was based on
nanotechnology. As I recall, there was something that only allowed visible
light to escape the lamp. IR was not allowed to escape, thus preventing
that energy loss from cooling the filament (less power needed to maintain
the filament temperature). I've heard of proposals to outlaw incandescent
lamps, but think it might be better to put minimum efficiency standards on
lamps to allow whatever technology most cost effectively meets the
requirements.

Harold

--
FCC Rules Updated Daily at http://www.hallikainen.com - Advertising
opportunities available!

2008\07\27@144046 by Cedric Chang

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{Quote hidden}

The government may not take your money in those places, yet it is  
still bad.  Dubai imposes severe restrictions on your life style.  I  
don't know much about Virgin Islands or Monaco.  Do they allow you to  
ingest drugs of your choice ?  Maybe I will move there.
cc


{Quote hidden}

> --

2008\07\27@144712 by Carl Denk

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For the fluorescent tubes, the T-8 configuration with electronic
ballasts save considerable power. A few months back I posted the
comparison, and for lights on 12 hours a day, 48" long tubes, based on
my actual amps of current drawn measurement, the pay back was like 18
months. It cost me $35 /2 tube fixture to convert which was 2 green
tubes, 4 sockets (not required, the tubes use same socket, but these
were old and cracking), and an electronic ballast.

Harold Hallikainen wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2008\07\27@145630 by Chris Smolinski

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What's a good *bright* fluorescent (or CFL if it exists) solution for
lighting an office room? Say around 12 by 15 ft. I have one overhead
fluorescent lamp now, I forget the type, it uses the U shaped bulbs.
40 watts or so? It isn't terribly bright. So I end up using a 300W
halogen torchiere lamp also.  I'm doing detail work (soldering etc)
so I need good light.

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2008\07\27@184519 by Apptech

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>> While I support efficient energy use, I've found that
>> CFLs either don't
>> fit in our fixtures or don't produce enough light.

I've found that the 100 Watt *input* CFLs produce a very
nice amount of light :-).

One tends to need to remove lampshades for them to fit :-).

For those who have not seen these "monsters".

   http://others.servebeer.com/misc/cfl1.jpg
   http://others.servebeer.com/misc/cfl2.jpg

And with these you can save a lot more energy at a time per
bulb.


       Russell



2008\07\27@193844 by Carl Denk

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I think the T-8 comes U-shaped, if so, that should be an easy change,
just change the ballast and lamp. On the other hand, if the fixture is
not say part of the ceiling or some other architectural detail, likely
new fixtures with 2 or 4 48" straight tubes will be better long term.
Probably for a room that size, (2) 2 tube fixtures will suffice, but if
shadows in the corners are an issue, might just want 1 row of 2 fixtures
centered on the short side, parallel to the short side and
4' or so from the short sides. Then use task lighting where you need
bright light.

Chris Smolinski wrote:
> What's a good *bright* fluorescent (or CFL if it exists) solution for
> lighting an office room? Say around 12 by 15 ft. I have one overhead
> fluorescent lamp now, I forget the type, it uses the U shaped bulbs.
> 40 watts or so? It isn't terribly bright. So I end up using a 300W
> halogen torchiere lamp also.  I'm doing detail work (soldering etc)
> so I need good light.
>
>  

2008\07\28@003415 by Forrest Christian

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Chris Smolinski wrote:
> What's a good *bright* fluorescent (or CFL if it exists) solution for
> lighting an office room? Say around 12 by 15 ft. I have one overhead
> fluorescent lamp now, I forget the type, it uses the U shaped bulbs.
> 40 watts or so? It isn't terribly bright. So I end up using a 300W
> halogen torchiere lamp also.  I'm doing detail work (soldering etc)
> so I need good light.
>  
We use a shop light with either 40W or 25W tubes about 3ft above the
work bench.  (Usually the 40W's since the light seems to be better clarity).

It very specifically gets plugged into the same power strip as all of
the things which must be turned off at night for safety - and has no
separate switch of it's own.   So, if the bench is on, it's on.  Works
great.

-forrest

2008\07\28@043301 by Vitaliy

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Bob Blick wrote:
> I notice you have an interest in this "government is bad" idea.

I prefer to express my position as "government is a necessary evil" ( (C)
Thomas Paine).

> I have
> seen lots of American historical motion pictures called "Westerns" and
> it looks like the United States before "big government" wasn't such a
> nice place even for gunslingers with lots of talent.

You will forgive me if I say I don't consider Westerns to be a reliable
source of information about that era of US history. :-)

> Life seemed pretty
> risky.

Residents of certain cities (Killadelphia?) would argue that life seems
pretty risky now. At least back then, AKs weren't as common.

> And they didn't have modern forms of lighting like CFLs either.

Are you suggesting that we should credit big government with the invention
of the CFL? :)

> There are plenty of places where government doesn't "take your money":
> US Virgin Islands, Monaco, Dubai etc but I notice you don't choose to
> live there. Why not, could it be there are other factors that are more
> important?

Yes. As Cedric noted, some of the places limit one's freedom in other ways.
Also, being able to visit family at least once a year (geographic proximity)
is important.

However, one of the reasons I choose not to live in California or
Washington, for example, is because they have big governments. Arizona is
more business-friendly.

> I don't mind "big government" "taking my money". I am doing
> just fine thank you.

May I ask what you do/did for a living? And why you think it's OK for the
government to take your money?

> Big government in California is responsible for the
> clean air we now have.

Is it the same government responsible for the rolling blackouts? :)

But seriously, this is a bad example to support your argument. The cost of
cleaning up the air was borne almost exclusively by the manufacturers and
the consumers (car buyers).

> I remember Los Angeles air forty years ago. Every
> time I am stuck in traffic in another state the smell of exhaust
> surprises me until I remember they don't have such "big government"
> regulations preventing them from having gross polluters on the road.

All states obey the same regulations dictated by the EPA (they're based on
CARB regulations). Enough time had passed since the regulations went into
effect nationwide (1996) so that vehicles in California pollute about as
much as vehicles in other states. FWIW, the air in Phoenix is cleaner, and
there's definitely less smog than in LA.

Mind you, I'm all for clean air. I believe that in a limited number of
situations it is OK for the government to compensate for an externality,
especially in cases where the harm to society outweighs the benefits (or the
benefit to society far outweighs the cost).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_failure

> So perhaps I think giving incentives for people to use less energy has
> multiple benefits, some may not be obvious.

If the goal is to save energy, the incentive should reward people for saving
energy, not buying inferior quality CFLs.

There are much better ways to create the incentive, for example:

1. Let the market price of electricity reflect its actual cost. The best way
to accomplish this is to deregulate the energy sector.

2. Give people vouchers, that can be used to buy any CFLs of consumer's
choice.

3. Provide tax breaks.

In general, it's a bad idea to encourage people to use a particular
technology (CFLs, catalytic converters, etc), it's better to align the
incentive as closely as possible with the stated goal.

Vitaliy

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