Review: Feit Electric “enhance” LED Bulb – 60 W equiv. for 9 W

Ever the optimist, I keep hoping someone will make an LED bulb that doesn’t leave me wanting to run from the room or put on sunglasses while driving under LED Street Lights.

Folks who’ve been here a while will remember when I (we) discovered the spouse got insomnia when LED bulbs were running. That was attributed to them using a very blue light LED and “down shifting” it with other color phosphors, yet leaving a blue spike that causes a ‘reset’ of your biologial clock. Details in this link:

https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/superchiasmatic-led-light-insomnia/

If Only the blue were gone, then the problem ought to go with it. So, when shopping at Costco, I saw a $10 package of 4 bulbs that claim a 2700 K color temperature (same as regular incandescent bulbs) I figured it was worth a shot. These are a very similar bulb though in a 2 pack and claiming 810 lumens where the ones I bought claim 800 lumens for the “60 W replacement” bulb of 8.8 Watts power consumption:

https://www.feit.com/products/bulbs/general-purpose/810-lumen-2700k-dimmable-led/

These are dimmable too.

So, OK, I gave them a try. Here’s what I’ve discovered.

The do dim nicely. Not quite as nice as an incandescent. They stay the same color, where the incandescent becomes more yellow, then orange and even somewhat red as they dim. There is also a ‘cut off’ where it just stops working that comes at not as dim a point as I sometimes like. But, ok, it’s good enough on the dimming for almost all purposes.

The package claims a CRI of 90+. The Color Rendering Index tells you if you will be getting “green eggs and ham” or other strange not quite right colors. Incandescents are essentially 100 (sunshine is and the bulbs are a cooler color temperature, but the eye knows how to correct for that). Horrible bulbs will have a CRI of 50 or 60. Low Pressure Sodium is monochromatic egg yolk yellow and range from 0 to 18 (but IMHO closer to zero for any I’ve seen). This page lists bulb types and their CRI:

https://sizes.com/units/CRI.htm

Being at 90+ it ought to beat every fluorescent out there along with many other bulb types, only beaten by the incandescent, some metal / halide (think bright white lights at car dealer lots) and some very specialized “highest CRI” LED bulbs (that I’ve never seen in any store…)

Well, in my short testing they do have a very good CRI and colors did not appreciably shift perception when I swapped from incandescent back to the LED bulb (and back again).

By all objective measures this bulb seems to deliver what it is claimed to deliver. Clean, incandescent colored, high CRI light that’s dimmable.

So what’s the problem?

I can’t really explain the problem. When used as the only light source, my eyes feel “tight” and I’ve got an overall feeling of tension and unpleasantness. Not strong, just minor but there. Add in some incandescent, the annoyed feeling fads in proportion. I have three lamps in my office and two are on dimmers controlled at my desk. I could easily fade out one and ramp up the other and do various mixes.

Best explanation I can imagine is that (only as a crazy working hypothesis) the LED has a low persistence phosphor and there is some kind of just sub-perceptible “flicker” in the light. Something that, in theory, we can’t see as it’s a 60 Hz flicker; but where the effect of rapid swapping light for black has a subconscious effect on the nerves. This article per image rendering claims the limit (so also the threshold) is 60 Hz:

http://www.realtimerendering.com/blog/60-hz-120-hz-240-hz/

A topic that came up in the Udacity forum for my graphics MOOC is 240 Hz displays. Yes, there are 240 Hz displays, such as the Eizo Foris FG2421 monitor. My understanding is that 60 Hz is truly the limit of human perception. To quote Principles of Digital Image Synthesis (which you can now download for free):

The effect of temporal smoothing leads to the way we perceive light that blinks, or flickers. When the blinking is slow, we perceive the individual flashes of light. Above a certain rate, called the critical flicker frequency (or CFF), the flashes fuse together into a single continuous image. Far below that rate we see simply a series of still images, without an objectionable sense of near-continuity.

Under the best conditions, the CFF for a human is around 60 Hz
[389].

Reference 389 is:

Robert Sekuler and Randolph Blake. Perception. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1985.

This book has been updated since 1985, the latest edition is from 2005. Wikipedia confirms this number of 60 Hz, with the special-case exception of the “phantom array effect”.

So does a light flickering full on and full off at 60 Hz cause some part of the visual nerves some angst? Perhaps only for some folks?

What I can say with certainty is that a printed card with various sizes of type on it and different colors was comfortable and trivial to read under a real 60 W incandescent. Under the LED I felt like it was “squirmy” somehow and found myself with a slight squint being applied. Just looking around the room, I felt a quiet unease. A kind of small tension. Now, long after I’ve turned it off and left only the incandescent on, my eyes still feel somewhat tired.

This has another possible. Something called pupillary flutter:

http://www.scn.org/autistics/fluorescents.html

This is about the phosphors in fluorescent lights, but as LEDs also use phosphors, ought to still apply. Being an arc discharge, florescent tubes will have power flow both ways in the two halves of the AC cycle. An LED, being a diode, ought to only have 1/2 that. I don’t know if they wire the 4 elements in the bulb so that 2 work one half of the cycle and 2 the other. One would hope so, but if they need all 4 in series to get the desired voltage… well… It’s a big “who knows” where the Engineer who designed it may be the only who, who knows.

Fluorescent Lighting
and Other Optical Issues

Flicker, Drowsiness, Migraines, Optical Sensitivity

This ranges from excess light to monitor flicker

Fluorescent lighting commonly causes problems, generally associated with a perception of flicker. These include drowsiness, headaches, migraines, and difficulty in concentration.

It’s Not Actually Flicker …
… It’s a Physiological (Neurological/Optical) Effect of Fluorescent Lighting.

It is very likely that what is perceived as optical flicker is not optical flicker at all. Rather, it is the effect of fluorescent light on the person’s own optical response.

Little is known about the actual cause. The most probable explanation is pupillary flutter caused by the spiked spectral pattern emitted by fluorescent lights.

In explanation, fluorescent lights rely on ultraviolet light being fluoresced down to visible light frequencies (hence “fluorescent”). The spectral light output is not continuous; rather it is a series of spikes. The spikes cause the pupil to alternately dilate and contract in response to red and blue spectral peaks in the light. The result is that the pupil erratically adjusts or “flutters”, known as “red-blue pupillary flicker” or “red-blue pupillary flutter”. Red-blue pupillary flicker is believed to be the cause of:

perceived flicker
neurological effects such as headaches, migraines, drowsiness, general fatigue and malaise.

That “drowsiness, general fatigue and malaise” along with what feels like a headache trying to start but not quite making it and my eyes feeling tired is pretty much accurate.

