Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Science Technology

Light Bulb Replacements 976

LoveOO writes has a story about three companies which are trying to replace the Light bulb. I say it's about time and what about hydrogen powered vehicles? Two things that annoy me are filling the gas tank and changing light bulbs. It's time we did alot less of both."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Light Bulb Replacements

Comments Filter:
  • Mousetrap (Score:3, Funny)

    by govtcheez ( 524087 ) <> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:10PM (#6784618) Homepage
    Plans to build a better mousetrap are still at the brainstorming stage
    • Re:Mousetrap (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:31PM (#6784872)
      They built a better mousetrap back in the late 50's. The device was very good at killing mice, somewhere in the neighborhood of the high 90 percent. Anyway, the problem ended up being price. The improved mousetrap cost 3 times more than the old standard version. So when the new and improved mouse trap caught a mouse, and they often did, the housewife was faced with the dilemma of either prying the dead mouse body from the trap, or throwing the whole thing away. Long story short, they weren't about to touch the dead mouse body. And, they must have felt that at three times the price, they couldn't afford to keep buying the improved mouse trap and throwing it away. So after becoming an instant market success, the improved mouse trap flopped. Lessons from business marketing 101.
    • by devphaeton ( 695736 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @01:12PM (#6785337)
      Actually, i find that the Sears 1/2hp ShopVac makes for some fun anti-rodent stakeouts. Set the cheese in the end of the intake hose, sit quietly and wait across the room holding the switch on the powerstrip.

      Vaccuum cleaners make good fly swatters too.

      Yes my parents had a party the day i was old enough to move out.
  • 'Cause.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by CausticWindow ( 632215 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:10PM (#6784620)

    Filling the gas tank is so much worse than filling the hydrogen tank?

    Je ne comprende pas.

    • Re:'Cause.. (Score:3, Offtopic)

      by s20451 ( 410424 )
      Filling the gas tank is so much worse than filling the hydrogen tank?

      In principle, you could drive your hydrogen-powered car home at night, filling the exhaust tank with water. You could then plug your car in to an electrical outlet, and the water would be electrolyzed to hydrogen and oxygen overnight, filling your fuel tank. Depending on how fast the electrolysis occurred, it probably wouldn't eliminate the need for filling the tank, but fillups could be less frequent under city driving.
  • by jhendow ( 448473 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:10PM (#6784625)
    But if we get rid of the lightbulb what will appear over my head next time of think of something?
  • Solution. (Score:5, Funny)

    by secondsun ( 195377 ) <> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:11PM (#6784633) Journal
    Two things that annoy me are filling the gas tank and changing light bulbs. It's time we did alot less of both.

    Do them both at the same time, sooner or later you won't have to do either ever again.
  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:12PM (#6784647) Journal
    From the article:

    "and they require much less electricity -- up to 80 percent less"

    "You could replace a 100-watt light bulb with a 60-watt LED, and get the same brightness,"

    "You'd save 40 percent on power"

    So it is 80 percent or 40 percent?

  • Two things that annoy me are filling the gas tank and changing light bulbs

    OK. So how much time are you spending changing light bulbs per year? And was the total time spent submitting this news story longer?

    To be honest I don't think that changing light bulbs is a major household time sink. (Different story of course for people who deal with traffic lights, and hence the move to LEDs). I must spend minutes per year changing light bulbs, I waste far more time replying to /. articles complaining about people worrying about optimizing the wrong sort of time wasting activities. Oh wait...

    • by marsu_k ( 701360 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:40PM (#6784985)
      > OK. So how much time are you spending changing light bulbs per year?

      Not much. But if regular bulbs everywhere would be replaced by less energy-consuming alternatives... there's a point to it, especially when you concider the recent news.
    • by The Monster ( 227884 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @02:37PM (#6786136) Homepage
      So how much time are you spending changing light bulbs per year?
      For most home users, there's no more reason to buy LED lighting than there is to buy the existing super-duper light bulbs that promise to use less power and burn out less often. That having been said, if the light is in a place that makes changing it inconvenient (the home of a senior citien who literally risks death as a result of complications of a broken leg to climb on a ladder to change the bulb) and/or the cost of having the bulb go out is high, it makes excellent sense. I've got a couple of fixtures that take two bulbs, and when one of them burns out I replace both at once just because it's such a pain in the butt to get the darned thing open (and then use the used bulb in a fixture where it's easy to change bulbs)

      The railroad industry is already replacing crossing light bulbs with arrays of LEDs. The typical application divides the round shape into 4 'pizza slice' quarters that are separate panels. The redundancy is such that even if one of them goes out completely, the other 3 are still working. Also, if one of the panels experiences substantial individual LED failures, it can be swapped out, leaving the others in place. As the article alludes, local governments are beginning to apply the same reasoning to traffic lights as well. In an application where the cost of the bulb pales in comparison to the labor to replace it, and the legal exposure should it fail, this one's a no-brainer.

