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Thread: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

  1. #1
    Flashaholic Light Sabre's Avatar
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    Rant Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    I bought a bunch of Lights of America 120VAC LED bulbs to replace some of my CFL's. I have had 2 dead ones right out of the package. Have 4 that worked but now won't light at all. 3 others keep getting dimmer and dimmer and I haven't had them very long. Oldest ones maybe 6 months. They're overdriving the LED's more than likely. I have been getting them from Walmart for $6 per bulb. They're the multi 5mm showerhead type.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    I think the title should be.....don't buy LOA at all.


    I can't STAND that company. They are hurting the industry.

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    I'd say the title could be "Don't Buy LED Bulbs". They're an awesome concept, and I know we'll all have them a couple of years from now, but they're not ready for primetime just yet..

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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    I'd say the title could be "Don't Buy LED Bulbs". They're an awesome concept, and I know we'll all have them a couple of years from now, but they're not ready for primetime just yet..
    Or more specifically, LED bulbs that use 3/5/8/10mm LEDs... Some of the bulbs that use HBLEDs are actually worthwhile in some applications..

  5. #5

    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    I have found the 3/5/10 mm bulbs are OK as long as they are under driven and for short periods of time.
    They can go longer when drive like a 5 ma or less.
    Good for nightlights.

    If you want a light that will last longer then get something that uses stars/bins but expect to send more $$$.

    Don't be so concerned with lights that are on for like 5 to 10 mins a day. Change the ones out that on a lot like the living room and kitchen lights.

    Good luck and thanks the the feedback.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    They're an awesome concept, and I know we'll all have them a couple of years from now, but they're not ready for primetime just yet..
    I can agree with that.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    They're an awesome concept, and I know we'll all have them a couple of years from now, but they're not ready for primetime just yet..
    Because companies that are basically nothing more than domestic distributors for Chinese factories (LOA/Walmart) are pumping crap product you conclude LED bulbs aren't ready for mainstream?

    If you've read the other threads, there's also reliability problems with higher end LED bulbs running higher end 1/3 watt LEDs because of the same problem. Basically, poor thermal management and dicey junk chinese current regulators. I'd never buy a 'showerhead' bulb based on 'toy' bin LEDs either, but even these LEDs are capable of MTF specs better than any Incan or CFL on the market.

    This thread title should actually read; "Western consumers want, cheap disposable lighting they can buy in the same aisle as detergent and socks, and if it doesn't work right it's the fault of the technology and not the appetite for faulty electronics made by Asian slave labor".

    As for a few years from now, I hope the LED lights used in your house are powered by a solar panel on your house running a native 12volt and you have trouble getting your HD bigscreen to work.

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    I bought a pair of LOA 120v LED lughts at Sam's Club yesterday, then I saw this thread today. As a friend of mine used to say, weasel see...

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* JohnR66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    My test of a 5mm warm white LED showed significant lumen depreciation after a 30ma 192 hour test. White ones fared much better as you can see below (column 1 are tested, 2 is control group). Are the LEDs in these bulbs warm white?


  10. #10

    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Light Sabre View Post
    I bought a bunch of Lights of America 120VAC LED bulbs to replace some of my CFL's. I have had 2 dead ones right out of the package. Have 4 that worked but now won't light at all. 3 others keep getting dimmer and dimmer and I haven't had them very long. Oldest ones maybe 6 months. They're overdriving the LED's more than likely. I have been getting them from Walmart for $6 per bulb. They're the multi 5mm showerhead type.
    I'm sorry for laughing- I saw a whole bunch of these threads suddenly pop up at FatWallet, here- all over the place. Even a coworker of mine (we discuss LED lighting for work) went out and bought some.