I have no idea if this is only a “some folks” problem or a general “most folks but don’t connect it to the light bulbs” problem.

So, that said, I’m keeping one in a lamp in my office for further A/B and longer duration testing. I’ve also got one in a 3 bulb fixture over the kitchen table. One of that “1960s” era flying saucer shaped things with a turn switch in the middle to get 1, 2 or all 3 bulbs lit up at once. I have a Halogen in the 1 position, and the LED with a brighter CFL in the 2 & 3 positions. This will let me see if it’s OK when “diluted” of if that just moves the problem out to a longer run time.

So far I’m batting 1000 in LED Bulbs bothering me and the spouse in one way or another (or both). Street light LED bulbs have made driving at night a Royal Pain. I now have some amber “sun glasses” I wear when driving at night. They block most of the very blue color street lights. Low Pressure and High Pressure Sodium bulbs look quite nice though ;-) They do a dandy job of cutting back those obnoxious blue headlights Sylvania is pushing while letting my yellow fog lamps really light up the place for me when I want a little extra sometimes.

I’ve often wondered why folks think it is a feature to blind someone approaching you at 70 MPH… but it’s where car headlamps have gone now. Oh Well.

In conclusion, I’ve not yet found an LED bulb I can live with. These came close, and perhaps as part of a set of different bulbs lighting an area they can be “good enough”. OTOH – I had a rats-in-the-garage problem. Putting the old LED bulbs (bluer and harsher) in the garage and just leaving them on seems to have driven the critters away. I’ve got 2 x Glue Traps and 2 x spring/bail traps and no sign anything has touched them. Nor is more damage to boxes of stuff showing up. So at least they seem to repel other living things too ;-)

At $10 for 4, I’m not feeling too bummed about being out $10. I think I can find somewhere to put them where I won’t care too much. Maybe the porch / yard light… I’m not typically out there and it just runs all night… Has a CFL in it now but that could be changed.

IFF you are not sensitive to “flicker” and find other LED bulbs “Just Fine”, then these would be a very nice 2700 K dimmable option. They are clear glass so need a shade around them. Feit does sell frosted equivalent bulbs too. If flicker does bother you, and other LEDs are just not quite right to you, these will be no different; given my experience.

I’m very happy I laid in a “lifetime supply” of incandescent bulbs along with a good selection of CFLs back when PG&E (local electric company) was subsidizing CFLs. At 50 ¢ each, I bought about 8 years worth of various CFL sizes. Halogen bulbs continue to be sold in the hardware stores, so I’ve only put a small dent in my bulb inventory and then there is my “100 W bulb factory” 3-Way lamps. I buy 50-100-150 W 3-way bulbs and then mostly run them on 50 W for ambient background lighting. When the 50 W element burns out, I’m left with a nice 100 W bulb ;-) At any one time, about 1/4 of my lights are running on the “self made” 100 W bulbs (often with a dimmer – even a 5% to 10% dimming can make a bulb last years longer). So it’s not like I need to find a way to live with LED bulbs. It’s just that I’m a cheap SOB and really would like to use 9 W instead of 60 W… But I won’t compromise my comfort or sleep for 50 W of electricity…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Energy, Tech Bits and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Review: Feit Electric “enhance” LED Bulb – 60 W equiv. for 9 W

  1. Eric Fithian says:

    Re fluorescent lighting:
    There should only be a perceptible flicker IF you are still using classic transformer-type magnetic ballasts.
    Those have no way to filter or alter the 60 Hz input frequency.
    Any electronic ballast has a circa-20-kHz frequency at the output. Two reasons: It is easier to build transformers (for the output channels), and the fluorescent lamps are actually more efficient at that frequency.
    Quite often, I can see the shimmer from a T-12 fixture, when it is driven by a magnetic ballast. Note: there exist electronic ballasts which are designed specifically for (say) 40-watt T-12 lamps, though I fail to see the utility, when one can get more light for less than half the energy by using T-8 lamps….
    The retro-fit (4-foot) LED lamps my employer is now putting in are all powered by drivers which use DC to run the LED strips inside the lamp. There should be *no* flicker– at 60 or any other Hz…! And the light level (lumens) from a 12-watt LED is indistinguishable from that of a 32-watt fluorescent….
    I cannot speak to the effect of living under screw-in LED lamps, as I have 4-foot fluorescent lighting exclusively here. And I don’t want to spend the evening with my head in the refrigerator!….

  2. A C Osborn says:

    The Rat Repellent feature is fascinating.

  3. Sera says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frame_rate

    Even though you can’t see it, it probably does mess with your subconscious. I’ll stick with my GE Reveal bulbs. Thanks for the info…

  4. H.R. says:

    Fluorescent bulbs: 👎 LED Bulbs: 👍

    But that’s just me.

  5. Ian Macmillan says:

    I’m sure you have a scope….Set up a phototransistor and have a look at the flicker.. Use a cd as a prism and see the spectrum, does it change with brightness?
    And how about your monitor screen?
    Just some random thoughts!
    Regards: Ian Macmillan

  6. Simon Derricutt says:

    Ian – a quicker test is simply to wave your hand in front of the light-source. If you see multiple images, then it’s pulsed light and may be a problem. If you see the hand as a blur, it’s probably OK. My screen is OK, the normal LED bulbs (multiple SMD LEDs) show multiple images. The filament COB LED bulb, on the other hand, shows blurred fingers so I reckon that’s OK. As far as I can tell on the filament-type COB LED (looks like 8 filaments arranged like the old Edison bulbs) it consists of a string of reverse-connected LEDs (so it runs on AC) and each filament runs at around 110V, thus there’s no driver board and the 110V/220VAC choice is made at the factory by using the right series/parallel connections. The phosphor also seems to be a long-remanence type which reduces the flicker. These ones are also rated at 2700K, so overall a pretty good replacement for incandescent. 8W is around equivalent to 60W incandescent. Since designs and materials vary, and flicker isn’t normally mentioned, then you need to check each bulb you buy for it. Buy one, test it, and if it’s good buy more of the same type.

  7. Ralph B says:

    Spending years underwater in a submarine (cumulative, not all at once) with nothing but fluorescent lighting, I don’t think flicker bothers me.
    Check out Big Clive on youtube he has taken apart quite a few LED bulbs and gone through the circuitry.

  8. Ian W says:

    Tips and notes are in a closed loop with the link to tD going back to 2013.

    So I will put this here as it is worth a look:

  9. philjourdan says:

    I have no doubt about the effects LED have on you or your spouse. But it makes me wonder. Are we being adapted to technology? A little more than 100 years ago, incandescent lights were unheard of. How did it change the bio-rhythms of our ancestors? I am sure it screwed their cycles up as well. Now we have a new technology, that our grandchildren (in most of our cases) will grow up with. And they will probably be adapted to them as we were to the incandescents.

