LED Stage Lighting

A rock concert yesterday made me ponder on some of the differences between the old and the new ways of lighting a stage.

For some inexplicable reason, modern stage lighting seems not so much focused on illuminating the actual performers as on flashing harmfully bright and narrow coloured beams or flashes into the eyes of the unsuspecting audience at irregular intervals during the concert. How this practice can be even legal is probably a matter of ignorance on the part of lighting technicians and regulating authorities. Sometimes real laser beams are used.

20160709_222344

The new LED technology has both advantages and disadvantages.

+ LED uses less energy (if power factor is good) and lasts much longer (if drivers are of good quality and don’t get overheated).

+ LED floodlight does not emit heat in the beam direction as incandescent light does, so performers will not overheated from the lighting.

+ LED diodes are small and versatile and can be used for more creative effects if so desired (as exemplified at the London Olympics).

+ LED diodes are already coloured and directional and do not require coloured filters.

– LED light is much sharper and more laser-like than incandescent light. It’s a sort of digital light that is either on or off, with no softly glowing tungsten filament to ease the transition. It thereby lacks some of the charm of older types of stage lighting and gives a more high-tech effect that is less flattering to performers and much harder on the eyes.

– Cool white light it is horridly harsh, unflattering and a real mood-killer, compared to the warm sunny glow of traditional tungsten light.

– Blue, green and cool-white LED light can damage the retina if bright and beamed directly into the eyes.

My recommendation to stage lighting technicians:

• Rethink the practice of lighting up the audience at all. People come to watch the show, not to be illuminated themselves. Therefore lighting should be directed towards the stage, not be placed at the stage and directed at the audience. If lighting effects on or around the stage are desired, they should be only be decorative (e.g. non-directional, low-lumen dots or panes) and not illuminating.

• Avoid cool white light. Complement the coloured LEDs with halogen floodlights if you want performers to look good on stage. Just a few won’t add that much heat.

• Use blue light sparingly and don’t direct it into people’s eyes.

• Don’t use lasers. If you have to, don’t direct them at any living being.

• Don’t use strobe lights as this can cause epilepsy in susceptible people and is generally irritating.

For the audience I recommend bringing sunglasses as well as ear plugs in order to avoid eye damage until lighting designers have learned how the new technology can be used safely.

Good article about stage lighting with LED:

LED Stage Lighting – Why Buy RGB LED Stage Lights?

 

LED Update

Over the last couple of years there has been a very rapid development of LEDs. Some problems still remain, others have been mitigated in innovative ways. Summary from some of the latest studies, reviews and consumer tests (links below):

1. Prices have gone down, from shockingly overpriced to reasonably affordable (≈ 4-40€) (1, 2, 3).

2. Brightness. More higher lumen models (600-800 lm have been introduced, and even a few 1100+ lm), but most LEDs are still low-lumen  (≈ 400 lm) – which make the least economic and environmental sense to replace and make dimmable.

3. Efficacy (lumen/watt) has improved (≈ 80 to 96 lm/w). (My comment: But as always, only if not including poor power factor and heat replacement effect in colder regions.) Both watts and efficacy were found to be overstated in many of the lamps tested, sometimes understated. Usually just by a few per cent, but some lamps gave up to 39% less light than claimed on the box (1, 2, 3).

4. Colour rendering index has technically improved (CRI over 80 for most LEDs, a few even over 90). This, however, does not mean that the spectral power distribution is as even or full-spectrum as incandescent and sunlight, only that it has been tweaked to reproduce the required 8 colour samples more accurately when testing.

5. Light colour has improved for many warm-white LEDs. Only a few years ago most LEDs were a ghastly cool-white and the few marketed as “warm-white” could be anything from yellow, orange, greenish, blueish, or pinkish to a dull grey-white. Now, many LEDs have reached a similar decently warm-white emulation as CFLs finally did after 20 years, but the light colour may still vary between models and correlated colour temperature is often somewhat colder than the stated 2700K, according to the latest Swedish consumer tests (2, 3).

6. Colour consistency over time seems to have improved. A multilateral (pro-LED) European study found that only a few lamps exceeded the 6 MacAdam step tolerance limits after 100 and 1 000 h testing (1).

7. Power Factor can still be a problem and may vary greatly between different brands and models – without obvious connection to price. In the last U.S. DoE tests 2011  PF varied from 0.58-0.98 (6). The 2015 European study found all tested samples “to comply with EU requirements” (1). (But the EU requirements for home LED lamps under 25 W is only 0.5 – which means that those with poor PF may still use up to twice their rated energy!)

8. Dimmability. More LEDs are dimmable – but many are still not compatible with all dimmers, so read the specifications carefully. Some of the dimmable samples tested by Testfakta started humming, flickering or shut off completely when dimmed (2). The European study found similar problems (1).

“Five of the LED lamps purchased for this study were marketed as ‘dimmable’. Of these, two of those lamps were able to be dimmed on both types of dimmers (#6 IKEA, #13 Star Trading). The other three lamps had issues with one of the dimmers. Lamp #5 from LED Connection was not compatible with the leading edge dimmer and Lamps #14 from OSRAM and #15 from Philips were not compatible with the trailing edge dimmer.”

9. Warm-dim LEDs. A new generation of LEDs which turn warmer when dimmed have been introduced, thereby better mimicking natural filament lamps – one of the complaints of earlier LEDs and CFLs. These are more expensive, of course (≈ 15-20 €.) (Will test and post review later.) From the Osram press-release:

“In the evenings, and especially when evenings become longer, many people love the snug, warm glow of a burning candle or open fire. Incandescent and halogen lamps create similarly cozy light by simple dimming, but with modern LED lamps this is technically not quite as simple. To create the popular light effect with 2,000 Kelvin here as well, Osram has integrated state-of-the-art LED technology into its new Glow-Dim models.”

(My comment: Funny that that warm romantic glow, priced by so many, was completely ignored by the lighting industry and legislators both, when it was produced by incandescent lamps. But now that there is a synthetic, heavily overpriced, replacement this quality is used to sell a fake copy of the real thing which we all used to love.)

