Author Topic: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts  (Read 38780 times)

jpluncford21

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Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« on: January 09, 2013, 07:19:32 AM »
Anyone have any experience with these bulbs? Specifically the A19 40w equivalent (3000k). I've read a few reviews on the Lowes.com website about them burning out super early and was curious if anyone here has had that experience. This will be the first replacement of five total for our diningroom lighting. I tried a different brand 40w equiv at 5000k and it was hard to look at and made anyone under it look like the walking dead; so we are hoping the 3000k will be a little more flattering.

gecko10x

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2013, 07:32:19 AM »
I've not used the LED ones, but we've had 2 of 8 Utilitech CF recessed ones burn out after about 4 months. I'll be going with another brand next time.

Daley

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2013, 09:31:45 AM »
The thing to remember and keep in mind with LED bulb purchases is that LEDs don't really burn out... they fade over time with usage. What actually fails is the driver board (the cheapest part of the lamp), and it's one of the reasons why I'm personally not keen on buying most modern LED bulbs (amongst other reasons). For the price and the longevity of that driver board and the fact that the driver board is non-replaceable in these things... I consider it to be a bit of a ripoff, much like modern CFLs who's capacitors crap out in under two years. I'd rather use a 50 20W incandescent I have to replace every 18 months and eat lots of carrots to compensate than spend anywhere between $5-25 for the same wattage bulb with brighter light just to have it fail in under 36 months.

If these things had user replaceable inverter and driver boards, it'd be a different story, but the consumer grade krep doesn't.

I've been trying to research and locate LED bulbs that provide replaceable driver boards, but so far I've only found lights built like that with bi-pin G23 sockets.

jpluncford21

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2013, 10:44:16 AM »
The thing to remember and keep in mind with LED bulb purchases is that LEDs don't really burn out... they fade over time with usage. What actually fails is the driver board (the cheapest part of the lamp), and it's one of the reasons why I'm personally not keen on buying most modern LED bulbs (amongst other reasons). For the price and the longevity of that driver board and the fact that the driver board is non-replaceable in these things... I consider it to be a bit of a ripoff, much like modern CFLs who's capacitors crap out in under two years. I'd rather use a 50 20W incandescent I have to replace every 18 months and eat lots of carrots to compensate than spend anywhere between $5-25 for the same wattage bulb with brighter light just to have it fail in under 36 months.

With a three year waranty for some brands, it would seem like the benefit is there. Even the savings in energy usage costs over that time frame would justify the price...if I'm right in my thinking

jpluncford21

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2013, 11:08:17 AM »
I'm thinking along the lines of charts like this: http://eartheasy.com/live_led_bulbs_comparison.html#a
Their costs/bulb seem to be a bit high, but they give an explination in the notes. You quoted something like 50c/incan and I just paid $10 for  a 40w equiv LED

Daley

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 11:51:07 AM »
With a three year waranty for some brands, it would seem like the benefit is there. Even the savings in energy usage costs over that time frame would justify the price...if I'm right in my thinking

Warranty work like that usually requires you to hang onto the receipt and pay shipping which usually winds up costing more in time and hassle than buying a new one, and three years is a pretty short warranty time for a technology that's supposed to produce bulbs that last 20+ years.

The savings numbers you quote only apply to incandescents at the same lumen ratings, not the same or similar wattage. The same wattage is going to utilize the same amount of electricity, and cause less stress on the power grid due to a full 1.0 power factor rating using incandescent. Also, one should factor all the generated electronic waste these devices produce and the level of toxicity in mining and production over tungsten (as well as ease and cost of recycling, especially if you consider CFL bubls), and especially when their life expectancy is barely longer than modern tungsten in real world usage due to driver board failure. Basically, I'm all for saving electricity, but where others buy costlier bulbs to keep their house bright at night, we opt instead for lower-wattage tungstens on a dimmer. Just because a bulb is rated 25W or 45W doesn't mean you have to run it at that if it's a lighting technology that is guaranteed to dim. Lower tech, cheaper, more environmentally friendly. We might use a bit more electricity in the long run over LED users, but I still think cost for operations is a wash.

Could we use even less electricity if we used LEDs at the lumen rating of a 20W incandescent? You'd better believe it, and I'd be happy to swap out some incandescents for some LED bulbs in certain AC power applications where I'd tolerate an RGB facsimile of full-spectrum light and brightness is desired over quality, but until I can find bulbs with replaceable driver boards to deal with the waste issues you guys have with early/frequent failures...