    Our great great grandparents rose and worked by the sun. And there was SAD, but no one identified it as such. Then Edison came along and the sun no longer mattered.

    I prefer LED. I hate CFL (or even florescent). Incandescents were ok (but hot. Try changing a bulb that burns out while lit in a darkened utility room).

    I am going to buy those FEITs only because I need bulbs on dimmers. But I am going to stick to LED. I like the light better and apparently my bio-rhythms are already whacked out.

  10. ossqss says:

    I had read this a few years back on LED bulbs. I have not vetted it further, but think it may have some merit with respect to the IR part of the equation……

    https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/10/23/near-infrared-led-lighting.aspx

    LED lighting bothers me somewhat when exposed to it for a prolonged period of time. I particularly do not like the streetlights at night as was mentioned by others above. I suspect we will see more studies identifying issues as we move forward.

  11. wyoskeptic says:

    I always had problems with those old fluorescent light fixtures, but not because of flicker per se. I am autistic and one problem I really had in younger days was synesthesia.
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-synesthesia/
    From the above link: >>>Synesthesia is an anomalous blending of the senses in which the stimulation of one modality simultaneously produces sensation in a different modality. Synesthetes hear colors, feel sounds and taste shapes. What makes synesthesia different from drug-induced hallucinations is that synesthetic sensations are highly consistent: for particular synesthetes, the note F is always a reddish shade of rust, a 3 is always pink or truck is always blue. <<<
    In my case, I was not severely affected in most ways. But the one thing that did affect me very noticeably was certain light fixtures in stores. (Those old eight foot twin bulb fixtures.) Simply put, there were ones I could hear "screaming". At first I thought it was associated with the Ballast "hum" or "whine" that some of those fixtures had. But I figured out that it had something to do with the way some light flickered. It was the flickering of the light that I "heard". (I figured this out by seeing a fixture I knew bothered me from outside the store at night. There was nothing I could hear in terms of audio but just seeing the light flicker was enough.)
    For a long time I never mentioned this to anyone. The most obvious answer to what I was experiencing is "You Are Nuts!!!!" I did not want to wind up in a mental hospital someplace.
    Since then, I have noticed other "cross sense" effects, to a lesser degree. Some sounds (or music riffs in some songs) leave me with a taste in my mouth. There are times when touching certain fabrics or textures, it will trigger either sense of taste (often salty) or the sensation of hearing something far, far away.
    Anyway, I find LED bulbs are perfectly fine for me. CFL bulbs, on the other hand, I only use if they are inside a fixture with some sort of glass cover. (I.e. one of those "jelly jar" fixtures or one of the decorative fixtures with a fancy glass enclosure.) I find that not doing so affects what I hear and even if that is just a faint effect, it is enough to be noticeable and increases my discomfort.
    For the most part these days, I have gotten so used to this "handicap" that I no longer even notice unless the effect is very striking. But I point this aspect out just because it is also a another possible route to the effect that is causing some distress.

  12. John F. Hultquist says:

    Thanks for the interesting post. (Comments too.)

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    We had two 20 inch tubes in the washroom. The tubes and the fuses (especially) were hard to replace.
    So, I put in a Lithonia Lighting LED /Versi Lite. [Nov. 2013]
    10W, 4000K color temp, 50,000 hours, 740 lumens
    It has a white acrylic diffuser.
    I haven’t tested it, but it seems as good today as it did when installed 5 years ago. No regrets.

    While the light is on about 8 hours each night, it is in a small room off the kitchen – and we are almost never in that room during those hours, except to grab something off a shelf. The light does bounce into the kitchen and, from there, into a dining room where we do spend lots of time. There are other lights therein.

    The 2 biggest negatives of the CFLs is the dimming over time and the delayed start of the early ones. So, I will use an incandescent bulb in those that have multiple fixtures. Being “a cheap SOB” myself, I am slow to take out the noticeably dim CFLs and replace with new ones. That’s a habit I should break, I guess.

    Question: Do you have any solar yard lights? I use them outside over gates or other strategic places. They seem to be quite variable in their lifespan. Out of the same box, a few will last a year, and others are still going 3 years on. Perhaps too much snow and ice and freezing temps?
    I’m going to try these: via Amazon
    They claim 15 lumens. Many others sold are just 2L, but only half expensive.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    I had a rats-in-the-garage problem.
    A C Osborn commented on this – fascinating.

    I agree. But we have mice, not rats.
    I’ll have to try this. The little traps work but are a pain. Three feral cats and an in/out 4th one help.

    We live in a rural place with a small stream150 feet from the house. One of the cats carried a dead Wood Rat into the yard about 2 years ago. Maybe he killed it – don’t know. The nearest town (10 mi.) has Brown rats.

    Gotta go – back in 10 hours.
    John

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ian W:

    I can find no “loop” in tips. The “T” page (top bar) goes to the historical tips pages of Tips, T1-T12, TD & TE. Then I moved to making tips Postings that are listed in the Tips category on the right hand side. Link:
    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/category/tips/
    which shows this September 2018 as the latest active Tips page.

    While the DIY meat extruder is an interesting idea, it would be better to have a line in your comment like “DIY Meat on a tick maker” so there was some clue what it was all about.

    @Ian M.:

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a scope. I’ve had them available in various work and school labs so much I never bought my own. (First one I “borrowed” was when a friend and I took an old BW TV Set about 1968 and made it into a very crude scope…)

    I don’t know if it is flicker, or that pupil twitch thing from fluorescents or what. What I can say is that even as about 30% background light with significant sunshine coming in the window, my eyes feel strained. Turn it off, all is good. So I’m basically done with experimenting with these and they will join the rest of my LED collection in the “Put somewhere you never go” pile. The drawer of reject bulbs.

    @Eric Fithian:

    I mostly cited the Fluorescent article for the non-flicker pupillary issue driven by color spikes. I’d never seen that before and it ought to apply to anything with phosphors, especially a poor mix.

    FWIW I do have some old magnetic ballast lamps, but they are largely unused. 2 x 4 foot shop lamps over a workbench in the garage that now mostly serves as a junk pile… and some very very old DIY CFL conversion kits from before discrete CFL bulbs. A magnetic ballast on a rope that you plug the table lamp into, and then a PL converter you screw into the Edison base in the lamp fixture (then plug in your PL-13 or whatever). They sit in a closet now. Oh, and I’ve got a 30? year old GE screw in circle light (about 6 inch diameter) which is a large central magnetic ballast – but it needs a new bulb. All pretty much obsoleted by the electronic ballast Curly Bulbs.

