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High quality efficient home lighting using LEDs, HIRs and Halogens

Discussion in 'Garage / Workshop' started by crashnburn80, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Oct 28, 2018 at 2:23 AM
    #1
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    High quality efficient home lighting using LEDs, HIRs and Halogens

    You have probably spent a bunch of time looking at lighting upgrades for your vehicle, but what about lighting upgrades for where you spend a bulk of your time, in your home? You can easily buy low quality LEDs to light your home, however this thread is focused on providing world class quality lighting while making improvements in efficiency.

    There is much more to the science of quality lighting than may first appear and it can affect everything from your mood, to how well you sleep, to the perception of your food.

    There are effectively 3 main characteristics to look for in choosing lighting for your home.
    -Light color temperature (the color of the light)
    -Light quality (how accurately the light represents actual color, measured in CRI)
    -Light output (how bright the light is)

    Light Color Temperature
    Residential lighting typically comes in 3 color temperatures, 2700k known as Soft White or Warm White, 3000k known as Bright White and 5000k known as Daylight. Commercial applications will also utilize 3500k-4000k Cool White. These differing color temperatures have very specific uses.

    Why does color matter? Humans have evolved to respond to light color to regulate our circadian rhythm, which tells us when to sleep, eat, regulate our bodies temperature and much more over a 24 hour cycle.

    Blue light found in 5000k Daylight and to a lesser extent 4000k lights tells your psychological processes that it is morning/midday, which suppress your body’s melatonin production (melatonin is a hormone to regulate your sleep cycles), driving you to stay very alert and awake. This can work well in a 9-5 office environment where you want to increase productivity, or hospitals where being alert and awake regardless of the hour is critical in providing care. But if you utilize these color temperatures in your home in the evening, you are essentially tricking your body to believe it is not night. The blue light suppresses your melatonin production to prevent you from sleeping, which effectively alters your circadian rhythm, disrupting your sleep cycle, which is linked to all sorts of negative long term health effects. Smart phones and TVs are also producers of blue light. You may have noticed your smart phone turns down the intensity and shifts the screen color to a warmer tone at night, specifically for the very reason of trying to be less disruptive to your circadian rhythm, Mac computers have a setting to do this as well. There is a good more in-depth article on the effects of blue light here. I really suggest reading it.

    On the other end of the spectrum, 2700k Soft White simulates lighting color near sunset, which makes people more relaxed. The warm light color is easier for the eyes to process at night than the harshness from the blue light in high color temperature lights. The warm light color minimizes blue light output which allows your body to still produce melatonin to not artificially disrupt your sleep patterns.

    Light color is used to influence behavior. Using 5000k in hospitals and warehouses keeps the staff alert and awake regardless of the hour. 5000k security lights are used for their harshness on human eyes against the darkness to provide an unwelcoming environment to make people vacate, fast food restaurants may use 4000k lights for productivity of the customers to eat their food and leave and not create an environment where people linger for extended periods of time.

    Using 3000k-3500k in retail provides a well-lit environment for task work, so customers can shop without feeling rushed or like the light is harsh. The longer the consumers stay in the store, the more likely they are to buy more.

    Nice restaurants will use 2700k-3000k to create a warm inviting environment, where people want to stay and relax. Typically the nicer the restaurant the more they are likely to choose a dimmer warmer color temperature, which creates a more pleasant intimate environment, where you are more likely to stay longer and spend more buying the extra glass of wine, or that good looking desert. Ever notice a restaurant turn down the lights in the evening, they are trying to create the more intimate environment by reducing the level of lighting to be more appropriate for night, so that it is more appealing to customers.

    Color temp examples:
    [​IMG]

    Choosing your light color

    In selecting what color is appropriate for your home, you should consider what you intend to use the room for. To create a relaxing, inviting, intimate environment you’d generally want to choose 2700k. For task oriented rooms a slightly whiter 3000k. The lighting industry recommends 5000k for studies, reading rooms or laundry rooms but I would not put harsh 5000k lights in my house, in my opinion 3000k works just fine in those locations without the harsh negative effects of 5000k.

    2700k (areas you want to be inviting/relaxing):
    -Bedrooms, living room, dining room, entry, hallways

    3000k (areas you want to be welcoming but brighter light/more task oriented):
    -Kitchen, bathrooms, garage, laundry room, craft room

    5000k (I would not recommend 5000k, but industry suggests it for a few cases)
    -Studies, laundry rooms

    Where things can get a little more complicated is balancing the light color with the color tone of the room. If your walls are a darker warm tone, going with a warm tone 2700k light may make the room feel overly dim, in which case a bright white 3000k light source may balance the room out better. Inversely, if you have light cool tone walls, a warmer light tone of 2700k can help balance the room out, whereas a 3000k light may make the room feel sterile.

    Some people may personally not like the traditional warm look of the 2700k bulb, in which case you could substitute the whiter 3000k for a crisper look without having the negative effects of 5000k.