Osram Glow-Dim
Philips Warm Glow
Airam Dim-to-warm

10. Flicker can still be a problem in some lamps. Last summer Hillevi Hemphälä at the Lund Technical Institute started testing LEDs for flicker. She says it’s hard to for the consumer to know which lamps are good or not, as this is not always reflected in the price. There are LEDs powered by a pulsed current, which is a cheaper construction and facilitates dimming, but it can also increase subliminal flicker.  “Problem med flimmer från LED-lampor” Final test results are yet to be published. Testfakta found the flicker index to vary between 0.01 (virtually no flicker) to 0.11 – but no correlation with the price (2). The multilateral European study said, “The flicker index and percent flicker of the lamps were measured and many lamps had no flicker” (1) – which is a roundabout way of saying that the rest of the lamps did have flicker.

11. Life span appears more reliable than for CFLs. LEDs don’t seem to be sensitive to rapid switching on/off, only to overheating which may make some LEDs expire prematurely.

2014, customers were not so impressed (4):

“We lit up your frustrations when we last spoke about LED light bulbs. More than 300 comments were made, most of them about their poor performance and your dissatisfaction with them not living up to their lifespan claims.”

“We’ve tested 410 LED light bulb samples for 10,000 hours or more, and 75 of those (18%) failed within 10,000 hours, even though they all claim to last much longer. And 69 out of the 185 bulbs (37%) we examined at the 15,000 hour mark had failed by that point. Again, almost all of them claim to last longer than this. So, although there are advances, there’s still room for improvement.”

Swedish consumer test magazine Råd&Rön says all their earlier tested LEDs have lasted longer than 5 000 hours so they discontinued durability tests for LEDs, as the models involved would be replaced in the market by the time the long-term test was done (3).

Philips famous L-prize LED has now passed 40 000 hours with no failures and 93.7- 97.5% lumen maintenance, which is very good compared with CFLs (5). (Its 70€ European cousin is still burning nicely in my outdoor luminaire after 3.5 years.)

In the European study, a few LEDs were non-functional right out of the box ().

“Three of the 170 LED lamps tested were defective and did not operate out of the box (and thus could have been returned for a refund / replacement) – thus these lamps were not used in our testing and those models simply had smaller test samples studied. Two individual LED lamps sold by ccLED (both sample #11) failed during the burn-in. Lamp #12 had one unit fail during measurements, but all the other LED lamps so far have not have problems after 1000 hours of testing.”

12. Light distribution has improved. Spreading the light equally in all directions has been a challenge as diodes are naturally directional with quite a narrow beam angle. To get around that problem, diodes were first just placed around a central stick – with mediocre results. Some brands have now solved this by adding a diffusing lens over a single power-LED die – which also markedly increases the price but gives a light distribution more like that of a traditional bulb (though never with the same sparkling clarity, sunny feeling, or beautiful glow, of course).

LED A prism, Osram (lysman.com)

13. Filament LEDs. A new type of filament LED has also been introduced, both to give a better 360° light, and to replace the old Edison-type decorative carbon filament bulbs (which is probably why the EU commission is now removing the exception for those in the latest Directive amendment). It consists of tiny diodes packed closely together on 2 to 8 filaments inside the bulb. This also reduces internal heat and the need for a heavy and cumbersome heat sink, so this type of lamp can be made neater, more light-weight and closer to the original incandescent bulb. (Again, interesting how so much effort is put into trying to emulate all the quality and design advantages of the banned bulb if it was so bad.) 

LED Filament 2200K (E27)

I tested a filament LED with CRI 90 (= improved colour rendition) from Star Trading.  For me it was still not close enough to want to replace a real incandescent bulb in my living room, but OK for outdoors. Others might find it acceptable.

LED decorative c

Filament LED

14. Temperature-tolerance. LED lamps are ideal for outdoors, even in the winter, as they are not sensitive to cold like CFLs (which can take forever to light up in cold temperatures). Outdoor lamps are also the most worthwhile replacing if left on for many hours per day, or night. However, LEDs are still sensitive to heat and cannot be used for example in a sauna. Only incandescent/halogen lamps tolerate heat well.

15. Health risks risks may still be an issue. This LEDs Magazine summary is from 2010 but LED light has not changed substantially, other than glare often being less of an issue than with early lamps. But they still contain more blue light which can irritate the eye, disrupt circadian rhythm and be harmful to people with blue-light sensitive eye conditions. Flicker can also be disrupting (and for epileptics even dangerous). Others experience a various symptoms, e.g. migraines, vertigo, nausea, inexplicable visual distortions that make it impossible to see in LED lighting and much more. An anecdotal example sent to Incandescent Anna:

“I am extremely sensitive to LED lighting both indoor and outdoor. They have been erected outside my home and now I can’t even step in to my own front garden without symptoms of severe eye pain, migraine, nausea, vomiting, aura, vertigo, increased heart rate and ringing in my ears. It hits me immediately and the severity and length of symptoms depend on the length of time I’m exposed. 
I have known for 7 or 8 years of this extreme intolerance to LED when I first got a DS Lite, back-lit with LED and I couldn’t bare to look at it. I can’t use any LED backlit phones or monitors. I don’t think that my symptoms are getting worse but my recovery period is now non existent because LED is everywhere. If I am round CFL for a prolonged period I develop headache and agitation but nothing like the symptoms I have around LED.”

16. LED li-fi. LED lamps can now be used for delivering ultra fast wi-fi. Considering how many have experienced severe symptoms from smart meters, does this sound like a good idea?

Tests & Reviews

1. Test Report – Clear, Non-Directional LED Lamps (Swedish Energy Agency, Belgian government, CLASP’s European Programme, eceee, 2014-2015)
eceee – summary of above test
2.Testfakta – test table (Sweden 2015, partly in English)
“LED närmar sig glödlampans ljuskvalitet” (test article in Swedish)
3. Råd & Rön – LED test (Sweden, 2015-2016, 25 SEK to read)
4.“A Nobel Prize for LED bulbs but do they get your vote?” (UK, Oct 2014)
5. “DOE Testing of L Prize LED lamp passes 40 000 hours” (USA, Aug 2015)
6. U.S. DoE – CALiPER SSL tests (USA, 2007-2016, detailed but not very updated)
Stiftung Warentest – Lampen im Test Das beste Licht für Sie (Germany, 2015, 3€)
Consumentengids – Test Ledlampen.pdf (Netherlands, 2015)
CNet – Best LED Light Bulbs (2016)
Best LED Light Bulb Reviews and Comparisons
 (2016)

EU Lamp Regulation Update

(Updated with amended infographics)

2015 was a sad year for incandescent light lovers in Europe. The EU Commission, rather than celebrating its victories in having forced EU citizens to replace so many of their top quality incandescent lamps with poorer quality CFLs and LEDs (and generated millions of Euros in revenue for lamp manufacturers) is instead hellbent on removing all remaining tungsten lamps, leaving only the synthetic alternatives.

