LED prices

bus_driverMarch 3, 2014

Prices seem to have stabilized and it has been a while since I have seen a price decline. Anticipated increasing production volumes may not occur as one might imagine. For example, the relatively short life of incandescents required a steady flow of replacements, keeping the manufacturers busy. The longer life of the LEDs will mean much longer time spans between replacements.
Supplying initial demand for LEDs, which may still describe present sales volume, may have been moderately high. But once the "pipeline" is filled, the sales volume may drop.
My wife says we have more lamps on the shelf than most stores. Probably a lifetime supply of incandescents, a double-lifetime supply of CFL-- most of which were feebies from the power companies. And I now have LEDs in most of the locations on my premises where I consider them to be the best choice. So I will not be buying very many more LEDs even though I like them.
Those are my musings.
Your thoughts?

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LMAO @ "My wife says we have more lamps on the shelf than most stores".

The only suggestions that I have are for getting rid of excess lamps :-) Maybe there is a charity that will get your CFLs to people having trouble paying the bills. A church or two might know of some folks.

For general interest, rather than your inventory problem, there is an novel local organization near me that has made it a mission to lower peoples' lighting bills: http://www.greenlightneworleans.org

You bring up significant economic questions. I wonder if the big-wig manufacturers have done that kind of analysis. If I may, I'll add a different kind of question. What happens if you put an LED or even a CFL in a cheaply-made (typical) exterior luminaire in a humid environment and don't change it for a decade or more? Do you think that lamp will come out without damage to the luminaire?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 8:46PM
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The same question about exterior use has occurred to me. I recall when most used car lots had festoon lighting consisting of a string of bare incandescent lamps hanging from two individual conductors strung between supporting posts. I did that once to light an outdoor area and some of the lamps lasted for 20 years before the glass envelope fell away. I have a basement under a farm building that was built to provide very high humidity for temporary storage of tobacco so that it would not be so brittle. No tobacco here now. Lamp life there has been a problem. I do have CFL in enclosed fixtures on the ceiling of my open porch and at about 10 years, no problems. The lights are not used very often.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 9:39PM
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I was at the dollar store today. Older type 60 incandescents are 3 for a dollar. The newer CFL s are 4 for a buck -- subsidized by the local electric company I believe.

But no one was buying the CFLs today, people just bought other 'bargains'.

The CFLs seemed to me to be the best buy.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 4:27PM
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The Dollar stores changed the packaging of the 60 W incandescents early last year from 4 to 3, a unit price increase of 33 1/3%. One assumes that sales volume of those was brisk during 2013 as the availability was nearing an end. No CFLs at the Dollar stores in my area but Ollies has them for $1.29--- $1.49 each. The two power companies with which I have accounts gave me quite a few and my remaining years are relatively few. I have traveled lots of miles and all of the roads were not paved.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 7:26PM
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Some thoughts
1. Cheap CFLs may not be worth it as there have been stories of early failures including smoke from smoldering electronic components - an electrolytic capacitor bursting ...

2. Not all LEDs are the same. In fact there are a whole range of LED emitters available with widely varying characteristics of efficiency, max power draw, size, ...

3. LED lamp/ bulb pricing will drop when the chip fabrication costs for lighting elements falls and the lamp designers/ manufacturers figure out how to reduce the BOM (bill of materials) cost and simplify the manufacturing process.

The Cree bulb is a step in the right direction.

4. The longevity of a LED fixture (be it automotive taillights, headlights, traffic signals, street lighting, UCL, A19 bulbs, etc) is affected by such factors as
a. the choice of and quality of components - resistors, capacitors, etc, not just the LED emitters,
b. design decisions to over drive or limit the current, provide adequate heat sinking,...
c. manufacturing process - the fewer wires, components and manual labor, the better.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 7:36PM
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"1. Cheap CFLs may not be worth it as there have been stories of early failures including smoke from smoldering electronic components - an electrolytic capacitor bursting ..."
Entirely plausible. But sometimes junk is offered for sale at higher prices. And some of the lamps at Ollies are marked as subsidized by a power company far from my area-- fake markings? Who knows?
Some CFL failures could have resulted from use with inappropriate dimmers. I have not had any CFL failures thus far.

