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Thread: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

  1. #1
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    Default Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20.../?tag=mncol;1n

    If I remember correctly, it's only around 30 lumens per watt and outputs close to 600 lumens. Still waiting for LM-79 data to be published.

    Vu1 has recently made some management changes but they are still bleeding cash. I feel they need a big win with this bulb in order to survive.

    Stephen Lebans

  2. #2

    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    I don't think this bulb is going to be a winner for them.... the price is somewhat attractive but unless the color and quality of output rivals other CFL and LED offerings the low lumens/watt isn't going to help sell it at all. I am thinking some of the better halogens probably get close enough to the efficiency of this bulb at about half to 2/3 the price.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    I hope that the Lowes volume sales drops the price some.

    Not all of us are happy with CFL regardless of the cost. And, LED bulbs have a long way to go. Halogens are one of my favorite choices. I will definitely pick up a few VU1 bulbs as they seem to be more efficient to halogen, with the lighting that I'm looking for. There is much to how the light looks in use and how you feel about the light when compared to whether its the most efficient or not.

    I have a dozen par30/r30/br30 bulbs and burn out several a year. 3 are still incan and outlasted a couple of the slow to warm up various brand CFLs. The LED is bright, instant on, and kinda bleachy white and spotty(lucky for a high ceiling which helps mask the spottiness of this so called flood bulb). I think that a 4-pack of VU1 added to the bulb closet would find great replacement usage within a year.

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    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    Interesting. But I wouldn't buy it. It costs more than CFL, and is less efficient. I suppose if you are mercury-phobic it might look good. But I can't see it catching on...
    Jim

  5. #5

    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    Even though I'm not terribly excited about ESL, I'd buy some ... if I had any recessed fixtures (which I do not). 'Suspect the color would be considerably better than most CFL's.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    I own some of the beta bulbs Vu1 first floated through Seattle's Destination Lighting. The light quality is excellent, indistinguishable from an incandescent bulb. They had some quality control problems with their first bulbs with bulbs burning out prematurely, but they have since fixed it and have made a lot of other improvements to the bulb and have inked a manufacturing deal with another manufacturer, a company call Huayi out of China. Huayi is the same company that did the lighting for China's Olympic Stadium, often referred to as the Bird's Nest. Previously, Vu1 was manufacturing their own bulbs at their plant in the Czech Republic.

    I was told that the problem they had with the bulbs burning out had to do with the material they were using to seal the bulb. It was breaking down prematurely due to the heat. That's been fixed. They also claimed to have improved the light quality since the beta bulbs. I liked the quality of light from the beta bulbs just fine, but I'll assume they know what an improvement constitutes. The beta was a very warm color temp of 2800K. The new bulbs are a brighter 3200K with a CRI of >90. They also have the highest Power Factor of any of the new lighting technologies coming in at >.99. This distinction from other lighting technologies actually makes Vu1's bulbs more energy efficient than the lumens to wattage ratio may suggest. 1.0 is a perfect power factor. Anything below that costs utility companies energy. So not only does a lower power factor waste energy, but the cost to the utility company is ultimately passed on to the consumer.

    I'm not a lighting technician, but I was told by the folks at Vu1 that measuring ESL's "brightness" in lumens is as insufficient as measuring LEDs in watts. The new bulbs are rated at 500 lumens. That doesn't sound very bright, but the bulbs that I own were actually brighter than a 65 watt incandescent. (Perhaps the incandescent would have been equally as bright if it, too, was brand new like the ESL I compared them with.) But the ESL was clearly as bright as a 65 watt incandescent. I realize there are different ways of defining "brightness", which is why I stated that I'm not a lighting technician. This same discrepancy may help to explain how an LED bulb rated at 800 lumens is only as bright as a 40 watt incandescent.

    There's a website that has recently been constructed by a couple of guys that might be of interest to some of you. It's a good, informative site about ESL and ways to save energy. One of the guys who built the site posted on another forum I post on stated that they had no affiliation with Vu1, which I believe since the company, Vu1, already has a website, and frankly this website is, well, better: http://www.esl-light.com/

  7. #7

    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    Quote Originally Posted by ginchinchili View Post
    They had some quality control problems with their first bulbs with bulbs burning out prematurely, but they have since fixed it and have made a lot of other improvements to the bulb and have inked a manufacturing deal with another manufacturer, a company call Huayi out of China. Huayi is the same company that did the lighting for China's Olympic Stadium, often referred to as the Bird's Nest. Previously, Vu1 was manufacturing their own bulbs at their plant in the Czech Republic.
    Well there goes some of my motive to support the company - repurposing a CRT plant in Eastern Europe for the manufacture of these things. Yet another win for the Chinese I suppose...

    They also have the highest Power Factor of any of the new lighting technologies coming in at >.99. This distinction from other lighting technologies actually makes Vu1's bulbs more energy efficient than the lumens to wattage ratio may suggest. 1.0 is a perfect power factor. Anything below that costs utility companies energy. So not only does a lower power factor waste energy, but the cost to the utility company is ultimately passed on to the consumer.
    This is true of any non-resistive load. What I've yet to see is any real numbers on what the actual power factor is on CFL and LED bulbs. Whether it is so low as to negate the ~4x efficiency improvement that even cheap CFL's and LED bulbs offer over incandescent has yet to be shown.

    It's my understanding that this technology is based somewhat on CRT's. I find it unlikely that they have achieved such a high power factor since high voltage and high frequency switching are required for regular CRT's - not exactly convenient to keeping your device's power return neatly aligned with the grid's delivery (unless additional power factor correction is built into the unit).