This is the lighting equivalent of banning glass and permitting only plastic, or banning silk and permitting only polyester! It’s beyond absurd. 

Freedom Lightbulb on why lamp regulation makes no sense

The bad news:

1. Special purpose lamps will be more strictly regulated from 25 February 2016 due to a regulation amendment aug 2015 in order to close the last “loopholes” for incandescent-lovers. Decorative & carbon filament lamps that have gotten popular in restaurants etc. can not be called “special purpose” anymore and are thereby no longer included in the exceptions to the regulation. Rough Service lamps appears to be available but restricted (the wording is unclear). Remaining stocks can still be sold but no new lamps can be imported into EU or “placed on the market”. So it’s a good idea to stock up now if you can still find them.

Banned 2 Special Purpose

Commission Regulation Amendment of 25 aug 2015 (legal text)
Save The Bulb about the amendment

2. Incandescent and halogen reflector lamps will be banned from Sep 2016. So, start stockpiling if you appreciate their beauty, dimmability and broad usefulness at home.

Banned 3 Reflector lamps

3. The halogen energy savers phaseout, scheduled for 2016, was postponed until Sep 2018 – rather than to 2020 as the lighting industry requested, or scrapped altogether as some of us have suggested as the promised Energy Class B halogen to replace the Class C halogen no longer exists on the market.

Banned 4 Halogen

Commission article about the halogen ban 2018

The (possibly) good news:

1. Halogen G9 mini-lamps for mains voltage will still be available. They last longer than standard incandescent lamps and can be used in a conversion kit as incandescent replacement, which has the added bonus that the base and bulb E re-usable, and are available in a wide range of models: A-bulb (GLS), pear, candle, flame, golfball, PAR, globe, diamod etc; clear, frosted, tinted, dicroic, decorated etc. The base and bulb of course costs more than the old lightbulbs used to, but once invested in, only the inner bulb needs to be changed so it’s really eco-friendly. It’s also perfectly legal (for now, anyway, but there is the threat of another amendment yet to be voted on, so best stockpile G9 bulbs too).

Paulmann halogen conversion kits (German/international)
Lysman halogen conversion kits (Sweden)

G9 conversion manual

2. Just a few weeks ago it was announced that, by using nanotechnology, scientists at MIT have found a way of recycling the “wasted heat” [which of course is not always wasted…] of an incandescent lightbulb and focusing it back on the filament where it is re-emitted as visible light, making it 3 times more effective now, and in the future potentially even substantially more effective than LEDs. This possibility can mean a comeback for the incandescent bulb, if any manufacturer wants to invest in developing the technology. It certainly has huge market potentials as many of us still prefer those old “golden standard” lightbulbs to the new synthetic copies. This would also satisfy the EU Commission’s ever more stringent energy standards, as well as those of the U.S. and other countries.

New development could lead to more effective light bulbs
Save The Bulb comment on the new bulbs

3. Many online lamp shops in EU have remaining stocks of phased-out incandescent lamps. Markedly more expensive than they used to be, of course, but at least still available until stocks run out. (Importing from outside of EU is illegal.)

Banned 1 Incandescent

Flickering LED

A friend’s ​apartment building has recently been refurbished with warm white LED downlights in the entrance hall and corridors. Being of higher quality than the usual mediocre LED bulbs sold in shops, these lamps gave a more pleasant light and ambiance than the tired old fluorescent tubes. The change also included motion sensors which would turn the lights off when not in use, which is smart and energy saving. All in all, a definite upgrade.

However, last time I went to visit, one of the downlights had gone completely crazy and flickered in regular bursts like a strobe light! Even though I’m not prone to seizures, I found it extremely disturbing and could hardly walk past it with my eyes open. After making sure the super would come and fix it a s a p, I managed to film a few seconds of this horror. (Do NOT watch if you’re epileptic!)

I don’t know if this is common behaviour in failing LEDs. These were less than a year old and should not be failing so soon. Oh, and it turned out the super couldn’t do anything as these LED downlights required specialist help from the company that installed them. No longer a matter of just replacing a burned-out bulb or tube.

Even though annoying enough, I’ve never seen a failing fluorescent tube flicker with such a sharp and piercing strobe effect. This seems like a rather serious issue.

For instance, photosensitive epilepsy is more common than one might think, affecting “about one in 4000 individuals,” according to the group. Factors that may combine to affect the likelihood of seizures include flash frequency in the range of 3 to 65 Hz, and especially in the range from 15 to 20 Hz. That’s why line frequency fundamentals (50 or 60 Hz, depending on country) are important and why asymmetric behavior of the external triac controller is significant.”

http://electronicdesign.com/lighting/do-leds-have-dark-side
More to read on LED flicker:

http://www.ledsmagazine.com/articles/print/volume-11/issue-4/features/developer-forum/proper-driver-design-eliminates-led-light-strobe-flicker.html

Update: The year after, another LED downlight in that same apartment building started flickering in exactly the same way. It kept doing so for weeks before it got fixed.

Blue Diode Inventors Win Nobel Prize

Press release from the Nobel committee today:

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2014 to

Isamu Akasaki
Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan and Nagoya University, Japan

Hiroshi Amano
Nagoya University, Japan

Shuji Nakamura
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

“for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”

Congratulations to the winners!

Unfortunately, this also means increased support for LED lighting, despite the high price, mediocre light quality, technical safety issues, mediocre power factor, glare and blue light hazard to eyes, using up more resources to manufacture, and containing rare earth phosphors which cause much destruction to the environment in mining areas.

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2014/press.html

U.S. Light Bulb Ban – Bad Idea!

Tomorrow the United States’ incandescent phase-out scheme bans incandescent halogen energy savers brighter than 43W (roughly equivalent to a 55W standard incandescent bulb).

The regulation has been found invalid, but the U.S. Government keeps acting as if this is not the case and keeps enforcing the scheme.

Despite most of the world falling for the same deceptive and easily refuted arguments from vested interests, this regulation is an extremely bad idea which will only lower light quality in everyone’s home, put health and the environment at risk and save almost nothing.

The only ones truly benefiting from the ban are lightbulb manufacturers who can sell new, lower quality, technically complicated patentable bulbs, costing up to several hundred times as much as the original lightbulb, and thereby make billions in profit.

