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CFL poor performance (=total rubbish)

Discussion in 'Hobby Electronics' started by RMD, Feb 22, 2007.

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  1. RMD

    RMD Guest

    Hi All,

    I'm already stocking up on incandescent lamps. I figure a six-pack of
    incandescent lamps will cover me for a year, and it isn't too
    expensive to buy a lifetimes supply. About $30-40 worth of lamps ought
    see me out.

    Frankly I've given CFL's a good try and the performance is pathetic.
    Most of the performance claims just verge on fraud in my book.

    Damn things are dim, and get dimmer as they age. Checking them with a
    light-meter I just don't believe the claims made for 60W light output
    from 8W, or whatever they claim. I can't even read newsprint under an
    alleged 60W equivalent CFL.

    And as for the claimed 8000 hours life, you must be joking. I've tried
    quite a few in high use applications and none have lasted as long as a
    normal incandescent bulb.

    It is actually quite easy to buy a cheap incandescent light globe that
    works well and gives quite reasonable service.

    I think the manufacturers need to do some heavy work on improving the
    quality and reliability of CFL's. They are just total rubbish in my
    book. Only a fanatic greenie could love these stupid things.

    Just telling you what I think. :) Not holding anything back here. :)


    (To get email address ROT 13)
  2. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest

    ** I'm sure heaps of folk will do just the same.

    ** Ditto here.

    ** Two things have to happen before folk can trust CFLs to perform as
    claimed and not become a pollution issue.

    1. The regulators create a mark of proven quality and conformity to
    acceptable standards that all CFLs makers have to earn and then can apply to
    their products.

    2. All sellers are required to accept used examples back for proper

    ........ Phil
  3. Bruce Varley

    Bruce Varley Guest

    Anyway, where does this quoted 1000 hour mean life for incandescents come
    from? In our house there's no doubt that it's way longer for most of the
    globes we use. Nearly all of our failures are with particular fittings, for
    some reason, maybe heat dissipation. For the rest, we go for years without
    changing a globe, even the ones that get used a lot.
  4. Mr.T

    Mr.T Guest

    It comes from the days when such figures were conservative test results,
    rather than a figment of some advertising copywriters imagination.

  5. I've had CFL's last for more than 8000 hours, so it's not just
    marketing bullshit, they CAN achieve that.
    Yes, some brands are crap, but others are excellent.
    Some brands and models take ages to warm up, others are instant to
    full brightness.
    Some fade with time, others don't, even after 8000 hours.

    I'm using some of these new Megaman 11W Halogen replacement ones and
    they claim 15,000 hours.
    They do take a long time to warm up though, worst than any other CFL I
    have tried.

    Dave :)
  6. Marc

    Marc Guest

    Hi Dave,
    Can you mention these brands and models that are excellent, quick to full
    brightness, and don't fade?



    * My email address requires the identical words and
    * underscores removed to email me
  7. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest

    "Bruce Varley"

    ** It don't hardly matter if an incandescent lamp lasts 1000 or maybe 2000
    hours since the energy bill is already up to around 10 times its purchase at
    1000 hours.

    Plus so called " long life " bulbs simply put out less light and so are
    more expensive to use.

    A CFL however must last well OVER 1000 hours just to break even in cost with
    an ordinary incandescent - depends how much the particular CFL cost.

    The savings being claimed only happen if the life is 5000 hours or more.

    By which time, most of them are either too faint to use for most lighting
    job or dead.

    ........ Phil
  8. rowan194

    rowan194 Guest

    Bummer. I was hoping to fit out our new house almost exclusively with
    that item (or similar Megaman CFL product), but the "cold light = dim
    light" effect really bugs me.

    BTW, is the CFL the same length as a standard halogen globe fitting,
    or does it protrude below the ceiling level?
  9. Mr.T

    Mr.T Guest

    Yes, I'd love to know too. I've tried many brands and they were all crap
    IMO. NONE lasted even close to 4000 hours, let alone 8000 hours. One DOA and
    a few lasted less than 100 hours. At a guess my current average would be
    around 500 hours, possibly less. Have finally given up buying them, my hope
    that they might improve was in vain I'm afraid.

  10. Mr.T

    Mr.T Guest

    Which is the problem of course, since MANY fail to do so. My *average* is
    certainly less than that. And some cost over $10.
    IME I could buy and run a normal 60W globe for the life of the CFL, for less
    than the purchase price of the CFL in nearly all cases.

  11. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest

    "Chris Jones"

    ** LOL !!

    The seems to be a major error with the data on that page.

    500,000 cycles of 90 mins on and 15 off adds up to 750,000 hours on !!

    Just on 85 years of life !!!!

    ** Those Osram "Longlife" CFLs do not appear to be on sale here.


    Australia uses the ES26 socket ( same as USA), not the large ES27 as used in
    UK and Europe.

    We also use the bayonet type BC or BC22 very widely.

    ....... Phil
  12. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest

  13. Hi Marc
    I have GE and Mirrabella branded ones that are full brightness from
    switch on, with no flicker. Have had them for 3.5 years now, and no
    sign of fading. In fact have never had a CFL of mine fade.