    Thanks for the update on them. I'm staying away from multi-5mm bulbs for a long time.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* snakebite's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    loa=lights of china.
    is there anything in their product line that is made here?
    really doesnt matter as i have never seen anything they sell that lasted.
    pure junk!
    these cheap,junky led and cfl bulbs have already done a lot of damage to the buying public.
    they buy this junk then it fails early or even blows up and stinks up the house.or worse starts a fire.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic Light Sabre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR66 View Post
    My test of a 5mm warm white LED showed significant lumen depreciation after a 30ma 192 hour test. White ones fared much better as you can see below (column 1 are tested, 2 is control group). Are the LEDs in these bulbs warm white?


    No, all mine were the bright white ones.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* JohnR66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Light Sabre View Post
    No, all mine were the bright white ones.
    LoA must be using very poor LEDs or driving the heck out of them. Given LoA, you can be sure their doing both If the bulb gets very warm after runing it a while and it has 5mm LEDs in it, it is a sure sign it will fade.

    It is a shame these cheap-ass companies want to spoil LEDs for future markets by souring the consumer.

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    I've just opened up one of the LOA 120v 3.5w accent lights from Sam's Club. There's a small printed circuit board in the base of the lamp which includes a full wave rectifier circuit, a few capacitors, a 22 ohm 1/2w common resistor and a handful of 100 ohm 1/4w dropping resistors, one for each of the "tiers" of the lamp. There's also a fuse soldered to the board. I've got to give them credit for the full-wave rectifier circuit.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    I'd say the title could be "Don't Buy LED Bulbs". They're an awesome concept, and I know we'll all have them a couple of years from now, but they're not ready for primetime just yet..
    I have two different ones in my house right now and they do serve a purpose. Mostly as small desk lamp type bulbs. Great for something on 24 hours a day.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Right now LED bulbs aren't subject to any sort of independent testing. Therefore, manufacturers can put any claims they want to on the package. As soon as they start to be sold in larger numbers, we'll probably require the same standards as already exist for other types of lighting. That's when we'll see an end to the cheap junk. 5mm LEDs really have no place in fixed lighting applications. Even the best ones dim to 50% in under 10,000 hours. The only way to approach power LED lifetimes of 50,000+ hours is by severely underdriving them (i.e. 3 to 5 mA instead of 20 or more). Most manufacturers tend to do the opposite just to reduce the number of LEDs.

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* JohnR66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonWrangler View Post
    I've just opened up one of the LOA 120v 3.5w accent lights from Sam's Club. There's a small printed circuit board in the base of the lamp which includes a full wave rectifier circuit, a few capacitors, a 22 ohm 1/2w common resistor and a handful of 100 ohm 1/4w dropping resistors, one for each of the "tiers" of the lamp. There's also a fuse soldered to the board. I've got to give them credit for the full-wave rectifier circuit.
    PhotonWrangler, If you would be so kind as to measure (careful - line voltage device) the voltage drop across one of those 100 Ohm series resistors to find the current going through the LEDs, I'd appreciate it.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* EngrPaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by Light Sabre View Post
    Don't buy Lights of America
    I agree 100%

    Don't be fooled by "lasts X years guaranteed".

    If you can find the original packaging and receipt after the 2 months it takes for them to burn out, you discover for what it costs to redeem your warranty you might as well buy another light.

    They got it all figured out.

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR66 View Post
    PhotonWrangler, If you would be so kind as to measure (careful - line voltage device) the voltage drop across one of those 100 Ohm series resistors to find the current going through the LEDs, I'd appreciate it.
    I've just measured 2.25v across the resistor that's in series with the top tier of the lamp, where there are 6 LEDs. That comes out to 22.5ma passing through the series-connected LEDs. This surprises me a little considering the high brightness. Apparently they're not as overdriven as I thought they'd be.
    Last edited by PhotonWrangler; 01-27-2009 at 09:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962 View Post
    Right now LED bulbs aren't subject to any sort of independent testing. Therefore, manufacturers can put any claims they want to on the package. As soon as they start to be sold in larger numbers, we'll probably require the same standards as already exist for other types of lighting. That's when we'll see an end to the cheap junk. 5mm LEDs really have no place in fixed lighting applications. Even the best ones dim to 50% in under 10,000 hours. The only way to approach power LED lifetimes of 50,000+ hours is by severely underdriving them (i.e. 3 to 5 mA instead of 20 or more). Most manufacturers tend to do the opposite just to reduce the number of LEDs.
    Actually there is one group that is doing random testing on LED bulbs... They show efficacy and other data and compare it to the manufacturers ratings.. Needless to say, almost every bulb is overrated.. The only thing I do not like is that they keep the bulbs and manufacturers anonymous.. Here is a snippet of one of their rounds of testing..