  • Color.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by c_jonescc ( 528041 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:13PM (#6784663)
    Last I looked into white LEDs there was still a color problem. The light comes out just a bit too blue. At the time, it was impossible to get a truer white in a single 'bulb'.
    • Re:Color.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by ec_hack ( 247907 )

      Last I looked into white LEDs there was still a color problem. The light comes out just a bit too blue.

      True. However, at least one of the major lightbulb companies based here in the US has an aggressive program to bring LEDs to the masses. Right now, they are pushing R&D on advanced LED designs in cooperation with LED manufacturers and working on getting the color right. They anticipate that widespread home use is within this decade. They are nearly ready with replacements for commercial use.

      Others hav

    • Re:Color.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dprice ( 74762 ) <daprice&pobox,com> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:39PM (#6784970) Homepage

      Last I looked into white LEDs there was still a color problem. The light comes out just a bit too blue. At the time, it was impossible to get a truer white in a single 'bulb'.

      I bought an LED desk lamp that has an array of about 100 LEDs. To get around the bluish color problem, about a third of the LEDs are orange to make the light warmer colored. Unfortunately it is still not quite like incandescents or flourescents. The light from the lamp still makes skin tones look sickly bluish gray. It's very bright for only using 5 Watts. I believe that flourescent lights are still more efficient, but there is a certain coolness factor of having an LED lamp.

      If anyone is interested, here is a link to the PDF of the GALAXe LED desk lamp []

    • Re:Color.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by iabervon ( 1971 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @03:07PM (#6786421) Homepage Journal
      The real issue with the color output from LEDs is not that the color is wrong (since you can change that by changing the portions of different color output), but that they produce thin lines of spectrum, rather than the black body curves that incandescents produce. While your eyes can't tell the difference directly (since you only have three different colors of perception), surfaces respond differently to different wavelengths in such a way that light that looks the same to you makes surfaces look different. This means that LED light looks artificial in a way that incandescent light does not.

      The only way of getting a wide spectrum of light is to have an object glow with heat, where the energy released per photon varies chaotically, rather than using a process that outputs individual photons which will only produce light at the wavelengths that correspond to energy gaps. Glowing with heat is lower efficiency than emitting individual photons.

      I suspect that LEDs will become more popular in step with paint formulas that look good (and look right) under LED light, and also with people coming to expect LED light more.
  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:13PM (#6784666) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about you, but im realizing the same benefits as they claim you get from LEDs, but my bulbs cost a whopping $2 for a lamp bulb and $3 for a fixture bulb. Flourescent! Cheap, no heat, hard(er) to break. Think about it.

    • by jandrese ( 485 ) * <> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:19PM (#6784727) Homepage Journal
      The problem with the flourescents on the market right now is size. All of the screw in varieties have big fat bases that interfere with a lot of lamp designs. The 75 watt equivelent and higher bulbs are also longer than traditioanl light bulbs, which causes problems in globe lamps and anything else where the bulb must fit into a small area.

      On the other hand, the modern bulbs are really good about lighting up right away, not flickering, and not dying prematurely--hopefully (unlike some of the early screw type flourescents).

      One word of advice from me to Slashdot: Don't buy the "Lights of America" brand, they're nothing but trouble.
      • by TClevenger ( 252206 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:36PM (#6784933)
        One word of advice from me to Slashdot: Don't buy the "Lights of America" brand, they're nothing but trouble.

        Agreed. I bought 10 of them, and 5 were dead within 2 months. Most of the others are seeing serious discoloration around the base of the bulb. These are in open air, so I don't think the fixture is causing overheating. Stick with the better brands.

      • by Deagol ( 323173 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:37PM (#6784953) Homepage
        I buy the brands sold at Costco. I forget the name, but they're really good priced: usually 5 or 6 for $20.

        I've got 2 houses using these bulbs exclusively (except the oven and fridge), saving about $10/month (September to March) in electricity. I've got bulbs 5 years old still running strong.

        I love 'em.

      • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) * on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:59PM (#6785180) Homepage Journal
        I have also found flourescents that have the same form factor as the typical 60 watt bulb (but use only 15watts of power at the same brightness).