    Light Quality and Output
    Not all lights are equal. If a light does not produce the full color spectrum of light, it changes the perceived colors and tones of what it illuminates so they appear different than they actually are. The ability to accurately represent color is measured in Color Rendering Index (CRI) which rates the color rendering quality on a scale of 0-100, where 100 is perfect. Incandescent and halogen lights produce the full color spectrum of light and are 100 CRI. Florescent lights and CFLs are 85 CRI and the bulk of consumer grade LEDs are 80 CRI. HD or High CRI LEDs are 90-94 CRI. Ultra High CRI LEDs are 95+ CRI.

    Why does this matter?
    Low CRI lighting washes out color, making things tend to look more pastel and the vast majority of consumer grade LEDs are low 80 CRI which wash out color tone. LEDs have a very difficult time producing red light (R9), meaning red tone definition specifically is lost. If you have hardwoods, or wood cabinets this can appear to bleach the wood color, it can wash out skin tone and alter your perception of red colored foods. The apple test is the go-to in the industry for the CRI examples, which demonstrates red wash out well.

    IMG_2017.jpg

    But there are times when this matters more. I like my steaks medium rare and am a perfectionist in cooking them so. When checking a steak I want to be able to tell the difference between medium-rare and rare and not have red color wash out due to poor quality lighting affect the ability to accurately judge how precisely my food is cooked.

    The solution here seems obvious, buy the ultra high CRI LEDs. But it isn’t so simple. Ultra high CRI LEDs are relatively new, you will not find them in stores. You may not even find High CRI LEDs in many stores. Ultra High CRI LEDs are marketed for very high end retail use like jewelers, movie studios ect where color accuracy is very important, and cost is less so. HD or High CRI LEDs are more readily available but the bulb type also matters, the typical A19 bulb that everyone recognizes as the standard incandescent bulb provides a large base with significant room for the LED drivers and is readily available in various high CRI options. When you get into compact halogen bulb replacements like GU10 bulbs or mini halogens like T4/G9s, the bulb gets significantly smaller and being a halogen output demands go up substantially. This is a difficult design challenge for LEDs, not only do they have less space and higher demands of the light source, cooling becomes an issue. Most know that LEDs themselves do not produce notable heat, but the LED drivers do produce heat and need sufficient cooling. Many A19 bulbs will be labeled as not compatible with fully enclosed lamps because there is inadequate airflow to cool the driver, and an A19 is a much larger and easier design. The halogen replacements have less cooling area and are driven to much higher output. This design constraint for compact and mini-halogens often ends up coming to having to choose between maintaining the output at low 80 CRI, or going high CRI at a much lower output. Neither are an acceptable solution to me.

    Performance halogens
    Philips has released a line of Halogen Infrared Lights (HIRs). HIR lights originated in the auto industry to be the next technology to replace standard halogens for headlights, but lost to HIDs. HIRs work by using an infrared reflective coating on the inside of the bulb they reflect the IR energy back to the filament to make it burn brighter without using any more power. In automotive applications they achieve substantially higher output with no increase in power consumption. In the energy conscious residential lighting market, they have turned that around to achieve the same level of output while dropping the energy consumption by ~30%. So rather than having to choose between efficiency at the cost of output or light quality, you can have improved efficiency (not as good as LED), with equivalent output and perfect 100 CRI light quality.

    Local Home Depot HIR selection (Philips green boxes)
    JZV5xalFQOisIotL5OAR9g.jpg

    While HIRs are a great alternative for more efficienthigh quality light in compact halogen bulbs, they are not available in all bulb types. Mini halogens like the T4/G9 are particularly challenging. The extremely small high output bulb does not have a good quality LED alternative and HIRs are not available in this bulb type, at the time of writing this. These mini bulbs are often used in bathroom wall light fixtures, which is somewhere that you want high quality light for getting ready in the morning, you want to maintain the light output level and you definitely don’t want a light source that puts out any kind of blue light which would be extremely jarring in the early morning or late night. Many of these mini-bulbs come ‘frosted’ to diffuse the light intensity, which also reduces effective output. However, if your fixture already has frosted lamps the light intensity is already being diffused, meaning you can go with a lower power bulb that is not frosted without sacrificing output. I replaced 50w frosted bulbs with 40w clear bulbs and improved output by 30% over the end of life 50w frosted G9s (bulbs dim by up to 20% over their lifespan). I probably could have gone to 35w clear G9s for more energy savings, but the additional light is welcomed for the location.

    So with a little background, you can choose what lighting characteristics are important to you. If you are obsessed with light quality, you can get A19 bulbs that are standard halogens that have perfect 100 CRI while using less than a 60w incandescent but substantially more than LED, but that is not very practical for efficiency and even I would not recommend that. Lighting choices should be on a use case/room basis balancing light quality, output and efficiency with the needs and purpose of the use case/room. For example, for a seldom used storage closet, CRI quality and efficacy may not matter as it is rarely utilized and only for brief periods of time. For an outdoor light left on all night, efficiency is important as it will have long runtimes compared to other lights, and light quality maybe less important. Somewhere like the kitchen is going to want high quality and high output to be most important.

