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posted by n1 on Sunday September 28 2014, @04:12PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the light-bulbs-may-die-but-dark-bulbs-are-forever dept.

Markus Krajewski reports that today, with many countries phasing out incandescent lighting in favor of more-efficient and pricier LEDs, it’s worth revisiting the history of the Phoebus cartel—not simply as a quirky anecdote from the annals of technology but as a cautionary tale about the strange and unexpected pitfalls that can arise when a new technology vanquishes an old one. Prior to the Phoebus cartel’s formation in 1924, household light bulbs typically burned for a total of 1,500 to 2,500 hours; cartel members agreed to shorten that life span to a standard 1,000 hours. Each factory regularly sent light bulb samples to the cartel’s central laboratory in Switzerland for verification. If any factory submitted bulbs lasting longer or shorter than the regulated life span for its type, the factory was obliged to pay a fine.

Though long gone, the Phoebus cartel still casts a shadow today because it reduced competition in the light bulb industry for almost twenty years, and has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs. Will history repeat itself as the lighting industry is now going through its most tumultuous period of technological change since the invention of the incandescent bulb. "Consumers are expected to pay more money for bulbs that are up to 10 times as efficient and that are touted to last a fantastically long time—up to 50,000 hours in the case of LED lights. In normal usage, these lamps will last so long that their owners will probably sell the house they’re in before having to change the bulbs," writes Krajewski. "Whether or not these pricier bulbs will actually last that long is still an open question, and not one that the average consumer is likely to investigate." There are already reports of CFLs and LED lamps burning out long before their rated lifetimes are reached. "Such incidents may well have resulted from nothing more sinister than careless manufacturing. But there is no denying that these far more technologically sophisticated products offer tempting opportunities for the inclusion of purposefully engineered life-shortening defects."

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bziman on Sunday September 28 2014, @04:57PM

    by bziman (3577) on Sunday September 28 2014, @04:57PM (#99244)

    I've been on a bit of a "green" kick for a long time. And I remember how excited I was when CFLs came out, and I could replace my heat generating light bulbs with more efficient, longer lasting bulbs. Except that they had a tendency to burn out much more rapidly than the old incandescents they were replacing. And there was the mercury thing.

    Then I discovered a first generation high output LED bulb. They were $50 a bulb, and they had a fan that was absurdly noisy. But they were pretty close to a 75 W equivalent. Not too long after that, the prices started to come down, none of the newer bulbs had fans, and they got even brighter. I replaced those noisy bulbs with newer silent, dimmable ones, but I've never had an LED bulb actually fail - not even the cheapo discount brands. But I assume that's because I make sure that I don't install them in places that would affect the electronics - i.e. overheating, or wet. And it's great, because modern housing inexplicably puts lighting in places that can't be reached without scaffolding. It's nice to be able to install a bulb once, and then forget about it. With nice warm, high output light, at over 60 lumens per watt.

    That said, I think phasing out standard incandescents is pretty stupid (and I don't mean "banning" them, I mean creating unrealistic efficiency standards). I have 30 cent light bulbs that are fifteen, maybe twenty years old, and they operate just fine. If a bulb is only going to be on for a few hours a year; or if it's going to be in a harsh environment; or a place with dirty power; then it doesn't make make sense to spend $20 on a bulb, when a 30 cent bulb will suffice - particularly if you never put more than a few dollars worth of electricity through it, over its entire life.

    Maybe there's a conspiracy, and maybe not, but I've been gleefully delighted by my LED bulbs so far, and each new one I buy is cheaper and brighter than the one before it.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:24PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:24PM (#99250) Journal

      it doesn't make make sense to spend $20 on a bulb, when a 30 cent bulb will suffice

      But what about when you are spending $5bucks [homedepot.com] each (or less [homedepot.com]), which under your usage limits means it will last forever?
      Then it does make sense.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday September 28 2014, @08:26PM

        by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday September 28 2014, @08:26PM (#99329) Homepage
        Why does your "$5 bucks" link lead to a product that's $9.97, and your "or less" link lead to a product that's $5.97? Has inflation caused a "buck" to now mean "$2"?
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday September 28 2014, @08:53PM

          by sjames (2882) on Sunday September 28 2014, @08:53PM (#99340) Journal

          It seems to vary based on your location and if you have set a "my store".

        • (Score: 2) by keplr on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:47PM

          by keplr (2104) on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:47PM (#99377) Journal

          It shows as just under $10 for me, too. I'm generally all for environmentally friendly choices, even if they're less convenient, but the incandescent bulb users are right about this argument. The light in the attic that is used for a few minutes every decade doesn't need to be a $10 LED bulb.