        In the last few years, several of my gripes about flourescents are no more:

        1. Upfront Cost: They now cost very little, they have come down from $20 per bulb to $2 per bulb. You no longer have to make an "investment" to go flourescent.
        2. Size: They used to be bigger, They now fit everywhere a regular bulb fits.
        3. Speed of Light: Old flourescents often tooks several seconds to turn on and up to 15 minutes to get to full brightness. Newer ones come on almost instantaneously (300ms maybe) and are plenty bright right away. While they aren't on par yet, its good enough for me.
        There is still one area in which I don't use flourescents. Dimmable lights. That means they don't go in my living and dining rooms where I want to dim the lights for TV or a nice dinner. It makes it hard to use them with X10 as well, since all X10 is dimmable. There are some that are dimmable, but they tend to be more expensive and I haven't tried them.
    • I agree that flourescent bulbs are great for most people, but I can see the them cycling and they make me nauseous. It's like staring into a mild strobe light all the time (I have the same problem with CRT monitors too).

      If LEDs don't have this problem, then they would be a better solution for me.
  • Patent abusing scum (Score:4, Informative)

    by 26199 ( 577806 ) * on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:13PM (#6784667) Homepage

    Well, I'm damn sure Color Kinetics isn't getting any of my money. From the article:

    The company holds 19 patents related to the control of LED lighting systems, and has filed for more than 100 additional patents. "We spend about a million dollars a year filing patents," says chief executive George Mueller. The company has two full-time patent lawyers in-house, and also works with the Boston firm of Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks.


    It'll be interesting to see whether Color Kinetics can exact a licensing fee from anyone who blends colored LEDs. Says Simms: "We haven't invested the fortune that we have in intellectual property without planning to defend it."

    I'm not going to rant about this, because you've all heard it before. So I'll just sit here and fume silently...

    • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:20PM (#6784756) Journal
      "It'll be interesting to see whether Color Kinetics can exact a licensing fee from anyone who blends colored LEDs. Says Simms: "We haven't invested the fortune that we have in intellectual property without planning to defend it."

      No, they can't. The big outdoor big-screen TV's at the race track in Saratoga NY use this. One Red, one Green, and one Blue LED for each pixel. Been done, prior art, now go crawl back into the hole from which you came, you dirty low-life patent weasel :)
    • by alkali ( 28338 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:24PM (#6784810)
      Unclear to me how this constitutes patent abuse. If someone is investing major resources in R&D and coming up with nonobvious inventions, it seems entirely proper for that person to seek patent protection.
      • by 26199 ( 577806 ) * on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:46PM (#6785051) Homepage

        No -- they're investing major resources in lawyers. Read the article... you do not need 100 patents on controlling LEDs, nor do you need two full-time patent lawyers in a 75-employee company.

        I would be surprised if more than one or two of those patents is nonobvious; certainly the major one mentioned in the article (blending LED colors to make -- gasp -- many different colors) is obvious. Even the author of the article complained about it.

    • by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:32PM (#6784886)
      "The company holds 19 patents related to the control of LED lighting systems, and has filed for more than 100 additional patents."

      How is controlling an LED lighting system any different than controlling a regular lighting system? The answer is that it is not. This company is a patent scammer. I think they are using a tried an true formula:

      1) hear about new technology
      2) figure out what existing methods are analogous in new technology (real complicated stuff like oh they emit light too so how about we invent special "LED switches")
      3) Patent said "novel" invention.
      4) Threaten to sue all the real companies that actually want to make stuff and sell it.
      5) profit.
  • Hyrdogen... (Score:5, Informative)

    by BJZQ8 ( 644168 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:15PM (#6784680) Homepage Journal
    Hyrdrogen "clean" fuel is a misnomer...since the hydrogen you get from one of these California H2 stations is made from natural gas, and not electrolysis. You end up using fossil fuels just the same. Maybe some day we can switch to from-water hydrogen...but where are we going to get those petawatts of electricity to do that? Nuclear power? We can't agree on a place to get rid of our waste. Solar? It takes energy to produce those acres of panels, and you are displacing wildlife in the process. Microwave from satellites? Just wait until that satellite malfunctions and carves a 500-foot-wide trench through Manhattan. There is no "clean" solution here.
    • Cleaner Production (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:30PM (#6784865) Homepage Journal
      The production of H2 in a plant is much cleaner then what you would think. In a controlled large scale system, you can make it pretty efficient and as a result run relatively cleaner.

      Not saying its 100% clean, but its a net gain of 'clean', when you take into account the filth cars spew out using carbon based fuels directly..