LED could be a great lighting technology if the electronics put into them were designed to actually last or at least made so you weren't pitching expensive, perfectly useful CREE LEDs in the trash every time a capacitor or chunk of silicon failed on the power end.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2013, 12:02:07 PM by I.P. Daley »

RadicalPersonalFinance

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 06:32:15 AM »
The savings numbers you quote only apply to incandescents at the same lumen ratings, not the same or similar wattage. The same wattage is going to utilize the same amount of electricity, and cause less stress on the power grid due to a full 1.0 power factor rating using incandescent. Also, one should factor all the generated electronic waste these devices produce and the level of toxicity in mining and production over tungsten (as well as ease and cost of recycling, especially if you consider CFL bubls), and especially when their life expectancy is barely longer than modern tungsten in real world usage due to driver board failure. Basically, I'm all for saving electricity, but where others buy costlier bulbs to keep their house bright at night, we opt instead for lower-wattage tungstens on a dimmer. Just because a bulb is rated 25W or 45W doesn't mean you have to run it at that if it's a lighting technology that is guaranteed to dim. Lower tech, cheaper, more environmentally friendly. We might use a bit more electricity in the long run over LED users, but I still think cost for operations is a wash.

Daley,

Do you think you have it in you to create a message or board with a detailed way to analyze for those of us who like the math? 

I just bought a house and every lightbulb in the house is incandescent.  It's not the first thing on the list, but I'm considering if it's worth it to replace the bulbs with more efficient options.  I just installed some LEDs and some CFLs into the outside lights.  I like to leave one fixture (3 bulbs) on all night and feel better doing that when they're pulling a lower wattage.

I like the LEDs that I got but it took me an hour standing in Lowe's to pick the ones I wanted.

It's absolutely overwhelming.  Here are the things I came up with that you have to evaluate:
1-physical design of bulb to fit in fixture
2-physical size and design of bulb base to fit in fixture
3-LED vs. CFL vs. Incandescent vs. Halogen, etc.
4-Lumens needed
5-Wattage rating
6-Color of light
7-Dimmable or not?
8-Three-way?
9-Lifespan
10-Price
11-Brand (quality/longevity/the stuff you said in your post here)

And, all that data has to be filtered through the intended use.

I'd like to be able to figure out, mathematically, what I should do, but I don't know how to.  I don't know how to calculate the actual electricity use of an LED at different watts compared to an incandescent, especially with regard to dimming.  And I don't know whether to trust the hours ratings given on the packages.

You sound like the guy who can help!

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 07:59:59 AM »
Philips bulbs come with 7 year warranties. And if you buy on Amazon, it's pretty easy to "keep the receipt". I'm quite impressed with their and another brand's (KOBI) light quality and power usage- I think it's superior to incandescent light. Prices are only going to come down, but I would still suggest sticking to well-reviewed bulbs before making the plunge.

jpluncford21

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 08:16:13 AM »
I got the utilitech 7.5w A19 3000k going last night. The color is a lot more soft than the 5000k. I only have two MINOR issues with it: 1. Length. I am using is as a replacement in the chandelier over our diner table. The bulb sticks out below the glass enclosure (not sure if that's the right word) that surrounds it. Not a big deal once the other 4 incan bulbs burn out and I replace them all, but it sticks out a bit now. 2. THAT THING IS BRIGHT! I have read that LEDs will be a bit brighter than their incan equivalents, but there is a difference for sure. That leads me to a question I've not really gotten to researching yet: Does the equivalent watt for an LED bulb have to match the incandescent buld wattage? Meaning, do I have to use 40w equivalent LEDs to replace 40w incadescents?

Daley

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 10:25:53 AM »
Do you think you have it in you to create a message or board with a detailed way to analyze for those of us who like the math?
...
And, all that data has to be filtered through the intended use.

I'll do it if you pay me enough for my time. Your requirements are... complex... but I'll at least try to help.

I'd like to be able to figure out, mathematically, what I should do, but I don't know how to.  I don't know how to calculate the actual electricity use of an LED at different watts compared to an incandescent, especially with regard to dimming.  And I don't know whether to trust the hours ratings given on the packages.