          --
          I don't respond to ACs.
        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday September 29 2014, @12:38AM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 29 2014, @12:38AM (#99406) Journal

          Must be where you live. The second link pointed to under $2 bulb, in quantity 1.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday September 28 2014, @06:10PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 28 2014, @06:10PM (#99265)

      "when a 30 cent bulb"

      I'm not convinced 30 cents is realistic when toward the end of their tenure they were pushing $1 each and we're collapsing the sale volume by maybe 95%.

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Sunday September 28 2014, @06:18PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Sunday September 28 2014, @06:18PM (#99270)

      And I remember how excited I was when CFLs came out, and I could replace my heat generating light bulbs with more efficient, longer lasting bulbs. Except that they had a tendency to burn out much more rapidly than the old incandescents they were replacing.

      My experience of CFLs has been quite a bit different: I started replacing my incandescents with them about 10 years ago, and have yet to have one burn out. And given that they have a service life of about 15 times that of an incandescent, I'm really wondering what you were doing that caused such a different result. About the only thing that comes to mind is that I have no qualms about walking around my house at night with the lights off (there's ambient light from streetlights and neighbor's backyard lighting, and it's clean enough that I don't stumble over stuff regularly).

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
      • (Score: 2) by forsythe on Sunday September 28 2014, @09:40PM

        by forsythe (831) on Sunday September 28 2014, @09:40PM (#99358)

        I have had yet a third experience. I had a five-bulb fixture in this place when I moved in that was all on incandescents. I have no idea when each of them were installed. About six months after I moved in, the bulbs started failing. Two failed within a week, so I replaced them, but I wasn't able to find any incandescents, as the department store I chose had switched over to CFLs entirely. So I picked up five CFLs, intending to replace the incandescents one at a time as they burned out.

        The next two bulbs went a week after that, but they weren't actually the next two bulbs, they were the new CFLs I had installed. I checked to make sure the dimmer on the fixture wasn't anywhere between OFF and FULL (since I had never modified it before, and have never modified it since), but the replacement CFL bulbs died just as quickly.

        At that point, I figured that the fixture had been installed in such a shoddy way that there was no CFL-safe position for the dimmer, and that I'd have to keep it alive with incandescents. I went out and hunted through every store I could find, and managed to come up with 6 incandescent bulbs. I decided that when they went I'd replace the fixture.

        Fast forward about two years, and I haven't had to replace a light bulb since: the fixture contains four incandescents and one CFL - the last CFL in the batch of five that I bought two years ago. I would like to say that CFLs have just improved, or that I fixed my dimmer, or that all CFLs are a conspiracy by our reptilian overlords, but I think the most probable result was that I bought an extremely bad batch. The price of the bad ones, combined with my time-of-use expectancy of the good ones has meant that CFLs were astronomically more expensive than incandescents, but the plural of anecdote is not data.

        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday September 29 2014, @04:19AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Monday September 29 2014, @04:19AM (#99457) Homepage

          I've had both incandescent and CFL last anywhere from months to over a decade. But it's a per-fixture thing. In my old house, all the ceiling fixtures (both open and enclosed) had one incandescent and one CFL (because CFL alone looks like crap) put in them back in 2001. Some are used a lot, some hardly at all. NONE of those had burned out as of 2013. However the open porch light burned out a couple times a year regardless of bulb type (and with no regard to weather). The various open table lamps burn out about every 3 or 4 years.

          I have learned to pay attention when CFLs start getting dimmer... means the transformer is running hot (sometimes enough to scorch the socket), and at that point I pitch them out.

        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday September 29 2014, @02:36PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday September 29 2014, @02:36PM (#99600) Homepage Journal

          It sounds as if you may have (or had) an overvoltage. Have you plugged a voltmeter in to see?

          However, probably more likely was that your dimmer was faulty; I've found that CFLs are touchy about bad connections. The first thing I would have done was to replace the dimmer with an on/off switch.

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 1) by octalrage on Monday September 29 2014, @07:35AM

        by octalrage (4706) on Monday September 29 2014, @07:35AM (#99494)

        I've noticed CFL's seem to be more susceptible to dirty power than incandescents.

      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday September 29 2014, @02:31PM

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday September 29 2014, @02:31PM (#99595) Homepage Journal

        My experience is similar to yours, except I have had a few that didn't last long, but only VERY few.