    http://www.netl.doe.gov/ssl/PDFs/CPT...t-12-06-06.pdf

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* JohnR66's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonWrangler View Post
    I've just measured 2.25v across the resistor that's in series with the top tier of the lamp, where there are 6 LEDs. That comes out to 22.5ma passing through the series-connected LEDs. This surprises me a little considering the high brightness. Apparently they're not as overdriven as I thought they'd be.
    Thanks for that. I had some cheap ebay LEDs fade on me after a few weeks at 15ma (just checked them last night), so I can see these fading faster in toasty warm cluster like that. Depending on the filtering, they could be peaking at a higher current.

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnR66 View Post
    Thanks for that. I had some cheap ebay LEDs fade on me after a few weeks at 15ma (just checked them last night), so I can see these fading faster in toasty warm cluster like that. Depending on the filtering, they could be peaking at a higher current.
    Good point. There's a single 15uf 200v electrolytic in there and I don't know how well it's filtering out the ripple. If I'm feeling adventurous this weekend I might put a scope on it.

    If I was designing this I would've chosen an electrolytic with a higher breakdown voltage though.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    I am very disappointed in the 40 w equiv. 1.5 Watt LED bulbs I got from Walmart. They put out very little light. More like a 15 watt standard bulb. No where NEAR a 40 watt like they claim.

    First off, they last about a month before going out. Walmart was ok about taking those back since I kept the packing and receipt but the ones that failed after 95 days they wouldn't accept even though the package says if the bulb fails within 2 years take it back to the retailer OR send it back to lights of america. Well, Walmart says the packing can say that but it doesn't fall within their return policy so they won't take them back. If you try to get lights of America to replace them the will charge you in shipping the amount of a new bulb so is that really under warranty if they are ripping you like that? After buying 8 bulbs, 7 are already out. 2 of those failed after only an hours use or less (turning on the light about 3 to 4 times at most). I know LED will be the way to go in the future but right now, they don't put out enough light and don't last very long due to the manufacturing process. Lights of America should be ashamed. They really have a gimmick going with their 2 year return policy. It is far cheaper and better on the environment using standard bulbs until they get this technology down a little better. Bulbs that last a few clicks of the light switch fill up a land fill faster than the 100 year old bulb technology that last 2 or 3 years.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    On the other hand, Walmart near me carries a 120V LED bulb that appears very well engineered. It's the GE LED7PAR20/NFL. It has a very serious heatsink, and uses three XR-Es. Seven watts, 200 lumens, 20 degree beam, 3000K. The sales sheet pdf from GE claims 70% lumen maintainence at 20K hours, and based on the heft of the heatsink, I'd guess that will be accurate. Can't be used with a dimmer.

    It still has terrible efficiency compared to linear fluorescents and high-binned modern emitters. ~30 lumens per watt? I guess it compares favorably to R20 format CFLs at about 35 lumens per watt.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* 2xTrinity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by likeguymontag View Post
    On the other hand, Walmart near me carries a 120V LED bulb that appears very well engineered. It's the GE LED7PAR20/NFL. It has a very serious heatsink, and uses three XR-Es. Seven watts, 200 lumens, 20 degree beam, 3000K. The sales sheet pdf from GE claims 70% lumen maintainence at 20K hours, and based on the heft of the heatsink, I'd guess that will be accurate. Can't be used with a dimmer.