    Also FWIW, I do see some squirm and almost flicker from regular old T-12 magnetic ballast lamps, so generally try to avoid them, too.

    For those unfamiliar with lighting terms, There is a letter describing the type so “T” is for “tubular” and then the diameter in 1/8 of an inch. A T-8 is 8/8 or one inch in diameter. It’s what you see in new installs in most places now. The older T-12 is 1.5 inch diameter, dirt cheap, and largely being obsoleted. Why? Pretty simple. With L x Pi x 1 v.s. L x Pi x 1.5 area to cover with phosphors, you can use better more efficient but more expensive ones in the smaller tube. Better light quality and better efficiency. Why wasn’t it done before? Electronic ballasts were not cheap then…

    @PhilJourdan:

    It is well attested that folks have very different flicker rate and color responses. I’m also pretty sure that my “clan” is from the extra sensitive side of things. (RedHeads often are, then add in my fast-fire-rate on nerve cells and augmenter psych type – it would be odd were I not in the over sensitized group.)

    So for those of you who have no such issues, enjoy your LED bulbs.

    For folks “like me” then “Here their be dragons!” and I’m happy with my incandescents. FWIW, I live with a mini-flashlight on my belt for just those “light out” occasions and a small bit of cloth lets you change hot bulbs without fingers being burned. As every room but the bathroom has more than one bulb in it (often on more than one outlet) I can usually just let the bulb cool and change it when desired anyway…

    My only real complaint is just that it seems the Light Bulb Companies are just too stupid to figure out there ARE folks “like me” and tweak their product so it’s acceptable to all of us.

    Oh Well. I’ve got coping strategies in place…

    @A C Osborn:

    I’ve also read accounts that where the bright blue/white LED street lights are put in place, a bird desert forms. Seems the little dears don’t like them either. Other species are known to see much faster flicker rates than humans, so they likely are in a bizzaro world with massive black / white pulsing and spikes of color – some birds have 4 color sensing cone sets and see more colors than we do, so mixing a few fixed colors to give a good enough CRI for us would look bizarre to them.

    So the longer story is that I’d had rats in a shed in the yard (nest and all). Cleaned it out (where “the kids” had just made piles of stuff for a few years and the rats made a nest at the bottom). The adults seemed to have moved into the garage then ( I didn’t manage to trap them…) and set up shop. I noticed some cardboard boxes of papers and stuff becoming chew-piles with rat “doo” nearby. Again cleaned out some piles of stuff that had “accumulated” while I was in Florida for a couple of years… but then they showed evidence on the other side of the garage. So in frustration and mostly just hoping to annoy the little suckers I just left the lights on in the garage.

    It has one main fixture by the house door, then the garage door picker upper has two, and two more along the central beam. All are now LED except the one near the rear door (over the washer / dryer). It is where I put the bulbs that bother me the most..

    Well, after about a month, the garage seemed oddly quiet… and little new ‘stuff’ showing up. I added the traps (thinking maybe they were just being sneakier). Still nothing. Near as I can tell, they’ve moved out.

    What I don’t know is was it just the light (any light) or something about the LED lights. There are still lots of dark places in the garage (inside boxes, under shelving units, etc. But maybe they just don’t like needing to travel in the light to get out for food? In any case, for about 25 W of LED bulbs it looks like my Rat Problem has fixed itself.

    I also still need to clean out the other half of the garage and go through 30 years junk on the shelves… but that’s for another time ;-)

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @John F.H.:

    I’ve tried the solar lights a few times.

    1) At their best, they are too dim to be of any real use.
    2) You can only put them in places that already gets lots of light from the sun, so few places for me around my house.
    3) They die very quickly. I suspect it’s mostly the cheap batteries, but they are not anywhere near cost effective.

    This may be better with newer LED ones, but I’ll never know, as I stopped that money suck a couple of decades back… A nice big bulb in a regular fixture now lights my yard all night long for about 13 to 19 W of CFL bulb…

  15. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting comments and article – I have also battled with proper lighting. I work in IT and a late shift cycle, where I get off work at 10:00 PM local and often have to come home and periodically check on processing during the night. Often getting to bed from 12:00 midnight to 2-3:00 am.

    My solution:

    I have one low power red LED bulb that runs 24 x 7 in my computer room (like the old movies battle lights on submarines. Enough light to not trip on things in the dark with full dark adapted eyes if I get up at 4:00 am to check on things.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00R9MXWXO/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage

    In a desk lamp pointed directly down toward the key board on my lap top is a small 3 watt 2700K LED GE 300 lumen refrigerator bulb.

    90% of the time these are the only lights I have on in the room at night.

    I also have one of these filters on my desk top screen (and my monitors at work)
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OL26BVK/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage

    During the daytime I have a floor lamp with an opaque bowl type reflector that directs the bulbs illumination toward the ceiling (you cannot directly view the bulb, only the indirect illumination off the ceiling)

    In dark weather or when I need better light I turn on that floor lamp to augment the two smaller lamps.

    This combination works for me, as I have a red rich background illumination from the red LED and indirect 2700K illumination from the 3 watt GE desk lamp plus the ambient lighting from the two different computer screens in the room.

    Even if those two LED lights flicker it is unlikely that their flickering is in time with each other so would tend to double the frequency and fill in the off cycles a bit.

    Also for times when I really need to wake up I have a third light directly behind the computer screen. It is a 27 W CFL daylight bulb (5000K), pointed straight up so it illuminates the entire wall behind the computer screen (simulates having the window blinds open on a bright sunny day).

    That is my anti-SAD light I use in the winter time.

  16. ossqss says:

    I couple observations on solar lights. I use the mon my dock and they do quite well for decorative lighting. If you purchase them, look for removable batteries (typically 2 AA in them) and look for NiMh batteries and not Nicd. The Nicd will take a crap on the first cloudy day and get a memory problem with charging capacity and only get worse from there. Nickel metal hydride batteries are somewhat more resistant to this problem (try to cycle them fully a few times as that will help significantly) and will last a couple years as they have a 600-800 charge cycle count IIRC. I would always use my energizer wall charger to ensure a full charge on the batteries before putting them in the lights the first time after cycling them a couple times also. Lithium battery based solar lighting will probably be much more expensive than the others. One other note, I had white lighting for several years on my dock and had continuous isses with spiders, some pretty good size too boot. I changed out to color changing lights and that problem pretty much went away completely. Once the buffet went away, so did the spiders.

    Just my 2 cents on solar light experience.

