Monday, May 8, 2017

An Easiest Overhaul Of Dead T12 Fluorescents In A Kitchen

This post converts content of a Google Photos Album , to blog format.

These T12 fluorescent lights buzz loudly, and two of six 30 watt tubes are dim. I will find that two of the three heavy ballast units are oozing nasty PCBs. Power consumption is not just the tube draw. From the blog of Hovey Companies in Michigan , now Windemuller , find that total fixture draw of each eight-foot unit is 178 watts. Draw with dying ballasts is perhaps more. I might fix the buzzing with new ballast units, $38 each at Home Depot, and preemptively relamp at $5 per tube, perhaps giving another fifteen years of fixture service interrupted only by annual take-down of dead flies and stink bugs littering the plastic lens panes.

The home owner knows I have a better solution that costs no more. I have similarly replaced T12 fluorescent fixtures in two bathrooms.

It has taken two hours to demolish the found fluorescent fixtures and to install six Lithonia 7" LED Versi Lites , each 10.2 watts, 640 lumens, 3000°K color temperature. The LED disk downlights are attached to drywall with 1 1/4" drywall screws and are directly powered by 120 VAC (AC light engines) via 18 gage conductors. I failed at this installation, to seal ten half-inch holes in the drywall, but returned a week later with a better notion of the importance of that sealing. These holes for toggle bolt screws are little obstructed by steel bodies of fluorescent fixtures, and were the path a big stink bug could crawl through, for forty lens-littered years. A stink bug could not crawl past a lens or through small gaps above fixture aluminum frames.

The revived and silent lighting is much brighter. Total power draw is now 61 watts maximum, and will likely be dimmed much of the time, to less than fifty watts. This peak power consumption is down from 534 watts (or more with failing ballasts), a more than 90% reduction. Assume this condition is maintained fifteen years maintenance-free, before an anticipated grand kitchen overhaul where lights still have $30 value each, then used elsewhere. Assume an alternative miserly life with lights on just three hours per day if still non-dimmable fluorescent. Assume cheerful eight hours per day usage as LED with dimming to average 60% power, 300 watt-hours per day, 365 days per year. Saved electricity is 365*(3*534 - 300)/1000  = 475 KWH, a first-year savings of $52. A perpetual energy savings of $52 per year has fifteen year present value of $1352 if energy cost grows at 10% per year vs 3.2% general inflation and 5% annual interest cost of money if borrowed. I charged $240 for the job, better-compensated in friendship cemented with gift value of more than $1000, and expected enjoyment of a brighter buzz-free quality of life.

If I had only overhauled the found fluorescents at cost of $120 for new ballasts and $30 for new tubes, for the same $240 job cost, I would have robbed this friend of $1000 and diminished her quality of life. Fortunately, I know to do better. Now, do you?

Do know, I would be an even better friend in a kitchen overhaul now, where I would better light up the kitchen with LED disk downlights that are beautiful and bug free forever. The current-best offering in this would be Lighting Science 6" Glimpse. The better light might be like this at another home in this wonderful Lake Oswego, Oregon condominium complex, soon to be my home:

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Review, Elco ELSF1030W 6" LED Disk Light, 750 lumens, 3000°K, 11.5 watts

Why must I always buy LED disk lights online, not finding useful lights in local hardware or big box stores, or through local electrical distributors at a fair price? At a recent conference, I asked this of an exhibitor for the largest distributor in my region, Platt. We pondered LED downlight offerings at the Platt web site .  They offer this, that I had not yet tried.

The box top has a bar code, that reads 633999 187867. 
Search UPC 633999 187867 , and find that in retailer packaging, this light is called "Arvid." See that my good-volume $16 contractor price, is really nice. Retailers like Walmart mark this light up, out of reach, at $57! Unwary buyers paying that price and collecting dead bugs, will not advance in their acceptance of LED lighting better than cheap, stupid light bulbs.

I like the simple cardboard packaging. I will decide this is a keeper, but for now don't need anything in the accessories bag. The plate in the bag is for various attachments to can lights, with a good array of springs.

There seem to be ample diodes. Good. Perhaps then I can put up with all of the holes demanding a perfectly sealed junction box (bug proof).

A gasket is needed to keep bugs from entering at the rim. I doubt this foam holds up over twenty or thirty years of service, and don't like prospects this can remain bug free. Here note difficulty with the lens key attachment. At installation, I can propel the key rotation with force of fingertips. There are instruction arrows Open/ Close on the lens, but patience is needed in finding enough removal torque. Slide the lens back and forth to overcome friction.

The weak gasket works only at an outside edge, and does nothing to cover key holes.

