Author Topic: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?  (Read 7711 times)

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MIgardener

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What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« on: March 29, 2014, 06:43:53 PM »

  Incandesants use too much power, and LEDs cost too much.

 But I hate CLFs. They take foever to warm up. Plus, I really don't like the idea of having a ton of chemicals in a glass tube hanging from my ceiling.  :(
,Jake

john8750

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 08:40:18 PM »
I don't like them. The equivalent wattage ratings are for test lab conditions, and not very practical. I have installed thousands of them and a certain percentage are bad within 48 hours. The cost is very high yet. LED fluorescent's are great, low current, very bright, but cost way to much. And who knows what they will do to our eye strain in a few years.
Just my thoughts.

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Frank S

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 10:01:04 PM »
In my furniture van that I am making into a small machine shop there were 5 60 watt incandescent bulbs with reflectors mounted on the 10 ft 6 in ceiling  they gave adequate lighting for most things  that the van was used for before. But they had too much power drain since I run off of an inverter now.
 I replaced them with 5 100 watt rated CFLs  now the lighting is horrible
 LEDs make no sense if powered by 120v.
 Eventually I will install  12v lighting using LEDs   
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MaryAlana

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2014, 11:25:45 PM »
Seeing 60 watt equivalent LEDS down to $8 each now, factor in lifespan...

Frank S

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2014, 12:25:38 AM »
Seeing 60 watt equivalent LEDS down to $8 each now, factor in lifespan...

that's not a bad price actually considering  even the very best incandescent bulbs might last a year @ best
 several years back I used to buy 240v 100w incandesents and use them on 120v ac  the heavier filaments would last 4 times as long as a comparable quality 120v bulb even   
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Frank S

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2014, 12:26:51 AM »
 several years back I used to buy 240v 100w incandesents and use them on 120v ac  the heavier filaments would last 4 times as long as a comparable quality 120v bulb even though dimmer
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SparWeb

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2014, 10:46:05 AM »
I once tested one of the slowest CFL's in my house with a datalogger and a photocell.  Here's the intensity graph:



After the first "flash" of about 20% intensity, it drops to just 15%, then slowwwwwwly crawls up to its rated brightness after 6 minutes.  Briefly turning off and on, and it retains most of its intensity, but still requires 30 seconds to return to full brightness.  Turned off for more than a minute and it must re-start its long slow climb.  The lesson is to turn this light on once, and leave it on for the whole evening.

I have other CFL's in the house that require less than 30 seconds to accomplish this, from a cold start.  The difference lies in vastly different levels of quality.  YGWYPF.
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MaryAlana

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2014, 03:40:10 PM »
Have a couple of these http://www.menards.com/main/led/feit-led-dimmable-general-purpose/p-2123175-c-7482.htm so far so good, color is okay, not quite as white as I would prefer but tolerable.

MattM

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 12:47:31 AM »
I've bought no less than 40 LEDs from Walmart and Lowe's this past year.  It might be close to 50 for the past two years.  Twelve are 4W candelabras.  One is the 65W replacement at 11W.  The rest are 60W replacements in the A19 form factor most at 5000K color temperature value.  I buy them 2-5 at a time to keep them affordable.  I've also swapped out a couple dozen bulbs for CFLs varying from 40W to 100W equivalents.  Natural light color has been my focus.

Overall it's been a modest reduction on the electric bill.  It's been a huge improvement in light quality, considering the change to natural colors.  Big jump in quality IMO.  I'm going for long term savings.

Bruce S

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2014, 08:04:58 AM »
I don't mind CFLs for what  they are and what they can be used for.
Yes, there is mercury in them but not nearly as much as the older ones do (actually 1/10th in newest ones)
LEDs are great, and quickly coming down in price. WE need to remember, CFLs have been around for about 10+ years, LEDs in retail and larger wattages at best only 5 years.
Engineering and manufacturing responds to consumer demand not what's right or best.
For my plants, both Veggies and flowers, they absolutely love the light spectrum, even the strawberry plants have responded all winter. I can run the CFLs off a smaller inverter and not worry about over heating the plants.
   