    I'm not a lighting technician, but I was told by the folks at Vu1 that measuring ESL's "brightness" in lumens is as insufficient as measuring LEDs in watts. The new bulbs are rated at 500 lumens. That doesn't sound very bright, but the bulbs that I own were actually brighter than a 65 watt incandescent. (Perhaps the incandescent would have been equally as bright if it, too, was brand new like the ESL I compared them with.) But the ESL was clearly as bright as a 65 watt incandescent. I realize there are different ways of defining "brightness", which is why I stated that I'm not a lighting technician. This same discrepancy may help to explain how an LED bulb rated at 800 lumens is only as bright as a 40 watt incandescent.
    Lumens are one of the better ways of measuring the output of a general-purpose lighting device since the lumen integrates the output of a device over the useful visible spectrum and comes up with a repeatable value. Combine that with other common lighting measurements such as CRI (Color Rendering Index) and CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) and you immediately know a lot about a light source. Take lumens, divide by input wattage, and you get a general measurement of the device's efficiency as a light source in terms of lumens-per-watt.

    Of course, total output is a different measure from intensity in a particular region. If I recall correctly, the simple definition of a lumen is a uniform 1 candella of output over the entirety of a sphere. More technically, a lumen is 1 candella per steradian over a sphere (there being 4*Pi steradians per sphere). So a directional light source producing 12-some-odd candella over a single steradian is the same as an omni-directional one producing a single candella over an entire sphere.

    Intensity is a somewhat useful measurement for highly directional sources since one is typically quite interested in light within specific regions for flashlights, streetlights, outdoor floodlights, vehicle headlights within standardized reflectors, etc. It's less meaningful for general lighting applications where the fixture handles the distribution or the distribution is fairly general. Flashlight manufacturers have certainly used a number of widely varying performance metrics - somewhat useful peak beam candlepower in spotlights (typically inflated by huge factors), vague candlepower ratings for general-purpose flashlights, meaningless radiated power ratings (makes monochromatic undesirable narrow-spectrum or monochromatic light sources seem more efficient), and wildly varying "brightness ratings" with no meaning outside the manufacturer's product lineup.

    Comparing the ESL lights - being designed for recessed usage, which are fairly directional in their output - to an A19 bulb which radiates in a fairly spherical pattern (and loses a great deal of its output within a recessed or flood fixture) isn't a good comparison. Comparing them to any other indoor floodlight with a similar pattern is.

    Every CFL or LED I've seen from a reputable manufacturer that claims to be as bright as an X-watt incandescent has lived up to its promise as best I can tell without photometry equipment to know for sure.

    I can see ESL's have some advantage in the sense that the light is radiated at the surface and (presumably) is almost completely radiated outward away from the phosphor screen, avoiding some of the reflector penalties that incandescent, CFL, and LED floodlights pay.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    So this is apparently a CRT-as-lightbulb. Interesting. I can see two weak points here - the HV power supply necessary to drive the emission and the aging of the phosphors. CRT phosphors burn fairly easily - think about the CRT-based ATMs where you've seen the "Welcome" message burned into the screen. This is probably why they're rating the lifetime of these lamps at 11,000 hours - considerably less than LEDs.

    I'm also wondering about RFI form the power supply. LED household bulbs generate RFI also (at least the regulated ones do) but I suspect there will be more of it emanating from a bulb that contains an integral HV supply.

    I'll still probably pick one up just out of curiosity, and to grab some measurements.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    Quote Originally Posted by slebans View Post
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-20.../?tag=mncol;1n

    If I remember correctly, it's only around 30 lumens per watt and outputs close to 600 lumens. Still waiting for LM-79 data to be published.

    Vu1 has recently made some management changes but they are still bleeding cash. I feel they need a big win with this bulb in order to survive.

    Stephen Lebans
    I checked the VU1 Website today and they have changed the specs for the bulb. Same wattage as before but the output lumens value is reduced from 600 to 500. They must have been forced to post the actual LM-79 value as the bulb will be sold in Lowe's Online store within a couple of weeks. With an efficacy of less than 26 lumens per watt I do not see this bulb selling in mass quantities.

    Stephen Lebans

  10. #10

    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    Quote Originally Posted by slebans View Post
    I checked the VU1 Website today and they have changed the specs for the bulb. Same wattage as before but the output lumens value is reduced from 600 to 500. They must have been forced to post the actual LM-79 value as the bulb will be sold in Lowe's Online store within a couple of weeks. With an efficacy of less than 26 lumens per watt I do not see this bulb selling in mass quantities.

    Stephen Lebans
    The general public's undying love for the incandescent suggests that efficiency is not a strong selling point for most buyers.

    I see the halogen manufacturers making a lot of hay with 40% more efficient than incandescent claims in the near future in the US as the incandescents are moved off the market next year.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    The general public's undying love for the incandescent suggests that efficiency is not a strong selling point for most buyers.

    I see the halogen manufacturers making a lot of hay with 40% more efficient than incandescent claims in the near future in the US as the incandescents are moved off the market next year.
    I completely agree with your statements. I should have simply said that from a cost and efficiency perspective - one might as well stay with Halogen in comparison to the VU1 bulb.

    Stephen Lebans

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Vu1 to sell bulbs at Lowes

    This sort of reminds me of magnetic induction lamps. Maybe not a good fit for the mass market but possibly a niche application for hard to reach areas.

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