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LED – Is It Right For You?

by Eric Cole 23 September, 2010 05:18

Eric Cole is Bulbs.com's Category Manager for LED lighting products.

 

I know that many of our customers are trying to educate themselves about LED technology. In a sense, most of us in the industry are doing the same thing. LED technology has been around for some time and we at Bulbs.com have been following its progress very closely, but what LED is going to look like as a widespread, effective, and reliable everyday lighting solution is still evolving.  Here are some thoughts on what to look for, and what to look out for, when considering a transition to LEDs.

Let’s look at the benefits

LEDs are most well known for their extremely long life and energy efficiency. LED useful life is based on the number of operating hours until the LED is emitting 70% of its initial light output.  Top quality LEDs in well-designed fixtures are expected to have a useful life of 30,000 to 50,000 hours, significantly higher than the 1,000 hours for a typical incandescent bulb and 8,000 to 10,000 hours for a comparable CFL. LEDs usually don’t “burn out” like incandescent bulbs do.  Instead, they get progressively dimmer over time. This can be helpful in critical lighting areas. They also tend to use less than one-sixth as much energy as their incandescent or halogen counterparts, and 2-3 times less than most CFLs. More...

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Hot, Hot, Hot! Cold Cathode CFLs are both dimmable and flashable

by Chris Weber 8 September, 2010 07:28

Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFLs) have been around for about five years, but don't get the consideration they often deserve. They have more than double the life of standard Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and are better incandescent bulb replacements for dimming and flashing applications.

A quick technical overview

CCFL and CFL technologies are very similar - they both use integrated ballasts to regulate electrical current into a glass tube to excite mercury and phosphors and make UV light. The biggest differences between the two technologies are the type, temp, and resiliency of the cathodes used at the ends of the glass tubes. Standard CFL cathodes incorporate a thin tungsten wire that gets to 900°F while CCFL cathodes are more like solid metal thimbles that peak around 200°F (a "cold" cathode, relatively speaking.) Because the CCFL cathodes are more durable, they can be hit with more voltage (about 5 X) more often than standard CFLs and that opens up opportunities to use CCFL in applications where CFL products consistently fail. More...

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How to Pick a Compact Fluorescent Bulb

by Mike Connors 3 September, 2010 06:37

If you were disappointed by the performance of CFL bulbs in the last few years, it's time to try again.

Though we call them light bulbs, traditional incandescent bulbs are actually small heaters that give off a little bit of light - something you know if you've ever touched a bulb that's been on for a while. These bulbs were technological wonders when they were patented in 1880, but today they are inefficient dinosaurs. They waste energy and money, and they are responsible for millions of tons of pollution that contribute to global warming.

The next generation of CFL light bulbs

The next generation of Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) now give off higher-quality light while still using a fraction of the electricity as their earlier predecessors. Using CFLs puts less strain on the electric grid and saves you money. CFLs also reduce air pollution and the greenhouse gasses that cause global warming buy using less energy: if every household in the country replaced just three 60-watt incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, we would reduce as much pollution as if we took 3.5 million cars off the roads! More...

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