Remarkably low glare is the best reason to want this light. The friendliness to gaze upon is very noticeable.

Where the Elco ELSF1030W competes with Utilitech 0752125 lights in Lowe's stores , let us be aware of much better attachment means possible, that bypass all bug issues. I would buy the Utilitech lights, but will not put up with foolishness in the inattention to glare.

Have I overlooked more, at Platt?

I have by other means tried only one of the listed Green Creative offerings, 4" Click, 600 lumens . I will not make large ceiling cuts demanded with the wafer-thin edge-lighted luminaires.

There are more lights to try. I hope there is growing acceptance of downlights that are not in a can, recessed needlessly, despite a still-evident quest for cheapness. 

Review, CANARM 35869 4" LED Disk Light, 900 lumens, 3000°K, 12 watts

Here is another LED disk light offering at Amazon that looked promising despite a rather high price, $42.99 each. It seems pretty enough. Shapely. I assign a product number as the second set of digits in the box bar code.

The packaging is simple and compact.

The thin lens is engaged with three loose-fitting keys. I reported in my Amazon review it hardly wanted to stay on. All such lenses admit bugs at a slow pace at their periphery. For most installers, the bug problem will be from backside access through brightly lighted keyways that can not be covered, unless the junction box is perfectly sealed to ceiling spaces. My greater unhappiness is with the absurd single diode.

Diode and array luminance is thoughtless and mean. Cheap.

This light kit has one really large virtue. See the steel segments provided, called Adaptor Plate. This plate is what we need  to grab box screws at 3 1/2" pitch, where petite luminaire holes are at 2 3/4" pitch. This is much better than ring adaptors mentioned for luminaire 4" GetInLight .

This is really nice. Sturdy.

With the awful glare problem, I see no reason to put up with bug prevention measures only I can take using my flexible grout and RACO 175 boxes. Others have not yet admitted the challenge, to seek a solution. We must not tolerate bug fouling in luminaires that may else be maintenance-free forever.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Sylvania 73676 LED Disk Light Product Review

In the prior post ,  I concluded that Sylvania again offers a LED disk light of some interest to consumers, readily found at Polar Ray and at Gordon Electric, and not found at Amazon. Digging deeper at Amazon, I do find similar lights, packaged as Product 73676 (900 lumens, 13 watts), and 73677 (700 lumens , 10 watts), available in random small quantities from various suppliers. I bought one 73676. It is of smallest volume, simple cardboard packaging, that an installer expects, and that any consumer appreciates.

At left, 75045. At right, 73676. Both have structure that penetrates a ceiling junction box despite compact surface mount of the converter block. The 75045 has seven positions for sets of spring clips to mate with can lights (an improvement), and 73676 a usual five.

The penetrating structures are not for wiring strain relief, and do not help in finding spring clip engagement with the mounting bracket.

Sylvania lenses pop off by flexing the luminaire plastic rim. Clockwise from upper left are 70732v1, 75045 and 73676, moving against progress to greater glare.

Call the 73676 diodes round, 3 mm dia, that of the phosphor shape.

73676 is inferior to 75045 in all respects. Surely 73676 is discontinued, and no decent Sylvania Ultra LED disk lights  are on offer at Amazon or in any big box store.

I will get rid of the 73676 where glare is tolerated in someone's attic. No one else should buy them. Where I have made a purchase, I can leave a negative review at Amazon, about unloading of old junk. I'm still looking for decent bug-proof  low-glare lights I may proudly offer, missing those discontinued, Nicor DLS10 and Cost Less Lighting disks. 6" Glimpse of 2016 is the only contender with modest glare and bug proof. 4" Glimpse of 2016 are nice, only for an installer able to install an airtight can or junction box, blocking bugs.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sylvania 75045 LED Disk Light Product Review

900 lumens LED disk lights from Sylvania are again available, where Lowe's stores have replaced Sylvania-labeled offerings, with labeling Utilitech Product #0752125, less-bright, at 700 lumens. Now buy 900 lumens lights via Polar Ray , as single display packs, or via Gordon Electric Supply , less expensive, with two display boxes per cardboard carton. I hoped there would be less to recycle in the two-pack, and am disappointed. No form of this light is offered at Amazon.

Sylvania 75045 has CRI improved from 82, to 90, and has a less-obtrusive converter block.

The lens is bug proof and you won't need to look beneath, at a rather-small LED engine.

Glare is rather large, compared to the first Sylvania offering, 70732v1. Some other lights are worse. See that state of the art manufacturing in China is without effort to exceed efficacy of 75 lumens per watt.