  17. Larry Ledwick says:

    I may pick up one of these near-infrared bulbs or similar and play with it too.

    https://www.amazon.com/TheraBulb-NIR-Near-Infrared-Small/dp/B01HHT6ZSM/ref=sr_1_2_sspa

    Customer reviews are interesting reading.

  18. philjourdan says:

    There be dragons for sure! I think it was stupid to ban the incandescents. But they were going to die (except for easy bake ovens) due to their limitations, once LEDs became competitive. But they are not actually illegal. I understand there is a place in South Carolina that still makes them. Which they can do, as long as they do not sell across state lines. So next time you run down to Florida, run up to SC and pick up a gross of the suckers.

    LEDs are different and the light can be disconcerting to those who are use to Incandescents. But I am a dark skinned Celtic who long ago lost my sensitivity to light. I am just glad that LEDs came down in price so rapidly that they are killing the CFLs. Now those are the work of Satan!

  19. H.R. says:

    @phil: My understanding was that specialty incandescent bulbs were exempted, so you can buy them, but the regular old bulbs are now sold as extreme duty or some such nomenclature. Odd shaped vanity and chandelier lights are still sale as well as appliance lights.

  20. philjourdan says:

    @H.R. – here is what I was talking about – https://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article14411510.html

    The federal law only applies to inter-state commerce, not intra-state commerce. As far as I know, buying them for personal use and driving across state lines is not illegal. Yet.

  21. jim2 says:

    Get a handy-dandy spectroscope and you can see if there are any blue lines lurking in the light.

    https://www.amazon.com/EISCO-Premium-Quantitative-Spectroscope-Accuracy/dp/B00B84DGDA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1537229609&sr=8-2&keywords=spectroscope&dpID=413KFRqhH%252BL&preST=_SX342_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

    I have one similar to this, but I had to make the black enclosure for it.

  22. jim2 says:

    My 3000K LED has a good bit of blue starting at 490.

  23. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmm interesting will have to play with one of these price is so low.

  24. jim2 says:

    That should have been 440 nm. Misread the scale.

    Oddly enough, my LED lights I have appear to have a continuous spectrum. The fluorescents have distinct lines against a somewhat continuous spectrum. Both the LED and fluorescents display some blue at about the same region 430-440. The LEDs probably use UV to stimulate phosphors, like the fluorescents. That includes one LED that has the long filaments with a yellow tinted envelope, like a bulb of old.

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry:

    Interesting links – I got to learn 2 new acronyms:
    HEV – High Energy Visible (blue end)
    NIR – Near Infra Red (red end)

    Here I always thought we called those blue and red … ;-)

    Or maybe NIR means IR that’s nearly visible? Or something… if that’s it, then deep red could be NIRV ? (So I’ve learned the acronym but not the definition quite yet…)

    Would not the wall power cycle cause the two LEDs to blink in sync? Or do they have a mini-powersupply in side them that makes DC and filters it? I know they have some kind of “ballast” but I’ve not looked into what (or hit that Clive link yet).

    @PhilJourdan:

    Oddly, CFLs don’t bother me. The electronic ballast is high enough frequency there is no flicker effect and the CRI is generally good enough to not give too much color distortion (only in the kitchen and dining room did the greenish or plastic looking eggs issue arise.) I’d generally use an apple or a can of Chef Boyardee ravioli to test skew in color – turns out the reds and yellows on that can are just right ;-) Then I’d buy more of the good ones.

    Not keen on the mercury content though… but I’ve managed to not break another one for about 20 years now.

    So what makes them horrible for you?

    I’ll look into the S.C. place. For now, I’m still working off a large inventory. When this was “coming”, we still had CFL “buy down” or subsidy going on, and local IC Bulbs were dirt cheap. During the transition I could get boxes of 16 Phillips 95 W bulbs (as the 100 W was banned first) for about $2.75 a box. I also got a couple of boxes of 24 x 60 W Sylvania industrial bulbs rated for 130 V for relatively cheap. Something like $9? Whatever. Being rated at 130 V means they last a very long time at 120 V (like being on slightly dim). I’ve got about 30 cubic feet of bulbs in a stack in the corner. IF I’ve figured it right, a lifetime supply. About 2 Cu-Ft of it is “curly bulbs” bought at about 50 ¢ each on subsidy ( I figured the subsidy would end when the IC was killed and I was right). So other than experimental use, I’ve not needed to buy another light bulb since the ban hit. ( I have bought some halogen bulbs as inventory extenders when on sale – Lowes was selling out a batch at something like 10 ¢ / bulb because a newer model came out that had slightly better specs – go figure. I bought about a dozen…)

    @H.R.:

    Yes. There’s a list of exceptions and I’ve exploited it some.

    The law generally sets an efficiency standard, it does not specifically ban IC bulbs. Just IC bulbs generally can’t meet the standard (but halogen incandescent bulbs do!). Specific exceptions are made for:

    1) Low wattage. Last I looked the cutoff was 40 W so in theory you can put 4 x 25 W in a couple of Y adapters and get 100 W – but there’s better ways.

    2) Rugged Service. These are for use in drop cords and on vibrating machines (and where a curly bulb might spill mercury or an LED be shaken to bits or cooked by heat). Thick and well supported filaments give a redder less efficient light, but they last a very long time. I’ve got a couple in stock ( bought when I’d not learned all the exceptions…)

    3) Very high wattage. 200W and over IIRC. Because at the time the law was passed curly bulbs in that size where very expensive or impossible to get and LED bulbs were terribly expensive and rare. I also have 3 or 4 of these. Put a 200 W in a dimmer and run it at 100W to 150W and it will last essentially forever. Not very efficient at that power level, and reddish, but livable. These are my last resort solution. When all else has been used up and the “ban” is extended to my other preferred options, then these will be put in service on dim… (where a dim ‘way to bright’ is just right…)

    4) PAR bulbs – Parabolic Aluminum Reflector. Those “spotlights” and “flood lights”. I have a couple of boxes of 1/2 dozen each of both the “curly bulb” sort and the IC sort. Also bought before I’d read the law limitations more carefully. They work nicely in various places, like those “clip on” light holders.

    5) 3-Way Bulbs – since again at the time the law was passed 3-way curly bulbs were rare and expensive (and didn’t work well in all cases) and 3-way LED bulbs were non-existent. This is my “go to” place for IC bulbs currently. I run 3-way bulbs on low in a couple of lamps as general lighting – the low setting uses the 3rd connector between the bottom button and the outer shell of the Edison Base. When the low filament burns out, you are left with a perfectly good high filament connected between the usual base button end and shell. Works fine in regular sockets. I generally use 50-100-150 bulbs so “manufacture” 100 W IC bulbs that way. I’ve also used a 30-70-100W on one occasion so got a 70 W bulb at the end, but 30 W is not enough for my usual use. There are other sizes to choose from too. A bit expensive, but then again, you get “2 bulbs” worth of life, and the 100 W on a dimmer then lasts a very very long time. In fact, so long that I’ve not had much reason to hit my inventory of plain IC bulbs in a few years of having it.