        --
        Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:30PM

      by LoRdTAW (3755) on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:30PM (#99371) Journal

      I have one of those old 1st gen CFL bulbs that were housed in the plastic case, weren't spiral shaped and are really long. The thing must be 15 years old and still works to this day in my back porch light. I have another 100W equivalent over my side door that has been going for years, one of the first cheap-o bulbs from home depot. They have all gave me great service and I also have a bunch of flood CFL's as the house has track and high-hat lighting.

      The worst bulb I had was this crap CFL Con Edison gave out for free. The bulb was maybe 4 months old and looked really cheap but I figured what the heck. I put the thing in a bathroom light fixture. One day I flip the switch and a dim light came from the fixture along with a loud buzzing sound. Turns out the light came from burning electronics and not the bulb. A lot of smoke came out and I quickly opened the fixture and saw a large brown burn spot on the housing. No fire thankfully but if it was left on by accident I shudder to think what would have happened. I had another spare Con Ed bulb but I threw it out.

      I have a few LED bulbs as most of the CFL's are still kicking. I purchased nice bright white LED flood bulbs for my kitchen but they were expensive, $30 each. Great light though. The soft white bulbs are just as good as the incandescent and CFL's but they can dim and burn less power than a CFL. They were $20. As time goes by and the last of the incandescent bulbs burn out I will replace them with LED. Those are in seldom used rooms or fixtures. MY daily use lights are all CFL or LED.

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Monday September 29 2014, @02:23PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Monday September 29 2014, @02:23PM (#99591) Homepage Journal

      I've been using CFLs for fifteen years, and yes, a few were duds that didn't last six months but most of them have lasted for years.

      As to mercury, much of Springfield's electricity comes from coal. The electric generation needed to power an incandescent releases far more mercury into the atmosphere than a CFL contains.

      Now that LEDs are coming down in price I'll be switching to them -- when my CFLs burn out. Which might be a while.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:17PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:17PM (#99248) Journal

    I write the install date on the base of the CFC or LED bulb.
    I know for a fact CFCs last far less time than they claim.

    Its hard to judge how much burn time they have, (and their hours rating is based on hours per day, which seems daft).
    But even in low-use places (garage, spare bedrooms, etc) the life is a lie.

    LEDs: Jury still out. But they never get hot enough to burn the sharpie off, so you can date them anywhere.

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 1) by Arik on Sunday September 28 2014, @07:06PM

      by Arik (4543) on Sunday September 28 2014, @07:06PM (#99299) Journal
      The CFCs last little, if any, longer than incandescents for me. I have tested a number of them, I only have one still working, the others all died within weeks. You mention burning them fewer hours per day, but I have been told that they will last longer if you simply leave them burning 24/7 - which seems a bit daft but I tried it anyhow.

      The one that I have that has survived and still works is mounted upside down and burns 24/7. I suppose I could burn all my lights 24/7 but it's still not practical for me to replace every light fixture to match that orientation.
      --
      If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday September 28 2014, @09:21PM

        by sjames (2882) on Sunday September 28 2014, @09:21PM (#99354) Journal

        This seems to be the great mystery. I have CFs mounted in various orientations, indoors and out and have few failures even over the stovetop or in the bathroom. Others with seemingly less hostile setups have constant failures. I have no idea what the independent variable is there but it sure would be useful to know.

        • (Score: 1) by Arik on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:33PM

          by Arik (4543) on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:33PM (#99372) Journal
          It's a mystery to me too, as I hear all these wonderful things about the gizmos and would love to have them if they performed as advertised. I found, for me, they do not. Climate? It is wet and temperate where I am, a rough environment for a lot of things because of the moisture, but then again large stretches of the US are probably even more moist then here. Temperature? We get winters here but I didnt test in winter, the failures all occurred during temperate weather. The only variables that seem to work for me is to mount them upside down and never turn off, but you are not supposed to have to do that right? So I dont know. I just know they are a bad deal for me so far. The ones that burnt out on me initially cost enough to keep me supplied with incandescents for over a year, and even when they were working they were not as bright, so I am pretty unimpressed.
          --
          If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday September 29 2014, @05:20AM

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday September 29 2014, @05:20AM (#99471) Journal

            Well, I have m any that have lasted several years. Longer than incandescents in the same fixtures. But I had a more than a few failures as well. Usually burned out their ballasts. The power savings over their life may not have actually paid for the bulbs. (But I didn't pay for most of them either. The regional power company gave them away, All I had to do was pay the tax. (no clue why that requirement was in place).