Here is a brightness comparison on my test stand, with 70732v1 at LHS, and 75045 at RHS. 75045 is a bit brighter, but with spot light behavior, more center concentration of light. Greater glare is visible to the eye.

75045 dimming is silent, and deeper than with 70732.

I am disappointed with the inattention to glare, but will find uses for this light. Recall the less-glaring light engine of 70732 v1. Surely with lights that last a lifetime, we must afford largest diodes that fit on a board.

It seems all such lights are made in the same China factories, without USA leadership. Could Sylvania-boxed lights share the better attachment means found for Utilitech 0752125 copied here from that review? The converter block, not surface-mounted, can be an attachment asset!

800 Lumens LED Bulb Illumination to Side vs. End-On

What shall I do with an old two-bulb lampholder now replaced by a wonderful Lighting Science 6" Glimpse LED disk light? I found it with two antique clear-glass incandescent bulbs, 150 watt and 60 watt, throwing ruinous heat and adequate light in a small hallway. The interesting 150 watt bulb died from a little jostling, before I could use it in comparisons. 

Ah so! I can compare sideways vs. end-on illumination from a couple of 800 lumens LED bulbs of current technology. Above, a non-dimmable Utilitech. Below, an Ecosmart. Both, made somewhere in China.

These bulbs will be at RHS on my comparison test stand. At LHS I have a first-generation Sylvania 70732, 900 lumens, 3000°K.

The combined illumination from two 800 lumens LED bulbs is not more than 600 lumens, far less than that of the 900 lumens LED disk light.

With the LED bulbs end-on to the screen upon porcelain lampholders, they far surpass 900 lumens directional illumination, say 1600 lumens.

If an 800 lumens LED bulb is sideways on the ceiling or in a lamp is sideways to your book, expect it to yield only 300 lumens of practical illumination. Throwing away 60% of the light is a bad idea. We must learn to employ LED lighting in a natural downward direction like sunlight. I have offered similar comparisons in this blog several times. Much of this has been in challenge of leadership from the US Department of Energy, That leadership brought us silly and very expensive bulbs winning the US DOE L-Prize. 

Please look back at posts of this blog, found by  subject search, L-Prize.  

I think I am entitled to impatience with US DOE. Is anyone else watching this?

I am once again looking for leadership in residential LED light manufacturing, from Lighting Science

Here are installation details at the replaced two-bulb ceiling heater. Wiring made dangerous with fractured insulator material is such that weatherization must involve new cooperation between electricians, and access specialists with skills including plaster patching. We need the good LED disk lights too. I chose 6" Glimpse lights, 3000°K,  for my 850 lumens needs in this job. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

USA Investment In Energy Conservation Through Residential LED Lighting

In the previous post ,  I criticize US Department Of Energy for an important role in our failure so far, to achieve energy saving promised with switch to LED lighting in our homes. 

- - the Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that in 2015, light-emitting diode (LED)-based lamps comprised just 6.4% of the U.S. installed base - - 

Much of the achievement is in swapping point-source light bulbs, where LEDs saving is 75% in electricity cost, not easily achieved 90%, while perhaps diminishing delivered useful light.

I accused that the only offering from US DOE is a misguided mandate of higher light engine efficacy, lumens per watt, to be 75 lumens per watt or more, if we are being green. This poor guidance encourages continued sale of point source bulbs including awful CFL bulbs. Crummy CFL bulbs can cheaply and readily exceed 75 lumens per watt. Affordable and wonderful LED disk lights rarely exceed 75 lumens per watt, but all, at proper times-two multiple for task illumination, far surpass the CFLs.

Here just consider whether we are getting a return for taxes paid. Where public funds are wasted, is US DOE a bad apple? Can US DOE have nobility ever, where it is chiefly the keeper of nuclear weapons production and with that, an unabashed proponent of unaffordable electricity production with nuclear power, a fat cat spending thirty billion dollars a year ,  Ten percent of this huge budget is spent in the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Couldn't they somehow not bungle our LEDs opportunity?

US DOE fulfills an annual commitment to report upon its effort with the LEDs opportunity in a Solid-State Lighting R&D Plan. Here are  page excerpts from the plan for 2016 .

Extract the following facts:
Congress allocates about $25 million per year for all Solid State Lighting, SSL, activities of US DOE. The total of annual budgets for programs is nearly double this, with contributions from industry, $45 million in 2016. The split of budgets between LED and OLED developments is about 50-50. About $5 million per year is allocated to LED manufacturing research. 

With such little expression of conservation priority here from US Congress, should we expect little or nothing from US DOE? I think we can demand better vision.