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Out There

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2014, 11:03:46 AM »
For my plants, both Veggies and flowers, they absolutely love the light spectrum, even the strawberry plants have responded all winter. I can run the CFLs off a smaller inverter and not worry about over heating the plants.
I don't mind the CFLs, either. Still, I do have some candelabra-base LEDs in the two (two-lamp) light fixtures in my dining room. Before I changed the inverter settings, the four LED bulbs were not drawing enough to turn the inverter "on" from the "search" mode. They would blink with the pulses sent out by the inverter. Reducing my demand is important.
That all said, I'm in the process of planning/designing my greenhouse, which will be used to get a jump-start on the shorter Northwest growing season and to provide some fresh veggies through the winter. Bruce S.'s comment got me wondering… since I want to extend the daily photo period, I'd be turning lights on before the (winter) sunrise and again after sunset. What do folks use? Is anyone using the Red/Blue LED grow lights? This is what I think I want, but they're still somewhat new and kind of expensive. I want to plan this out before I get to the point of need!
-Brian
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MaryAlana

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2014, 02:14:18 PM »
I am on the hunt for affordable 24 volt(or 12 but that requires a dc-dc converter) light fixtures to wire the house with. RV stuff is super expensive as are various strip lights made for DC use.

Out There

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2014, 03:45:05 PM »
I am on the hunt for affordable 24 volt(or 12 but that requires a dc-dc converter) light fixtures to wire the house with. RV stuff is super expensive as are various strip lights made for DC use.
Another source might be the marine industry. I realize there's still the cost issue, but I think there's more 24 volt stuff for boats.
(…and I could be TOTALLY off on this. I got it 3rd hand!)
Off-Grid: 8 Solec photovoltaic panels, AIR 403 wind turbine, Trace 4024 power center, C-40 charge controller, 8 Costco Golf Cart batteries (24 volts/416 Ah ). Generac Guardian 8kw for back-up. (currently running back-up to back-up: Duromax 4400 dual fuel genset)Maybe MicroHydro sometime this year

Bruce S

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2014, 05:32:58 PM »
I have used the Red/Blue combo to some very good results! However I am seeing better results from the Red/Blue/Amber combo. My biggest issue is nats  >:( , these little buggers just show up!

Two places I have had good luck is ebay ( look closely at what you get!) and the place I almost went to work for which is Superbrightleds.
Furture electronics online has some very good information on what's coming in the next month or so, not next 5 years like we hear.
DC timers: I don't use them, I like the idea of tending my winter garden everyday so for me it's getup turn on the light and turn if off at night.
Most of the stuff I've seen sold has a wall wart, I just don't use it, I go direct to the battery source.
Hope this helps
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MattM

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2014, 11:44:09 AM »
Thyme oil extract smells minty and acts as a pesticide free repellent.  And it's electronics friendly.

birdhouse

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2014, 04:52:58 PM »
Quote
I am on the hunt for affordable 24 volt(or 12 but that requires a dc-dc converter) light fixtures to wire the house with. RV stuff is super expensive as are various strip lights made for DC use.

i also run 24v.  i simply buy 12v leds from china(ebay).  i then wire two in series per location/fixture.  you used to be able to get decent SMD leds for just over a buck a piece.  the prices seem to be steadily rising. 

i also got some actual 24v leds from china.  they are the mr-16 type.  i think they were $3-4 a piece?  i have had bad luck with leds sold as 12/24v.  they all burnt out really quickly. 

adam

MaryAlana

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2014, 01:33:53 AM »
Most high output leds need a good heatsink and a constant current supply

Xan

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2017, 08:04:51 PM »
This is kind of an old thread, but it's interesting what's happened with LED bulbs in the past few years. Now you can get them from the supermarket & they're not really a speciality item...

CFLs. I have never been that keen on them really. So I naturally jumped into LEDs the when they started becoming available. However, never before have I changed so many lightbulbs over a period! Some from pre-mature failure, other's just becoming "obsolete" i.e. a better design of bulb becoming available for the fixture/area/application.

The few remaining mains voltage CFLs in the house have continued to work fine however. i have not had much luck with 12 volt CFLs however, one died within a month & with the other I have been too scared to use as they were kind of pricey and I don't want to blow it straight away.