So how would one know at time of purchase which ones are good quality and which are not?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 9:43PM
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The unfortunate thing is that you really don't besides sticking with known good brands. Based on historical usage (in the 80s - 90s), Philips and toshiba work really well. Other brands - sylvania, lights of America, ... Not so well.

I've had cfl lights prematurely burn out or die with a loud pop and foul smell.

Dimming is another thing altogether. The majority of cfl lights cannot be dimmed. Those that do are not easily available and require a step dimmer.

With led lights, I'd expect similar issues with reliability to crop up as the number of vendors increases and the pressure to meet arbitrarily low price points mounts.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 10:34PM
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In these days, LED'S will occupy the most important place in lightning system . Many of them are used in its needed lighting system. What are the general things should we consider at the time of purchasing the led lights?

Here is a link that might be useful: led reflector design

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:46AM
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I've spent the past year+ replacing the incandescent floor lights in our ceiling cans which are throughout the house with dimmers and secondary switchs in several rooms.

First, I purchased too many GE "replacement" floods thinking they would be similar to the Reveals I've been using and like. The CFLs are a fail. The light (equivalent to 2800K) is dim poor quality, ugly yellow green. In closets it is difficult to see. These were $13 each at Walmart. I plan to sell them all on Craiglist or donate them.

Meanwhile, I found Par 38 LED floods from Lowe's house brand (Utilitech) manufactured by Feit. Excellent light color, quality and illumination (3000K). Dimmable. On these, the bezel is quite narrow so the light spread is excellent. The price started at $35, dropped to $32 and settled around $30. These were made with metal fins and bezels.

Solution, right? No. When all the lamps were replaced the slave switch didn't work at all and the lights would not dim. They flickered. Two burned out within 3 months (Lowe's replaced them without a question).

So I did a workaround, leaving 1 incandescent in each set of lights to power the switches. This works and my electric bills have gone down about $50 per month. (We have a lot of lights and we both work at home.) It will take 2 year of that savings to repay the cost of the bulbs I've purchased so far. But ok. They should be 10 year bulbs.

Now here's where it gets crazy. I currently have Leviton switches. They do not have an equivalent replacement switch for me. Lutron does.

Last year, I was fine with my Feit bulbs and Lutron. But now the size bulbs I have are not on the latest Lutron list. Plus, Feit has discontinued the bulbs I have. As someone said upthread, they are making things cheaper. The metal fins & bezels are now plastic. There aren't as many diodes. The light spread is worse & bezel thicker. The price has not changed though the quality and style has and not for the better IMO.

Fact: eventually all the switches in the house will need to be changed. That's true of anyone with much touted lighting "systems." Fortunately, mine is old and relatively simple. I cannot even imagine what folks with fancy electronic systems will need to do.

At this point, I cannot change out my switches because they won't be compatible with 10-year bulbs. All the bulbs won't match as those have changed, too.

Also, changing out all the switches isn't cost effective as it will take too long to get a payback. For now, I'm sticking with my workaround and warehoused incandescents. It will take several years until I run out.

Most people just want to buy lightbulbs. They shouldn't need a PhD in lighting design to figure it out.The industry needs to get their act together and create universal products that are cost effective.

Residential lighting is a mess.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 9:07AM
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You shouldn't have to change simple on off switches.

Companies like Cree, ... probably have a better shot at providing a drop in solution since they actively develop reference designs for oems.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

Most people just want to buy lightbulbs. They shouldn't need a PhD in lighting design to figure it out.The industry needs to get their act together and create universal products that are cost effective.

Residential lighting is a mess.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:42AM
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"Most people just want to buy lightbulbs. They shouldn't need a PhD in lighting design to figure it out.The industry needs to get their act together and create universal products that are cost effective."

