[RFI] CFLs and LEDs My Last Word on the Subject

David C. Hallam dhallam at rapidsys.com
Mon Feb 9 14:17:13 EST 2009

I am not inherently opposed to CFL's.  As a matter of fact, when they 
first appeared on the market I rushed out and bought some even though 
the prices were about $8-10 each.  You got a 100W equivalent of light 
for about 25W of energy.  For me this was in the early 1990's.

Frankly I think those early ones with the long straight tubes were much 
better than the new curly ones.  I have a couple in service, rather 
intermittent, that are at least 15 years old.

However, my present life expectancy for the current crop of CFL's is 
about 6 months as measured by putting the date on each bulb as it goes 
into service.  At this time I have replaced almost every incandescent 
bulb in my house with CFL's.  About the only exception is some outdoor 
flood lights.  Where I have indoor flood lights in overhead lighting, I 
am using CFL's

I track my energy use every month with a graph of KWH used.  If I factor 
degree days into my energy consumption to remove the effect of the AC 
unit, I find there hasn't been enough reduction in monthly energy usage 
to buy a 6 pack of beer once a month.

Given my experience with short life, the one that overheated and started 
smoking, and concern about the mercury involved in each bulb, I don't 
think I am ready to wholeheartedly embrace their complete adoption.  I 
know, I know, there has been mercury in florescent bulbs and the world 
hasn't come to and end.  However, the biggest use of florescent bulbs 
has been in commercial and industrial areas where disposal is *somewhat* 
controlled.  What could happen when billions of these things start 
showing up in land fills.  Some people will dispose of them in a 
controlled manner.  Most will toss them in the trash.

Maybe my experience is an anomaly in the march of progress.  But if it 
isn't, the only beneficiary of a change from incandescent bulbs to CFL's 
will be the manufacturer of them.


Randy Bell wrote:
> I'm not going to argue about who's responsible for what, but I will say that I've been using CFL's for a number of years now, and other than having a few fail, I haven't had any other problems.  They don't seem to cause any RFI in the shack and I haven't had one overheat yet.  Maybe we're just lucky and it's just a matter of time before one smokes in our house, but so far - so good.
> Randy - K8HRO
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