    6) As noted, Halogen bulbs are just efficient enough to make the cut. For the first few years of the “ban” I kept buying halogen bulbs and using them instead of hitting my “stash”. Figuring that “round 2” of a ban might hit them. As of now, I’m thinking maybe enough folks have made noise about “issues” that congress will stop F-ing with the light bulbs now… One Hopes…

    7) Specialty, ornamental, etc. bulbs. So things like party bulbs and weird shapes. I’d bought 2 large (like 4 & 6 inch diameter large) 100 W bulbs as they were being sold cheap during the early purge stages. I’ve now decided to “use them up”, so one is in the hallway fixture where it actually looks good, and on a dimmer so likely to stay with the house for years. The other went to the bathroom where we run a bulb to the ground about once a year. It, too, is on a dimmer, but gets used on high a lot.

    I think that’s most of them, perhaps all of the exceptions.

    Essentially the law functionally bans THE most common IC bulbs in the 60 W to 100 W range and not much else.

    As of now (where “now” is a few years back start date), I’ve started using up the more bulky (big ornamental) and less desired parts of my bulb inventory. So some “clear glass” bulbs that were bought toward the end when they were all that was left on the shelf, as an example. They generally cast harsh shadows in most lamps and fixtures (in exchange for a tiny bit more light…) so I’ve put them in reflector fixtures. They, too, are on dimmers, so it takes a few years to use one up… In some ways my strategy of dimmers to extend bulb life works too well – I’ve got only a couple of non-dimmer bulb locations with “fast” turnover of a year or so. Kitchen (that gets a 150 W halogen anyway – just say “no” to fluorescent mandated “green eggs & ham”!), living room in one lamp. A pole lamp. Yard light (that’s where poor color CFLs go to die…) and garage (where all other bad bulbs go to die…) Pretty much everywhere else has a dimmer of some sort, so the bulbs tend to last years…

    I bought a half dozen 150 W and 95 W halogen bulbs (in a peculiar small form factor) for the kitchen at the time of the ban – thinking we’d be here a while. As we now plan to move I’ve been running them through that fixture. I’d found a nice bright CFL that I like there with good CRI. It lasted a couple of years, then died. Instead of replacing it “like for like” I’m just using up the specialty halogens. Halogen bulbs are a bit tricky on dimmers:

    The halogen bulb depends on the filament being hot enough to disassociate the halogen-tungsten compound that forms when a bit of tungsten evaporates from the filament. Run too dim, this doesn’t happen and the bulb very rapidly burns out. Long life halogens ( with like 3000 hour lifetimes) are already running near the lower limit of heat to get that long life via little metal evaporation. Dim them and their already slightly odd yellowish color gets worse while their lifetime goes way short. The newer “high efficiency” halogens are run near the upper end of their heat range to give them that very high efficiency. This also means you can dim them some and lengthen their life. These are the ones with 1000 hour to 1800 hour life spans. IF you run a halogen on a dimmer, it’s good to run it on full bright for a few minutes every now and then to scavenge any deposited tungsten and redeposit it back on the filament. Yeah, halogens are picky little primadonnas when it comes to dimmers.

    More stuff I had to learn about light bulbs than I ever wanted to know… I resent having been forced into this just to keep MY choice in bulbs available to me. Oh Well. At least I’m set with perfect CRI non-flicker bulbs until such time as I’m committed to an institution ;-)

    Oh, and one other honorable mention:

    IC efficiency goes up with filament thickness (lower voltage). So 12 V “track lighting” is more efficient than 120 V. For this reason you can likely still find IC track lights. I’ve not looked lately to see if simple market pressures has driven them out of the market, but it was an option last time I looked. This also means that, as an absolute last ditch option, you can use car light bulbs of 12 VDC on dedicated wiring to get your IC “Fix”. UN-fortunately, newer cars have gone to LED bulbs for things like tail lights and stop lights. FAR too bright a point source and painful to sit behind at a stop light, so out come my “nighttime sun glasses”… so eventually finding the 12 VDC bulbs will be harder, but for now they are still out there. Newer RVs have gone to built in LED fixtures too, so an older one is all I’ll consider buying. I suspect the antique car market will keep this option alive for a long while.

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jim2:

    440 NM is the color that resets your biological clock to morning… it’s the thing that causes the spouse to have insomnia if she has one on in the last half of the day.

    I think I have a prism in my junk box somewhere… but there are CDs all over the room ;-)

    Yes, the UV LED is the common one for cheap bulbs. Expensive ones will have 3 primary color LEDs and / or different phosphors. I’ve got a potential article in mind about “high band gap semiconductors” that are used to make LEDs among other things. Band gap determines color and it was one of these specific materials that let the blue and UV LED happen (and all the rest that follows).

    @Sera:

    The Niece has the Reveal bulbs in her home. They are nice and work well. (She has a degree in some kind of industrial design / imaging so is very aware of poor CRI and can’t stand the curly bulbs & LEDs…)

    I considered them, but they use a blue filter to make a “whiter” light, which cuts efficiency. I also was trying to get away from blue light as we’d figured out it was a sleep issue with other bulbs and didn’t want to test it with the Reveal bulbs. IIRC I have one in a box in the inventory stash, but just decided the yellow regular IC was fine. Plus, dimming them makes them redder so even more light gets filtered out by the blue filter and they become very inefficient. Good for “just use it” but not so good for “life extending on dimmers”.

    Generally I like them, but not for inventory… and now I’ve got so much inventory I’m not buying new bulbs other than to play with them… (and the spouse frowns on my buying more bulbs now… I think she thinks it was an OCD thing and not a “lifetime supply of what I want” thing… )

    (Colored bulbs are one of the exceptions and the Reveal exploits this with the minimal color possible… and calling it a feature. I suspect GE paid off some congress critters to get a near monopoly on IC bulbs in the 60-100W range…)

  27. philjourdan says:

    Re: CFLs

    Dislikes: Light Color, Shape, Mercury. They are a creation by committee that was not allowed to be stillborn.

  28. philjourdan says:

    Oh, and Warm up. I want lights to come on when I turn on the switch. Not 30 seconds later.