What we also have and I DO like though is CCFL bulbs. That's Cold Cathode Fluorescent. They are ideal for 12 volt low wattage "low level" lights, they spread the light around better than LEDs tend to. And they are very efficient with an extremely long life expectancy. The only real drawback with them is they have a rather long warm up period. And if that annoys you in CLFs you would absolutely hate these. lol 

OperaHouse

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2017, 12:40:06 AM »
Many of the LED bulbs have had the failure rate of the the cheap CFL lamps. The market has gone to cheap and specmanship. Most of the screw in LED types just run too hot.  They can be run cooler by putting a capacitor in series to reduce the voltage.  I have one I use to light the stairs for my dog.  It has a .1uF capacitor in series and it puts out enough light with less than 1/10W.  Interesting that some won't work and others will flash at this low power depending on the internal converter. A LED lamp is more efficient as the power and heat lower.  I bought several ceiling mount 18W LED and operate them off a $1 boost converter at 12V.  At only about 6W they produce a lot of light at the camp and run cool. I started out with those 12V MR16 lamps and about half of them have failed because they operate at extreme limits.  I now use the 10W LED modules and only run them at 1W.  I'm never going back to CFL.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 12:45:49 AM by OperaHouse »

george65

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2017, 07:14:32 AM »

Worrying about the cost of power for incandescent light bulbs in a modern home with air con, entertainment system, clothes dryer, Pool pump, computer or 3, electric cooking, hot water and a big fridge and freezer is like worrying about the 10% Discount coupon that was in the wallet full of $100 notes you lost.

DamonHD

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2017, 07:30:52 AM »
I dispute that counsel of dispair: "it's all hopeless so don't even try any of it".

Our only incandescent bulbs are now in the oven and (yes, wait for it) the fridge...

But everything else is LED or CFL.  And we don't have air con or a clothes dryer (or pool pump, or desktop computer; laptops instead).  But we do have (efficient, nice-to-use) electric cooking (induction hob, fan oven) as it happens.

We also have 1/2--1/3 the the consumption of natural gas and electricity of the homes around us, and thus very low bills, and the house largely as we want it.

And no, heating the air near the ceiling really isn't helpful, especially outside the heating season.

Note that none of the value or otherwise of what I've mentioned above depends on one's views on carbon, etc, though they are extra motivations for me.

Rgds

Damon
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 08:44:42 AM by DamonHD »

OperaHouse

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2017, 08:15:57 AM »
When you worry about the mA, the amps take care of themselves.

Ungrounded Lightning Rod

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2017, 08:45:14 AM »
Both my house sites are still on-grid, but the travel trailer, of course, is both on- and off-grid, depending on whether it's parked where a hookup is available.  (We like to do self-contained camping at remote sites, and can easily go two days on batteries, but hook up when it's available to save the batteries.  The AC is only available with a hookup or a big honking generator, and the microwave pretty much ditto:  It would burn through about 1/4 C to do one meal for us if we did get a big enough inverter to try it - though I might consider it if I get some solar panels or a portable mill lashed up to bring 'em back up before sundown at a day camp, or to do lunch on the road, where the tow vehicle will recharge them before the night's stop.)

My wife has vertigo and we had initial difficulty finding CFLs that didn't set off an attack.  When the US started banning incandescents we dropped about $1000 on enough to keep our retirement house in light bulbs for our expected remaining lifetimes.   (The retirement home started with ballasted fluorescent tubes in the garage, utility room, under-counter lighting,most bathroom fixtures, and backyard floods, and early, tiny, CFLs for the beside the door lighting, lots of incandescents elsewhere - including six candelabra bulbs for the bathroom mirror vanity light, which (totalling to 240 watts) doubles as the room heat lamp.)

Eventually we found CFLs that didn't set her off and started switching to them.  The townhouse was quickly converted to CFLs everywhere that didn't already have some fluorescent fixture.  So far the retirement house just got six in one living area fixture.

CFLs are about a factor of four more efficient than incandescents.  LEDs are potentially good for a tad over another factor of four before bumping up against perfect energy efficiency, and may approach that limit in another few years.  Right now they've passed CFLs by not quite a factor of 2 (about 1.5).  After a rotten start (with overrated "incandescent equivalency" markings that prompted the requirement for marking all lamps with lumen ratings B-) ) and then some early, crude, expensive, weird colored stuff, they've started hitting their stride with reliable, long-lived, efficient, bright devices, in a range of eye-easy colors, a "dimmable" option, with economy of scale producing acceptable pricing.

