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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Bright flat-panel LED bulbs: pricy but worthwhile, I hope

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profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 06/15/19 04:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Several years ago, I bought a batch of inexpensive “warm white” LED bulbs online. (I use the outdated term “bulb” even though these are flat panels, not at all bulbous.) These were “no-name” bulbs from an unknown source, costing about $4.00 per bulb at that time.

Those bulbs used a lot less electricity than incandescents and gave off an adequate amount of light. Over the years, though, the bulbs seemed to be getting dimmer and yellower, and one was flickering a little. We decided that we had to find a better alternative than the typical “no name” bulbs.

After shopping around (and asking for advice on this forum), I decided to go with these bulbs, for $13.99 each – not cheap:

Link to bulbs -- hopefully this one works

(Original link was defective -- have tried to fix it on edit -- we'll see if it works.)

One of the reasons I chose this particular vendor is that they have an office in the USA (actually in the San Fernando Valley, north of LA), and their website included a lot of useful explanatory material.

According to the website, these particular bulbs are “natural white” and produce
about 1600 lumens, about as much as a 100 watt incandescent bulb. Also, they have an aluminum double plate “heat sink,” which should extend the life of the bulb. They supposedly use a little more than 220 milliamps.

I ordered the bulbs, which arrived the next day. When I opened the package, I was a little confused, because the adapter was not “wedge” shaped, as I had thought. It was a little metallic rectangle – this photo is from their website -- the dongle is on the left:

[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.

I emailed the company to ask if this was the correct adapter for my wedge sockets. The service tech answered my email within a few hours, explaining that the rectangle (a “T10”) sticks into the wedge socket securely. To me, having access to responsive technical support is a big plus, even for something as seemingly simple as a bulb.

Installation was actually easier than screwing in a lightbulb. (Humor.) I was very impressed with the pleasant color and the brightness of the bulbs. These photos are unedited “before and after” shots, taken with exactly the same camera settings (an eighth of a second at f 4.5, with an ISO of 100):

[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.

[image]
[image]Click For Full-Size Image.

I then took a reading using my voltmeter, and sure enough, each bulb draws just 200 milliamps.

They had another similar product that was listed at $10.99 with half the brightness, but we really wanted to maximize the light: why not double the light for an extra three bucks? To put it another way, when you think about how often you need good lighting, the extra cost is less than a penny per use.

But we will see if these fancy new bulbs are really worth the money – it’s too soon to say for sure. There is no way to know how long they will last or whether the aluminum “heat sink” is just a gimmick. But assuming that they are reasonably durable, I would say that for our purposes, the cost is more than justified by the extra brightness.

* This post was edited 06/16/19 10:00am by profdant139 *


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road-runner

Oregon

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Posted: 06/15/19 05:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not meaning to rebut any of your post with this response. I'm highly suspicious of the 1600 lumen claim based on what I see for LED light bulbs in the store. The lights you got claim "over" 1600 lumens on 2.8 watts actual input power, or 571 lumens per watt. The "60 watt" LED bulbs on the store shelf claim about 800 lumens on 9.5 watts, or 84 lumens per watt. That's a 6.8x difference in efficacy. Doesn't mean these aren't good lights, it's just when something is this obviously out-of-whack, I wonder what else is? (One source I read says the theoretical maximum efficacy for white LEDs is a bit over 300 lumens/watt, so how did they calculate something higher?).


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Tom_M

New Hope, MN

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Posted: 06/15/19 05:47pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Your link doesn't work but I assume it is the following: Link to M4Products

I just purchased two very similar ones on eBay for less than $5. Each one consists of 48 5630 LEDs, the same as the ones from M4Products. The ones I bought have no regulation so they must be used on 12 volt and are polarity sensitive. Also there is no aluminum backing. The M4Products ones are regulated and work for a wide range of voltages and are not polarity sensitive.

Here's a link to the one I purchased: eBay LED panel

I have no track record yet for these but I have several smaller ones that I purchased on eBay a few years ago and they have worked great.


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Lwiddis

Veterans’ Park, Monterey, California

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Posted: 06/15/19 07:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Interesting report. Please keep us updated.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


profdant139

Southern California

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Posted: 06/15/19 07:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Tom, thanks for the link! And roadrunner, I do not know if the lumens are really what they say they are. It's a lot brighter than the old LEDs, for sure.

MEXICOWANDERER

las peñas, michoacan, mexico

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Posted: 06/15/19 07:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Profdant your way is the genuine way of judging an LED. If the chip gets hot enough to yell "ouch" when touched, that's too hot.

GordonThree

Northern Michigan

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Posted: 06/15/19 08:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

They buy these LEDs from eBay and sell them domestically for a nice mark up. However, the customer service is great, and having domestic selection is nice, as the wait from China can take a month plus.

The lighting module is rated in Chinese lumens, which are 100 to 1000x what an ISO/ANSI lumen is. Just like the Chinese amp-hour rating is typically 5-10x compared to the conventional "western" amp-hour.

Those chips are in the 60-70lm/watt range, so a generous 3 watts is 210 ansi lumens. That's not bad for a small package.

There are so many great LED chips out there, I don't understand why they're not making it into retail products.

[image]

This is my porch light "bulb", 18 watts, 2500 lumens using 3rd generation Lumileds Luxeon REBEL leds, which are a ceramic and silicone device designed for very high temperature operation.

I had to build this myself, because I couldn't find anyone selling something that even came close. The LEDs cost about $24 and the buck driver is another $10... if I could buy something like this for $50-60 I would.

I've retrofit a similar configuration into each of my ceiling lights (they took two 9 watt wedge bulbs previously)

* This post was edited 06/15/19 08:19pm by GordonThree *


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road-runner

Oregon

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Posted: 06/16/19 12:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GordonThree wrote:


The lighting module is rated in Chinese lumens, which are 100 to 1000x what an ISO/ANSI lumen is. Just like the Chinese amp-hour rating is typically 5-10x compared to the conventional "western" amp-hour.
A clear explanation I can understand. Thank you!

wa8yxm

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Posted: 06/16/19 06:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Site can not be reached says my Chromebook. No problem
Last flat panel I bought was 50 Cents. it's the dome light in my car and it's super good. (OK so it was on the closeout shelf at General RV).

My Eco-Lights are like 18-20 bucks but they are super good too.

I keep shopping for better deals.


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Ivylog

Blairsville, GA and WPB, FL.

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Posted: 06/16/19 06:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’ve experimented with a bunch of different LEDs over the last 10 years..:all EBay/China. Just ordered the newer Cobb and the round G4 disks. I do not need Tech support for a 2 wire system (polarity sensitive) or what will fit where. The ONLY LEDs that have not worked well are the strips that are not Voltage regulated...would not recommend them for replacement in your Fluorescent. I agree the panels are a better option, used them in a Fluorescent 8 years ago when the ballast went out...until then not enough savings to replace prematurely.

I have found the 5050 size chip runs the coolest and paying $14 for a $3 panel makes no sense to me. Of the 200+ LEDs I’ve bought, with the exception of strips, 3-4 have stopped working. If you want them sooner, Amazon now has them for slightly more $.


This post is my opinion (free advice). It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.

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