            I've now witched to those cheap Cree bulbs. It will probably be a few years till I know if they were worth the money. But if you shop those on sale you can be get them for half price. So far, none of those have failed.

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday September 29 2014, @04:22AM

          by Reziac (2489) on Monday September 29 2014, @04:22AM (#99458) Homepage

          I haven't figured it out either, but see above where I mutter about having noticed it's a per-socket thing, regardless of bulb type -- at least so it was in the last two houses I've lived in.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday September 28 2014, @09:00PM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday September 28 2014, @09:00PM (#99345) Homepage
      Gonna buy a sharpie. That is a superb idea. Takes the guesswork out of things.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
  • (Score: 2) by PizzaRollPlinkett on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:21PM

    by PizzaRollPlinkett (4512) on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:21PM (#99249)

    I moved into an apartment with these new energy-efficient, long-lasting bulbs. They even have a special base so you can't use normal bulbs, and they're almost impossible to find. (Lowes was sold out of these for many, many months and I had to go to another Lowes to find them.) In about a year and a half, I had replaced almost every single one of these bulbs. They burned out one after the other. I think there's one original bulb left because it takes longer to warm up than the ones I replaces them with. But it's as close to a 100% failure rate as you'll ever get. They cost more than normal bulbs, but don't deliver on the promise of lasting a decade or whatever.

    --
    (E-mail me if you want a pizza roll!)
    • (Score: 1) by Bill Evans on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:26PM

      by Bill Evans (1094) on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:26PM (#99251) Homepage

      PizzaPollPlinkett, are you talking about CFLs or LEDs?

      • (Score: 1) by Jesus_666 on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:49PM

        by Jesus_666 (3044) on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:49PM (#99257)
        The "special base" makes me think of GU10 sockets for multifaceted reflector [wikipedia.org] lamps. In that case the OP might actually be dealing with halogen incandescents, which are an entirely different beast altogether.
        • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Monday September 29 2014, @04:35PM

          by isostatic (365) on Monday September 29 2014, @04:35PM (#99660) Journal

          Most likely, and yes they're terrible, blew once or twice a year. When I moved in to this place I replaced them with LED light bulbs, which use 1/10th the power, thus generate 1/10th the heat. No problems yet.

      • (Score: 2) by PizzaRollPlinkett on Sunday September 28 2014, @07:01PM

        by PizzaRollPlinkett (4512) on Sunday September 28 2014, @07:01PM (#99294)

        Sorry - these are CFLs. The kind with the weird two-prong base. They don't screw in. I have never used LED bulbs.

        --
        (E-mail me if you want a pizza roll!)
        • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Sunday September 28 2014, @08:39PM

          by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 28 2014, @08:39PM (#99332)

          GU24 fitting. Let me guess, California?

          • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Sunday September 28 2014, @08:41PM

            by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 28 2014, @08:41PM (#99333)

            BTW you can get converters for those. Just google around.

    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:51PM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:51PM (#99259) Homepage
      Sounds my CFL experience. We had awful brown electricity the last place I lived (and radiator pipes that were about 30V A/C away from earth too, not that "earth" even seemed to be connected to earth, a real cowboy job of wiring in that building). We lost a lot of cheapy heat-globes, so I decided to give a CFL with 5 times the price, and 7 times the promised life-span a go. It was one of the next bulbs to go. I only need a sample size of one to do a consumer review, and I concluded "fuck it" very quickly.

      We're entirely dimmer switches in the room where I spend the majority of my time, and I think dimmable LED bulbs are about 50 times the price of heat-globes. As I've replaced 0 krypton bulbs in 4 years, it's simply never going to be worth me ever buying one LED bulb. In particular that I'm just about to turn on my heating for the cold half of the year, and whilst my heating is thermostatically controlled, every penny I burn using my heat-globes is a penny I don't need to spend keeping the electric heater warm.

      Long live the heat globe!
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: 2) by el_oscuro on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:26PM

        by el_oscuro (1711) on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:26PM (#99370)

        I have an unheated shed I use for a workshop, and have a cold weather rated T-8 as the main light. However, a few of my tools have light fixtures in them as well, and I use heat globes for the. I the summer, I don't need them as there is plenty of extra sunlight, and in the winter the heat makes a big difference. Most days, I don't need to turn my space heater on - and that sucker draws more juice then the power tools themselves.