    Testing lights

    I’ve purchased more LED lights than I would care to admit for my home to compare and contrast their qualities in striving to find the perfect light. But this has not been without failures.

    I purchased the worlds highest Ultra High 98 CRI LED studio grade 2700k A19 lights from Waveform Lighting for my entire house, ordering by the box instead of the bulb. Not cheap. They were on backorder and there were production delays, I had to wait for months but was patient to get such an advanced bulb. When I finally received them, they had outstanding CRI, but the spectrum was wrong, they had overcompensated the R9 red light shift to get the CRI rating up and as a result the color temperature was way down, down to 2500k. This is when the bulb starts looking more red than yellow. Very off putting and not meeting spec. And I had just spent many hundreds of dollars on these lights for my entire house. Not impressed at all.

    World's highest CRI A19 bulb, at 98 CRI. Note how high the opaque plastic base is, causing the bulb to be directionalized.
    fullsizeoutput_be0.jpg

    I’ve tried replacing the GU10 halogen ceiling lights in my kitchen three times before this latest one. My kitchen takes ten 50w halogen GU10s in the ceiling. Knowing the kitchen lighting is the worst lighting power draw in the house at 500w, I’ve tried to address it multiple times. I first selected Philips LEDs, a major quality name brand. My kitchen has oak hardwood floors and pine cabinets. It was immediately evident the low 80 CRI had bleached all the red tones out of the wood. It looked terrible. My other half immediately noticed and she asked what I had done to her kitchen lights and that I immediately undo it. So then I tried buying high CRI replacement GU10 LEDs off Amazon, since no major retailer sells name brand high CRI GU10s. The lights ended up being significantly lower output to where it was hard to judge if the color was maintained or if the lights were just that much dimmer. Regardless the output was completely unacceptable for the location, it looked as if the lights were dimmed to 60% power. Again I got told to remove the lights by someone that knew nothing about lighting. I tried a third time with a bulb that was lower in color temperature to hopefully maintain more red tones in the spectrum while not going high CRI to maintain higher output level. The flood lights did not flood and more resembled spot, causing non-uniform lighting in the kitchen while still bleaching out the wood tones anyway and generally making the kitchen look spottily light and less inviting. I was pretty fed up, as I do not buy cheap lights.

    Lesson learned. Do not over commit to buying on a new technology light, especially if not a major brand name. Try one before ordering excessive amounts. Nothing like blowing hundreds of dollars on failures that result in throw aways (donations to charity).

    New approach, buy one of everything and directly compare to see who builds the superior product. I purchased many lighting products, rather than focus on those that did not work, I will focus on the ones that did.

    Most every bulb I tested had one commonality, they all had an opaque base that extended 20%+ up the bulb body. While this may seem trivial, it transforms the bulb from a true omni-directional light source to one that is essentially focused away from the base. My ultra expensive Waveform lights had this same feature. In a light where you want to focus light upward, this may have little impact, or if the light is mounting on the ceiling pointed down. But in a horizontally mounted overhead light where you want the omnidirectional nature to focus light in all directions, or light fixtures where the bulb is mounted upright but you want it to light below the fixture, it can have larger drawbacks.

    GE’s HD 360 Relax 2700k A19 light In all my testing of various LED brands there was one light that stood out above anything else the competition offered, and that was GE’s new HD relax 360 degree light. The light has no opaque base, and in fact is nearly indistinguishable from a standard incandescent light bulb. This incredible design with no base allows full uniform light projection in all directions, providing more uniform light in overhead fixtures or lighting directed downward below fixtures with an upright mount. This light is so good, it is virtually indistinguishable from a 60w incandescent bulb, both on and off which has been a holy grail of the lighting industry ever since the extinction of the 60w incandescent bulb. They come in at an excellent 92 CRI, which while not as good as the waveform 98 CRI they maintain excellent temperature and spectrum balance. I was so impressed with these lights, I replaced every single A19 light in my home with GE HD Relax 2700k 360 bulbs and scrapped the pricey Waveform lights, as the GEs appeared whiter and crisper while also lighting in all directions.

    This photo is a bit overexposed to demonstrate lighting field. Lights on the left and center are competing lights with the plastic base while the light on the right is GE's 360 degree light. The LEDs with the opaque base do not provide uniform light coverage like GEs 360 light does.
    fullsizeoutput_bf0.jpg

    Comparing to a standard 60w incandescent to GEs 360 light. Which is the LED?
    viMJCnsIRDWI0BL9xrBJcg.jpg

    Attempting to use greater focus, it still isn't clear:
    C1iDuFnPQA6S0gxYW6Om0Q.jpg

    GEs HD 360 Reveal A19 bulbs I’ll mention these specifically as I think it is misleading, and a confusing product addition by GE. They use the same omnidirectional lighting as the relax bulbs, but instead coat the bulb in a blue coating to whiten output and then claim it as their best light. Sylvania Silverstars all over again. As a result output drops 30%+ and has a less uniform spectrum causing an unnatural drop in yellow output to produce whiter light. Filters are not efficient, do not provide consistent color and in general are a poor practice. The light is a little whiter though if that is something that is preferred, but lower in output.

