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Energy saving light bulbs

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    There was a new item on the bbc this morning voicing concerns over the mercury content of energy saving light bulbs.

    Veiw the whole story here https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7172662.stm

    Just a filler non story or are we right to be concerned?



    I dispose of my Compact Fluorescent(CF) bulbs like it is hazardous waste. There is a hazardous wast disposal/recycling site in my city, Portland, and at my work there is a bin specifically for Fluorescent light tubes. See what you can find in your area.

    Its better to play it safe on this one. Soon we will have LED bulbs that will practically last forever.


    A concern of mine is the effects of EMR using fluorescent lightbulbs. I had fluorescent lightbulb in my van and I got a headache after reading under it.

    I don’t think there is enough research done on the subject but personally I avoid those and now use LED lights on my van.

    I find it hard to read under the light of CF light particularly in libraries where they seem to be prevalent. Also I find hard to read labels in supermarkets under the CF lights.

    Makes me wonder if reading under CF lights would cause premature eyesight deterioration?



    this link will take you to a calculator for constructing LED lamp arrays. You can purchase LED and all the resistors, insulators etc from Goodwill Led Sales on Ebay. They are very helpful cheap and fast delivery. Their phone number is 01793 349349 in the UK at least.

    I use LED’s from xmas lights which I salvage from the recycle centre. Ask on Freecycle for any busted sets. The LED’s will be fine. All you will need is a soldering iron which can be 12V, 240V or butane powered, some solder and cable. A battery (3volt) to identify anode from cathode in second hand LED’s and a bit of time.

    I have a couple of car lamp LED’s from an ebay site. These are a bit directional and cold white but efficient and fairly cheap. If you are running from mains supply you will need transformers, which need to be DC LED dedicated, but these are readily available at any electrical wholesaler and not particularly expensive.

    If you are constructing your own LED lighting, then the addition of some red and some green LEDs will give a better light, but warm white LEDs are available as are superbright.

    All flourescent, including CFL should be disposed in hazardous waste through your local recycling centre as they do indeed contain mercury and other chemicals which will be bad if allowed to enter the water table. Mind you my head is full of mercury amalgam so I don’t think I need worry too much about a few CFLs.


    Our eyes also suffer under fluorescent lights. My off-grid house is full of low energy CF lights. I do find that having the light from several different sources helps a lot, but that means using more electricity than I really want to.

    It’s not a problem in summer when we usually have more electricity than we need for lighting thanks to our solar panels, but in winter it means running the generator every 2-3 days to recharge the battery bank.

    I am planning to replace these with a 12V LED lighting sytem running off the battery bank, rather than using a 230V CF (or LED) system through an inverter.

    Any recommendations for LED lighting systems would be very welcome.


    I am working with a specialsit group at present on utilising new technology in lighting. There maybe some health concerns over compact fluorescents, especially with cheap units, the bends in the cheap lights when they are formed the internal covering is not as thick as the rest of the glass and they can leak UV in small doses, although these are small, over long periods they could be harmful. However, I have been working and adapting dc lights for the last 8 years, our latest bulkhead light now uses a 2 watt led @ either 12 or 24v. Whilst I hate promoting business’s on forums, if I can help in anyway please get back to me.


    I’ve done a fair bit of reading (as a physics student) and have my doubts about the safety of fluorescents for the same reasons as have been listed above. + CFLs use as much energy etc in construction to make them essentially NO GREENER than incandescents. The real potential is in LEDs. I’m still yet to be convinced by current LED technology but it certainly looks promising. This idea about salvaging LEDs from christmas lights is great! The UV comments made above I believe are valid. You’ve got to remember that the shielding on fluorescents isn’t actually sufficient to prevent dangerous categories of EMR from leaking under normal use as well. I’ve come across UV lamps installed in public buildings which are emitting direct UV, I was horrified – no warning given or protection! Your eyes are particularly sensitive to radiative damage – especially at short range so err on the side of caution…


    If you have access to computer power supplies, they will drive your LEDs. String 3 in series to each 12 volt circuit.