        --
        SoylentNews is Bacon! [nueskes.com]
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by khallow on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:42PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 28 2014, @05:42PM (#99255) Journal

    While I don't know about the rest of the developed world, the incandescent light bulb ban in the US has turned out to be quite the bonanza for light bulb manufacturers. I doubt that light bulb manufacturers have been surprised in the least by the dirtiness of US power and the resulting considerable shortening of the life span of cheap CFLs and LED lamps. Keep in mind that advertised lifespans are for ideal power sources while user testimonials of short bulb lifespans are probably for real world power supply with lots of noise and power spikes. The former was used as part of the excuse for banning incandescents. And the latter only is found out well after the fact.

    So now, in the name of "conserving" electricity, which we didn't really need to conserve, we now have yet another rent seeking opportunity created by people who know how to play politics. That's not of much of a deal, if you ask me.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Sunday September 28 2014, @06:14PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 28 2014, @06:14PM (#99267)

      Keep in mind that advertised lifespans are for ideal

      Everything I've read is the killer is thermal.

      All you need to do is mount the bulb upright in clear air in air at or below 70F. Anything else will of course void the guarantees. Of course no one sells sockets for lamps in that configuration, always insulated ceiling cans or whatever. The ones I've killed were in a open top chandelier type arrangement so even open air isn't a universal cure.

      • (Score: 2) by danomac on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:36PM

        by danomac (979) on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:36PM (#99374)
        Some manufacturers do - I have a Philips PAR20 bulb meant for recessed light fixtures (in my case in-ceiling pot lights.) These are in my office and they get used a lot over winter - I've had them since 2010 and all bulbs are still working.
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday September 29 2014, @04:32AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Monday September 29 2014, @04:32AM (#99461) Homepage

        About half of my CFLs shared an enclosed ceiling fixture with an incandescent. The ceiling in that house could reach 120F in summer. How many of those bulbs failed?

        NONE. Of either type. In over a decade. Some used all the time, some hardly ever.

        Which ones failed? Those in the open table lamps, and more regularly, the one in an open socket on the porch (without regard to outdoor temperature).

  • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Sunday September 28 2014, @07:13PM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Sunday September 28 2014, @07:13PM (#99303) Journal

    One of the more amusing sub-plots in Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow" is about Byron the light bulb. Byron was the last of the original light bulbs that would last forever. He was last because the company (wow, never knew the Phoebus cartel was a real thing!) sent out hit teams to destroy or capture all the pre-planned-obsolesence light bulbs. And since the novel takes place during WWII, every time the hit team gets close to snatching Byron, he is stolen by someone else, and their search must start again.

    --
    Runaway: Mentally Unfit!
  • (Score: 2) by hankwang on Sunday September 28 2014, @08:12PM

    by hankwang (100) on Sunday September 28 2014, @08:12PM (#99326) Homepage

    TFA writes:

    it should have been possible to design a lightbulb that was both bright and long-lived. But such a product would have interfered with members’ desire to sell more bulbs.

    That is very easy for the author to say, but I highly doubt that it has any basis. Both the lifetime and the efficiency of an 110/220 V incandenscent bulb are a function of the filament operating temperature. You can play a bit with the gas composition, but unless you move to halogen bulbs (which need special, expensive quartz bulbs that can handle much higher temperatures), there is not much that you can do about it.

    The stories about "protecting the profits" sound a bit tinfoil-hatterish. Such a cartel doesn't protect against a new player on the market with a patented technology for better light bulbs. That said, it would have been better if the manufacturers had labeled the light bulbs with the output in lumens and the expected lifetime in hours, right from the beginning. Then the consumers could have made the trade-off between lifetime and efficiency by themselves. And we wouldn't have been stuck with this "equivalent to 60 W" nonsense on modern light sources.

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Sunday September 28 2014, @09:37PM

      by sjames (2882) on Sunday September 28 2014, @09:37PM (#99356) Journal

      The cartel's existence and goals are well documented fact. It is also known that the bulbs lasted longer before the cartel was formed.

      It is also documented that it ended after a newcomer wouldn't play ball and the various legal threats weren't effective.

      • (Score: 2) by fliptop on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:17PM

        by fliptop (1666) on Sunday September 28 2014, @10:17PM (#99366) Journal

        The cartel's existence and goals are well documented fact. It is also known that the bulbs lasted longer before the cartel was formed.

        Indeed, in fact there are examples of bulbs that been on for over 100 years [roadsideamerica.com].

