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Compact fluorescent life

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by normanstrong, Oct 11, 2004.

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  1. normanstrong

    normanstrong Guest

    I've been using CF bulbs for some time. I use them only in places
    where they stay on for long periods of time, such as the kitchen
    light, porch lights, etc. I have yet to find one that lasts even 5000
    hours, much less 10,000. Some brands, such as Sunpark, have gone
    belly up in as little as 1000 hours. I want to save energy like a
    good citizen, but this is ridiculous.

    Do any of you have good experiences with any particular brand? Any


    Norm Strong
  2. Windsun

    Windsun Guest

    My experience has been less than wonderful with them so far. Tried several
    brands, including so-called major brands, and few seem to last the rated
    life. Saving energy is fine, but they are too expensive to replace with the
    current failure rate.

    I pretty much gave up and am using mostly Halogen now.
  3. I've had good experience with a number of different brands.
    The GE 14W twisters seem to be about the best of the lot as
    they fire up instantly and can operate in enclosed fixtures.

    Caveat, use the base to screw them in and not the bulb. You
    run the risk of breaking the bulb otherwise.

  4. Guest

    I can't work under the light from many of the CF bulbs, mainly those
    that are a "warm" color temp. Eyestrain, headache, foul humor. My
    experience with most regular fluorescents was similar, till the "Vita
    Lite" and, later, Ott full-spectrum lights came along. I like them.

    I bought a bunch of spiral CF's of no brand, Chinese manufacture from
    Backwoods Solar, 5000 deg. K. One 11W has been my reading light for
    3 years now, a 15W is on my drafting table. The only failure has
    been an 11W in a holder that allowed it to protrude into harm's way:
    one of my cats jumped onto the lamp and broke the CF.

    Backwoods no longer carries this CF. I bought a maybe lifetime
    supply when they cleared them out.

    Tom Willmon
    near Mountainair, (mid) New Mexico, USA

    Ask me about my vow of silence.

    Net-Tamer V 1.12.0 - Registered
  5. Dan Jones

    Dan Jones Guest

    I've use exclusively Phillips Ecotone CF in my home (UK) - after bad
    experiences with the light quality from other cheaper brands - I've had
    one failure, in the bathroom in 2 years. As my bathroom has no
    external windows, the light there gets an awful lot of use, and it
    seemed to be the large on-off cycle that caused the bulb to fail - apart
    from that in the past 2 odd years there have been zero failures despite
    very heavy use in the living and computer room areas (both have ~4 hours
    use/day in summer -> 8-9 in winter).

    I find the nice thing with the Ecotone is the 60W and below give instant
    illumination, and while the 100W takes a while to come up to full
    illumination, the light isn't that bad initially.

    Generally I find the light given is the most "daylight" like CF I've
    used, and as mentioned I now use it everywhere because of this.

    I get the bulbs cheap in Tesco as it seems to be the cheapest Ecotone
    retailer - I brought enough bulbs for the entire house at £2/bulb 2
    years ago. Recently I think they've been £3.25/bulb - but still
    cheaper than the £5/bulb that is common for CF here.

  6. Bought a batch of Ikea Chinese CF's 3 years ago, work fine except one
    dead in the box (1 out of 7). Bought one Philips Ecotone, cost three
    times as much, takes more than two minutes to get to full power and
    still doesn't really meet expectations.

    Remember not to touch the glass part of your CF with your hands - it can
    drastically reduce the number of power-on cycles of you lightbulb - most
    manufacturers forget to put this advice on the packaging.


    Dan Jones a écrit :
  7. Guest

    I think touching's OK, vs twisting, which can break the glass or wires
    at the base. Touching is more of an issue with high-temperature bulbs.

  8. Richard

    Richard Guest

    I use GE 15 watt CF's, and Sylvania 15w & 20w "spirals" and "straights", and the smaller Sylvania 13
    watt spiral. My GE's (which I didn't particularly care for their start up/warm up times) died out
    after 3 years of bathroom vanity duty, the least ideal place for them to be located. They were the
    first ones I purchased, during the summer of 1999.

    My Sylvania 15 watt and 20 watt straights were purchased during the fall of 1999 and the Sylvania
    "PriceMark" spirals I purchase during 2001, are still going strong, and I have them in locations
    that the manufacturer has not recommended (outdoors, sealed fixtures, etc). I measured between 118
    and 121 volts at the sockets, depending on time of day.