      And no, I'm not a tree hugger.. I LOVE my car.. but I also realize what it spits out the back end due to its fuel..
    • Re:Hyrdogen... (Score:3, Informative)

      Hyrdrogen "clean" fuel is a misnomer...

      No, it's relative.

      Theoretically, energy produced at a central plant and then shipped elsewhere via hydrogen results in more effecieint use of power than millions of seperate, individual power plants.

      Last I heard, this is espeically true for gasoline vs. "big oil fired hydrogen plant." Plus, you can clean and maintain the "big oil fired hydrogen plant" a lot easier than the engines of a million cars.

      As for the other power sources you listed: solar eventually pays
  • by j_dot_bomb ( 560211 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:16PM (#6784690)
    At 7c per KWH

    ((((12 x 365) x 100) / 1,000) x $0.07) = $30.66

    this is under the 5000 hours of long life bulbs which cost less than $3.

    Who cares how much the bulb costs ?
  • by tbmaddux ( 145207 ) * on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:16PM (#6784694) Homepage Journal
    Compact flourescent bulbs produce the same light level (in lumens) and consume 25% of the power (in watts). They also last tens of thousands of hours as opposed to hundreds of hours. And you can buy them today for 1/10th the price quoted by John Fan in the original article.

    LEDs have their places where you need something bright and compact that can be turned on and off quickly. I like the new LED flashlights, brake lights, and street lights. But use flourescents for lighting, please, and use them today.

    • by porkchop_d_clown ( 39923 ) <mwheinz AT me DOT com> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:21PM (#6784769) Homepage

      I've tried over and over to use flourescents, but:

      1. They often don't fit in a light fixture.
      2. Their heavy initial draw means they don't work with X-10 style remote controls
      3. They make everyone look slightly green
      • Well actually they make flourescent bulbs now in EXACTLY the same package as a typical 60w lightbulb You can't even really tell the difference by looking at them. So #1 is taken care of. Also the color is virtually identical to incandescent bubs (Flourescents actually come in dozens of "colors" depending on the color of the flourescing material and tinted covering) So #3 is also not a concern. Try looking at the new stock of bulbs at Home Depot.

        But #2, yes, that it a problem. Though as X10 has utterly fail
      • Also... (Score:5, Informative)

        by jridley ( 9305 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:41PM (#6784992)
        Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, and are rarely disposed of properly. Here's a stat I just found on the web (so it must be true) ...discarded [fluorescent] bulbs release approximately 2-4 tons of mercury per year in the United States...

        (this is just the ones that are improperly disposed of and break)
      • by rainwalker ( 174354 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:41PM (#6785002)
        I don't know when the last time you bought a compact flourescent light is, but here in the year 2003 I know for sure that 2 of your 3 problems are solved.

        1. They often don't fit in a light fixture.

        I recently bought some GE compact flourescent bulbs for our kitchen, which were $8 for two "60W" bulbs. They are *exactly* the same size as the incadescents they are replacing, including the base, which is only ~1" in diameter, only draw 15W, and are ~15% brighter than a 60W incandescent.

        3. They make everyone look slightly green.

        I have no idea what you are talking about here. Our compact flourescent lights have a much more pleasing spectrum than the yellow incandescents, and are very close to the full-spectrum lights we use around the house.

        I don't use X10, and so can't answer to that, but please don't post outdated nonsense.
      • Sunbeam (Score:5, Informative)

        by repetty ( 260322 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:43PM (#6785020) Homepage
        >> 3. They make everyone look slightly green

        Keep shopping.

        I, too, hated the funky color flourescent lights produced. Then, about a year ago, I discovered that Sunbeam sold screw-in flourescent lights that emit light indistinguishable from incandescents (to my pretty picky eyes).

        I originally bought them from Target but stopped by a few days ago for the first time in a long time and learned that the don't sell them anymore. Oh, the wonders of the American marketing machine.

        Not all flourscent lights are the same. Find the Sunbeams.

  • The thing is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:17PM (#6784703) Homepage Journal
    If you do the math, the regular old light bulb is still most efficient overall when compared to fluorescents or neobulbs. The amount of energy, resources, and pollution that goes into something has to be taken into account if you're really looking at reducing your impact on the environment.

    Additionally, you can't go wrong with nuclear power if you're looking at least polluting power sources. Many people look at solar as if its some sort of panacea, but the amount of energy that goes into making a tile is far more than you'll ever get out of it -- turns out that at the end of the day the thing everybody's been complaining about is the best option because all the pollution is contained.

