NRK CFL Test

Copy of an article posted yesterday on the Norway national television NRK website (translated from Norwegian):

LONG TERM TEST OF LIGHT BULBS:

These energy savers went out first

Nemko test of bulbs (Nemko)
10 of 50 bulbs has already gone out the long-term test. The picture was taken in the laboratory Nemko this week.

Compact fluorescent lamps from Osram Luxram and have poor life in long-term test.

Published 09/15/2012 17:15.

Every fifth bulb has gone out after only half of the specified lifetime. Bulbs from Luxram and Osram had especially poor performance in NRK test.

At the request of NRK Consumer Inspectors, Nemko tested the life of ten different bulbs. Five copies of each lamp were tested.

Now this long-term test has been going on for 5200 hours, which equates to almost five years in consumption if the bulbs are turned on for 2.7 hours each day.

10 of the 50 CFL bulbs have already packed it in, even though most of them are claimed last for 10,000 hours or more, according to information on the packages.

Five of the bulbs had gone out after only 2500 hours.

Luxram and Osram

In Nemko laboratory the bulbs are turned on and off at regular intervals, according to the international test standard.

The result so far allows two lamps stand out as very durable.

All five Luxram bulbs (11 W Energy Saver) has now gone out.

Compact fluorescent lamps from Osram and Luxram
All Luxram bulbs and three Osram bulbs have gone out at mid-term.

Moreover, three of the five bulbs from Osram (Duluxstar Mini Ball) have called it a night.

Approx price for these two bulbs were respectively 29 and 80 kroner, and both have a specified life of 10,000 hours.

One of five bulbs from Energetic (Energy Saver Warm White Bulb Classic) and one lamp of the North Light model from Clas Ohlson has gone out.

Best at other qualities

Although life is so-so, the Osram lamp became test winner as Nemko and NRK tested other qualities of a half ago.

The Osram bulb had good efficacy after both 100 and 1000 hours, and it starts quickly. Osram is admittedly more expensive than many of the others, but uses the least power in return. Read more about the test here.

- We regret the outcome of course, but are surprised by the result, says CEO Arvid Furru in Osram AS.

He questions the fact that only five bulbs of each brand tested. – If they originated from a batch that had a weakness, it may be an explanation for life. In Europe, selling tens of millions Osram series without errors each year, says Furru to NRK.no. He adds that Osram bulbs have three years warranty in Norway. – Customers may experience problems of this type, you switch to a new bulb by contacting us or the store where it was purchased, he said.

- Realistic

Lifetime of bulbs (Photo: Tor Risberg / NRK)
That the package says 10,000 hours / 10 years, does not mean you can expect a long life. Photo: Tor Risberg / NRK

- Luxram doing so badly is not surprising at all. Early in the test, it became clear that these bulbs have poor light output, which is further reduced after 1000 hours. And one of the five Luxram bulbs went out after only 1160 hours, said Erlend Lillelien, head of the knowledge center [national lighting industry representative] Lyskultur. He is more surprised Osram results. – The manufacturer is known for good quality, and these bulbs came out best in the remaining portion of the test. I hope the explanation for poor life is that Osram bulbs stems from a bad batch.

Head of Erlend Lillelien, Lyskultur (Lyskultur)
Information about life can be misleading, says Head of Erlend Lillelien in Lyskultur. Photo: Lyskultur

- But the test is realistic in the sense that all the bulbs are picked straight off the shelves, says Lillelien to NRK.no. He believes many consumers get the wrong impression when labels informs about a ‘life of 10,000 hours.’ – The internationally agreed definition of life is that half of the savings bulbs continue to burn after the 10,000 hours. It is not possible to produce bulbs with a guarantee that all last that long.

- Therefore, the information on the packaging to be rather confusing for the public, says Erlend Lillelien.

- Inadequate

Already in May, three of five Luxram bulbs burned out. CEO Frode Eng at Lampe magazine, which sells Luxram bulbs, admitted then that result is too bad. He, too, was surprised at the poor life, even if he thought it’s a bit unfair to compare the 29-kroner bulbs with others that cost far more.

- But of course we are unhappy with the result. Life indicated on the package of course should be valid, said Eng NRK.no the last time we summarized the test results. Now all Luxram bulbs in the test have burned out.

These are the other bulbs in the test, which have not yet gone out:

  • Philips Softone (T60WW827)
  • IKEA Sparsames
  • Megaman Ultra Compact Classic (GA911i)
  • FIXIT saving bulb
  • Biltema 11 W
  • Europris Power 9 W warm white

The test is still in progress. CFLi have an effect equivalent of between 48 and 60 watts compared with the old incandescent bulbs.

***************************

Halogenica comments:

1. Isn’t it funny that when tests reveal CFL bulbs to not last as long as claimed, the lighting industry representative “hopes” that it was due to “a bad batch”. How about a bad product?

2. And then the representative goes on to state: “The internationally agreed definition of life is that half of the savings bulbs continue to burn after the 10,000 hours. It is not possible to produce bulbs with a guarantee that all last that long. Therefore, the information on the packaging to be rather confusing for the public”.

Confusing is right! But I think fraudulent would be the correct word here. Imagine if the food or pharmaceutical industry said: “Half the products in this line may actually have gone bad by the expiration date. We understand that this must be confusing to our consumers, but it is not possible to produce a product that will keep until the marked expiration date.”

3. And the Luxram retailer thinks the test is unfair? While it does follow a certain logic that cheaper lamps can’t be expected to have the same quality as top brand bulbs, how is it unfair to expect a lamp to last as long as it says on the package? Especially when long life is one of its two major selling points?

4. Interesting also how the article author feels compelled to point out that the Osram lamp still made Best in Test on other qualities. Such as quick startup time and good brightness both after 100 and 1000 hours.

Well, a 100 hours into its life happens to be the peak of any fluorescent lamp’s life according to manufacturers, and good output after 1000 is no insurance of how good it will be after 3000 hours, or 5000 hours – if it lasts that long – or that it even gave as much light as promised in the beginning. Qualities such as colour rendition, dimmability etc are not mentioned at all. (Incandescent and halogen incandescent lamps are far superior in that regard, and startup time is not only quick but instant.)

I’m not at all surprised by these results. The CFL bulb models tend to lose more light and have shorter life than bare tube models due to being enclosed in that outer bulb, trapping heat which affects both life and brightness. And while the very thin diffusing layer on the inside of a frosted incandescent bulb has virtually no effect whatsoever on its light flow, adding another frosted bulb over the already semi opaque tubes has a marked light diminishing effect in CFLs.

It is simply a product which should never have been made, since there are already other lamps that do the same job so much much better.

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1 Comment

  1.  lighthouse said,

    September 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Re
    “It is simply a product which should never have been made, since there are already other lamps that do the same job so much much better.”

    Yes, fluorescents are not bad as long tubes, at least in saving energy and spreading light well.
    They are largely compromised in bulb form, “doubly” so when enclosed in a shell as you say… and as the tests seem to bear out!


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