    According to Sylvania, CF's don't like to be left on for extended periods of time. They say a duty
    cycle of 3 hours on / 3 hours off. And they don't care to be turned off and on frequently. ie: stop
    in the bathroom to grab some tissue then walk out and turn off the light.... 2 mins later stop back
    in, turn on light, do your business, turn off light and leave... repeat, etc. etc.

    And just a caveat on those "life expectancies" printed on the package, Sylvania and GE call it
    "median life expectancy". Translation: put the whole case in a fixture and turn it on and by the
    time they reach however many hours are stated, 50% will still be lit. So you could have a bulb that
    lasts 100 hours, or 15, 000 hours. Luck of the draw.

    I'm still evaluating those Panasonic GenIV bulbs. I personally don't like the warm white colour. I
    also have some Globe Electric tri-light spiral and dimmable CF's which I purchase last December.
    The wife likes the tri-light so far.

    My experience in hardware retail and CF's is that customers either love them or hate them. No in
  9. Where does this come from? Any idea what the mechanism is?
  10. Ecnerwal

    Ecnerwal Guest

    It also depends far too much on the individual CF. I've got a random
    assortment, and they range from pretty good to awful. Thing is, you
    never know until you get the things home which it's going to be, and by
    the time you've let the test run to the point where you are sure that
    the thing lasts reasonably and provides decent startup and light, you
    can't get that exact version anymore, so it's back to crapshoot.

    The one I like best so far is a 39W reading lamp replacement that has a
    large tube designed to snake around the harp (lampshade holder), from
    GE. But I suspect I'd get a great deal more light (at less watts) from a
    plain old 4 foot florescent tube, and the fixture would not really cost
    much more than the CF lamp, while the replacment tubes would cost quite
    a bit less.

    I'm setting up my workshop off-grid, and for good light over a large
    area, metal halide looks like the best bet (both in light quality and
    efficiency - lumens per watt), though it does start slowly.
  11. William P.N. Smith a écrit :
    Info commes from the results of tests undertaken between 1998 and 2000
    (I know, not very recent, maybe there have been chagnes since then?) by
    Que choisir, 60 millions de consommateurs and Testé pour Vous, leading
    consumer rights associations in France. The warning about not touching
    the bulb also appears on some manufacturers packaging.

    I have no idea why touching has an effect. I understand the problem with
    high temperatur bulbs, but I haven't been able to figure out why it's a
    problem for CF's.

  12. There's a discount store in Massachusetts called Building 19. For the past
    year they have offered CF by Lights of America and Harmony
    Lighting.....manufacturer unknown. They sport energey star logo.

    All wattages sell for $0.49 ea. and range from 14w [800 lumens] to 30w [2050
    lumens]. They're supposed to last between 6000 - 10000 hours depending on

    I've been using them in my house and alternate energy cabin for a year. I
    like the whiteness and haven't had one go out yet.

    The price IS right.
  13. Paul Reavley

    Paul Reavley Guest

    I've been using over 50 CFL's in my house for the past 2 years. Most are
    still performing fine - many different brands, 3-way, floods, ceiling
    fixture straight bulbs, twists, etc. I've had my worst luck by far with
    Lights of America and MaxLite. I agree with others about there being
    problems with using CFLs in locations where the bulbs may be turned on for
    very short periods or cycled on and off frequently - something the
    manufacturers of CFLs seem to uniformly discourage.

  14. Bob Adkins

    Bob Adkins Guest

    My experience is the same as yours.

    Using 3 different brands, some have failed very early (a week or 2), some
    mediocre (a month or 2), and some keep going and going. I've had a few that
    failed from 1 day to 1 week. I have 1 tube that's 5 years old, and 2 or 3
    that are nearly 2 years old.

    Right now, it seems that tubes which last 6 months are likely to last much

    I think it's a quality/manufacturing consistency issue, because tube life
    varies from very short to fairly long. As quality improves in some brands
    that conscientiously troubleshoot the premature failure problem, I think CF
    will be truly economical. But right now, CF economy is far worse than
    incandescent in my experience.

    -- Bob
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