    It still has terrible efficiency compared to linear fluorescents and high-binned modern emitters. ~30 lumens per watt? I guess it compares favorably to R20 format CFLs at about 35 lumens per watt.
    30 lm/W seems too low to be an XR-E. The LEDs might be cree XR, the predecessor to the XR-E. Warm White XR-Es at P4 bin, even after driver and reflector losses, should still be well over 300 lumens when consuming 7 watts.

    The advantage here would be for hard to reach places which are on/off cycled rapidly:

    1) reflector-type fluorescents take close to a minute to "warm up" and their lifespan diminishes with short-cycles
    2) LEDs will still last longer than incans in terms of bulb-life (hopefully), saving the replacement trouble.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by 2xTrinity View Post
    30 lm/W seems too low to be an XR-E. The LEDs might be cree XR, the predecessor to the XR-E. Warm White XR-Es at P4 bin, even after driver and reflector losses, should still be well over 300 lumens when consuming 7 watts.

    The advantage here would be for hard to reach places which are on/off cycled rapidly:

    1) reflector-type fluorescents take close to a minute to "warm up" and their lifespan diminishes with short-cycles
    2) LEDs will still last longer than incans in terms of bulb-life (hopefully), saving the replacement trouble.
    You're right, it may not use XR-Es; that's my mistake for assuming that any Cree led is an XR-E. I can verify that the leds have four bond wires; that may help determine which Cree emitter they are. The PCB with the leds is easily seperable from the ballast, so I should measure the drive current and figure out how much of the 7W is burned in the ballast vs. the leds.

    You're definitely right about the advantages that a good LED bulb could have over fluoro/incan, but while this particular led bulb appears to be a good product, I don't think it's good enough for general purpose use. Specialty only, for the near future.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by likeguymontag View Post
    You're right, it may not use XR-Es; that's my mistake for assuming that any Cree led is an XR-E. I can verify that the leds have four bond wires; that may help determine which Cree emitter they are. The PCB with the leds is easily seperable from the ballast, so I should measure the drive current and figure out how much of the 7W is burned in the ballast vs. the leds.

    You're definitely right about the advantages that a good LED bulb could have over fluoro/incan, but while this particular led bulb appears to be a good product, I don't think it's good enough for general purpose use. Specialty only, for the near future.
    Could you take some pictures? It could help us identify it easier.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by R33E8 View Post
    Could you take some pictures? It could help us identify it easier.

    Here are pictures
    . My camera can't take macro shots any closer, unfortunately, and I think I'll have to find a different photo host if I want to inline pics.

    Edit: this may work, this may not. Works for me, but it might be a dynamic URL.
    Last edited by likeguymontag; 02-05-2009 at 01:01 PM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Thanks for the pictures. It seems like they are indeed Cree LED's.. Maybe the took the actual rating including the driver loss for the power rating and optical loss for the lumen rating. I'm am very happy they don't seem overrated .. I think we need more companies to do their ratings like this.

  30. #30
    Enlightened ledstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Don't buy Lights of America 120V LED Bulbs

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonWrangler View Post
    I've just measured 2.25v across the resistor that's in series with the top tier of the lamp, where there are 6 LEDs. That comes out to 22.5ma passing through the series-connected LEDs. This surprises me a little considering the high brightness. Apparently they're not as overdriven as I thought they'd be.
    Lifetime test for good china 5mm leds white and blue:

    20 mA 200-500 hours
    15 mA 1000 horus+

    You can cut more from these number if the bulb is from wallmart.

    And there is another thing. All high voltage led bulbs made in china (and that menas 95% of those on the market) use a powersupply which is very sensitive to voltage peaks. The degree of sensitivity depends of the parts used and so does the failure rate: between 12-50% in the first 6 months.

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