Thread Number: 71105  /  Tag: Other Home Products or Autos
The Light Bulb Conspiracy
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Post# 941239   6/1/2017 at 06:40 by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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Great documentary on planned obsolescence

2 min. Trailer:

Post# 941240 , Reply# 1   6/1/2017 at 06:41 by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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In full length:

Post# 941244 , Reply# 2   6/1/2017 at 07:05 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Interesting, But

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The incandescent light bulb is not a good example of planned obsolescence.


The 1000 hour and 750 hour light bulbs were about the best thing that ever happened to the average light bulbs. These shorter lived bulbs put out so much more light and thereby used so much less power that there short life was more than justified.


I remember landlords in the 60s and 70s giving out free light bulbs to tenants to help keep power use down. You have always been able to buy extremely long lived light bulbs but few wanted to use these dim power hogs except in places where it was very hard to change them.


Good news is now LED bulbs now last 10,000 hours easily, and like cars, appliances, computers and most other household durable goods now are lasting longer than ever before.


John L.

Post# 941256 , Reply# 3   6/1/2017 at 08:41 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Planned Obsolescence

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One of the core beliefs of capitalist theory in the 20th century was: You're either growing or dying. Nothing in between.


This caused all sorts of interesting dysfunctions, planned obsolescence being one of them.


I like to think of our collecting and restoring vintage appliances as a stand against that madness.

Post# 941372 , Reply# 4   6/2/2017 at 01:19 by beekeyknee (Columbia, MO)        
LED Lighting, Poorly Adjusted TVs and Miserable Decore

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John (and anyone else that want's to read),

The electricity saved by LED lighting is great but the color spectrum (blue, for the most part) is very bad for our health, disturbs sleep and the circadian rhythm. Has a way been established for LED lighting to emit a lower, more yellow/golden type of light that is not so garish? I'm sure there probably is, but most people don't know how and even if they did wouldn't go to the trouble or expense for the fix. I can't even watch television at my sisters house because of their maladjusted TV. This is a big problem. Ever gone out to a bar or restaurant at night and have your retinas burned out? People buy these TV's, take them out of the box, do the basics to get them running and leave them that way. And it's no wonder. To set one up properly takes hours - even days. Not ragging on you John, just making a post to a thread that happened to fit the topic.

They just remodeled the Hy-Vee restaurant near us recently. I went in and the first things that jumped out at me were awful televisions everywhere, little LED fixtures hanging above every table which glared off of the highly polished surfaces, brown walls, brown floors, brown tables and brown upholstery. Then there's the mosaic tiles surrounded by stainless steel. I guess this is supposed to substitute for art work. I had to look for color. There was none or very little to be found. I could have decorated the place better as a grade schooler. What has happened? What is wrong with everyone? This is not appealing. I don't go back there much anymore.


Post# 941374 , Reply# 5   6/2/2017 at 01:38 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        

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Um, you can pay a little more and get high Color Rendition Index warm white LED bulbs just about anywhere. I usually get the Feit brand "True Color" bulbs at Costco. The light is not bluish, and is well balanced. My only criticism is that they seem to emit a fair amount of RF interference, which shows up on FM radio. And it is distance related. Move the radio away from the light, the interference goes down. Same plug.

The higher power (100 watt) Feit True Color bulbs emit more interference than the 60 watt numbers. Sometimes I just pair two 60 watt ones rather than one 100 watt one.

And come to think of it, the 100 watt Feit LED warm white bulbs don't come in the "true color" variety anyway. But they are useful for situations where one wants maximum light and cannot have multiple bulbs in a lighting fixture.

Post# 941401 , Reply# 6   6/2/2017 at 06:52 by gus (Montevideo, Uruguay)        

Setefan, Im amassed at he film Iv seen, which is not the first time I see this theme treated in the media. iT HAS A REAL and serious approach. Its for all of us to take real and serious conscience of a real problem that humanity is facing. I DO thank you for your research and knowledge to find a very useful and conscious target on the subject. Do not Stop we all need to re educate on this matter so we may take care in a better and serious way of the planet environment, specially those poor people living in the third world which are humans beings as anyone of us. God bless and illuminates your good mind. Gus

Post# 941407 , Reply# 7   6/2/2017 at 07:48 by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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Gus, thank you so much for your kind words.
I appreciate you watched the whole film. Personally I`m not that much of a Saint when it comes to consumerism, but I also see we can`t go on like this forever. At least I try to buy higher quality products whenever possible that will hopefully last a while without sacrificing the fun part of consumerism too much. My smartphone for example is a lower end Samsung where I can easily change the battery and my washer is a Miele which has given me good service for over a decade.
I`ve seen the film a long time ago on TV and I was impressed with it. When I found out it was also on Youtube in English I just had to share it with the gang.