Summary of why this regulation is such a bad idea:

Incandescent vs Luminescent Light (pdf)

Article showing how savings will be minuscule at best:

Light Bulb Regulation – President Fails Elementary Math

More  info:

Rik Gheysen’s website

Freedom Lightbulb: How bans are wrongly justified

The Lamp Guide (lightbulb and home lighting guide for the confused consumer)

(See left margin for more related websites, info and article links about the ban.)

Canadian Light Bulb Ban

To us Europeans, Canada has always seemed like the older and wiser sister to the United States. More reflecting and less quick to jump on the band wagon of every new idea adopted by the U.S. to please the largest corporations. That Canada delayed its earlier plans for an incandescent light bulb ban has enforced this impression.

But now Canada seems to be buckling under the pressure of vested interests. We can only hope law makers research the subject more thoroughly than other governments and federations have done before falling for all the blatant and easily refutable lies and exaggerations that made possible a near global ban of the only safe and environmentally friendly lamp ever made.

As always, Freedom Lightbulb has all the details on the ban: Canada to adopt more US Laws beginning with Light Bulbs: Losing Industry, Jobs and Choice, with Hardly any Savings

Light bulbs: Facts & Figures from Ottowa Citizen (The last two points are not correct. CFLs rarely last longer than a standard incandescent lamp, the latter can be made to last 20 000 hours and claimed emission figures are not based in reality).

Here are two well researched documents explaining why an incandescent ban is an extremely bad idea in general, and in Canada in particular.

1. Summary of relevant points by Freedom Lightbulb. Full document: Comment Contribution to the Canadian Light Bulb Regulation Proposal (pdf)

2. Shorter summary of similar points, with photos and diagrams:
Incandescent vs Luminescent Light (pdf)

 

EU Halogen Ban Review

As described in detail by Freedom Light Bulb, the planned halogen ban 2016 is up for review on Monday 25th.

The recommended regulatory changes include:

1. changing the entry into force of the stage 6 requirements to 1 September 2018, allowing LED technology to mature further and reach an optimal time point in terms of monetary and energy savings;

2. removing the current loophole by extending the stage 6 requirements to halogen lamps with G9 and R7s socket;

3. and introducing a provision that luminaires sold after 1 September 2015 should be compatible with LED technology to prevent future obstacles to efficient lighting.

Even the lamp manufacturers themselves find this a bit extreme, as there are no good replacements for some lamps.

The reason for extending the ban to these previously excempt lamp models is that a small number of adapter kits exist which can turn a G9 mini bulb into a frosted incandescent bulb, and an R7 mini tube into a screw-in bulb. The latter is absolutely ridiculous, as such a contraption would not fit in any normal luminaire. These tubes are needed for halogen floodlights and torchieres, for which there are no replacement tubes at all, not even poor quality ones.

Here are 12 good reasons to keep all models of Halogen.

Edit: Kevan Shaw reports from Brussels: The latest from Europe

 

U.S. Incandescent Regulation Found Invalid

Local researcher finds contradiction in incandescent light bulb laws

In 2007, congress passed the bi-partisan Energy Independence and Security Act (or EISA 2007) which included intentions to phase out incandescent light bulbs. According to the chart, 100 watt light bulbs would be phased out by Jan. 1, 2012, 75 watt light bulbs by Jan. 1, 2013 and by Jan. 1 of 2014, there will be no more 60 watt light bulbs available.

“To be perfectly honest, I hate fluorescent lights,” said Schulwitz. “So I looked up the law because they’re taking incandescent light bulbs away from me.”

While Schulwitz was able to find the bill where the impending regulation amendments were spelled out (Section 321(a) of EISA 2007), when he looked up 42 USC 6295(i), the corresponding section of the U.S. Code that deals with energy conservation standards for incandescent lamps, the amendments weren’t there.

“This was very confusing to me for the longest time,” said Schulwitz. “How could this happen? Lawmakers are not the type that are just going to make a mistake like this.”

So as his nature, he kept digging. He found that US Code 6295(i) was amended by Section 322(b) of EISA 2007, which struck out the first paragraph of section 325(i) of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, or 42 USC 6995(i), and inserted a new paragraph which does not in fact regulate maximum wattage requirements.

“The very bill that passed wattage requirements, just a page or two later, repeals it,” noted Schulwitz. “They contradicted themselves, and since you can’t have a contradiction in law, the later section erased the contradiction and erased the maximum wattage regulations.”

Schulwitz said after he published his findings on Wikipedia, he believes some law makers noticed, because shortly after, a news article ran which claimed the ban had been overturned.

“But they never really corrected it,” Schulwitz said. “They just took away the funding to enforce the decision… You have a compartmentalized government structure where one end passes the bill that clearly says something, but another part has to compile coherent US code that can’t contradict itself and has to make all the pieces add up all while following the letter of the law.”

While he doubts his discovery will change anything, he still thinks it’s an interesting oversight and said he can’t help but wonder what other types of oversights exist.

How can it not change anything when the regulation cancels itself out??

Just like the EU lightbulb regulation is invalid due to not fulfilling its own requirements.

That is two major federations enforcing regulations that are invalid!

UN Mercury Treaty Phases Out CFLs!

Now CFLs are included on the list of items to be phased out by 2020 due to mercury content!

Wow! Isn’t that rather remarkable for a lamp which all the world has heralded as greener than green? What does Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Project Porchlight and all the other pro-CFL-activists have to say about this?

Rik Gheysens has just made an excellent summary of the whole conference and all that was agreed upon in the treaty: UNEP and CFLs

He also describes the 50 million US$ UN-en.lighten Project that I’ve mentioned earlier, in which Philips & Osram will get paid to flood developing countries with toxic CFLs for another 7 years! (As I hardly think they’re going to hand out free LEDs…) How about some PET solar or LED gravity lamps to replace kerosene, which is one of the stated objectives of the Project? As long as it’s with something truly green and not with toxic CFLs, I’m all for it. But I’m not for replacing safe incandescent lamps with toxic CFLs.

Don’t buy any more CFLs! 

Buy halogen lamps instead and wait for LEDs get better (the LEDs sold now are mostly a ripoff, for which you get very little light of very mediocre quality and untested life span).

CFLs for private use should be banned with no delay.

If incandescent lamps could be banned much quicker than that for no good reason at all, why not make a more decisive effort to get the toxic lamps off the market a s a p?