    The reveals are blue coated bulbs, which reduce output from 800 lumens to 610. Note how the bulb looks identical to incandescent.
    UB2Uxv%+TiC7P+s3FxaosA.jpg

    Using a digital spectrometer to compare the lights, the blue filters on the Reveal Lights cause significant losses in the yellow/amber spectrum to shift the light source to a whiter color temp.
    fullsizeoutput_d9f.jpg

    There is nothing to me that looks like this is "GE's Best Light" with a 24% loss in output and a non-linear color spectrum sacrifice to shift the color whiter. They were all returned. Looking at the graph you can tell the filters cause undesirable effects on the spectrum.

    HIRS
    For my GU10 compact halogen kitchen lights I had gone through several permutations of LED lights, failing to deliver color accuracy, output, light pattern or all the above. I had run Philips HIR Gy6.35 landscape bulbs purchased from Europe in my truck for some time, when I saw they were launching a domestic residential HIR product line in the US I was quiet excited. Home Depot stores have by far the best pricing on these Philips HIR products, well over online sources for the bulbs that I have looked at. I picked up ten GU10 HIRs and swapped them out in the kitchen. HIRs are slightly whiter than standard halogens as the IR filter removes a small amount of red light as well. Color temp is shifted from 2800k to 3000k while losing negligible amounts of output and maintaining a perfect 100 CRI rating, while boosting a 30% energy savings. Flood patterns were identical to the halogen pattern. My Girlfriend immediately noticed the lights and commented how much better she like them, things were brighter lit without washing out colors or having ‘ugly lights’.

    fullsizeoutput_d1b.jpg

    Par20 HIR left vs Halogen Right:
    fullsizeoutput_d92.jpg

    Light fixtures
    Some light fixtures may not be an ideal fit for LED lights depending on their purpose, and you may want to evaluate replacing the fixture to something that is a better match for LEDs to get more efficient lighting. Prior to having a family my basement was a full gym. It had two ceiling fixtures each with three 50w par20 halogen spot light bulbs. It is now the playroom. I replaced the halogens with LEDs but then my kid would literally never turn the lights on and if I turned them on he would immediately ask me to turn them off. It took me a while to understand what the issue was, but it turned out he would play with his toys above his head or lay on the floor playing and look up directly into the LED lights, which really hurt his eyes. While the halogens are bright they produce almost no blue light by comparison, which is what is so painful to human eyes. I tried a second set of LEDs going from 3000k down to 2700k but the result was the same. I had never looked up into the lights like he does while playing, but in doing so just to see what it was like I saw intense light spots in my vision and had trouble focusing for several minutes afterward. I immediately removed the lights and swapped them with lightly frosted ceiling fixtures that took standard A19 bulbs, the frosted glass along with a standard A19 made it so that the lights did not hurt if you looked directly at them. I then swapped in GEs 360 relax 2700k bulbs. After showing him I fixed the lights, he was once again happy to play with the lights on.

    RF Interference
    LED lights produce RF interference. This means some radio control devices like garage door openers can be significantly impacted by LEDs. My garage door has an ‘extended range’ opener, which works great unless the lights are on. The RF interference is basically a signal jammer that will not allow you to communicate with the opener, unless you are very close. You can easily get the first command though where the lights are not on, but when the door opener is activated it turns its lights on and afterward you will have to be much closer. Refer to your garage door user manual for LEDs that do not have an RF interference frequency range. I bought garage door opener lights off amazon that claimed they were specifically designed for garage door openers, to filter RF. Yeah, it was a load of crap. The lights still jam the opener signal, I should of followed the manufactures instructions for 60w equivalent bulbs that were certified to work, rather than use 100w equivalents that claimed to work but didn’t. This isn’t usually much of a problem, because when leaving I open the door which activates the door lights and I am right in-front of the door when closing it. When arriving I will open the door from the end of the driveway and since the lights are not already on, the signal can get through the long distance fine.

    Lighting matters

    With a very light crash course in lighting (puns intended), I hope you can understand some fundamental lighting basics to scrutinize applications of lighting in the real world. I’d like to share some personal first handexperiences in misapplications of lighting I have witnessed.

    In downtown Bellevue a new swanky 21+ theater bar opened. Not uncommon to the high income area, the theater is more bar/restaurant than a standard theater. They installed ultra bright 5000k LEDs above their private bar just off the lobby. It felt like a fast foodrestaurant. Nobody stayed, the bar was a ghost town. Not because of lack of amenities, service level, drinks or food but it was purely because of the wrong lighting. People commented that the bar felt like McDonalds, without knowing anything about lighting. People do not want to pay top dollar for a premium experience and feel like they are at McDonalds. I talked to the service manager and offered to help. I tried to explain the color temperature issue and how to fix it by swapping out the strip LEDs for something more appropriate for the setting. I was informed that color wasn’t the problem and that they were going to have a contractor install a dimmer switch for the 5000k LEDs which was a “cheaper solution” than replacing the LEDs and that would fix the problem. I did point out that not all LEDs are dimmable and that doesn’t resolve the color issue, which is the real problem. Last time I went buy there, the bar was still a fast food looking ghost town while bars around it flourished. What should be an easy cash cow in an affluent area was instead costing them in lost revenue.