Have an electricity usage calculator. A Kill-A-Watt would be a good investment as well if your local library doesn't have 'em so you can find usage on dimmers. Keep in mind that the human eye can read with as little as 100 lumen after you let your eyes adjust to darkness. And no, you can't trust the lifetime hour ratings given on the packages. Dimmers are great with incandescents so long as your target wattages are within 50% of the bulb rating, otherwise the bulb will be too dim. (Read: a 40W incandescent pulling 30W will be brighter than a 65W incandescent pulling 30W.) You want to find out if it's worth the investment? Use the calculator. I'll give you an example for number crunching:

Your major factors are cost of bulb maintenance (M), life expectancy of bulb in years (L), wattage of bulb (W), electrical cost per hour (K), average hours per day (H).

We'll start with a formula: (M/L)+365(W/1000)KH

Daley has a 60 40W incandescent bulb (~450 lumen) that he runs at 30W with a dimmer five hours a day with a cost of 10/KWH, and has to replace roughly every 18 months.
What is his cost per year with this bulb: (0.60/1.5)+(365*(30/1000)*0.10*5) = approximately $5.88 a year to operate

He takes a look at the Philips 6 year warranty LED bulbs that Chuckles recommended (yes, it's six, not seven), assuming that given the quality of electronics that there's only six years of guaranteed life (and especially if you consider that they may have offered a seven year warranty and peeled back a year due to failure rates). This is deemed okay given they just cut checks for failed bulbs. Given the lumen rating of the 40W bulb is about 450 lumen, he settles for the Philips 417048 Dimmable AmbientLED as it produces about 470 lumen fully lit. Unfortunately, the incandescent dim switch won't work with the LED, so it either needs replaced or can run full bright. He opts to just run it fully lit.

So, Daley's projected replacement bulb costs $21.69 + $4.99 shipping and 9% sales tax, or $28.63 if he wants Amazon to keep the receipt for him, or $20.47+ tax down at Home Depot. Choosing Home Depot as the practical solution, the cost is $22.31 and he expects the bulb to only last 6 years given electronics manufacturers frequently guaranteeing devices only to their average failure point.

All this info finally gives us a $22.31 LED bulb running 8W for 5 hours a day with the same cost per KWH, and is expected to have to replace at least once every six years.
What is his cost per year with this bulb: (22.31/6)+(365*(8/1000)*0.10*5) = approximately $5.18 a year

The ROI for the LED is shorter than the warranty in this scenario, but not by much... and gets blown out of the water if a new dimmer switch is installed to replicate functionality lost with the incandescent. This also doesn't factor the electronic waste and environmental impact of the LED bulb when it dies over the incandescent which is easily recycled, or the loss of brightness that will occur to the LED bulb over its lifetime. Granted, more expensive KWH rates would lopside this, as would electrical charges skewed for PF correction... but personally, I prefer full-spectrum light, not a mix of RGB replicating the visible color temperature of tungsten. I'll pay the extra as long as I can, the usage isn't much in a household that only has 2-3 bulbs burning in the entire house at any one time during a rough 5-7 hour window, so you can see why CFL or LED aren't worth it in Casa de Daley. YMMV.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 10:27:39 AM by I.P. Daley »

chucklesmcgee

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 12:44:38 PM »
Unfortunately, the incandescent dim switch won't work with the LED, so it either needs replaced or can run full bright. He opts to just run it fully lit.

Nope. My LEDs (and those) work great on incandescent dim switch-they're fully dimmable.

You chose a pricey bulb sold by a third party retailer through Amazon. You could get a Phillips 12.5 watt bulb (even brighter if you felt like it and dimmable if you don't) for $20.94 from amazon, free shipping, no tax-cheaper than home depot after tax, fuel, value of time, etc. http://www.amazon.com/Philips-409904-423343-2700-800-Dimmable/dp/B004IUMGV4/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_text_y

You also chose a very dim bulb for your calculations and decided to put it on a dimmer. Obviously this skews the calculations in favor of incandescent, because the biggest savings from LEDs are to be had in electricity costs. Additionally, dimming an incandescent substantially increases its life-you assume a 2700 hour lifespan for your incandescent, but the same bulb at full power will last only 750-1200 hours. Most people do not use dimmed 40 watt incandescents for their room-illuminating lights, reading or office or kitchen work - the first bulbs people will consider to replacing with LEDs. Heavy use, room illuminating incandescent are going to be 60+ watts. That's really an atypical situation here to choose in determining LED cost effectiveness and one that unfairly skews the results.

