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Thread: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

  1. #1

    Default LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    I only see these for vintage and decorative lighting. General service types are still plastic and metal based, even new ones. Filament general service lamps mostly come in clear. Frosted ones exist but limited availability. Does this mean filament LEDs will only be a niche and never for the mainstream lighting market?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    I suspect that filament LED lamps will always be a niche product primarily for decorative use.
    For more general illumination other designs may be cheaper, of preferred for other reasons.

  3. #3

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    I dunno... These: http://www.greenliteusa.com/en/light...-filament.html
    are pretty nice and big sellers for Ace Hardware here in the Philadelphia area; subsidized by Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) to sell for about $4. Approved for enclosed fixtures, don't get very hot, and have virtually zero electronics (especially no electrolytic capacitor). Size exactly like incandescent A19. Comes in frosted too, though frosting is not necessary for most in-home applications. Not available in 1600 lumens though
    Time will tell.
    Last edited by frank70; 04-04-2018 at 05:11 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by frank70 View Post
    I dunno... These: http://www.greenliteusa.com/en/light...-filament.html
    are pretty nice and big sellers for Ace Hardware here in the Philadelphia area; subsidized by Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO) to sell for about $4. Approved for enclosed fixtures, don't get very hot, and have virtually zero electronics (especially no electrolytic capacitor). Size exactly like incandescent A19. Comes in frosted too, though frosting is not necessary for most in-home applications. Not available in 1600 lumens though
    Time will tell.

    If they truly have no electronics, then they truly flicker in the most wicked way and I would never want them in my house.

  5. #5

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    They do have electronics. Drivers are located in the bases and yes they have caps.

  6. #6

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by broadgage View Post
    I suspect that filament LED lamps will always be a niche product primarily for decorative use.
    For more general illumination other designs may be cheaper, of preferred for other reasons.
    Is plastic cheaper than glass? What about the heat sinks?

  7. #7

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldwesty4ever View Post
    They do have electronics. Drivers are located in the bases and yes they have caps.
    Upon closer examination, I see that you are correct. All incredibly tiny. UL listed (Greenlite sells in US and Canada); made in China.

  8. #8

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    It's hard to say whether filaments or discrete LED's will dominate long term. Filaments seem like they would have more finicky assembly, but the design also lends itself well to light as truly omni-directional as incandescent bulbs.

    They also seem to be capable of very good efficiency. As far as I know, the market leader for efficiency in the A19 style bulbs is currently a Philips filament bulb, drawing 7W at 800 lumens. Home Depot has a house branded model coming very close behind at 7.5W:

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-...1524/301301268

    Also, even if they do only end up being used for decorative bulbs long term, that's not a market failure. Having a niche market is different from failing.

    Quote Originally Posted by frank70 View Post
    Upon closer examination, I see that you are correct. All incredibly tiny. UL listed (Greenlite sells in US and Canada); made in China.
    I suspect before filament bulbs came along, there was not much need to miniaturize the drivers, because there was always a large aluminum heat sink to hide the electronics behind. Having the gas circulating heat to a large glass envelop in filament bulbs changed the consideration, however.

  9. #9
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    'Filament' LED bulbs are absolutely everywhere in my region. They're sold in both 2700K and 2200K versions at the home improvement centers in pretty much every imaginable form factor.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  10. #10

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    I was thinking about this from a different viewpoint, what if it's just manufacturing capacity? I read somewhere that 800 million LED filament lamps were made worldwide last year. That's not even close to the installed base of 4 billion sockets here in the USA. Some Chinese manufacturers are investing in extra capacity to make more of these, even whole new factories are being built. Even some are made in the USA by Sylvania. Thoughts? Maybe it looks bright in the future?

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* The_Driver's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    What is this going to change for you? Just buy what you prefer.

    Theoretically one can use part of the production lines of classic light bulbs to make these LED filament bulbs. It should be very cheap to make them with over 100 years of production streamlining.

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    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldwesty4ever View Post
    I only see these for vintage and decorative lighting.
    Decorative covers a lot of installations. Heck, you can still buy pink flamingos for your yard.

    I like their warmer output, myself, and they certainly look retrofuturistic. Quite a few are dimmable, and for some light fixtures only that traditional 'filament' look will do.