    I went to a new winery tasting room launch. The tasting room was amongst some other existing tasting rooms. The one next door use 2700k pendant lights to create a very warm intimate feel which naturally draws people in and makes them relaxed and more likely to stay. The new tasting room decided on an excessive amount of 5000k lighting for a ‘more natural look’ with a cool white wall tone. The tasting room counter ended up feeling like an emergency room triage counter. Few people would come in, meanwhile the much more inviting looking places next door were always busy. I tried to explain to the owners how critical having inviting lighting was, but they stayed with 5000k lighting.

    When my brother moved into a new house, they had an adjustable spot light over where the previous occupants had a crib. It was a 5000k daylight bulb. Meaning whenever you turn on the light, you are hitting a baby with 5000k daylight in the face instantly turning off the ability to sleep and disrupting any sleep cycle they may have developed, telling them it is time to wake up and be active. If you don’t have kids you may not understand, but you may spend possibly years of dedicated effort every night to get them in the proper sleep cycle to sleep through the night. If they are not sleeping then neither are you. Putting a 5000k bulb directly on them completely obliterates their sleep cycle if you turn it on, meaning little chance your kid is going to be a good sleeper, meaning your life will be a sleep deprived nightmare. As a new parent that has to be one of the worst ways tosabotage yourself.

    My Girlfriend purchase some super cheap 6000k+ LED nightlights for our kid. One of the nightlights are right next to his head in the bed and veryblue. Sometimes he gets very active at bedtime and claims the nightlights hurt his eyes. The blue light right next to his head was potentially making it more difficult for him to sleep. I threw out all the blue LED night lights replaced them with amber LED alternatives. Amber has does not have an effect on sleep cycles and is not harsh on the eyes in the dark, so he can have a couple amber light sources and not be artificially kept awake, as well as not affect his night vision.

    What I used in my home
    Kitchen: 50w equivalent 35w GU10 3000k HIRs.
    Kitchen hood: 50w equivalent 39w PAR20 3000K HIRS.
    -Perfect quality light with improvements in efficiency without sacrificing output.

    Livingroom, dinning room, bedrooms, hallways, playroom: 60w equivalent A19 2700k GE 360 HD relax bulbs.
    Stairway chandelier: GE 40w equivalent A15 360 2700k.
    -Great color temp and quality while providing outstanding 360 degree light.

    Garage: Feit 100w equivalent A21 3000k HD bulbs.
    -Costco had a large multipack for a good price. Thought the opaque plastic base is at the bottom, in the garage these all face down from the ceiling, meaning there in minimal loss from the base obstruction.

    Upstairs bathrooms including master bath: G9 40w clear halogens.
    -There is noting special about these bulbs other than they are not coated.

    Kids nightlight bedroom: Cheap amazon amber night light.
    -Cheap night lights off Amazon to eliminate blue light exposure for better sleep.

    Notes on CFLs
    CFL lights are an older design that contain mercury and are toxic if broken, they should be recycled appropriately. Home Depot and Lowes offer drop off recycling programs. But aside from that, CFLs are designed for long tun times, meaning 12+ hours at a time in an office/warehouse environment. Oftentimes home consumers install CFLs and place them somewhere like a bathroom or closet where they get high cycle time and low run time, which causes the lights to fail prematurely. This isn't the bulbs fault, as the bulb is designed for long runtime use, this is the consumers fault for not understanding the required use of the bulb. As a result put these bulbs in places of high cycle time and low run time and cause them to prematurely fail then blamed the technology rather than understanding the intended use. There is no reason to use CFLs, modern HD LEDs produce better color, lower energy consumption, instant on, run time does not matter, and they contain no toxic mercury.

    The recommendations in this thread are intended as a guide to help have a basic understanding of interior lighting and make more informed choices on your lighting purchases.


    If you found this interesting you may be interested in my other automotive lighting threads.

    Fog light upgrades:
    The LED SAE J583 Fog Pod & Fog Light Review
    The ultimate foglight upgrade H11 (not LED or HID)
    The H10 to 9011 HIR Foglight upgrade (better than LED)

    Other lighting upgrades:
    3rd Gen HID vs LED vs Halogen H11 projector headlights
    The ultimate headlight upgrade H4 (not LED or HID)
    Gy6.35 HIR 921 reverse light upgrade (vs high power LEDs)
    The 921 LED Reverse Light Bulb Study

    More information on automotive lighting:
    Automotive Lighting 101
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  2. Oct 28, 2018 at 3:35 AM
    #2
    Bridge4

    Bridge4 Well-Known Member

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    This is absolutely insane and you are crazy about lights. :der:














    And I love it!!:thumbsup:
    Thank you very much for taking the time to do this, I am building a home right now and have historically hated the lighting in places I have lived and have never really figured out how to get it right. This is a big help without me having to waste all the time and money to figure it out. I'm excited to try out some of these bulbs and see how they work.

