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If congress wants us to save electricity, why is it pushing electric cars?

U.S. law passed in 2007, old-fashioned bulbs are due to disappear.

Me?  I bought every 100 watt light bulb available in this town back in fall of 2012.  I am set for life!

One reader pointed out that government subsidy of the 'electric car' is not in contradiction with the government's hatred of the light bulb, because the government does see the benefit to increasing electric demand at night (for most of the year, in most of the USA).  The logical assumption is that most electric car charging will be done at night, a good thing for the electric utility system.  If most home electric lighting demand is at night, why is the government then forcing a change to home electric light bulbs?  In the USA, businesses use more electricity during the day and residences use more electricity at night.

By the way, there is no such thing as an automobile that runs on electricity. They all run on whatever the electric generating plant is consuming to produce that electricity (coal, gas, oil, uranium).   Electricity is just a means to move that energy into your automobile where the battery stores it until needed.

Here is an article not about the light bulb ban, but is relevant to U.S. electric policy.  Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Article: Can plug-in hybrid electric vehicles keep the electric grid stable?

Relevant Links

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LED Billboards - are they energy efficient?

Article in the United Kingdom Telegraph "Britons stock up on banned 60 watt bulbs"(article has been removed, link is dead : http//www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8733134/Britons-stock-up-on-banned-60-watt-bulbs.html)

Light Bulb Ban Forces Remodeling of Easy Bake Oven

Homepower Magazine Article Ask the Experts: Mercury in CFLs.

Fox News article Congress offers glimmer of hope for incandescent lightbulb

Yahoo story claims to be Truth About the New Light Bulb Law expresses a lot of common sense, but repeats one of the most common government backed lies.   They say "90% of the electricity used was wasted as heat."  While it may be true that 90% of the output from the incandescant lamp is not visible light, it is not wasted; it is heating your home.  If your home or office is heated with resistance electric heat, than the light bulb is more efficient than your electric heat because you get to use the light from the bulb before the light is also converted to heat.   Depending where you are in the USA you may be heating your house more than 5 months per year.  So when you get these 'more efficient' light sources, your home heating system will just run more to make up for it.

So now that we have brought up the subject of heating the house, we should also mention cooling the home or office.  Now we can see an aspect of this light bulb ban that is valid.  If you do reduce the amount of heat from a xx lumen light source from 100W to 30W, then you do not need to run the 'air conditioner' to pump out that 70W difference.  Multiply that by eight luminaires for a very large home and the result is 560W (more than 2/3 horsepower.)  However, taking this government thought process, we should outlaw the use of electric fans in 'air conditioned' environments.  An electric fan, by this concept, is 100% waste of electricity.  Yes, every bit of electricity that electric fan uses is turned into heat.  A typical 'box fan' on high, using 200W will create some heat directly from the 'inefficient' motor.  The fan blades turn all of the remaining energy into heat.  Though you may feel cooler from the evaporation of sweat, your house is being heated by 100% of the electricity that fan is using.  If you do not understand how this works, read up on James Prescott Joule's experiments where he measured work and energy.

Are Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) the answer?

Not yet.   The big problem with compact fluorescent lamps is that almost all of them are made in china; that means no quality control, and no regard for product safety.

CFLs are destroyed a little bit each time you turn them on.  If you turn them on and never turn them off (and they were properly designed) they will last many many years.  But if you install them in the laundry room or bathroom where they will be turned on and off many times per day, you may find that those mercury laden lamps only last a few weeks!

Teng Fei recalls 81,000 CFLs due to fire hazard

Technical Consumer Products recalls 158,000 CFL due to burn hazard

Tu-Wire recalls 28,000 dimming ballasts for CFL due to electrical shock hazardd

Trisonic recalls 124,000 CFLs due to fire hazard

Gotham Lighting recalls CFL Recess Ceiling Lights

Progress Lighting recalls 10,600 CFL ceiling & bathroom lights due to fire hazard

220,000 Chinese Fluorescent Lights Recalleded - 328 Have Caught Fire!