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    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    Beyond the decorative market, I had hoped these might be a potential solution to the problems of many home and office LEDs' (color spectrum related) negative impacts on human health, especially to deterioration in the retina, mood, and circadian (sleep) cycles. I am exploring a few of these (currently the LEDERA brand) as night time low-level indoor light sources. They do have reduced blue and UV content but AFAICT, have none of the desirable near-infrared or Infrared-A in their spectra in spite of their apparent color resembling that of a dimmed tungsten filament.


    I ended all use of the cheap or 'high efficiency' and "High CRI" blue & purple looking LED lamps some years ago. My current daytime and 'bright' task lamps are exclusively GE brand 2700K lamps. They seem to do no harm, but also do not provide the health benefits of highly-dimmed (and thus highly inefficient) incandescents or candle light.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by oldwesty4ever View Post
    LED filament bulbs a market failure?
    I'd like to agree with you, but I actually got some of them for the outside lighting.

    Since they are in open fixtures, the clear bulb with filament looks more decorative. And since they are often left on throughout the night, LED was the most appropriate way to go. I don't think I'd use them inside, however.

    It's also important in these outdoor fixtures that the light gets put out to the sides, and the filament bulbs are cheap and completely omni-directional. Some of the regular LED bulbs that aim most of the light downwards don't look right in these fixtures.
    Last edited by JoakimFlorence; 05-10-2018 at 11:25 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    I have a few in clear glass fixtures for outdoor lighting. They have clear glass globes and are not the kind marketed as vintage-look, which are tinted. I think the lumen ratings on some of them are quite optimistic, but the ones I chose have more "filaments" than typical for the wattage class. I kinda cringe when I go past the houses in the neighborhood that have CFLs or cool white bulbs in clear or open fixtures.

    I also replaced the festoon interior bulbs in my cars with filament LED versions in warm white. They look cheaply made but have held up well.

    They appear just like incandescent festoons behind clear frosted lenses; nobody would ever know the difference.

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIntruder View Post
    I kinda cringe when I go past the houses in the neighborhood that have CFLs or cool white bulbs in clear or open fixtures.
    Neutral and cool colors are becoming more commonplace in outdoor and landscape lighting, like it or not. ~5000K is the norm for pretty much any security lighting on the market nowadays.

    Conversely, I'm going to concede to market forces and replace my ~8 years-running outdoor 4000K homebrew lighting with 3000K so it can match commercially-available path lighting. It's still going to contrast with my neighbor's low-output halogen lighting that's ~2200K.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIntruder View Post
    I also replaced the festoon interior bulbs in my cars with filament LED versions in warm white. They look cheaply made but have held up well.

    They appear just like incandescent festoons behind clear frosted lenses; nobody would ever know the difference.
    Filament festoon bases ... that's a new one. With so many of those behind diffusers / in low-vis overhead reflectors / in otherwise utility applications I'm surprised there's a market.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  17. #17

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    UPDATE: Turns out filament LEDs and classic glass style LED bulbs aren't a market failure! GE is replacing much of its plastic junk with glass classic LED bulbs this year! They're slower in California however, because California requires high CRI and R9 standards and it's not as mass produced in filament types yet, only just enough for decorative and clear types.

  18. #18

    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    Neutral and cool colors are becoming more commonplace in outdoor and landscape lighting, like it or not. ~5000K is the norm for pretty much any security lighting on the market nowadays.
    The incongruity of sticking a big white twisty inside a fancy ornamental/antique fixture for all the world to see is what bugs me. I expect starkness and harshness from more functional fixtures like security lights, but one could argue that aesthetics are a big part of house fixtures.

    Filament festoon bases ... that's a new one. With so many of those behind diffusers / in low-vis overhead reflectors / in otherwise utility applications I'm surprised there's a market.
    To me, they're a natural for the automotive retrofit/replacement market, so I'm surprised they haven't been adopted. Given the poorly-designed and ill-suited efforts to create LED drop-ins for other applications, like headlights and signaling lamps, LED filament festoons for interior lighting are at the opposite end of the scale, and almost perfectly emulate the look and performance of incandescent festoons.

    This isn't the best picture, but an example. Looks natural in warm white, and one can choose whether the brighter "front" side is facing outward or oriented toward the reflector. The "back" side isn't as bright, but it still puts out enough light to illuminate the reflector, as shown.