    Let me ask a question. Do you mix your lighting in a room for different times of day? The softer light for your morning coffee and a higher k light for the middle of the day etc... I think that might be nice for me to be able to enjoy the whole house all day since I am home during the day alot.
     
  3. Oct 28, 2018 at 6:54 AM
    #3
    norvegicus

    norvegicus Member

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    Nice write up.

    The GE Relax LED bulbs that crash recommends are indeed pretty nice and possibly the best A19 LED choice currently. I use them in bathroom fixtures that partially expose the bulb and they provide comfortable, useful light in that application.

    I haven't found a GU10/MR16 LED bulb that compares favorably to halogen, for which that bulb was designed. I didn't know about the HIR ones, I'm going to try to buy some today to try out.


    Some comments based on experience that might add some useful info:

    I have a pretty big house as well as a lake house with a LOT of lighting fixtures and over the years have transitioned to mostly CFL and now mostly LED lighting.

    The A19 bulb shape works great for incandescent light sources in table lamps but it's not ideal for LED emitters. PARxx bulbs work a bit better for this than A19s. The best performance is going to come from using fixtures and bulbs that are designed from the start for their particular lighting technology. It's going to take some time but eventually we will have a lot of standard fixtures that are designed around LED light sources. Also, manufacturers are getting much better at designing around the limitations of the LED emitters in A19 and PARxx bulbs, the GE Relax LED bulbs being an example, so keep watching for new improvements.

    CFL was a transition technology for residential lighting. It doesn't work well for this; don't bother with it now that good LEDs are becoming available. I've used a lot of CFLs and can't think of a single home/shop/garage application where they are the best choice.


    A few fixtures that work well and are available now:

    - If you have recessed ceiling lights, replacing the internal part of the fixture with an LED fixture, rather than an LED A19 or a PARxx bulb, results in much better quality light without creating glare and is usually also more efficient. I have a few dozen such fixtures in my house, with a mix of A19, PAR20, PAR30, and dedicated LED. They are all almost all running LED light sources, the exceptions being a few circuits at the the lake house on an old fashioned dimmer that don't get used often and don't warrant a big investment. When we remodeled our kitchen we replaced 8 PAR38 based track light cans with 12 LED based recessed cans and the new lights way outperform the old setup and are better than everything else in the house in quality of light and efficiency by a large margin. The PARxx based lights are better than the A19 based recessed cans when upgraded to LED, but none are as nice as the LED modules. I use 3000K lighting in these ceiling fixtures.

    - Outdoor flood light fixtures designed around COB emitters can outperform the similar halogen fixtures that use J-type T3 bulbs, with a huge efficiency advantage. I have 3 60W LED fixtures on my storage sheds that light up the surrounding part of my back yard like a baseball field and provide at least as good light quality as the 3 300W J-type halogen fixtures they replaced. They also have a sharper cutoff at the edge of the pattern so I don't throw stray light into my neighbor's kitchen any more. 4000K seems to work well here.

    - LED work lights that mimic the form of fluorescent tube shop lights work quite well and are easy to install, especially if you have fluorescent shop lights now. Don't bother getting LED tube bulbs to replace the fluorescent tubes, as messing with the ballasts and starters isn't worth the hassle, just replace the entire fixture. My garage is lit with these over the work areas and the quality of my work light is much, much better than it was with fluorescent fixtures, especially in the winter when the fluorescent fixtures never warmed up fully.

    One last big subject: Dimmers. Not all LED bulbs and fixtures are dimmable. Old fashioned basic dimmers for incandescent bulbs almost never work well with dimmable LED bulbs, resulting in either no dimming, a lot of flickering, or premature failure of the bulb, or a combination of these. If you want to have dimmable LED lighting you need to a modern dimmer switch made for LED and they need to be compatible with the specific bulb/fixture you are using. This is not standardized at this point, and if you use an incompatible combination of dimmer switch and LED bulb you'll get poor dimming and flickering. Good dimmer switches will come with a list of compatible LED bulb brands. I have had the best luck with Lutron™ dimmers and using their recommended LED fixtures. Their website has a great dimmer/fixture matching tool: http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Pages/LEDCompatibilityTool/Compatibility.aspx
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
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  4. Oct 28, 2018 at 10:45 AM
    #4
    replica9000

    replica9000 ./$0|./$0&

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    I have a bunch of these around the house right now. I could never stand the CFL bulbs.

    IMG_20181028_134145~01.jpg
     
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  5. Oct 28, 2018 at 3:06 PM
    #5
    norvegicus

    norvegicus Member

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    I mostly use 25 to 40w equivalent LED bulbs as nightlights now. Typically 2-6 watts, less than a traditional 7 watt incandescent nightlight bulb and much nicer output.