If this applied to the automobile industry, we would still be driving the Model T. I think the lighting industry is moving forward as fast as is possible. And not all the laws controlling this industry have been helpful.
If the EPA has their desires, we will all be sitting in our homes on Winter nights in the dark, cold and hungry.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 1:49PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

The lighting industry has too many variables. If homes are going to be lighted with LED and CFL, then the mfgr should list compatible switches on the packaging exterior. Keep it simple stupid. Instead, you have to "research" it. And not everybody, especially me, wants a slide dimmer.

As for a Model T, how long has the incandescent bulb been around?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 4:15PM
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The incandescent light is really simple and will not exhibit issues such as flicker as much as lights with more complicated components.- cfl and led.

Part of the solution is to minimize electrical noise.

Another is realizing that there potentially are significant issues even though products are advertised as direct replacements.

A simple example - most cfl lights cannot be dimmed, installed in enclosed fixtures and usually should be installed right side up.

Yes, one should (does) not need a PHD to understand lighting.

However, some discretion / wisdom is needed.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 5:52PM
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Sometimes lamp sellers/manufacturers can't even put color temp, color rendering and power factor information on the packages. A simple standardized label that has that information along with check boxes for dimmers and switches. (Of course one problem with this is the different types of dimmers current and future.) It might look something like a nutritional label on commercial food.

I have gone into and called stores and asked what drop-in replacements they have that can be used in totally-enclosed luminaires. I've been met with shrugs. Of course that was big box stores. If the store expert can't figure it out, how is the average consumer supposed to be able to or have the patience to do it?

We've really got a problem right now in that some combinations can cause catastrophic, flame and smoke-involving failures.

Of course, IMHO, dimming arc lights (compact fluorescent or otherwise) is a dumb idea. It just does not work very well especially if you consider the cost of the equipment. If the option of bi or tri-level lighting was presented to most people that think that they want dimming, I think that they'd be satisfied with it if given a real picture of the results and the costs.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:29PM
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"If the EPA has their desires, we will all be sitting in our homes on Winter nights in the dark, cold and hungry. "

Cannot blame the government for what industry does not do. No law is preventing them from using basic common sense.

I've spent a lot of money on light bulbs that are not "replacements" for anything I had. I've had friends call me up to ask me what to do about replacing bulbs because they hate the CFLs and it's too hard to understand.

Hope the CFLs in my outdoor closed fixtures won't explode. Nothing on those packages.

So we can get a vehicle to Saturn but it's too hard to make lightbulbs that work with dimmers? Seriously? This is 2014. We have phones that talk.

This post was edited by rococogurl on Tue, Mar 11, 14 at 20:25

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:24PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

Our congressional members wanted to outlaw incandescent bulbs. However, I bet not one of them have read the warnings that are included with most CFL bulbs.

Here, use these!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 9:43AM
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Brushworks: incandescent bulbs are not "outlawed". However, manufacturers are required to make more efficient lightbulbs. You can, furthermore, buy incandescent bulbs -- same glowing tungsten filament, but more efficient gas filling -- everywhere for around 50 cents more per bulb. They should last about twice as long as the older type. I bought a four pack at HD last month for $5. The laws that apply to these changes were passed in 2005 and 2007 and were entirely non-controversial at the time although they've been demagogued like crazy in the last few years. However, they do save the consumer money. Also, the "risks" of CFLs are hugely exaggerated (worried about mercury? Don't eat tuna!) for political reasons, but if you prefer not to use them for any reason, there are lots of options. I guess that due to my politics being what they are, I prefer to keep the money in my pocket rather than send it to the power company. ;)

Seriously, listen to the political talking heads for fun, but don't count on them for accurate information.