    Instead, companies like Philips just source some pieces with one or two 5050 emitters from Asia, and call it a day. Osram puts a bit more effort into it, but the output still falls short, and needs to use a diffused tube to evenly distribute the output from whatever emitters it uses.

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIntruder View Post
    The incongruity of sticking a big white twisty inside a fancy ornamental/antique fixture for all the world to see is what bugs me. I expect starkness and harshness from more functional fixtures like security lights, but one could argue that aesthetics are a big part of house fixtures.
    I suspect that we're just going to have to disagree on much of this subject.

    The vast majority of 'ornamental' outdoor fixtures I see have been pressed into the security/safety role. Sometimes they're actually well-considered and tasteful, but some 90% of the time they're from a model home from the late 80s/early 90s - gaudy and dated years before they rolled off the assembly line. Exposed CFLs surely don't look right much anywhere, but from my perspective there's not a lot of aesthetics to wreck with most of these fixtures.

    I've accepted that 5000K might be more than the average person cares for in residential areas (metal halide streetlights are a curious exception), but I feel that aiming for sodium vapor <2200K like I see so many doing is committing the opposite sin, bending "warm and inviting" to a dinginess that just doesn't seem to illuminate no matter how many lumens you throw at the problem.

    But the market is meeting this demand, so perhaps more decorative outdoor fixtures will be sporting filament LEDs rather than CFLs in the future. I just hope they have some sort of filtering so I don't suffer the 120Hz rectified AC flicker that most LED Christmas lights do. Was in a restaurant last night with at least 100 cadelabra filament LEDs with this very 'feature' - thankfully their supporting fixtures were sufficiently overhead that they didn't even enter my peripheral vision unless I looked up.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIntruder View Post
    To me, they're a natural for the automotive retrofit/replacement market, so I'm surprised they haven't been adopted. Given the poorly-designed and ill-suited efforts to create LED drop-ins for other applications, like headlights and signaling lamps, LED filament festoons for interior lighting are at the opposite end of the scale, and almost perfectly emulate the look and performance of incandescent festoons.
    If replicating incandescent look and performance is your thing, then I can see why you like them. I'm not at all enamored with the <2700K CCT that low-wattage automotive lamps put out nor have I found the afterthought reflectors they're often put into of any benefit other than extracting a few more lumens from the backside of the filament's radiation pattern.

    I'm not aware of any drop-in LED headlamps that can meet the exacting technical requirements for the platform - but that surely doesn't stop hucksters from trying. I believe there are now a few drop-in signalling lamps that meet technical requirements but they're both drowning in a sea of subpar trash and the applications are so narrow as to make them a truly marginal proposition.

    With the enduring market preference for higher CCT exterior lighting kicked off by HID headlamps on luxury cars some ~25 years ago, it should come as no surprise that this extends to interior lighting, thus >5000K is incredibly common.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIntruder View Post
    Instead, companies like Philips just source some pieces with one or two 5050 emitters from Asia, and call it a day. Osram puts a bit more effort into it, but the output still falls short, and needs to use a diffused tube to evenly distribute the output from whatever emitters it uses.
    My experience has been quite the opposite with 4- and 6-package lamps be they 5050, 3020, 2835, or 3014. They greatly exceed the performance of the original incandescent filament bulbs while providing a cooler color temperature that just seems to work better in providing utility illumination in a vehicle. The diffusers in my vehicles' fixtures distribute the light to my satisfaction.

    However, with filament LEDs being produced almost-exclusively in warm white and now in festoon format, your demand can be met. I'm OK with this, still just a bit surprised that there's enough larger demand in the marketplace to justify their production.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  20. #20
    Moderator Alaric Darconville's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED filament bulbs a market failure?

    Higher CCTs in outdoor lighting increase sky glow, and that's bad for us and insects (which is bad for us AGAIN). Light pollution can be mitigated with lower-CCT lighting. This is another reason I love those filament-LED bulbs.

    A friend of mine even spraypainted one of them (that was already in the 2200K range) with Dupli-Color MetalCast Yellow, and it's probably the best "bug light" there ever was. (Worst? The CFL "bug lights". I think too much UV gets past their very thing glass tubing.)

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