The main downsides are:
 - The ones we're using follow the mains voltage cycling very closely - lighting for about half of each half-cycle - so well we can see a noticable flicker when a big motor starting in our neighborhood causes a couple cycles of voltage droop (taking that quarter-cycle voltage peak away).  It's about like a bird flying over on a sunny day.
 - There's still some flakey stuff out there, and a bit of infant mortality even in the good brands.  (But our Ace Hardware dealer has decent prices and will replace the dead babies for free.)
 - Any leakage power - even the tiny trickle from the neon lamps in a "find me in the dark" illuminated switch or a (non LED rated) dimmer set at minimum - will make them light up somewhat.  One of the four parallel bulbs in a stairway top/bottom light set glows when "switched off", as does one of the two in an electronically driven ceiling fan.  The bedroom dimmer needs replacing to go as dim as I want.  (I think a small resistive load can fix the stairway issue, with negligible power cost, but haven't tried yet.)
 - "Bug light" equivalent versions (from Fiet) JUST hit the local market in the last couple weeks.  (FINALLY!  We were using CFL bug lights from Lowes, which stopped carrying replacements before we stopped needing them.)  They're a tad overrated but ought to be OK.  (The "60W equivalent" puts out 400 lumen, versus 800 for the CFL and 550 for a real incandescent.)
 - The devices and market are still evolving.  You're virtually guaranteed you won't be able to buy identical replacements withing a few months, so you need to buy enough, plus a few spares, at a time to convert all the fixtures you want to match.  (Fortunately they are very long-lived.)

We don't like the mercury risk.  So now that LEDs have "come of age" we're switching out perfectly usable, and even disposing of some unused, CFLs and going to LEDs pretty much everywhere.  (I'm hoping we'll be to near-theoretical-efficiency devices a little before this year's round needs replacing.)

The townhouse is mostly converted now.  After finding some bulbs acceptable to my wife, I bought enough Fiet bulbs (during sale pricing) to relamp all the bulb-type lamps and fixtures (just before Ace got a better price deal with Satco and switched over) and have been installing them over the last few weeks.  Drop-in ballasted fluorescent replacements from Fiet also give great light and are available at several sources, but are still a bit pricey, so I'm replacing the tubes as they start to go.  The yard lighting had been flaking out, so I (took a chance and) got a bunch of Heath-Zenith two-lamp motion-detector fixtures and Satco 3000K wet-area dimmable floods, and replaced 'em all around.  So far they're great - especially with the gradual turn-on/of from the incandescent-life-stretching feature. It's fun walking around the house and have each zone ramp-up the light as I approach it.  Like a light crew making my life easy.  (I've had issues with Heath/Zenith sensor longevity in the past.  Keeping my fingers crossed.)  I plan to try the bug lights in the front tonight.

For the retirement house I've only gotten the CFLs in the living room fixture and the great-room ceiling fan incandescents replaced so far.  (The ceiling fan has a "somebody's home" fakeout mode that lasts until the next power outage, which burns out incandescents in a few months, and works with LEDs, but dimmable CLFs that small were unavailable.)  Converting the rest should ramp up in the next year or so.  Then (if I sill have the health and resources) we'll be all set to do an RE system.

For the travel trailer:  I found some good 12V LED replacements for the interior lighting and plan to replace the incandescents in a batch as soon as I get around to placing the order.  They'll let me run the trailer lights for five hours on less battery power than the incandescents chewed up in one, which may give us an extra night dry-camping between recharges.  (Unfortunately the refrigerator is electronically controlled and pulls substantial current to open the gas valve.)  The exterior light is already replaced (with an LED automotive "backup light" until I can find an amber one to do the "bug light" bit in the current fixture)
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 09:35:14 AM by Ungrounded Lightning Rod »

DamonHD

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2017, 08:45:38 AM »
@OH: I spend my life worrying about microamps (and microwatts), so I definitely agree with that sentiment!