    • Re:The thing is... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Malc ( 1751 )
      One of the problems with nuclear is that it doesn't encourage non-proliferation. If we have it, everybody thinks they should too. Look at how the US views Iran building a nuclear power plant. The political cost is very high.
    • Re:The thing is... (Score:5, Informative)

      by tyrann98 ( 161653 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @02:05PM (#6785821)
      From an environmental perspective and from an economic perspective compact fluorescents win out. While their initial cost may be higher, they use only 25% of the electricity of an incandescent light bulb and last ten times as long. Plus, the incandescent puts out much more heat leading to increased air conditioning load.

      I recently did some calculations to see if save any money. Quebec already has one of the lowest electricity costs in North America at 5.97 cents per kWhr (above 30kWh per day). People in other places save even more!

      Compact Fluorescent (10000 hr, 23 W)
      Initial bulb $10 + Electricity $13.73 = $23.73

      Incandescent Light Bulb (1000hr, 100W)
      10 bulbs $5 + Electricity $59.70 = $64.70

      Plus, you save on the environmental cost of the packaging. I have also read that although CFL contain mercury, more mercury is released due to coal burning than for the equivalent 10 incandescent light bulbs. .p df
  • by toddestan ( 632714 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:17PM (#6784708)
    The thing is, no matter how cheap they make LED lightbulbs, I doubt they'll ever get as cheap as the incandescent bulb, as the incandescent bulb is just plain out cheaper to make as it is much more simple. Therefore, the Wal-mart crowds will still buy the standard bulbs for years to come.

    What they should do if they want people to adopt these new bulbs is make it so all lightbulb packages have to display the average cost of the lightbulb over its lifetime. People may see that the LED or flourescent lights sitting on the shelf right now cost a lot more and don't buy them, but I bet they will when they see on the box that the bulb over it's lifetime costs a fraction as much in electricity used.
    • by sfbanutt ( 116292 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:42PM (#6785010) Homepage
      I'm not really sure an incandescent lightbulb could be considered easy to make. Sure, it can be done with simple tools, but the whole process is fairly complicated. You have to be able to draw fine wire for the filament and blow the glass for the bulb itself. The base has to be assembled from copper and porcelain, you have to evacuate the bulb, install the filament and seal it.

      Now, to manufacture LEDs in bulk requires chipmaking equipment, but you're making thousands of LEDs per wafer, so there's an economy of scale there. And the yields tend to improve significantly as the process matures. Also, I'm reasonably sure that making LEDs is considerably more straight forward than microprocessors, if for no other reason than the mask is simpler and you're only making a single component (a huge diode array) on the wafer.

  • Electrical issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jgerry ( 14280 ) * <> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:18PM (#6784718) Homepage
    I have always suspected that many electrical issues, including frequently blown light bulbs, are caused by dirty power. What I really want isn't better light bulbs, it's better power. Everything would operate better and/or longer if the power coming out of the sockets wasn't so random and dirty. Ever look at a standard 120V AC on an oscilliscope? Nasty.

    Does anyone know of a whole-house solution for providing clean, voltage-regulated power to an entire house? I probably have $50K+ of computers, music equipment, home theatre, etc, and all of it would be better off with clean power.

    We have whole-house solutions for water filtering, air filtering, so where's my whole-house solution for clean power (and maybe even whole-house UPS?)
    • Re:Electrical issues (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Malc ( 1751 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:48PM (#6785068)
      You'll have to filter every outlet. You don't want your microwave oven messing up your clean power supply now, do you? Personally, I would prefer to see a jump to 240V as it seems more robust. I never once saw the lights go dim when in the UK due to hair dryer or iron or vacuum cleaner - then again, they have more stringent wiring requirements and separate ring mains for everything.
  • by cmowire ( 254489 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:19PM (#6784728) Homepage
    Florescent lights work just fine, are more efficent (especially if you want white light) than incandescent bulbs or LEDs, and are cheap and well developed in comparison.

    They've got a whole spectrum of colored tubes using the same technology as they use to make neon signs, if you so desire.

    The only thing that you get with LEDs is the ability to get small amounts of light from very small amounts of power.

    They are great for microlights and flashlights and medium-sized jumbotrons and a few special purpose applications where normal lights just won't work. The LED manufacturers are getting sick of just making indicator lights, so they are trying to push their new toys as much as they can.
  • by ka9dgx ( 72702 ) * on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:20PM (#6784754) Homepage Journal
    Hydrogen is often used to conjure up visions of a clean future. If only the greedy oil companies would see the purity of the vision... blah blah blah...