CFLs don't "blow up" in closed fixtures, but due to increased heat they may not last as long (also true of incandescent and LED). I was surprised once when one of my CFLs in a closed fixture burned out "early". When I opened the fixture, I found an incandescent bulb that I had missed. The other, identical fixtures were just fine despite my warranty busting use of CFLs in closed lamps. Obviously, the light color wasn't any different.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 11:17AM
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FWIW I've noticed that Cree CR4s cost about $40 more / 12 pack now than they did 6 months ago online. Not sure about in store pricing since that's higher anyway.

I'm not sure of the reason but it seems to go against the overall trend.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 1:27PM
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I read somewhere that CFLs in canned lights will not last very long due to turning lights on and off a lot. My CFLs in my lamps get turned on and stay on. The canned lights go on for a few minutes then off again. So far we haven't lost any, but we did have one recessed LED bulb go out. It was one our first LEDs and cost about $35.00. It didn't even last a year.

Do you think it is because of the on/off usage of the recessed cans?

I know the LED is supposed to last much longer, but who is going to keep the receipt and packaging that long? Now we can't return it.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:17PM
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I do not know how the life expectancy of lamps other than incandescents are estimated. A sizeable sample is powered up and at the point where half have failed, that is considered to be the average life. Makes no difference how quickly the first few failed.
But in any large number of lamps of any type, some probably will fail quickly and some probably will last far longer than the norm. A single one is not a statistically significant sample.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 4:57PM
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" read somewhere that CFLs in canned lights will not last very long due to turning lights on and off a lot."

That is a characteristic of any of what we typically call "fluorescent lights", compact or linear. If you turn the lights on and leave them on, the life of the lamp is measured in hours. If you cycle them a lot, the lamp life is measured in "starts". For example, I am looking at the specifications for a quality, though not "long life" T8, 4' lamp. With the same "program start" ballast in each case, for a 3 h start it is rated at 30,000 hours, in contrast to a 12 h start at 36,000 h. When you drop below 3 h, the decay continues and you begin to measure in "starts". With instant start ballasts, the life will be much lower at the 3 hr and lower end. The instant start ballasts tend to vaporize the filaments comparatively quickly, but use a little less power while in use. They have their place and that is where the lights stay on for a long time.

Unfortunately, most of the junk that you find in stores that homeowners frequent are, or has, instant start ballasts. They are labeled as "residential". How is putting equipment that does not tolerate being switched a lot in a home supposed to be good? (I suppose in homes like mine it might be OK given that my wife seems to think that lights switches are for turning the lights on.) In addition to the starting problem, "residential ballasts" have a low power factor which means that they can use more power than a higher quality item even though a homeowner will not get billed for it.

With linear fluorescent lamps you have a choice in equipment. If you are turning the lights on and leaving them on for hours at a time, you pick instant-start ballasts. If you are cycling the lights a lotyou choose "program-start". The latter is what is used with the ever more commonly-seen occupancy sensors. Note that program start can be considered to be an electronic replacement for the old "rapid start".

The trouble with CF,Ls is that I can never seem to find out what kind of ballasts they have. From what I've been able to find out, they have poor power factors and my personal experience indicates that they go bad fast when switched a lot. Do some of them have program start ballasts? I wish I knew.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2014 at 7:14PM
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I saved all the receipts for the LEDs I bought and some of the packaging which I used to store the old incandescent floods. The two that burned out within a few months were exchanged, no questions asked. Why I'm still buying bulbs at Lowe's as they stand behind them. So far, no more burnouts.

The rational of these bulbs is very long life -- years so if they don't last, they're going back.

Compact fluorescent bulbs were not successful in my ceiling cans. They were the replacement style that look like floods. The light is the color of urine and dim. I moved them to closets but still had to replace one with an LED because the light wasn't isn't good enough to see what was in the closet which had mostly dark clothes.

I'm not going to worry over whether lights stay on or go on and off. DH has never seen a light he wants to turn off. But I can say that, so far, even with 1-2 incandescent floods in every room remaining to power the switches our electric bill has dropped about $50 per month over the past year. In another year, the bulbs will have paid for themselves.

