Bye bye Incandescent. Bye bye CFL. Buy LED.

Thanks Mr. Edison, we’ll take it from here!

I currently work part-time in a hardware store. It’s educational, tedious, fun and repetative, usually at the same time. Makes me feel like I’m in a BBC sitcom a lot of time, some sort of strange hybrid of Dinner Ladies and Open All Hours.

Of course the main benefit of working there is the fact the store is but a quick hop, skip and a jump from our apartment. Meaning I leave here at about 8.53am for my 8.57am start. Which gives me plenty of time to do my hair in the mornings.

Incandescent Bulb

I’ve never really had a job where I’m interacting with the public on an ongoing basis, as working in Specialised PSV was damn-specialised bus and engineering work and DCU, TV3 and XwerX was all just internal or “B2B” dealings. And so it still takes me aback how frequently it comes to light just how stupid and paranoid some people can be.

I work primarily in the electrical section and so regularly have to “politely educate” people on how to do the right thing. This means dissing incandescent bulbs. Traditional tungsten-filament bulbs are one of the most inefficient inventions known to man, whereby over 80% of the energy is used generates heat, not light.

Compact Fluorescent Lamp

CFL Bulb

The incandescent lightbulb’s successor, the CFL (Compact Flourescent Lamp) bulbs have problems of their own and people have to be reassured that they won’t make them go blind or give their dog cancer.

To put them at ease I tell them the simple fact that a traditional watch battery contains 5 times more mercury than a CFL bulb. [And plus mercury surely can’t be that bad anyway, look how fun it is!]

Even with the mercury issues solved, there are still issues with the warmth of the light and the belief that the light is not as bright and instant as older bulbs.

And so we now welcome to the fray, the newbie… The LED bulb.

LED Bulb

While they’ve become popular in torches, auto-signalling lighting and bike lights, the use of LED technology in mains-powered lamps and fixtures is still a new concept to most. The LED bulb effectively says “balls to you Mr. Edison and Mr. CFL, cause we’re doing it with less power. we’re mercury-free, recyclable and we last forever and ever” [well around 25,000hrs…]. Sassy stuff Mr LED.

The only problem with current LED options are complaints with the warmth of the light and the unit price. You’re likely to pay upwards of $35 for a 60w equivalent from Philips or Lemnis, which often give out a pretty cold light…

But supposedly, not for much longer!

Yesterday I read a piece on engadget about a new TrueWhite LED prototype from a “previously unknown to Nigel” company named Cree. The promo video for their new bulb is embedded at the top of this post. While they need to work out costing and price, it addresses a lot of the flaws of current LED products…

  • Bright [800 lumens, 60w equivalent],
  • Gives off a nice soft white glow [2700 on the Kelvin scale of lighting tone! Mmm, warm…]
  • Uses less than 10w of power.
  • And for those who would like to “set a mood”, it’s fully dimmable. Rejoice!

Now wasn’t that a very enlightening tangent.

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