And the incandescent ban should be lifted immediately, as the incandescent bulb is by far the safest & most environmentally friendly lamp ever made! 

Update Feb 19th: Unfortunately, it seems that the UN treaty limits are set at 5 mg mercury, so that most CFLs will slip through the net anyway:

The wording is not final yet however the draft of the convention recently signed by 140 UN countries proposes a complete ban on manufacture, import and export lamps containing more than 5mg of Mercury from 2020.

International Mercury Convention Picks Wrong Lighting Target

😦

GravityLight!

Gravity light can replace kerosene lamps

Here is a copy of the of the original article by the inventors. Please visit the website for video presentation and more information.

GravityLight: lighting for developing countries

GravityLight is a revolutionary new approach to storing energy and creating illumination. It takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight which powers GravityLight, creating 30 minutes of light on its descent. For free.

Following the initial inspiration of using gravity, and years of perspiration, we have refined the design and it is now ready for production. We need your help to fund the tooling, manufacture and distribution of at least 1000 gravity powered lights. We will gift them to villagers in both Africa and India to use regularly. The follow-up research will tell us how well the lights met their needs, and enable us to refine the design for a more efficient MK2 version. Once we have proved the design, we will be looking to link with NGOs and partners to distribute it as widely as possible. When mass produced the target cost for this light is less than $5.

Why GravityLight?

Did you know that there are currently over 1.5 billion people in the World who have no reliable access to mains electricity? These people rely, instead, on biomass fuels (mostly kerosene) for lighting once the sun goes down.

Lift the weight and let gravity do the rest.

Lift the weight and let gravity do the rest.

The World Bank estimates that, as a result, 780 million women and children inhale smoke which is equivalent to smoking 2 packets of cigarettes every day. 60% of adult, female lung-cancer victims in developing nations are non-smokers. The fumes also cause eye infections and cataracts, but burning kerosene is also more immediately dangerous: 2.5 million people a year, in India alone, suffer severe burns from overturned kerosene lamps. Burning Kerosene also comes with a financial burden: kerosene for lighting ALONE can consume 10 to 20% of a household’s income. This burden traps people in a permanent state of subsistence living, buying cupfuls of fuel for their daily needs, as and when they can.

The burning of Kerosene for lighting also produces 244 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide annually.

Our final prototype with ballast bag and bits. 

GravityLight vs Solar powered lighting.

A commonly held view is that solar powered lighting is the answer to these problems in the developing world. However a number of conflicting factors combine to complicate matters. Solar panels produce electricity only when the sun shines, so the energy needs to be stored in a battery to produce the light when it becomes dark. The amount of energy stored is dependant on the size of the panel, the size of the battery, and how much (if any) sun has shone.

However batteries, panels and lights are expensive, and beyond the reach of people with no savings. Solar lighting projects continue to provide lighting for thousands of people in the developing world, but the spread is slow because the cost is too high for individuals, so they need to be bought and installed by communities instead.

LED bulbs do not attract mosquitos like conventional bulbs.

Lower cost self-contained lamps are becoming more widely available, but batteries are the weak link, because they are expensive and deteriorate through use and over time. Very often, when buying a low cost solar lamp with an inbuilt rechargeable battery, a full third of what you’re paying for is the battery, and you will need to replace it every few years. Assuming you can get a new battery… The capacity is often reduced to save money which limits the use time, after which there is no light.

With GravityLight, however, it only takes a few seconds to lift the weight, which creates enough energy for half an an hour of light, whenever it is needed. It has no batteries to run out, replace or dispose of. It is completely clean and green.

Because there are no running costs after the initial low cost purchase, it has the potential to lift people out of poverty, allowing them to use the money they have saved to buy more powerful solar lighting systems in the future.

Credentials

We are Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves, London based designers who have spent 4 years developing GravityLight as an off-line project. We work fortherefore.com, which has over 20 years of experience in designing and developing hand held computing and communication products for a host of pioneers including Psion, Toshiba, NEC, TomTom, Inmarsat, ICO, Sepura, Racal Acoustics, Voller Energy, FreePlay and SolarAid.

We’re using a tried and tested manufacturer who has the right expertise to make GravityLight. We have some links to partner organisations in Africa and need to do the same for India. If you’re part of an organisation and would like to get involved then please contact us. We are particularly looking for contacts in South America.

Visit our skunk-works website here www.deciwatt.org.

Our movie soundtrack kindly created by Belinda from the bush the tree and me.

Check out John Keane’s great Solar For Africa blog.

CFL Fire Risk?

Happened to stumble upon this entertainingly written blog article, about a very serious issue:

Build a home, work on it day and night, stick a Walmart CFL in it and burn it down

“We are in the finishing stages of a way too long project of building our own home and everything is up to current code or better and has been inspected by the county. So yesterday morning when we smelled what seemed to be an electrical fire we started to do some fast investigating. We went to the breaker panel first then the outlets and switch locations in the dinning room where the smell was the strongest. I then went outside to check the crawlspace vents to see if something was on fire under the house, and nothing.

“So looking up I could see one of the CFL bulbs was no longer lit in a ceiling light and we could see a hint of smoke coming out of it. We flipped the light off and got our tall ladder out. Normally CFL’s are cool enough to unscrew even after they’ve been on for a while. Not this Chinese hunks of shit, it was hot as hell and was developing a zit in the transformer housing of the bulb. If it had been left unchecked there’s a pretty good chance it would have caught on fire. So a word to the wise IF YOU BOUGHT ANY GREAT VALUE CFL BULBS TAKE THEM BACK!”

“I’m really starting to believe that the Chinese are doing this on purpose, what a better way to fight a war than to have you enemy buy the weapons of mass destruction from you, and use them on themselves.”

The CFL ‘zit’ 

A CFL in recessed can starting to burn

A CFL in recessed can starting to burn

So, would the house really have caught fire or was this just the normal way for the CFL to expire?

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (which welcomes product safety complaints) reports on 124 000 recalled CFLs due to fire hazard. And another case of 158 000 3-way CFLs.

CFL burn-out

CFL burn-out (image via Mail Online)

The Consumer Reports 2011 article, Bulbs pose fire hazard reports on another recall for the same reason:

“More than 300,000 compact fluorescent lightbulbs from Telstar Products have been recalled because they can overheat and possibly cause a fire, according to the company and federal authorities.”

And gives an explanation as to how this may happen:

“When a CFL can no longer light, its electronics still try to turn on the bulb, which could eventually overheat and cause the smoke and discoloration.”