        --
        It's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide.
      • (Score: 2) by hankwang on Monday September 29 2014, @08:21AM

        by hankwang (100) on Monday September 29 2014, @08:21AM (#99502) Homepage

        I'm not denying the existence of the cartel; rather, I'm questioning the coclusions of the reporter. Making a lightbulb last longer is simple enough: run the filament at a lower temperature. You can do that at home with a dimmer switch. Unfortunately, the 5-10% efficiency of a 1000h bulb will drop to 2.5% (or whatever), and you need a 180 W longlife bulb to replace a 60 W standard bulb.

        At $0.10/kWh, the 60 W bulb will cost you $6 in energy per 1000 h; the other one will be $18. The price of the bulb itself is negligible in both cases.

        If the organization hadn't been called "cartel" but EPA or EU, they would simply have mandated a minimum efficiency, with a short lifetime as an unavoidable side effect.

        • (Score: 2) by sjames on Monday September 29 2014, @09:11AM

          by sjames (2882) on Monday September 29 2014, @09:11AM (#99511) Journal

          He said bright and long lived, nothing about efficiency (which wasn't a big concern at the time).

          These days, the efficiency is more important. If it turns out that the conventional incandescent isn't up to the task, we'll need to use one of the several alternatives. We do need to make sure no conspiracies cause the lifetime of the alternatives to be artificially shortened (for example by using sub-standard capacitors in the ballasts of CFLs).

          But note that there was some progress on more efficient incandescents once it became claer that they would be phased out if they didn't improve. It turned out to be too little, too late but it does suggest that something could have been done.

          Also note that EPA and EU have not forced short lifetimes. There are several options that meet the criteria and have a long life.

  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday September 28 2014, @11:51PM

    by kaszz (4211) on Sunday September 28 2014, @11:51PM (#99392) Journal

    I think there's a market for a socket that count the number of hours the lamp is used. Then manufacturers would have a hell of explaining to do... :P

    Many lamps probably fail because of sloppy margins of the components in the driver electronics, transients on the incoming electricity (so install protector at the fuse central!) and of course heat by the dumb idea to place electronics inside an hardly ventilated plastic shell with the light source below to heat it, all inside an enclosure that prevents any ventilation.

    A word of caution: Be sure to install these CFL, LED and halogen lamps in such way that when they get hot and later fall down they won't ignite anything. And smoke alarm for when it overheats, because the smoke is poisonous. This especially goes for CFL.

    CFL and LED also leak way more UV light than is perhaps a good idea. The wavelength spectrum is also fucked up which may mess with biorhythms and eyes.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @04:35PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @04:35PM (#99661)

      I try to supplement with wavelength spectrum issues in my bathroom by using multiple types of bulb. For example, I have a 3 socket fixture, so use a combination of 2 bright CFL's and 1 low wattage incandescent. Not sure if this is ideal, but it looks like it works.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @01:45AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 29 2014, @01:45AM (#99427)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViI6uAxqEOY [youtube.com]

    I'm HONESTLY surprised nobody has linked to it.
    I checked before I made this post.

    It is an EYE OPENER!!! o_O;

  • (Score: 2) by jasassin on Monday September 29 2014, @02:05AM

    by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Monday September 29 2014, @02:05AM (#99430) Journal

    As soon as I get home, I put the receipt in an envelope with the warranty expiration date and the UPC code.. Its ready to mail if a bulb burns out, and G.E. will send a replacement coupon for 8 dollars. Don't have to ship bulbs back, but waiting for light because they lie sucks!

    --
    jasassin@gmail.com Key fingerprint = 0644 173D 8EED AB73 C2A6 B363 8A70 579B B6A7 02CA
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @04:08AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06 2014, @04:08AM (#102293)

    I came across this and found it interesting

    "Here's an interesting thing about LED lamp ratings; their hours are measured to 70% of full, original brightness, not lamp failure. Other lamps are measured on the traditional scale of 50% failure. Yes, 50% failure. IOW, half of the incandescent lamps you bought that said they had 2000 hours of life will not make it to 2000 hours by design. I don't know of another industry that rates it's product by 50% of them failing. LEDs are listed at 25,000 hours and up, to 70% of original brightness, so they'll be burning a LONG time. Questions? palindromedesign.us "

    http://www.weather.com/news/science/environment/5-myths-about-light-bulb-ban-20131218 [weather.com]

    Perhaps this should be looked into more closely but it could be the case that the only reason CFL's are 'rated' to last longer than incandescent bulbs is because the legal standards used to rate them are lower.

    Similar to how the standards used to rate automobile crash safety tests have been lowered at one time (ie: fewer MPH test crashes) so safety comparisons of new cars to some older ones are not fair.