    Sorry, don't remember the brand of the one that's done over 8000hours,
    it's in a previous house.

    Dave :)
  14. Mr.T

    Mr.T Guest

    Funny, Mirrabella have been the worst IME, but as has already been pointed
    out, the brand name bears little correlation to the tube construction or
    even what factory it came out of.
    I certainly wish I had as much luck with them as you though!

  15. Yes, I know people who have got some Mirabella's and they take a bit
    of time to warm up. It does seem to vary immensely.

    I've got about half a dozen different brands around my house, and have
    been exclusively CFL for about 10 years now, and I've had pretty good
    luck. Only one dead one out of the box from memory, no fading that I
    have noticed, and only a few that have died prematurely (within a year
    or two).

    I buy whatever brand is available at the shop that a)physically fits,
    has the right colour temp, the right rating, and the right fitting.
    Often there is only one choice available that fits all the

    The warm up thing doesn't really bother me in most cases, but I hate
    ones that flicker at switch on. The Megaman halogen ones do this, but
    because they are outside it's not a big deal. Shame really because the
    MegaMan ones have the nicest light of any other brand I've tried, very
    smooth and cool looking pure white.

    Dave :)
  16. kreed

    kreed Guest

    in recent years, We have used a large number of CFL's in our work. In
    all cases they were australian 240v CFL's being run from 120v, inside
    sockets mounted in imported US made equipment (too expensive to get
    120v bulbs, which had a short life anyway - and too much hassle to
    rewire dozens of sockets for 240v). Most CFLs will happily start and
    run on a 120v supply without any noticeable drop in performance.

    (note: one advantage no-one here has mentioned is that CFL's seem to
    be really good at handling voltage drops, and I would recommend using
    them in areas where you have brown-outs etc.)

    We used GE brand 18W CFL's that were sold by big W at the time (2001),
    and were "guaranteed 3 year life".

    In all cases they would be run for about 10 hours a day, 7 days a
    week, and were quite reliable. The first round of failures occured at
    about 3 years, where about 30% of the CFL's had died and since then
    about 40% of the original units are still running, though brightness
    has reduced.

    Have replaced them recently with Philips units that are stocked at
    Haymans, however the "Fairway" brand units that are sold dirt cheap at
    our local Bunnings also work fine, but dont seem to give out as much
    light in my opinion. Too early yet to give an opinion on their usable
    life though.

    out of interest:
    The first I can remember of "CFL's" was in the mid 1980's when a
    collegue obtained a couple of them. In those days they cost about $25
    to buy, (which is probably close to $50 in today's $) and the entire
    tube was encased in what looked like a big glass "jar" and probably
    sealed ? They took several minutes from power-on to come up to full
    brightness, but after that they worked well, and produced plenty of
    usable light.

    At the time, I can remember thinking they were a bit of a waste of
    time - mainly because of the cost, because a 40w batten could be
    bought for less than that, the tube could be replaced for about $2,
    and probably did the job as well or better, as well as starting within
    seconds at normal room temperature.

    Imagine my surprise when visiting there about a year ago, and seeing
    that he had one of them still in use as an outside light ! He claimed
    that the light had not failed in that time, but it was only being used
    for about 2 hours 2 nights a week (usually only used on weekends when
    they were using the outdoor area).

    The time it takes to get to any usable brightness is annoying though.
  17. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest


    ** That last claim just ain't true.

    The light output of a CFL varies closely in proportion to the AC supply
    voltage - so at 120 volts AC the output is half what it is at 240 volts AC.

    Tested several I have here and found the rms current draw remains constant
    over the range from 120 to 240 but the reading on a lux meter doubles. The
    colour does not alter.

    ** Yep, the light output of an incandesce bulb is a much more dramatic
    function of applied voltage than with a CFL - and the colour changes a lot


    One more ISSUE with CFLs is they are sensitive to ambient temperature.

    Even the "No Frills" one that starts instantly with close to full light
    output is a real SLUG to start and deliver light when cooled to around
    freezing temp first.

    This can be a serious problem in certain situations ( very cold weather /
    inside a cool room , forcing folk to leave CFLs on 24/7 to avoid the warm up

    No such issue with incandescent bulbs at all of course.

    ........ Phil
  18. Friday

    Friday Guest

    Phil how do the CFLs handle over voltage? Does it compromise their
    longevity to the same degree as an incandescent lamp? Have you seen any
    data on this?

  19. Phil Allison

    Phil Allison Guest


    ** What a stupid question.

    It falsely presumes that CFLs are all alike.

    ......... Phil
  20. Bob Parker

    Bob Parker Guest

    That's what I've found with all of them too. It applies to ordinary
    tubular fluorescents too, but not as much in my experience. All my
    fluoros in the depths of winter start noticeably dim and slowly come up
    to normal brilliance.
    It's because when cold, the mercury vapour condenses on the inside
    of the glass and needs a bit of heat to vaporize it again, isn't it?

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