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve used slow curly bulbs for effect when I want a modest rise time. The bathroom, for example. And I liked it in the kitchen in the morning too… From full black to modest light, then slowly brightening to full bright as I adjusted to day arriving ;-)

    But yeah, in a lot of places the lag time to warm up is horrible. Security lights on motion sensors. A light in a pantry where you are in there for 30 seconds and gone. Work lights. Added reading lamps in a room lit by other lights. Etc.

    The mercury is just a big time negative. No two ways about it. I broke one once and the cleanup was a bit distressing…

    Light color has improved over the early cheap ones. With care you can get good CRI. Unfortunately, almost nobody marks CRI on the packages. You can now get 3 color temp ranges, so can get clean white or blue white if desired (instead of the 2700 K yellow incandescent color). So color choices are a lot better than before. Unfortunately, the tendency to slightly bizarre colors (especially in the reds & yellows) or dead lack of color (often in the blues) is still out there. It’s a pot-luck learning curve thing. This could be easily fixed with a standard color wheel photo on the package, but nobody will do that and admit their color sucks.

    Shape is sometimes an issue. In shade equipped lamps it doesn’t matter but in exposed fixtures it’s a bit of an issue. Oh, and I’ve got one lamp where the shade clips onto the bulb… had to find curly bulbs with a round plastic over wrap for that one. Another wall mount 3 way lamp had too short a harp (hoop?) to let 3-way curly bulbs fit so it, too, had one of those bulbs and a clip on shade. (After the first shade died). Now it’s in use as my “bulb factory” with regular IC 3-ways. So there’s a way around the shape issue; but not common (especially now that LEDs dominate shelf space). Good thing is I’ve got a half dozen of these A shape CFLs in my inventory so a “lifetime supply” for that one shape picky lamp… (Again bought on subsidy for something like 50 ¢ each back in the day…)

    FWIW, I also have a few PL fixtures. Those are the long straight tube CFL bulbs most often seen in offices and businesses in down-light cans and wall sconces. Cheap and good light as the ballast is in the fixture so the tube is just a tube and you don’t buy a new ballast with each bulb. So there are other shapes available. My first CFL bulbs were, in fact, screw-in PL adapters from Lights Of America. Talk about hard to use in some fixtures! Long skinny tube (about 6 inches) and then a few more inches of adapter. Then quad tube PL bulbs 1/2 as long came out and they fit in lamps better. Haven’t seen the adapters in the stores in years, but I liked them. Worked well in the open sockets in the garage though ;-)

    So OK, I can see why you would reject them. I’ve chosen to find places where they work or where things like the slow start can be a feature. Overall, I like having a variety of choices and matching the best bulb for that use case. I most resent having my choices taken away. For me, the curly bulbs are better than the LEDs as I don’t have the eye fatigue / squirmy effect from them and managed to identify some good CRI bulbs to mostly buy. But I also have places where they are not the right choice and where IC bulbs dominate my use. (Anywhere ideal color rendering matters – kitchen, dining, bath – and places where I need the bulb shape or the wonderfully liquid dimming ability – bedroom, office, bath).

    I really would rather it was just an open market of choices and the government would just get out of it….

  30. Larry Ledwick says:

    @EM Would not the wall power cycle cause the two LEDs to blink in sync? Or do they have a mini-powersupply in side them that makes DC and filters it? I know they have some kind of “ballast” but I’ve not looked into what (or hit that Clive link yet).

    It is my understanding that all 120v AC LED bulbs use a small built in transistorized oscillator to actually power the LED, could be wrong but that is my presumption.

    In any case by shifting the location of the lights so that I cannot see the actual LED bulb itself when it is on, only the illumination throws on other objects solves the harshness problem for me. I think one part of the difficulty with LEDs is that the photo diode emitter is so very bright in such a small point of light, that the eye wants to stop down the iris to cut down the illumination on the retina that has the direct bulb image on it, but wants to open up the iris for the general ambient illumination. By changing them so that all are pointing at a surface and not actually in my field of view eliminates that issue, and that tight tense sensation in the eyes and feeling of harshness is greatly reduced or eliminated.

    I first tinkered with the idea of softening the brightness of the LED emitter by using some sort of diffuser, like a bit of frosted scotch tape or a bit of that thin white plastic from shopping bags on LED lanterns. It worked but I realized that simply setting them up so all their light bounced off a surface and direct view of the LED itself was a lot easier.

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry:

    One of the fixtures in my office is a plastic cone (about 4 inches diameter one end, maybe 8 the other?). I tried the LED bulb in it, but it was still sort of “squirmy”. Maybe it just needs more diffuser… But I also put it in an aluminum reflector “clip on” light that points at the dark other side of the room work space. Still bothered me. The third light in the room is a bare bulb clip on that is directly over my main desk for strong work light. It was a complete No-Go there.

    All three are on dimmers and I tried various dimmings without real benefit (other than less painful to look directly at it…)

    Oddly, in the new location at the far side of the garage, when I look directly at it (fully lit) I see Moiré patterns. Totally unexpected and not present when I look at the CFL bulb 1/2 that distance in the same row. Something is definitely weird there… For about a foot around the bulb there’s these radiating squirming Moiré lines… Makes me wonder if the “filaments” are rows of dots closely spaced and maybe there’s some kind of interference pattern thing going on.

    In any case, for now I’m sort of done playing with them. My most important answer is just “Nope, still too much annoyance and trouble” and I’m fine with that. They can go into the back yard lighting (another places bulbs go to die – rarely used though so not much opportunity to bother me) or slowly replace the remaining CFLs in the garage… Worst case is that when we move to Florida, they get put in the fixtures here instead of the IC bulbs I like ;-)

    Basically I’ve got a lot of Curly Bulbs, a few PL Adapters & Bulbs, and lots and lots of IC bulbs all of which I don’t have any problems using, so why beat my noggin on a problem I can just put away in a drawer? I wanted at $10 answer to “Are the new ones with the long LED elements OK?” and I got it. (Not for me, yes for other folks). So I’m basically complete on my goal.

    @Phil:

    Three other “issues” you didn’t mention.

    One is that you can’t put these in “enclosed fixtures” without them overheating and having very short bulb life. This has been a PITA in my kitchen where CFLs are good for about 10 minutes to 6 months, maybe… and some die almost instantly. (Old house, round glass globe in a ceiling socket with thumb screws to retain it). Ditto the bath room fixture.

