Wednesday, 19 October 2016

LED innovations

Usually I opt out of the vendor's email lists when I buy stuff online, but for some reason I didn't for Beamtec, the shop I bought our house LEDs from.

I get really annoyed with advertisements for things I have already bought, or hotels in places I've just come back from, so it was a bit stupid to subscribe to the website where I bought LEDs for my house, most of which proudly announce that they will last for tens of thousands of hours. 

One advantage is that I have been aware of the prices of LEDs, and have a record of their downward trends over the past few years. 

I have replaced one light so far: a compact fluorescent built into the kitchen hood, which blew after a rather pathetic four years. 

there are other fluorescent lights I'd like to change if I can. I'd like to replace the strip light above the upstairs wash basin. We got the washbasin as a unit with cupboards and drawers below, mirrored cupboards above and a 20 watt fluorescent strip light along the top. 

I've been looking at the prices of LED replacement strip lights, wondering at what point it's worth switching from the fluorescent tube that still works. 

They were around
2,200 yen in December 2012
1,600 yen in May 2013
1000 yen in June 2015
700 yen in September 2016

Interestingly they boast a 300-degree radiation compared to the conventional LED strip light's paltry 180 degrees. In fact in most applications fluorescent tubes are mounted on walls or ceilings, so half of the light is going into the wall, and you only need 180 degrees, but looking at the picture, and with the knowledge that the LED inside the tube is mostly sending light out perpendicularly, the larger translucent area of the tube makes some kind of sense. 

Sending light in all directions is actually a weakness of fluorescent tubes, and not something they need to go out of their way to remedy. Anyway, here are some more ideas of retro-features that they may add to fluorescent tube replacements. 

  • Why not add a circuit to LED lights to make them flicker on and off a bit when you switch them on. After all, do we really want a light that comes straight on when we turn on the switch?  
  • How about adding a radiant heater to the LED bulb so that it will emit heat, just like an incandescent light. 
  • Or why not change the spectrum of the light to add frequencies that are invisible to us but that will attract more insects.