Recently, I replaced all incandescent bulbs in my table lamps with LEDs and that has been terrific. The light is a great color, the LEDs are brighter and I get better light out of the lamps, the bulbs stay cool which makes my silk & paper shades live longer, and the cost was about $100 ($9). This definitely has been an improvement IMO. And because the bulbs don't burn hot, I don't worry about leaving one of my vintage lamps on as a nightlight.

Thing is, the cost of changing out the switches to go full LED doesn't seem to be cost effective yet. I calculated something like $4K to replace all my switches right now.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 9:13AM
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Yesterday the dollar store by me had two types of light bulbs; one is a regular stocked item, a Sunbeam brand 60V old-style incandescent 3 per pack. The other is a Globe 4 in a pack, 900 lumens 13 watt pack. Not called 40 or 60 or 100 watt bulbs anymore, but CFLs. Why should they, I guess -- then don't use 60 watts of juice. They are subsidized by Ameren UE or some government body and are an occasional item.
This day the incandescent were displayed right by the door.
I mentioned to the manager that this was a good buy, and he said yeah, 33% more for the same price. Never saw anyone in the checkout line buy the CFLs, but I had both products at home. I sat down and read both labels carefully. Both made in China, of course.

Got out my calculator and a pencil. What kind of savings was involved between these two products? Well, four new bulbs versus three of the older, 1.33.

Second, the new bulbs are brighter, 900 lumens compared to 530 = 1.698.

Thirdly, the new ones last longer. The old say 3000 hours, the new type don't say a number. But they do say they last 11 years based on 3 hours a day, or 3x365x11 = 12045/3000 =4.015.

Fourth, the electricity they use -- 13 watts versus 60 = 4.6.

If you multiply these four factors you come out with a number of 41.7. Wow. I'm not quite sure how to state the comparison. Maybe I could say comparing the two types of bulbs, considering both the purchase price and electrical that I pay for -- the CFLs are 42 times better? Are 41.7 times a better value?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2014 at 2:17PM
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You meet to improve that metric by multiplying by the CRI ratio and dividing by the color temperature.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 11:36AM
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The good discussion here is appreciated. I did buy another LED lamp at Costco today for $18.99 plus tax. 3 year guarantee. The equivalent in another brand is $34.95 at Home Depot. So it pays to shop.
For some applications, the LEDs just satisfy the lighting need better than any other type, IMHO.
That was what prompted the purchase today.
The lamps offered at Costco are not necessarily a regularly stocked item. Here today and then gone.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 3:03PM
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bus_driver, what kind of lamps were you looking at for those prices? the Cree A19 lamps at HD cost as low or lower than $10 for an 800 lumen lamp.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:10PM
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LEDs have definitely been going down in price through the past couple of months..

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:50PM
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The Costcos in my area are currently selling a Feit Electric 13w 750 lumen BR30 LED with great color rendering (93+ CRI) for only $13, and in my area with Energy Star utility discounts only $7. This is by far the lowest price I've seen for a high-CRI LED floodlamp. I bought a few and am quite impressed. They dim well, and at about the same rate as incandescent lamps on the same dimmer (though without changing to a warmer color as incandescent/halogen lamps do). They take a fraction of a second to turn on, but not too objectionable.

Other falling prices on standard shape LED bulbs include the 400 and 600 lumen Ikea bulbs, currently $4.49 and $7.49 respectively; the latter is dimmable; both look good and give off nice, omnidirectional light (labelled ">87 CRI", but in independent tests they're about 91). Cree recently lowered the prices of all the bulbs they sell at Home Depot; the TW Series 850 lumen (60w replacement) are $15 each if you buy 6 at a time online (and cheaper after discounts at the stores if you live in CA), I like the Crees because they're about the only ones of their type that can be used in fully enclosed fixtures, ambient-light sensors, and such. The non-TW (lower CRI) versions are cheaper, and are available in 75w and 100w replacement versions now.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 4:49PM
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Lee, what are the Costco and IKEA color temps? Those are good CRIs for non-incandescent.