    Do not screw them in by the curly tubes; only screw in by the base. Fine… but what do you do in narrow fixtures like recessed cans and my office plastic cone thing? (I gingerly screw them in by the glass bits. Only had one where that resulted in the glass coming free from the glue into the plastic base… then I learned better…)

    Some of them hum…. Both CFLs and LEDs. Now I’m partly deaf, so if I’m hearing the hum, it’s a LOT of hum. The reading lamp by the couch has IC bulbs in it for that reason. Nothing like curling up on the couch late on a still night with a nice book to read, turning on the lamp, and a persistent low grade hhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm crawls into your head…

    I did manage to get ONE model of ONE brand of “150 W equivalent” CFL to work in the kitchen with decent CRI. Had to put a bigger glass globe on the fixture to do it. It lasted about 2 to 3 years (when it ought to have been more like 5 ) and then it was no longer stocked at Lowe’s or H.D. so now I’ve gone back to the Halogens. I did accumulate 4 or so other brands and models of “150 W equivalent” CFLs in the process… that will slowly be run through the garage bulb hospice as spaces open up… Mostly they just were prone to shutting off when too hot – after about 10 minutes of on-time. One just died completely. LED bulbs have the same problem. The ballast makes heat that cooks the bulb in an enclosed fixture. As someone who likes my retro style fixtures and does not want to do a remodel just to make the bulbs happy; this means halogens…

    I used to also complain that they were not dimmable, but the latest round of dimmable CFL / LED bulbs do a fair job of it. Only the lowest 1/4 of dimmness seems missing from their range. Unfortunately, some times I want that – like when the TV is on or not to wake the spouse. So IC bulb on dimmer in the bedroom and a 4 step dimmer on a touch lamp in the L.R.

  32. philjourdan says:

    EM, it comes down to your statement:

    “I really would rather it was just an open market of choices “

    It really comes down to that. CFLs have a lot of problems (your additions are valid, they were just not on the top of my list). I have tried them. My wife (very eco conscious) at one point demanded we change all ours out. (That lasted until I started using LEDs in my areas). She hates CFLS as well now. For some of the reasons I stated.

    As I said, CFL, designed by committee for the government. Not for private use.

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    I can get CFLs to work in about 1/3 to 1/2 the sockets in the house (plus the Bulb Hospice spaces where anything goes…). I can’t get LEDs to be acceptable anywhere inside (probably metabolic peculiarities of the spouse and me; otherwise the whole nation would be suffering insomnia and eye strain problems right now…)

    IC bulbs work fine everywhere for me. That makes them my “go to” bulb when I can’t make more efficient options work out.

    BTW, I’m pretty sure the various light bulb companies did their own design work. I’ve got a dozen different kinds of them from various ages all significantly different in design choices. Some I bought before there was any government meddling in the market for bulbs… Just sayin’… it’s a nice “tag line” but I think it is not true any government committee was involved in bulb design…

  34. jim2 says:

    I looked at a 43W halogen and a 40w POB (Plain Ole Bulb) and they both have a bit of blue around the 430-440 region. I guess the tale is in the distribution.

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    Incandescent bulbs have a smooth rapid decay in the greens to blues. There will be some, but very small. LED bulbs will have a huge spike.

    from:

    https://www.soundandvision.com/content/led-vs-cfl-bulbs-color-temp-light-spectrum-and-more

    that has other charts in it too…

  36. Sera says:

    I do agree with your neice- I was in the graphic arts industry for over twenty years and color was ‘everything’. I did find an article that skewers the GE Reveal bulbs (just to be an honest broker).

    https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/22418166

  37. Jason Calley says:

    Hey Chiefio, as you know, recognition time is closely correlated to IQ. Maybe your neurological wiring is fast enough that you notice flicker that most people don’t.

  38. Tom Bakewell says:

    Thanks for this posting. It explains why I was lugging the TEK 475 around and pointing the green LED clipped into the test probe at various illumination sources in the house before 6 AM this morning. The solar spectrum fluorescent bulbs show 4 sinusoids slipping past each other at a slow (few Hz) rate on a fast sweep On a very slow sweep I saw a pattern like a moderately modulated AM signal. I saw a similar pattern on some curlies in the bathroom light bar. After the coffee kicks in I will see what a spectrum analyzer shows. It takes so little to keep me amused.

  39. E.M.Smith says:

    @Tom:

    You’ve given me an interesting idea… or maybe question… “To what extent do different lights in the same area running at different ballast frequencies have interference patterns in their flicker?”.

    The one in the garage where I see a Moire pattern in the air around it, has 2 older type LED bulbs pointed right at it (from the garage door opener) so any differences in rates or intensities might easily show up as a pattern in a little garage dust in the air… Hmmm….

    @Jason:

    I’d suspected there might be a connection between IQ and flicker perception but don’t know of anything formally showing it (never took the time to look into it); so it isn’t quite true to say “I know”… but yeah, I suspect my nerves have a faster fire rate and so I’m in that lucky group who gets bothered by more stuff… 8-}

    @All:

    I ought to have looked further into the Wiki-World… seems “there’s a wiki for that” for this kind of bulb. It shows the filaments as a string of led blobs and shows the flicker as a camera shutter artifact:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LED_filament

    Design

    The LED filament consists of multiple series-connected LEDs on a transparent substrate, referred to as Chip-On-Glass (COG). These transparent substrates are made of glass or sapphire materials. This transparency allows the emitted light to disperse evenly and uniformly without any interference. An even coating of yellow phosphor in a silicone resin binder material converts the blue light generated by the LEDs into white light. Degradation of silicone binder, and leakage of blue light are design issues in LED filament lights. A market intelligence provider warns that LED filament lamp makers in China commonly use low-grade silicone to cut costs; it may become brittle after 200 hours of operation, causing the filament structure to fracture and break the LED string.

    So despite being nominally 2700 K it looks like they still will have the blue light insomnia problem.

    Looking toward the base of the bulb from the top I can see two small IC chips glued to the base, so there is an electronic ballast in it, just a very tiny one in the base. The wiki further explains:

    The large number of LEDs (typically 28 per filament) simplifies the power supply compared to traditional LEDs as the voltage per blue LED is 2.48 < V < 3.7. Some types may additionally use red LEDs (1.63 < V < 2.03). Two filaments with a mix of red and blue is thus close to 110 V, or four close to 220 V to 240 V, compared to the 3 V to 12 V needed for a traditional LED lamp. Typically, four filaments are used and the appearance is similar to an overrun carbon filament lamp. Typically, a mix of phosphors are used to give a higher color rendering index (which is a separate issue from colour temperature) than the early blue LEDs with yellow only phosphor.

    So basically the 4 filaments consist of about 112 very bright spots leaking a bright blue spike that are pulsing at you at some unknown rate but a flicker rate visible to the camera (and annoying to me & potentially birds and rats…) so what could possibly go wrong…

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