    The fact is that you need energy to produce hydrogen, and that energy is probably going to come from either Coal, or Natural Gas. The end user thinks their helping the environment, but what really happens is that the production of a carbon exhaust is moved back in the supply chain. The amount of Hydrogen produced by a renewable source in any reasonably short time frame (20 years) is going to be almost negligible.

    The Hydrogen Future seems too good to be true, because it is.


  • by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:21PM (#6784776) Homepage
    So granted I didn't RTFA.....but lets take a hypothetical situation. Lets say its possible to create a light that doesn't need to be changed EVER. Or more realistically, 100 years. Lets say its dirt cheap to make too. Would such a light be sold? Or would the patents simply be bought by existing lightbulb companies to kill off an invention which could utterly ruin their business model?

    I also wonder if any company who invents these lightbulbs will not build in some sort of artificially short lifespan so as to have an increased revenue as people have to continually buy more.

  • LED traffic signals (Score:5, Interesting)

    by frostyboy ( 221222 ) <benoc AT alum DOT mit DOT edu> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:24PM (#6784803) Homepage

    I must say that Color Kinetics gear rocks. Their color-mixing LED arrays not only look cool, but are a neat toy to program for fancy light shows.

    Also on the LED front, the city where I currently reside (champaign, IL) recently passed funding and a proposal to replace all of the old incandescent traffic signals with LED arrays. Should cost a lot of money originally, but will save big on electricity bills in the long run. Here is an interesing EPA EnergyStar paper [] talking about the potential energy savings that cities can get from this technology -- 1 Million kWh and nearly $70,000 per year per 100 intersections! Also, LED based traffic signals are (IMHO) easier to see both at night and during the day.

    One complaint from a study [] is that the green traffic lights are actually too bright.

    worlds oldest currently operating college webcam []
  • by bazik ( 672335 ) <bazik&gentoo,org> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:24PM (#6784805) Homepage Journal
    How many Slashdotters does it take to change a light bulb?

    1 to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been changed 14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently 7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs 27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs 53 to flame the spell checkers 41 to correct spelling/grammar flames 6 to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb" ... another 6 to condemn those 6 as anal-retentive 2 industry professionals to inform the group that the proper term is "lamp" 15 know-it-alls who claim *they* were in the industry, and that "light bulb" is perfectly correct 156 to email the participant's ISPs complaining that they are in violation of their "acceptable use policy" 109 to post that this forum is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a lightbulb forum 203 to demand that cross posting to hardware forum, off-topic forum, and lightbulb forum about changing light bulbs be stopped 111 to defend the posting to this forum saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts *are* relevant to this forum 306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique and what brands are faulty 27 to post URL's where one can see examples of different light bulbs 14 to post that the URL's were posted incorrectly and then post the corrected URL's 3 to post about links they found from the URL's that are relevant to this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group 33 to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety including all headers and signatures, and add "Me too" 12 to post to the group that they will no longer post because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy 19 to quote the "Me too's" to say "Me three" 4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ 44 to ask what is a "FAQ" 4 to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?" 143 to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting questions about light bulbs", 43 to post "In Soviet Russia we dont change light bulbs", 67 to reply "You insensitive clod, I prefer candles!" and 1 forum lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now and start it all over again
  • Bulb life (Score:4, Informative)

    by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:26PM (#6784834)
    I used to change my porch light every month. It was on about 10 hours per day. Then I bought one of those spiral flourecent things for $8.00 (vs $0.50 for incandecent). The package gave dollar savings based on the power savings over the life of the bulb, and I did the math and figured it was a good deal if their life estimate was off by 50%. I never changed that bulb again, but we moved 9 months later. I can attest to a large decrease in bulb changes.

    Hydrogen is a joke. It takes energy to break apart water. Besides, the highest energy density available is in hydrocarbon chains (i.e. gasoline).

  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:27PM (#6784840)
    Personally I think they should switch the socket to the spring-loaded bayonet style used in countries like Britain. I intensely dislike the normal screw sockets her in N. America. So much more effort, and I've had a few occasions were the glass unscrewed and left the metal base jammed in the socket (corroded or just double-threaded). I don't think the extra strength of the screw sockets is really worth it.
  • by HaloZero ( 610207 ) <> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:29PM (#6784858) Homepage
    I don't like light, you insensitive clod!
  • No lightbulb jokes (Score:3, Informative)

    by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <> on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:31PM (#6784876)
    This will kill the lightbulb joke. You'll tell your grandchildren a lightbulb joke and they'll say "what's a lightbulb?".