However, government agencies and pro-CFL activists such as Project Porchlight, try to reassure us that this is no cause for concern, that actual fires started are rare, and that the foul smoke from dying CFLs is perfectly normal for this product:

It is normal for some CFL bulbs to smoke a little and even show signs of melted plastic on the ballast (the plastic base of the lamp) at the end of their lives. When CFL bulbs burn out, heat builds up in the ballast and the lamp’s safety feature kicks in: the Voltage Dependent Resistor (VDR) – an electronic component that cuts the circuit (like a circuit breaker).

I’m sure it’s not very healthy breathing in fumes from a smoldering or smoking CFL, even if it doesn’t catch fire!!

To minimise CFL fire risk, this is what the San Fransisco Fire Department advices:

The first and most important recommendation from the San Francisco Fire Marshal regarding any product with a
potential fire hazard is to read the instructions for installation, limitations and warnings that are provided with the
product.

Other important safety information (sometimes printed on the bulb itself) related to CFLs that, if overlooked, can
translate into a fire hazard are outlined below:

• CFLs should not be used in track, recessed or inverted fixtures
• CFLs should not be used with a dimmer switch unless clearly marked otherwise
• CFLs should not be used in place of a 3-way bulb, unless clearly marked otherwise
• CFLs being used outdoors must be enclosed
• CFLs should not be used in emergency exit fixtures or lights

I’d also recommend replacing CFLs before they burn out (literally) by themselves, something which you need to do anyway as they tend to get so much dimmer over time.

Do a little test and remove a CFL you’ve had for more than a year (if it has lasted that long) and put in an equivalent incandescent (like the one that you had there before) or a halogen energy saver just to compare the brightness and light quality. You may be surprised!

And never leave any CFLs (or halogen lamps) burning when you’re not home.

Swedish Consumer Tests Autumn 2012

There were two major Swedish tests made during fall 2012. Råd & Rön and Testfakta. The former is issued by Sweden’s leading consumer organisation, Sveriges Konsumenter, and the latter is a privately owned consumer testing company supplying independent testing of consumer products for major newspapers in Scandinavia.

Råd & Rön

Compact Fluorescent Lamps

I won’t bother making translated tables of the CFL data as they still have the same inherent problems as reported from earlier tests, so nothing new there. Instead I’ll let a translation of the CFL part of the Råd & Rön article summarise their test results:

The quality is more varying among the fluorescent lamps than in LEDs. Our test shows that there are many bad CFLs. Durability is a sensitive subject. Sure, only some lamps had gone out after 2000 hours. (We tested five samples of each lamp.) But many of the poorer quality fluorescent bulbs cannot withstand many on-and-off cycles. Philips Softone 20W can handle just a little over 5 000 on-and-off cycles. Manufacturers indicate lifetimes of 6 000 to 12 000 hours, resulting in a life expectancy of 10 years. This is hardly true for the worst lamps in the test. Sylvania Mini-Lynx Fast Start is a really bad lamp. As all lamps had gone out before 2 000 hours, we could not do the remaining tests.

Not for outdoor lighting

The fluorescent lamps have been on the market for a long time. Many have complained that they take time before reaching full brightness, and this is still the case. This is particularly true in low temperatures. There is a clear disadvantage if you want them in outdoor lighting, or for example in bathrooms and closets where you are anxious to reach full brightness quickly. Philips Softone Candle 8W for example, reached only 2 percent of its light output after 10 seconds when it was lit at plus 5 degrees and 1 percent of its light output at minus 10 degrees [Celcius]. The fluorescent lamps have also consistently slightly worse color accuracy than the old bulbs.

Well, lo and behold! This is the first time Råd & Rön have totally dissed the precious CFLs, even though these problems have been found in every one of their previous tests, and usually a lot worse too – as CFL quality has improved slightly over the last few years compared with the really really bad earlier specimens – which previous Råd & Rön articles have still insisted were mostly great, despite their own test results showing a different story.

So why this sudden change of tune? Ah, because now there is a new, even more politically correct lamp on the market, which makes manufacturers even more billions.

LED bulbs

From September 1st 2012, incandescent bulbs are no longer manufactured in the EU. They are very inefficient, only 10 percent of the energy becomes light, the rest is heat. They have been phased over several years and now the last models are gone.

Interesting that a supposedly independent and neutral consumer test article feels a need to insert the PR line about the alleged – but disproven – energy inefficiency of the now banned incandescent lamp. They don’t seem to realise that this is the equivalent of adding that one of the soda pops in a test “gives you wings” or “because your’re worth it!” when testing face creams.

And then the unabashed PR for their new pet lamp, the LED, just goes on and on:

Now even the LED are entering the market in a big way. They are even more durable and efficient than the fluorescent lamps. Previously, there has not really been models adapted for the fixtures we have in our homes. LEDs have also been very expensive. Now, there are LED lamps in a form that fits into standard fixtures. The prices are also coming down, LED – lights in our test cost from SEK 400 down to 100 each.

Oh hooray! Aren’t we lucky now that we can get a 400 lumen bulb (less than the equivalent of a 40W incandescent) for ‘only’ 10 to 40 €! Old bulbs were 5 SEK (half a euro) and gave a much better light. The lamp industry must be laughing their socks off all the way to the bank: “There’s one born every minute.”

Said to last for 25 years

LEDs are incredibly durable. We have in this test so far let them burn for 2000 hours, and only one copy of all the lights (we tested five samples of each lamp) went out during that time. Since previous tests, we know that LED bulbs can burn longer than that, 5,000 hours. We will let them burn as long this time and will be back with updates of the results. Manufacturers usually specify lifetimes for LED lamps of 15 000 – 25 000 hours, that is, a life expectancy of 15-25 years. There are values ​​that we obviously have not been able to verify.

So, how can Råd & Rön state as a fact that they are “incredibly durable”? Sounds more like a “probably the best lamp in the world” slogan to me. And why not actually test them for the full stated life? Or at least half? Then we would see how little light comes out of them by then, and how durable they really are.

LEDs are also very effective. They consume less energy than fluorescent lamps and much less than halogen lamps. Not to mention the old incandescent light bulbs – an LED bulb uses 80 percent less energy than an old bulb.