Philips Lighting recalls 1,860,000 CFL lamps due to laceration hazard

What about Light Emitting Diodes?

Electronics Design News article That 60W-equivalent LED: What you don’t know, and what no one will tell you…

LED (light-emitting diode) lighting is being improved at a fast rate.  LEDs work great in flashlights, but lighting for the home is still quite expensive.

Article at the I.E.E.E. website claims that LED lighting will be cost effective by the end of the year.

One problem with LED lighting is the colour.  Manufacturers are still struggling with "binning"- that is automated manufacturing methods to measure the colour of each LED so that the lighting will have consistent coloring.

LEDs have been around since the '60s.  They are wonderful as status indicators, on-off indicators etc.  They even make pretty good television and computer displays these days. 

Many people are mistaken in thinking that LEDs do not get hot.  That's true of the little led in your dvd player letting you know if it is on or off, or the led's in your alarm clock.  But when trying to replace 100 watt light bulbs in your home, heat is even a greater problem that with regular light bulbs.

The problem is stupid manufacturers think they can enter this government forced technology change easily.  They do not take the time to engineer the new products.  They have an incorrect prejudice based upon the incandescent lamp. The regular incandescent lamp has a natural regulating tendencey.  As the light gets hotter, it draws less current.  This tends to help keep the light at a fairly constant temperature.

LEDs though, have the opposite problem... the hotter they get, the more electricity they tend to use (if proper 'driver circuitry' is not included).  When they use more electricity, they get hotter.  When they get hotter, they use more electricity.  This is called thermal runaway and it is guaranteed to result in a very undersirable situation.  

Thermal runaway (burn) is guaranteed in any cluster of LEDs that are not properly engineered and thoroughly tested. It is my opinion that society must drop the absurd concept that LED can be a 'replacement' to incandescent lighting. Unless there is some technological breakthrough to circumvent the inherent temperature / impedance relationship in LED, LED lighting will require new fixtures to achieve the safety status of incandescent lighting.  It's not just 120 volt powered lights that are dangerous, even battery powered LED flashlights lights are not inherently safe.

Again, I have to remind you, I am not against LEDs as light sources; LED lighting can be made safe, but too often now it isn't safe! 

I am against the US government encouraging chinese manufacturers rushing this unsafe crap to market.

LED Light Hazards & Recalls ls

  1. 35,000 GE LED lamps recalled; they can spontaneously break apart and fall on people.

  2. 25,000 Technical Consumer Products LED Lamps recalled due to electric shock hazard.

  3. Halco 9,500 LED Bulbs Recalled Due to Risk of Injury

  4. Definity brand 554,000 LED light bulbs recalled due to fire hazard

  5. Satco 119,000 LED Light Bulbs recalled - risk of injury

  6. Infinity Green 2,000 LED lights recalled due to fire hazard

  7. Rockler 2,200 LED Lights recalled due to burn and fire hazard.

  8. Plan 9 340 LED lights recalled due to fire hazard

  9. Ace Hardware 15,000 LED lights recalled due to electric shock AND fire hazard

  10. Energizer 260,000 LED Night Lights recalled due to burn hazard

  11. Philips Lighting 99,000 LED bulbs recalled due to electrical shock hazard

  12. BJ's 41,000 LED Flashlights recalled due to fire and burn hazard.

  13. Camsing Global recalls 10,000 LED nightlights due to burn hazard

  14. AmerTac 227,000 LED night lights recalled due to fire and burn hazard.

  15. UCO Arka 2,300 LED lanterns recalled due to fire hazard

  16. Target 55,000 LED flashlights recalled due to fire and burn hazards

  17. Lucent Ace 3,000 LED flashlights recalled due to burn hazard

  18. Rayovac 225,000 LED industrial flashlights recalled due to burn hazard

  19. Eco-story 42,000 LED lamps recalled due to fire hazard

What does that add up to?  So far, that is more than 1,340,000 plug-in LED lights recalled plus 326,300 LED flashlights. 

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