    A whole avenue of humourous pleasure will be closed :)
  • by Jeff Archambeault ( 41488 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:32PM (#6784881) Homepage
    My father still tells the tale of the paint he saw in the '50-'60's that would eliminate light bulbs. I believe it was low voltage, so you just paint a surface, attach an electode (probably paint-over an electrode or 2 already anchored to the wall) and get as much light as needed with different sized surfaces. This way, entire ceilings or small spots could be used as illuminating sources. Liquid LED?

    I'm sure GE had something to do with the product never seeing the "light of day" (um...yeah).
  • Inova Microlight (Score:4, Informative)

    by N8F8 ( 4562 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:40PM (#6784981)
    I've had several LED flashlights so far and I can say that they are simply amazing. Batteries last a really long time. My kids got ahold of my PricetonTec [] flashlight and left it on for an entire day. The batteries were'nt dead.

    I recenly bought a bunch of Inova Microlights [] to pass out at work as a going away gift and the amout of light they product for their size in amazing.

    I've been really itching to get ahold of a next generation Luxeon Star [] LED light. The CMG Sonic and Infinity [] look prety sturdy.

    More information and comparisons on LEDs and LED flashlights han be found here [].

  • by jridley ( 9305 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @12:56PM (#6785148)
    I've got a lot of pretty old LED stuff. I've never seen one burn out. From what I know of how they pump photons, I'm not sure how you would burn them out other than running them outside of spec.

    Why does the article say "lasts up to 10 times longer"? Are they figuring on the probability of losing them to surges or accidents? Or is there something I don't know about LEDs?
    • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @01:41PM (#6785599) Journal
      I've got a lot of pretty old LED stuff. I've never seen one burn out. From what I know of how they pump photons, I'm not sure how you would burn them out other than running them outside of spec.

      LEDs will fade slowly with time, thought it's a very slow process for diodes operated at low levels.

      LEDs contain an interface between two semiconductor layers; it is around this interface that light is generated. Electrons crossing this interface can occasionally kick atoms back and forth over this boundary. Eventually, enough cross-contamination will occur to dim and then extinguish the LED. This does take a long time. Note also that this process is accelerated at high temperatures.

  • Use 130V bulbs (Score:4, Informative)

    by squarooticus ( 5092 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @01:00PM (#6785191) Homepage
    I use clear Sylvania 130V bulbs throughout my house, and have not replaced a single bulb in over a year since I moved in. Not a single bulb.

    Using a bulb rated at a higher voltage (at least 5V) than your electrical system (mine seems to provide 119V at a typical light socket on a circuit running around 6A) will extend the life of your bulbs by an order of magnitude, not just by a few weeks/months: the tradeoff is that light output is decreased, in my case by about 10%. No problem, just use a higher wattage bulb or more of them.
  • Bike Lights (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ugodown ( 665450 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @01:15PM (#6785375) Homepage
    I've been looking at bike light lately and I must say that the LED ones are quite impressive. Only three LEDs can compare with a normal bike light bulb, and the new models coming out are going to have five. And the fact that the LED lights 'burn' for about 100 hrs where a bulb would go for about 3.5hrs, makes LED lights very, very attractive.
  • The Real Deal (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 25, 2003 @01:23PM (#6785446)
    Ok the real deal is that Incandesents are a bad idea for a number of reasons: High power consumption, heat pollution(Remember what happened to the pearsons puppeteers?), frequent breakdown(by the way this offsets any energy savings from their production simplicity since even a florescent will outlast 5 or 6 and an LED could outlast 10 to 20). Note: In situations of unclean electricity or poor wiring the bult in control electronics in florescents helps mitigate the problems and they will outlast a incandescent by such a huge factor as to be not worth calculating. I had a socket that kept blowing bulbs every couple weeks from the surges when the switch was hit. I switched in a florescent and its been running for over a year and a half now.

    Florescents are your best bet stop gap and I hear that Ikea sells them for the best price available anywhere and they are consistently coming down in price everywhere.

    LED's are the Grail. They are extremely minimalist in raw resources( a transistor and a plastic shell that will outlast 5 or 6 FLORESCENTS), they beat even florescents in energy consuption by a factor of 4 or more, solid state so droppage or shock damage are not a factor. Color is easy to fix and as for price... Who here paid 10 large(this means $10,000USD in case your not in the know) for a laptop in 1993? Ok now how many shelled out $700 this year? LED's are Diodes just like the ones the computer industry has been perfecting for decades. The price will fall. Alot.