For this to be true, they would have to give 5 times more light per lumen than an incandescent, and consistently over time. From their own numbers I get a mean of 4.6 initially and this will decrease over time. Taking the heat replacement effect into account, this number should be cut in half. IKEA, Philips and other lamp producers often claim as much as 85% more effective to make it sound more worthwhile buying these hilariously expensive lamps instead of the CFLs that have now become less profitable.

Lights up at once

LEDs provide plenty of light as soon as you turn the switch, unlike fluorescent lamps. Another advantage is that LED lamps also work well at cold temperatures, the lamps actually work even better then. And even at cold temperatures, the tested bulbs light up immediately. Suitable for outdoor lighting in other words.

Well, not all of them: the Verbatim lamp took longer to light up, according to test data. But yes, LEDs are often a better choice for outdoor fixtures than CFLs in countries with cold winters.

One disadvantage is that the LEDs can have a well cold, almost bluish white light. They also reproduces colors slightly worse than halogen and incandescent bulbs.

But technology advances and the number of lights in the test have received a warmer light, and also a better color reproduction. Osram LED Parathom ClasA60, Ikea Conductors 8, 1W and Philips Led MyVision have received the best results for color among LEDs.

Yes, they are getting better. But they will still never be able to reach the same light quality as incandescent and halogen incandescent lamps because the light is still a composite light, from a mixture of phosphors trying to emulate the real thing.

If in doubt, ask to see how the LED lights in the store before you buy it.

This piece of advice is only partially helpful since the store is not dark. It helps you weed out the clearly blue-white, green-white or violet-white lamps. But as can be seen in my previous LED reviews, a warm-white lamp can look great in the shop. But then when you switch it on at home you’ll find that the colour is a bit off, that it produces a duller ambiance and generally doesn’t feel as good as more natural light sources such as sunlight and incandescent lamps.

Here are the test data put into my own table for easier comparison with old incandescent lamps (click to enlarge):

R&R 2012b LED

I will also add a copy to the Consumer Tests LED page to keep them all together.

Halogen bulbs

The Råd & Rön article continues:

Halogen lamps, on the other hand, have good colour properties. They reproduce colors accurately, just like the old bulbs did. They are also considerably less expensive than both LED lamps and fluorescent lamps, and cost SEK 15-30 each. But they are far less energy efficient and have a shorter lifespan. Ikea 70W Halogen was the only lamp in our tests where all samples still burned after 2000 hours. This means a life of about two years and more promises nor manufacturers.

The table actually shows quite poor results for all the tested halogen lamps. All top quality when it comes to colour rendition and light quality, of course – except one IKEA lamp which also had a higher colour temperature, so they must have done something to it. But quantity-wise, these halogen energy savers appear only marginally more effective than the original equivalent incandescent lamps.

When this happens year after year, despite the fact that it is quite possible to produce halogen lamps with both higher efficacy and durability, I’m starting to suspect that this is by design so as to help these last incandescent-family low-profit lamps out of the market when up for review by the EU Commission in 2014. This is not acceptable!

2012b Halogen

Testfakta

LED bulbs

This test doesn’t measure durability over time but some other interesting features such as flicker and how the light spreads. It also adds an incandescent lamp for reference. Translation of the test article [emphases added]:

Testfakta have investigated eight omnidirectional LED bulbs and compared them with their glowing predecessor. The lamps test correspond to about a 40-watt incandescent bulb in brightness and color temperature.

– One major difference lies in how LEDs spread the light. But what surprised me most was the time it took to light a couple of lamps, and some gave excessive flicker, says Håkan Skoogh, test manager at the Swedish Technical Research Testing.

Together with fluorescent lamps, LED technology is the incandescent-replacing alternative that provides the greatest energy savings.

The Testfakta test also shows that LEDs provide between five and seven times as much light per watt as incandescent lamp. While it differs as much as 30 percent between the most efficient lamp from Jula and the least efficient from Ikea.

– In this context, Ikea’s energy efficiency is on the low side. On the other hand, it has the good color rendering and these things usually go together – if you want good color, you often get poorer efficiency, says Håkan Skoogh.

But it is possible to have both high efficiency and high color rendering. It shows the overall test winner V-Light from Clas Ohlson, which is also among the least expensive lamps in the test. V-Light is the only lamp that comes close to the incandescent bulb’s ability to reproduce colors. Osram, Megaman and Cosna on the other hand, fall just below the limit of what is recommended for home environments.

– Unfortunately, this is a problem that we have to live with for a while in terms of LED technology. If you want the perfect color in the bathroom or above the hall mirror, for example, to see how the clothes match, you may unfortunately put up a halogen lamp instead, says Håkan Skoogh.

Another challenge for the LED industry is that the light from small LEDs is so directional. It is ideal for spotlights, but worse when you want to replace the incandescent bulb’s omni-directional effect. Laboratory measurements clearly show how most of the LEDs spread the light at an angle forward and not so much to the sides.

– If you have for example a decorative lamp with a side shade, then you want some of the light to come through it. But with lamps such as the Osram lamp, a large part of the light rather goes straight up to the ceiling.

The exception among the tested lamps is Connect from Jula. Here, the manufacturer uses another technology with a light guide that leads the light from the diodes and outward.

– It works quite well even if the light ahead will be somewhat weaker than in the bulb, says Håkan Skoogh.

There may also be advantages to different types of light scattering. Forward-facing light is preferable, for example, a desk lamp.

– It would be best if the producers had a light distribution curve on the package so that you as a consumer can see which bulb fits best.

The laboratory also examined how much flicker the lamps produce. Research suggests that flicker from screens and lamps can have adverse medical effects such as fatigue and stress. It was found that the lamps from Jula and Cosna flickered unnecessarily much.

– It shows very clearly and is not good. Flicker has primarily been a problem in old fluorescent and should not be in the LED lights. It must be about poor construction, says Håkan Skoogh.

Another thing that should not have to occur with LED technology is long ignition times. And yet the lamps from Osram and Star Trading clearly react slower later the rest.

– It is unnecessary and distracting, says Håkan Skoogh.

2012 LED Testfakta

Link to Testfakta test table

Article: Billig lampa ger bäst belysning

 

Darkness darkness

Happy New Year, everyone!

Hope your holidays have been good, with lots of love and beautiful lighting.

This post I’d like to dedicate to another, often forgotten, quality when discussing light: darkness. It seems fitting now during the darkest time of the year in my part of the world.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the summertime and have no wish to go back to living in a medieval darkness with only candles and fire light to read, socialise, travel and work by during the dark part of the day and year.