Rgds

Damon

MattM

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2017, 09:49:31 AM »
I went all LED a few years back.  There might be some rogue CFL bulbs somewhere in the house, but I consciously went fixture to fixture replacing them.  The AC ran considerably less and the temperatures outside haven't been any less extreme.  I feel better knowing I wasn't paying nearly as much to reheat conditioned air.  This house is mostly well insulated, but for some ignorant reason here in FL the builders seal off the ceilings then vent the entire attic space to the outside.  It makes considerably more sense to seal both and put the insulation at the roof line.  All my AC ductwork runs through my hot attic space.  The first fix was to cover the ductwork.  Next will be to seal off the attic under the rafters that can breathe and completely seal off ones that run into ridgelines.  Of course that means making the attic conditioned to a point to control humidity.  Typical FL builders don't seem to put much thought into modern designs down here yet.  The science is and has been out there for decades.  Shame, too.  This house isn't even ten years old.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2017, 09:56:40 AM by MattM »

george65

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #25 on: January 29, 2017, 04:18:04 PM »
And we don't have air con or a clothes dryer (or pool pump, or desktop computer; laptops instead).  But we do have (efficient, nice-to-use) electric cooking (induction hob, fan oven) as it happens.

Given this, Lighting in YOUR home may constitute a worthwhile part of your energy consumption.

With my home which has pretty much everything mentioned including a wife and daughter that love fan heaters running all winter in half the rooms, the power we use on lighting is insignificant. I worked out years ago we spent far more on boiling the kettle for Cups of tea through the course of the day than we came near on lighting.
In any case, If one has solar on the roof and is making a saving there, why should one not be allowed to choose what damn light bulbs they have installed?

I appreciate some may be concerned about an extra Dollar on their power bill but for those whom are happy to pay to get what they want, like most other things in life, I don't think it's fair we are dictated to because someone else has an agenda they want to push. If I want an incandecent light bulb and are prepared to pay the bit extra a month on power bills for them, why shouldn't I be able to run them?
Next thing is someone is going to tell us we all have to drive those stupid Prius things to save fuel.

I'm on the 4th generation of lighting here.  Place had all fluros when we bought it which I always hated.  Replaced them with the Low voltage, High heat 12V/50W downlight types in most rooms and had to suffer those God awful CFL  pieces of ship which wouldn't fit in some arrangements anyway as well when real lightbulbs were deemed too non PC to sell any more.  Those 12V things gave good light but were always blowing  and burning the  arse out of the ceramic holders. I used to have to replace 1 a week on average which of course over time added up to several when I got around to it and some rooms only having one left working.

Next was to replace the bulbs with the LED kind.  Dear as poison, pretty damn weak and also had variable unpleasant colour temperatures. Did get lucky and was in the right place at the right time so bought a couple of boxes of the things for about 10% the going rate.
Latest re fit has been to put in the new LED's that are the bulb and fitting in one with their own low voltage transformer that is dimmable.  Have dimmers on pretty much every switch and dimmed the other ones even though they said non dimmable and never had a problem.
The later types are much brighter, consistent colour temp and don't do haunted house impressions like the MR12 type on the old transformers where they would suddenly start going bright to dim like someone was playing with the dimmer controls.

I think the time will soon come where new houses are wired with one large transformer and then the low voltage LED's are all tapped off that rather than run individual transformers. I have seen on new homes, they put non switched outlet type fittings in the roof that the new type lights can be plugged into.  Great for replacement but all those batten holder outlets must add up!

Can't see an entire homes lighting taking any more than 10A @ 12-24V now so wouldn't be hard to do this way when all the lights are only going to be around 10W rated anyhow.  The real determination of what gets used these days isn't efficiency or even cost, it's the speed to install.
Someone makes a system that runs some  wires that can easily be clipped onto for each fitting and that is the way it will be done.

David HK

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Re: What are your thoughts on CLF bulbs?
« Reply #26 on: January 29, 2017, 05:24:57 PM »
This is a very interesting topic.

Each year I try to offer contributors a moment of winter time reading by making reference to the following URL  http://www.pavouk.org/hw/lamp/en_index.html  which has an in depth explanation of all the different types of CFL and the circuit layouts.

Its a useful reference base and is not connected with commercial operations, business, politics (whatever they are). Someone has taken a lot of time to put this article together and it blends in nicely with this topic.

As for myself I normally use a black pen to write the date on the barrel of a CFL on the day I it goes into service.  I should keep an Excel file naming the room and date the CFL was put into use, but occasionally I fall behind on this. Readers can see the obvious logic which is to try and measure the life until failure of a CFL.

I wonder if CFL's really are lasting the expected life claimed by manufactures?

Dave in Hong Kong