    Also these things are awesome if they fit your outlets and switches: https://www.snappower.com
     
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  6. Oct 28, 2018 at 4:57 PM
    #6
    BenMara

    BenMara That Asian RedNeck

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    I still run conventional incandescent bulbs. Im an amateur radio operator (Ham Radio), i try to stay with lighting that doesnt give off any audio or RF noise.
     
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  7. Oct 28, 2018 at 7:18 PM
    #7
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    I am totally crazy about lights. :)

    Great question. There are systems like Philips Hue where you can dynamically adjust the color of the light and I did evaluate those systems for the very reason you mention of having higher color temps mid-day and lower ones in the morning and evening. However, these systems currently only offer low CRI light, meaning you'd have to choose between color temperature adjustability and quality of the light source. While the idea was interesting, my primary goal was high quality light. If there are certain rooms you spend more time in mid-day, you might consider an adjustable color product or putting in lights of higher color temperature. If it were me, I wouldn't go higher than 3000k, I think going higher tends to look pretty harsh inside the home. However in many homes you get plenty of natural supplemental daylight that make light color less of an issue during the day.

    You'll like the HIRs. You lose just a couple negliagabble lumens but it makes up for it with a slightly whiter light. I haven't looked back after converting my Par20s and GU10s. As far as new par38s outperforming the old, it is easier to get more light out of the LEDs using higher powered equivalents but getting quality high-CRI light is more challenging in the Parxxx bulbs.

    Good points, especially on the recessed ceiling light fixture replacement. The led panel replacements do offer better efficnacy and often CRI than the retrofitted bulbs, though it does require replacing the fixture and not just the light. These are pretty popular and widely available at home improvement stores. The directional nature of LEDs certainly leads to to more suitable to Par style lights, however in my experience the LED flood pattern has not been as impressive. LEDs seems to do better in Par spots (CRI aside) but in floods they did not provide the same angle reach and beam uniformity of halogens.

    I should also note that the GE Relax LEDs are available in 2 different bulb types, the standard LED style with the plastic base and the newer 360 style that is virtually indistinguishable from an incandescent. The later is definitely better.

    CFLs were terrible. That style LED light will provide good omni-directional illumination assuming it is in a disused lamp and I suspect GE Relax uses a similar internal design, but that particular bulb is not a high CRI light source, meaning it will wash out color. Depending on your application that may or may not be important.

    I didn't realize how bad the RF noise was from LEDs until I installed the new door opener. I have 20 100w equivalent LED bulbs in my garage. If the garage lights are on in addition to the door lights, the truck has to practically hit the garage door before the signal will activate the opener. If worried abbot the RF you can still run halogen replacements for the incandescent A19, which drops consumption from 60w to 43w while providing no RF noise, so savings are still possible without sacrificing color quality, output or RF noise.
     
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  8. Oct 29, 2018 at 12:36 AM
    #8
    TK-422

    TK-422 Toyota! Oh what a feeling.

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    I went all in on LED lights a few years ago. My electric bill dropped in half. I upgrade them as needed. The only bulb left might b in the oven.

    There are many smaller ones on timers or remotes. I prefer cool\daytime but my wife likes warm light.

    Here are the ones with the most impact.

    Front Porch 5K 24W 240 LED 2050 lumens - almost too bright. connected to smart switch

    [​IMG]

    Bathrooms and Kitchen. I got tired of replacing CFL lights due to the humidity

    26W 6K Daylight White IP65 144LED

    [​IMG]

    Closets and other overhead spots. Easy install. Cut a hole wire and snap it in place.


    12W 120 LED 1200 Lumen Cool White

    [​IMG]


    Kitchen pantry cabinet. I got tired of using a flashlight to look in the pantry to see what was in there.

    6 bars 5K 150 Lumens each added 2 magnetic switches and a couple extension cables.

    [​IMG]
    Garage Snap-on Work lights x4 Mounted on the rafters

    2000 Lumen each. On a motion sensor.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Oct 29, 2018 at 7:17 AM
    #9
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Did you read the article on blue light exposure? I think it would be a good idea.
    https://theconversation.com/a-dark-night-is-good-for-your-health-39161

    Lights should not “have an impact”, when lighting is done well it goes unnoticed because it feels/looks perfectly natural. People notice things that are out of place and not as they should be, which is what causes an impact in lighting. 6000k lights do not belong in a home, especially somewhere used in the evenings/night like the kitchen and bathroom. It legitimately causes sleep problems and is bad for your health. Your wife is right on this one. I’m not sure what the CRI rating is for those lights but those “work lights” will not even meet poorest quality residential grade light standard, they likely have a CRI of 70 or worse, which is beyond awful.

    The purpose of this thread is to promote the science of high quality efficient home lighting, because there is actually an exceptional amount of science that goes into lighting and how it affects your environment. This means creating a natural feeling environment that is benificial to your heath and sleep patterns, with an inviting atmosphere while utilizing high quality lights so you can see colors accurately.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  10. Oct 29, 2018 at 8:37 AM
    #10
    norvegicus

    norvegicus Member

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    Agreed on all counts.