But our modern world has become almost insanely bright, at all hours of the day. Every last corner must be harshly and evenly illuminated with often cool bright light. We’re living in an era of literal enlightenment, and not all for the better. No room anymore for feeling, romance, mystery, subtlety or imagination.

And not so healthy either. Besides disrupting circadian rhythms in humans indoors, outdoor light pollution from over-illumination and poor beam control is also becoming a growing problem, not just for astronomers but for wild life as well: Ecological light pollution [Thanks to Peter Stenzel for the link.]

And is it not possible that some of us could work or learn just as well, or even better, in less over-illuminated classrooms, offices etc? Especially when sitting down, there is in my opinion no need for the whole room to be so extremely bright, as long as one’s desk or workspace has enough light. With computers, a bright ambience is even counter-productive. This is how offices could look, not just home offices like this one – and it wouldn’t cost more either!

Home office with halogen spots (image from: http://www.organize-utah.com)

Home office with halogen spots
(image from: http://www.organize-utah.com)

And why does public transportation need to be as harshly lit when one is just sitting there trying to relax to and from work, shopping or some social event, and not needing overly bright light to see every dandruff one’s your fellow passenger? A real mood-killer, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be nice if your local public transportation was lit more like this old gem?

Sprague first class (image from: http://www.discoverfrance.net)

Sprague-Thomson train for Paris Métro, first class
(image from: http://www.discoverfrance.net)

And if the stations were more like the magical Grand Central Station in New York?

Grand Centeral Station(image from: http://www.jazzhostels.com)

Grand Centeral Station, New York
(image from: http://www.jazzhostels.com)

Unfortunately, the abundance of mediocre quality lighting follows a historical pattern. In earlier centuries, light was the luxury. A quality commodity like silk or gold. But with the arrival of cheaper, poorer quality gas discharge lamps and fluorescent tubes, suddenly it was possible to flood the general public in bright light at all hours of the day, just like we have been flooded with high quantity but low quality of many other things, from junk food and polyester to cheap reality shows.

As I may have mentioned earlier, there are very clear rules and recommendations for lighting designers to use more quantity than quality for workers and cheap stores, and more quality than quantity for executives, high end boutiques, exclusive hotels, museums, spas, first class train cars, tourist buses, air planes etc, with more harsh, bright, flat and glaring fluorescent light for the former group and more dim, varied, warm, directional, and incandescent lighting for the latter.

Spa lobby, Bankok(image from: http://www.searchthai.net)

Spa lobby, Bankok
(image from: http://www.searchthai.net)

So, darkness, shadow and dimmer or more varied lighting has now become a scarcity, a rare luxury good like silence. Something the affluent few are made to pay premium prices for. But don’t we all actually need darkness just as much as we need light? Can we truly enjoy one without the contrast of the other?

I’ll let Jesse Colin Young & The Youngbloods end this little tribute to shadow and darkness:

CFL Mercury – Watch Your Feet!

I just stumbled on this link with the story of a man who dropped a too hot CFL globe lamp and could not avoid stepping on the mercury-contaminated glass as he stepped off the chair.

This “smaller than a ball point pen” amont of mercury, which CFL proponents try to dismiss as negligible and totally harmless, rotted away the man’s foot down to the bare bone!

(Warning! Very graphic pictures in the link so open at your own risk!)

Energy Saver Globe – Mercury Exposure

This could happen to you or your children or pets if a CFL was knocked over or dropped and accidentally stepped on.

Update 2014: It may have been the phosphor powder from the inside of the CFL tube which caused the foot to rot, as phosphor stops the blood from coagualting and the would from healing, in combination with the toxic mercury.

The Fluorescent Lighting System

New Philips-Apple LED Innovation

This new Philips RGB bulb can be set to almost any colour, just like other RGB lamps. But instead of a separate remote control, this one is controlled by an iPhone or iPad app, wich makes it a lot more flexible.

Specs given are: 8.5 watts, 600 lumens (equivalent of 50 watt incandescent) and not compatible with existing dimmers – although it seems that lamp brightness can be controlled via the app.

Here is a demonstration from Philips (the spoken text is in English so don’t be put off by the Swedish header):

It’s not available in my country (yet?) so I can’t review it (I also don’t have an iPhone or iPad and it won’t work on my Macbook or Android) so here is another video review instead:

The Apple store website has more reviews.

I’m glad to see new creative ideas being applied to LED technology, making use of what it does best: create coloured light, instead of trying to imitate incandescent lamps – which any non-incandescent light technology is predestined to fail at since you cannot reproduce the quality (glow, feel and colour rendition) of fire-based light without it containing the element of fire.

But very cool that light temperature can be set (and pre-set) to perfectly suit one’s mood and various activity levels during the day. How precisely that works in real life, and how well those settings reproduce existing colours, I’d like to see for myself, but I like the idea so far.

EDIT: Oh, now I saw that this “smart-lamp” was already invented by LIFX and launched in September. The presentation on kickstarter.com and the video on LIFX website shows the exact same features but also working with Android. Seems Philips ripped off the idea and made it an Apple exclusive. That’s not very creative.

And here was me starting to warm to Philips a bit. Ah well… 

Coloured LED Review 2

6W IKEA ‘Dioder’ RGB Lighting Strips

IKEA Dioder (photo: IKEA)

Info: 6W, 90 lumen, 20 000 hour life rate. Strips join together into either one long strip or at angles, e.g. around a small mirror.

Price: About €30.

Colour: All colours, easily picked with control panel. Can be set to monochrome, alternating or fading seamlessly through the spectrum.

Impression: Great product! Very flexible design. More decorative than for illumination but it worked perfectly for the purpose I bought it for, which was to give a soft coloured light from under the basin cabinet while brushing teeth at night (as my bathroom lamps are not dimmable and I can’t stand bright light right into my eyes just before bedtime). So then I use the red setting, which is the darkest and the least melatonin-suppressing.

Red light (photo: Halogenica)

When I have guests or just want a change, I can use other colours and make my bathroom look really festive and colourful with just a click on the control panel.

Green (photo: Halogenica)

Blue (photo: Halogenica)

Violet (photo: Halogenica)

Cool-white (photo: Halogenica)

Love it! Unlike the gloomy excuses for ‘warm-white’ LEDs at IKEA, the varying colours on this one really cheers one up! If I had kids, I’d make a magic room for them with several of these.

I do have my doubts about it lasting for 20 years, but let me get back on that one…😉

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