Few talked about solid-state lighting -- known as light emitting diodes or LEDs -- except as futuristic technology that would probably come of age in 2020 and beyond. Most consumers considered them ridiculously expensive and bizarrely shaped gadgets for geeks.
This spring, a 25-year-old electronic chip maker based in Durham, N.C., changed everything.
Cree Inc. invaded the consumer lighting market with less pricey, USA-made quality LED bulbs that now have its competitors scrambling.
The bulbs, which are sold exclusively at Home Depot, go for $9.97 and $12.97 -- beating competitors whose household LED products cost between $15 and $50.
The less expensive of the two Cree bulbs uses just 6 watts but produces as much light as a 40-watt incandescent. Its higher-priced big brother uses 9.5 watts and replaces the standard 60-watt household incandescent.
Both throw light in all directions just like the old bulbs, turn on instantly, can be dimmed and last about 25 times longer than the incandescent bulbs. Like all LED bulbs, these do not contain mercury, which has been a concern about compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Cree estimates that they will cost an average household about $1 a year to use and pay for themselves in two years or less.
Read the rest here.
I saw the above article in the PD a few days ago. I thought it was neat for two reasons:
This is rather inspiring me to go looking for Cree LED light bulbs ... and maybe touch base with my contact at Cree and see if they're still using the tester I installed there!
I bought a bunch of LED's within the last two months because they are becoming as inexpensive as compact fluorescents. I'm having trouble finding dimmable 150W equivalent LED's to replace three-way bulbs though.
Thanks Loren. I've been hoping that reasonably priced LED lighting would come in my lifetime.
I've been using fluorescents for years now, but when they break, cleanup is a huge pain in the keester because of the mercury. Hate them!
Until LEDs can produce more than a 60 watt equivalent, their use will be limited.
We ordered a new kind of expensive LED. Still waiting for it to arrive. I've had LEDs burnout in a few months, one burned out overnight the first night, but was replaced under warranty. They are still a product "in development".
LED's with high lumen numbers (150W incandescent equivalent) are available. Unfortunately I haven't found these that are dimmable yet. I want some to replace 3-way bulbs. LED street lights automobile headlights, spot lights, and fog lights are also available. I've gotten most of the LED's I've bought from http://www.aliexpress.com/. I've also bought LED's that are on sale from 1000Bulbs. Sales are usually for warm white because that's what most people get. I prefer white. I think most people buy ww because they don't know any better
I just bought one of each of the Cree bulbs and was pleasantly surprised that they had what felt like a silicone coating. It was almost tacky, which made it easy to grip. I thought, hey! That's great! Less likely to slip out of my hand and break!
After a while, it dawned on me that it was probably mainly put there to hold onto the glass and prevent pieces of glass from going everywhere, making cleanup a chore, if it was dropped on a hard surface.
After reading everything on the package, I did discover that it said "SAFETY COATED GLASS", which indicated to me that it was there mainly to prevent being cut by the shards of glass.
In any case, all three thoughts are 3 more good reasons to buy Cree.
At the end of August, I purchased 30 Cree LED bulbs from Home depot. The 6 watt ones are perfect for the fixtures I have in my windows that I activate at night to deter burglars and other nefarious creatures. Six watts is the lowest power that I've yet found for that purpose, and they produce plenty of light (40 watts equivalent).
I put 4 of the 9.5 watt ones in my bathroom fixture, and they work great. They show my facial color very close to what it looks like in sunlight.
I put several of those plus some of the 9 watt warm white ones in fixtures in other rooms, with great results.
From Home Depot, I also purchased 11 LED bulbs of a different brand that I love. They had them on sale for $25 each. About 50% off. They are 11 watt directional lights that are 110 watt equivalent. I've got one over the kitchen sink, one over the stove, one in the main fixture in the bathroom, and plan on putting the rest over my work-bench and other places where I need lots of light. They're wonderfully bright!
I replaced all the incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs many years ago, and now I've replaced 95% of my fluorescent lights that I used to have in the house and yard with LEDs. I've replaced all of the fluorescent lights that are easy to break.
As I can afford it, I'll eventually replace all the fluorescents because the LEDs produce more light/watt, last longer, are dimmable, don't break as easily, and don't spread mercury when they break like fluorescents do. Very glad I won't have the job of cleaning-up anymore mercury!
I was incorrect about those 110 watt equivalent ones. They are 18 watts, not 11.
Matter of fact, a couple months ago we replaced the light fixture in our kitchen with a new unit and put five 60-watt-equivalent Cree bulbs in it. Turns out, I had to invest in a dimmer; the 60s were way too bright. I could have gone with 40s. We went with the warm-light bulbs and they do a great job.
I was in Home Depot yesterday and saw they now have the Cree 40 watt and 60 watt soft white LED bulbs for $6.97, so I bought one of each. Plan on buying one or two every month.
Mine continue to work great (not that I'm horribly surprised). I also have a bunch of CFLs in the house, but when any of them do quit, I intend to replace them with Cree LED units.