    Sidenote: All transistors and diodes produces photons as a byproduct Your computer is (depending on its transistor density, since the wavelength of the photons are dependent on the size of the transistor) currently pumping out microwave and radio energy. Since they are not optomized for this effect as LED's are they amount is reletively small and most is absorbed into the chips structure and converted to heat.

  • by stevel ( 64802 ) * on Monday August 25, 2003 @01:29PM (#6785490) Homepage

    MIT Technology Review [] did a nice article on the development of LED replacements for light bulbs in the May 2003 issue. However, you need to be a paid subscriber to read this online.

    The article focuses on the often secretive research going on at competing companies to develop a cost-effective white LED, which is needed to replace general illumination. Most white LEDs today are actually UV emitters with a white phosphor, reducing the efficiency. The other standard approach is to have red, green and blue LEDs together with a diffuser.

  • by ralphclark ( 11346 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @01:58PM (#6785742) Journal
    a story about three companies which are trying to replace the Light bulb

    Q: How many companies does it take to replace the light bulb?

    A: Three.
    1. One firm to dream up a replacement technology and patent it without actually specifying how it is to be achieved.
    2. One firm to actually develop a replacement technology and bring it to market.
    3. And a firm of lawyers to sue the second firm on behalf of the first firm.
    4. ???
    5. Profit!

    In SOVIET RUSSIA, Beowulf cluster of lighbulbs invents YOU!

  • The Dark Sucker Theory

    For years, it has been believed that electric bulbs emit light,
    but recent information has proved otherwise. Electric bulbs don't
    emit light; they suck dark. Thus, we call these bulbs Dark Suckers.
    The Dark Sucker Theory and the existence of dark suckers prove
    that dark has mass and is heavier than light.
    First, the basis of the Dark Sucker Theory is that electric bulbs
    suck dark. For example, take the Dark Sucker in the room you are in.
    There is much less dark right next to it than there is elsewhere. The
    larger the Dark Sucker, the greater its capacity to suck dark.
    Dark Suckers in the parking lot have a much greater capacity to suck
    dark than the ones in this room.
    So with all things, Dark Suckers don't last forever. Once they are
    full of dark, they can no longer suck. This is proven by the dark spot
    on a full Dark Sucker.
    A candle is a primitive Dark Sucker. A new candle has a white wick.
    You can see that after the first use, the wick turns black, representing
    all the dark that has been sucked into it. If you put a pencil next to
    the wick of an operating candle, it will turn black. This is because
    it got in the way of the dark flowing into the candle. One of the
    disadvantages of these primitive Dark Suckers is their limited range.
    There are also portable Dark Suckers. In these, the bulbs can't
    handle all the dark by themselves and must be aided by a Dark Storage
    Unit. When the Dark Storage Unit is full, it must be either emptied
    or replaced before the portable Dark Sucker can operate again.
    Dark has mass. When dark goes into a Dark Sucker, friction from
    the mass generates heat. Thus, it is not wise to touch an operating
    Dark Sucker. Candles present a special problem as the mass must travel
    into a solid wick instead of through clear glass. This generates a
    great amount of heat and therefore it's not wise to touch an operating
    Also, dark is heavier than light. If you were to swim just below
    the surface of the lake, you would see a lot of light. If you were to
    slowly swim deeper and deeper, you would notice it getting darker and
    darker. When you get really deep, you would be in total darkness. This
    is because the heavier dark sinks to the bottom of the lake and the
    lighter light floats at the top. The is why it is called light.
    Finally, we must prove that dark is faster than light. If you were
    to stand in a lit room in front of a closed, dark closet, and slowly
    opened the closet door, you would see the light slowly enter the closet.
    But since dark is so fast, you would not be able to see the dark leave
    the closet.
    Next time you see an electric bulb, remember that it is a Dark Sucker.

  • by Yonder Way ( 603108 ) on Monday August 25, 2003 @08:14PM (#6789597)
    "You could replace a 100-watt light bulb with a 60-watt LED, and get the same brightness,"

    Better yet, you could replace a 100 watt light bulb with a 27 watt CF and get the same brightness. For about $5 at your local Target megastore. And it will last for at least five years based on my experience.

    I went through my mother's house and replaced several kilowatts worth of standard bulbs with CF's (not all the bulbs in the house, but about 25% of them) and her electricity bill has gone down on average by about $50 per month (keep in mind here in Philadelphia the electricity rate is very high).

Science may someday discover what faith has always known.