    I would not have chosen any of the fixtures TK-422 used. I do have similar LED strips inside of upper kitchen cabinets that have glass doors and they work and look great, but mine are 3000K.

    I am an MD, an ophthalmologist. (Also a BS in physics and a PhD in molecular biology) Most articles in the popular press regarding blue light are total crap. That article is fairly well done and gives good advice. :cheers:
     
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  11. Oct 29, 2018 at 11:23 AM
    #11
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    LED strip lighting can be great for adding nice subtle lighting accents or for adding additional light where traditional fixtures are challenging fits, like under cabinets. Selecting the color appropriate for the use is still essential, and 3000k is perfect for the kitchen. The CRI quality isn't nearly as important for accent lighting like inside the cabinets. Waveform does offer Ultra High CRI strip lighting, for use in areas where lighting quality is more important. Though after my last purchase, I would order a single strip to try it before ordering enough for the whole project.
    https://www.waveformlighting.com/high-cri-led-strip-lights

    I agree there are lots of poor articles on lighting in general, but though that one gave a good overview with the right balance of detail.
     
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  12. Oct 29, 2018 at 12:06 PM
    #12
    replica9000

    replica9000 ./$0|./$0&

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    I went led in my last place because the electrical was questionable, and typical halogens were lucky to last more than a couple months.
     
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  13. Oct 29, 2018 at 9:00 PM
    #13
    SaphiraTaco

    SaphiraTaco Well-Known Member

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    About halfway done...
    :popcorn:I just got LEDs from Costco a few years ago. Warm white and seem to be working great for us. Added dimmers to all the can lights as the LEDs are 75w replacements.
     
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  14. Oct 29, 2018 at 9:43 PM
    #14
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Not sure what Costco carried a few years ago, but they presently only carry High CRI HD LEDs, which is where I got my 93 CRI 100w equivalent garage lights. Their current warm white lights are great in quality too, though lack the 360 degree output for the A19 bulbs. Generally Costco does a decent job of focusing on product quality.
     
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  15. Oct 30, 2018 at 1:42 AM
    #15
    TK-422

    TK-422 Toyota! Oh what a feeling.

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    I fully disagree on that. For my eyes the daylight spectrum is where my eyesight is most content with. That is why I have most of my lights in that spectrum. 3K is dull and not natural to me.
     
  16. Oct 30, 2018 at 2:01 PM
    #16
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    It is alright to have personal preferences and disagree. Obviously it is your home and you can tailor the lighting to however you like best.

    The information on color temperature use in this thread is from lighting industry standards which are based on science, it is not information that I made up. If you look at GE's product recommendations by room, they list 5000k as suitable for laundry room, office, and garage specifically for areas of "high activity". Reputable lighting companies that make 5000k lighting products do not recommend their wide-spread use in a home, for all the reasons listed in the thread. Companies like Philips and GE do not make 6000k lights for residential in-home use, as it starts to take on a blue tone, the highest is typically 5000k daylight.
    https://www.gelighting.com/led-bulbs/product-family-hd

    I did find this which is interesting alternative to Hue, allowing you to change your lights from Daylight to colors more suitable for the evening, but the CRI is poor at 80.
    https://www.usa.philips.com/c-m-li/choose-a-bulb/sceneswitch
     
  17. Oct 31, 2018 at 12:28 AM
    #17
    Mudman

    Mudman Well-Known Member

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    Sub'd for later! I've been wanting to update my lights.
     
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  18. Nov 1, 2018 at 1:28 PM
    #18
    MrMccrackin

    MrMccrackin Well-Known Member

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    dude - i love it!

    i need to get 2 LED replacement bulbs today and i stumbled upon this thread!

    you totally rock dude!
     
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  19. Nov 18, 2018 at 12:34 PM
    #19
    ovrlndkull

    ovrlndkull STUKASFK-HC4LIFE

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    You going through your kitchen lighting woes reminds me of my parents kitchen remodel. I was the designer/GC for that. It took a lot of arm twisting and explanation with my mom to understand getting rid of what use to be a lot of ceiling pot lights. I put in a bunch of indirect lighting and task lighting to be able to combat power draw and use different temp bulbs in different areas. Also color choice in cabinets, paint, backsplash, and counter played a huge roll in where and what type of lighting we used. The end result turned out really good, even though I had to cave and allow her to keep a few pot lights and I wanted them all gone.
     
  20. Nov 18, 2018 at 1:00 PM
    #20
    crashnburn80

    crashnburn80 [OP] Vehicle Design Engineer

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    Kitchen is definitely the most challenging room for lighting by far. Getting ample amounts of ambient lighting combined with task lighting can be a challenge. Pot lights are certainly not ideal, unless you have very high ceilings to really let the light diffuse. My parents kitchen has pot lights, but the ceilings are very high coming off the adjacent vaulted ceiling room, one of these where most people do not have ladders remotely high enough to change the bulbs. So the net effect is a very diffused evenly balanced light not typical of pot lights in standard ceiling height applications.
     
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