You chose 10 cents a kWh for the price of electricity. The average price for electricity in the US is 12.03 cents/Kwh (not including tax, from what I understand, but we'll disregard that).

You're assuming that the bulb has to be replaced every six years- the day after the warranty ends.  Which isn't fair. You'd get a free bulb! Phillips isn't going to offer a warranty period like that if their projections didn't suggest otherwise! The current projections suggest these lights should have a mean time until failure of 25000 hours. Assuming failure the day after warranty is unfair. I'll go with 10 years- This will be 75% of the estimated lifespan at 5 hours a day.

So let's rerun the numbers. We'll still assume it's a dimmed dinky 40 watt incandescent that lasts a beefy 2700 hours as a result of it's being dimmed. 12 cents a Kwh, and a $20.94 12.5 W 805 lumen LED bulb which dims to 5.25 watts to produce 337.5 lumens- more than your incandescent will output at 30 watts, but I'm being generous. I couldn't find a 40 watt incandescent for 60 cents, but we'll let that slide as well.

 (0.60/1.5)+(365*(30/1000)*0.12*5)= Incandescent cost= 6.97

(20.94/10) +(365*(5.25/1000)*.12*5)= LED cost= $2.09 bulb cost/year+ 1.15= $3.24

Even with a dinky dimmed bulb, that's halving your lighting cost per bulb! Replacing non-dimmed, heavy-use, high wattage incandescent bulbs with LEDs can pay for themselves in 2 years or less, depending on your electric rates.

Daley

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Re: Utilitech LED Bulb Early Burnouts
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 01:40:54 PM »
Chuckles, you need to really improve your reading comprehension. My point with the illustration was to show how to crunch the numbers per person, and how it's not cost effective or environmentally productive in our own house to make the changes.

Here, let me re-quote myself for you:

The ROI for the LED is shorter than the warranty in this scenario, but not by much... and gets blown out of the water if a new dimmer switch is installed to replicate functionality lost with the incandescent. This also doesn't factor the electronic waste and environmental impact of the LED bulb when it dies over the incandescent which is easily recycled, or the loss of brightness that will occur to the LED bulb over its lifetime. Granted, more expensive KWH rates would lopside this, as would electrical charges skewed for PF correction... but personally, I prefer full-spectrum light, not a mix of RGB replicating the visible color temperature of tungsten. I'll pay the extra as long as I can, the usage isn't much in a household that only has 2-3 bulbs burning in the entire house at any one time during a rough 5-7 hour window, so you can see why CFL or LED aren't worth it in Casa de Daley. YMMV.

As for your claims and bad math trying to tear my post apart?

First, counting tax is a reasonable thing to do. HONEST AND ETHICAL PEOPLE PAY THEIR TAXES. Stop arguing cases where you use your personal lack of scruples to claim general savings.

Second, I used a bulb in my calculations that was even cheaper from Home Depot than the Amazon quoted price that you claimed I used, and was barely more expensive than the bulb you linked from Amazon.

Third, LED brightness is not linear to the wattage used. If it were, the 8W bulb should be 515 lumen. IT ISN'T. Using a 65W equivalent LED dimmed to the output level of a 30W incandescent would use more electricity than the 40W equivalent LED dimmed to the same lumen output.

Fourth, it's fair to only allow for warranty covered time on cheap electronics to be factored in cost of ownership because any day after the six years is up is straight out of your pocket if it needs replacing. You want to factor real world cost with return on investment? Philips is betting the bulb will last for six years, so raw calculations up front when investing should reflect those same numbers. We're talking GUARANTEED minimum cost, after all. If it lasts longer than six years, FANTASTIC! Talk to me about that continued cost savings AFTER THAT LIGHT HAS BEEN IN PLACE FOR SIX YEARS WITHOUT GROWING TOO DIM TO USE AND NEEDING REPLACED.

I was also under the impression that the new dimmable LEDs did not work well with old-school resistor style switches, and needed the newer switches to work. Even if my information is wrong and if they did? Big whoop. Even using your bad math, you're still talking about a cost savings of less than $3.73 a year per bulb to use a harsher, limited spectrum light that's more environmentally destructive to produce and recycle in a house that pays well south of $25 a year on lighting and has a stated preference and willingness to pay more for warmer, full-spectrum lighting. You want your house visible from space at night? Of course LEDs are going to be the way to go, but the numbers still aren't there for people who use dimmer lighting.

My point stands.