I've noticed that Cree is making me choose between good color temp and good CRI. The higher CRI lamps are only available in lower color temp. I like 5000K. Too bad for me.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 5:15PM
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2700ðK for both.

The Ecosmart/Cree CR4 and CR6 style floodlamp modules sold at HD are 5000ðK and 90 CRI, but, yeah, haven't seen an omnidirectional high-CRI daylight LED bulb anywhere.

BTW, many of the Ikea candle shaped or small globe bulbs are also high-CRI (check the packaging), look great, and are cheap, although I wish they were dimmable.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:30PM
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Utilitech 7.5-Watt (40W Equivalent) A19 Medium Base (E-26) Warm White LED Bulb
Item #: 557094 : Model #: LA450830LED

In the Loews ad this week. They don't give the CRI. Store manager responded "I have contacted Utilitech that manufacture who has provided the information about the CRI. The CRI for that bulb is 82. "

Just now, on the web site, I asked:

What is the CRI?
What is the guarantee?
Can lamp be used in a base-up position?
Can lamp be used totally-enclosed in an outdoor luminaire ex. a "jelly jar" luminaire?
Can lamp be used totally-enclosed in a base-up position?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 12:26PM
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Have not found such low prices at the Lowes (hardware and building supplies) in my area. We also have Lowes Foods here.
Today in Home Depot found Philips SlimStyle LED-- new to me. Dimmable, 10,5 W, 800 lumens for $9.97 plus tax. Odd shape. Sort of like large LifeSaver mint with depression in the center but no through-hole. Not for enclosed fixtures. Looks odd if used as bare bulb. Would work well for table lamp with harp-supported shade. For shades that clip on to the bulb, the shade does fit but may not stay in place very well. Needs some use testing in that regard.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot

This post was edited by bus_driver on Thu, Apr 10, 14 at 8:12

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 9:20PM
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I saw that weirdly-shaped Sylvania (Whoops, Philips) in the HD ad. I wonder if it is designed that way for functional reasons or for marketing.

The lamp that I posted about is still on the Lowes web site and it indicates that they are available for pickup at my store today. There are some responses to my questions, but not that useful.

This post was edited by ionized on Fri, Apr 11, 14 at 9:55

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 6:31PM
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"I saw that weirdly-shaped Sylvania in the HD ad."
Do you have a link to the Sylvania item?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:11AM
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When I wrote that I saw it in the ad, I meant the paper one that was in my Sunday paper. It is in the online ad. Looks like I typed "Sylvania" but meant "Philips" See if the link works for you, page 6.

There are comments about excessive buzzing.


Can't find the warranty info. HD directs you to a "more info" tab, but there is not one. No warranty info at the Philips site either.

Also of note in the online ad:
SKU # 1000003071
Buy Online

Here is a link that might be useful: HD ad link

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:54AM
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Reading early this morning about some developments in LED driver design to make them smaller and more heat resistant. Apparently already proven to work. Not sure when it will show up in regular production- but we knew it would happen, right?
And another product called OLED that probably will be used for commercial lighting before it comes to residential use.
Looks as if the lighting industry will be in a state of change for some time to come.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 4:09PM
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OLED already in use for camera and phone displays and some high-end television screens.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 4:10AM
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WashingtonPost article summarizing pricing of LED bulbs today vs. four years ago. Link below

Here is a link that might be useful: Shopping for LED bulbs? Take a few tips from some home-testing

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 10:01AM
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For your suggestion I will only like to suggest you that there are many LED lights or lamps you kept in your home and they are no longer use in future, don't buy all lamps in bulk keep only less stock that you can able to sell easily. You like to sell the LED lights as this light is used in most of the location in your premises and sell the LED light carefully.

Here is a link that might be useful: Go Vocca Light

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:15AM
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