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Topic Title: Low Energy Lamp Pitfalls
Topic Summary: What makes a "good" low energy lamp
Created On: 06 October 2009 11:21 AM
Status: Read Only
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 06 October 2009 11:21 AM
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FredAt

Posts: 5
Joined: 06 October 2009

Hello All,

I am in the process of kitting out my new house with low energy lamps. In the process I have discovered that there is a huge variation in the range of prices for these lamps - from as little as €1.99 all the way upto €10+ for the same watts/lumens.

I have also had a few problems with some of the lamps I have bougt

    One of the lamps - which came "free" with the "spot" lights installation I had chosen went "Phrrr....Phhtt....Dead and a few seconds later the circuit breaker for the room in question tripped.


    Another lamp I bought - a cheap one at €3 for a 100W equivalent, no brand name (says made in the E.U.) that I was obliged to buy because it was the only one that would fit in the lamp fixture in question - does an eerie imitation of a lightlouse in the dark even when it is switched off.


What is going on? Do I need to stick with more expensive brands? The one that I have found really good is called Megaman.

I have also read that these lamps generate quite a strong magnetic field in their immediate vicinity. Does this depend on the brand of lamp? Does it mean that it is not a good idea to use them for, say, a bedsite lamp?

I'd much appreciate any advice.
 06 October 2009 11:56 AM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Now you know why the one that came with the fitting was 'free'.

All electrical items, including your body and the Earth, have magnetic fields. In addition to this you are bombarded with radio waves, radiation, etc., all the time. And for information the electrical socket you plug your lamp into and its wiring also have an alternating magnetic field so if you want to worry about these things then you will have plenty to worry about.

With regards to low energy bulbs the best thing to look for is the amount of light output they give for the energy they use and their estimated life span. A £1 lamp may last 10000 hours and a £10 lamp may last 100000 hours, for example. Whilst it is not always the case generally speaking you get what you pay for!

The biggest concern at the moment is that these lamps mostly use mercury inside them and thus this has environmental issues when it comes to disposal but millions of people have amalgam fillings which contain far more mercury and yet think nothing of it......so I think we need to maintain a perspective on things.

Regards.
 06 October 2009 01:19 PM
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FredAt

Posts: 5
Joined: 06 October 2009

Thank you for the reply but I am not thaaat naive. Yes, of course I realize that the "free lamp" is probably garbage and yes I do know that we are pretty much drowned in electrical and magnetic fields all the time. What I was hoping for was a more technical reply explaining what corners they probably cut in making the really cheap lamps and if in doing so they are introducing any health hazards.

Chances are I could spend a few hours and get the information somewhere on the Internet. But that I think would be dumb since everything I am seeking to learn is pretty much common knowledge to someone or the other on a forum such as this one.
 06 October 2009 02:18 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

Originally posted by: FredAt

Thank you for the reply but I am not thaaat naive.


Note that nowhere in my reply does it say that you are naive.

My comment about the 'free' lamp is a comment in jest about how manufacturers supply something that they say is 'free' but is basically crap!

The products sold in the EU have to meet the relevant standards with regards to hazards, safety and environmental impact. Therefore theoretically even the low cost stuff is safe.....and we will know for sure after some years of exposure.

Regards.
 06 October 2009 03:05 PM
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FredAt

Posts: 5
Joined: 06 October 2009

Sorry, Weston - I wasn't implying that I thought that you were implying that I was naive (too many thats :-)). I guess the problem is they use cheap electronic components that are liable to "fry" as happened with one of my lamps. I suppose that could happen with one of the more expensive lamps too. These things are too new to really know. Time was when a lamp had a filament that heated up. These beasts are a whole lot more complicated.
 06 October 2009 03:21 PM
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FredAt

Posts: 5
Joined: 06 October 2009

For anyone else who follows this thread, I just discovered this - the ghostly flashing when the lamp is switched off is due to capacitive coupling. Two way lamps - the one that has the problem is two way - are more susceptible to this problem since they typically have several meters of wiring, probably running parallel to other wires that are carrying current. The result is that the capacitor in the lamp gets charged up every once in a while and then discharges itself by flashing the lamp.

Naturally, this does not happen with a traditional filament lamp since a. there is no capacitor to charge up and b. it requires huge amounts of energy to light up anyway.

In some ways it is a testament to just how "good" the low energy lamp in question is - it is willing to generate light even with the relatively small amount of charge in the capacitor.

Not sure this really matters but the effect is eeire - enough to have freaked out my two year old son to the point where he did not want to sleep. There is a solution - fit an RFI capacitor across the terminals of the lamp.
 24 October 2009 03:55 AM
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michaelward

Posts: 26
Joined: 25 July 2008

Prices vary not only because of the mtbf but on the wavelength of the light given out, some being closer to daylight than others, which are just folded fluorescent light strips, and suffer from the same problems. ie slow start up and a discernible flicker by some people.
As for the type of bulb, that just depends on where you are going to put it. Bedside lamps are usually small and from experience, I have found that many standard low energy lamps, are just too big for this type of application, plus many more have a discernible flickering which annoys me no end.
As an example I use different types throughout the house. Daylight bulbs in living room and well travelled parts of the house, with secondary low level(power) lighting in living room and bedrooms.
 25 October 2009 08:11 AM
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FredAt

Posts: 5
Joined: 06 October 2009

Thanks. I had realized the issue with the color temperature though it took me while to start reading the labels carefully enough. Bedsite lamps - in the end I found that a small LED array was better since I can place it right above my pillow which makes for a better reading light.
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