    I just bought a high output LED with 3 1 watt LED’s as a replacement for a halogen GU10 bulb.

    Nice light output with warm tones at 3000k but there is a problem. There is a high pitched noise emanating from the bulb which can clearly be heard from any spot in the room. Has any one else come across this problem. I would hate to need to relegate LED’s to outside use.


    I have been looking for 2 years to locate any studies on the health effect of gas lamps, there were a tonne of examples of the effects (see below). I have no doubt if a serious private or govt study was made it would lead to banning them all and not just filament globes with the excuse that it is energy saving. I have a vested interest in solid state lighting, greater efficiency than LED and this all came about because we, like all, had experienced years of abuse under fluoros. There is not enough public ‘noise’ about mercury contamination, poor colour use in offices with fluoros, poor streetlighting with sodiums and enormous wasted old technology energy. Did you know that if these great CFL’s break in your office or home it is extremely dangerous!! Have you ever been around in an office or school when a fluoro breaks!! Ever been around when someone at school or in a supermarket suffers epilepsy fit and think about fluoros. Ever been around when some poor bugger suffers from migraines after reading under fluoros. Forget about that, if you think sitting in an indoor stadium is safe where they don’t use fluoros, check out http://www.uvlightburns.com I have emails from Kellie and at least she has made an effort to move legislation in her own state. Forget that too, have you heard about house fires started by downlights, factory fires started because the lamp in the overhead lights burst at 1,100degC dripping hot glass. Whilst there are billions of $ to be made from junky unhealthy lamps the facts will always be hidden from population until someone has the gumption and collaborate. These are some of the sites I visited https://www.usyd.edu.au/stuserv/disability/staff_learning.shtml









    If you want to buy energy saving lamps and CFL bulbs,you can search on the off-grid website to learn more about products .


    Even if energy-efficient LED lighting systems still have a few flaws, they are quickly becoming more and more popular and in the near future they will probably be a much better choice than traditional lightbulbs.


    Most of the posts were done a year ago. It would be interesting to see if the intervening year has made a difference. I have seen a proliferation of low cost consumer LED flashlights, camping tent illuminations and of course tail light AND marker lights on vehicles even the traffic lights have been converted to LED. despite these advances people continue to comment about the poor quality of LED lights for reading lights and general illumination. Many new boats with cabins now come with LED interior lighting as standard so are the complaints justified or is it a case of if it isn’t dirt cheap and looks just like familiar tungsten filament lights then it isn’t any good.

    My own tests and product experimentation suggest LED technology is rapidly maturing into very good and usable light fixtures and the price premium is no longer a real detterent when so many of them sell for full retail price at under $10 USD

    Is it a case of the US volume market making for better choice and lower pricing or is the European market very similar?


    One of my clients bemoaned the fact he was unable to find 12V LED lighting only battery operated ones using 3 or 4 dry cells. And he didn’t want to buy a car adaptor costing $60 or more.

    Good quality LED lights do have an internal regulator ccircuit to convert the raw 12V DC power so it really isn’t less efficient to use external adaptors instead of dropping resistors that just waste the power. Switch mode supplies typically run at better than 90% efficiency when fully loaded. How much does a dropping resistor waste by comparison. The answer being more! and it produces heat in the process. Not so good in warm climates.

    I realized many of the cell phone power adaptors are really switch mode regulators and these often end up in the dumpster when people upgrade to a new cell phone.

    What it means is you can take one of these junked car adaptors that charges the 4.5V cell phone battery packs and feed it from your RV raw 12 V and regulates it down to feed LED portable lamps intended for battery operation. It seems most manufacturers make adaptors with incompatible plug/socket connectors so the old never seems to fit the new.


    LED lighting is certainly a viable option. There a 500 lumen MR16 on the market now featuring 100 lumen per watt (https://www.leds4you.co.uk/sockets-shapes/mr16-led-bulbs/mr16-ultra-high-power-led-bulb-cree-5w.html). However light output requires constant current thus it is recommenced to have protective circuitry between a battery and the LED Bulbs

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