Post# 941487 , Reply# 8   6/2/2017 at 20:01 by cuffs054 (GA)        

What ever happened to those "buttons" you put under a light bulb and it would last forever?

Post# 941538 , Reply# 9   6/3/2017 at 01:32 by sudsmaster (East of SF, West of Eden)        
those "buttons"

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The light saver buttons were still available back in the 90's. I remember buying some and fitting them to some lights in the house, mainly a porch light that I left on 7x24. Its main effect was to limit the power going into the bulb. I think it did this via a diode that cut back the AC power sine wave, perhaps by blocking some or all of half of the wave form. The light from the bulb was noticeably dimmer.

Post# 941584 , Reply# 10   6/3/2017 at 14:12 by kb0nes (Burnsville, MN)        

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The "saver" Discs were simply a single diode rectifier that would pass 1/2 of the AC cycle on to the bulb blocking the other half cycle. Of course these would save power by more or less blocking about 1/2 the power the bulb would draw. The cooler filament would of course last FAR longer then normal.

But the tradeoff is the cooler filament emits much less usable light per watt so the efficiency of a horrible inefficient lamp falls even lower. All this to save a very inexpensive bulb. It would make way more sense to just use a 60w bulb in place or a 100w. The only desirable thing about these devices would be for a bulb that is in a location that makes re-lamping difficult.

A quick Google and it looks as if they are still available!! Wonder who is buying them today? Probably the same people that buy the $1000 electric heaters because they are 100% efficient and they can save thousands in heating bills...

Browsing around that page I see that a tin foil hat might be helpful to help prevent the scare mongering from soaking in

Post# 941616 , Reply# 11   6/3/2017 at 18:18 by DADoES (TX,U.S. of A.)        

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I imagine any device or control that reduces voltage will extend the life of an incandescent bulb. The bulbs in the theater auditoriums are on a dimmer system and don't get quite full voltage even on high level so they last for years.

Post# 941641 , Reply# 12   6/3/2017 at 20:12 by Northwesty (Renton, WA)        

heard that the term "planned obsolescence" was coined by Henry Dreyfuss about 1957. Anyone else heard this?

I have mostly the new bulbs but some fixtures really require the old incandescent.

Post# 941665 , Reply# 13   6/4/2017 at 00:08 by dartman (Portland Oregon)        

We converted to fluorescent and now led. The first ones saved us about 20 a month on our electric bill and once warmed up were about as bright. The power company gives out a free resource saver kit that came with 8 60 watt led bulbs in the warm color spectrum. I have since went to the day light bright white versions I found deals on Amazon during black Friday. I kind of like the whiter light now but you can buy both types in about any color range you like, same with led car headlights now.
The led bulbs turn on full brightness pretty much instantly, last longer, and use slightly less juice then the CFL bulbs do.
You can still get the normal filament bulbs in a heavy duty work bulb version if you want them and I saved all the builder installed 60 watt bulbs installed in our house when we bought it. I gave some to the boss at work and still have some left just in case I need one but really like saving money on my power bill.

Post# 941716 , Reply# 14   6/4/2017 at 10:22 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
A few things about LEDs I find interesting

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First, how the manufacturers just continued to use their 100 year old+ equipment to make the glass bulb which the LEDs are often packaged in. Talk about not making something obsolescent - those machines must have paid for themselves a billion years ago.

Second, the incredibly creative variations in design (especially the 'vintage') bulbs made to look like the old carbon filament light bulbs in the pear shapes. Cool!


The cheap technique of using yellow and blue LEDs to 'make' white is pretty much gone from the market, and the half-wave bulbs are gradually being eased out, too.

How interesting, really - the sole advantage of the incandescent bulb throughout all this time was that it smoothed out the 25/50/60Hz flicker - a problem for both cheap fluorescent and LED bulbs.


I converted nearly our entire house to LED last year - The Homeless Despot nearby had some water damaged cases of very high quality Philips LEDs going out the door at about $0.10/bulb and I bought 48 of them. All I could get. Not one has failed and our electric bill dropped another $8-9 dollars/month (we'd already gone to either CFL or rectified incandescent) for everything - had to remove a few 1N5400s (no, that's not a typo and yes, I am paranoid, why do you ask?)

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