Light Bulb Debacle

As you saw in this write up a couple weeks ago, I tried to switch out the CFL bulbs in the upstairs hallway with LED bulbs. Well turns out that they are not “plug and play” rather the ballast needs to be removed for the LED lights to work. I called MaxLite and the technician made it sound pretty easy to remove the ballast, so I gave it a try.

It was a friggin’ disaster.

So I’m sending the bulbs back to EnergyAvenue. And I’ll call MaxLite this week and see if they make a true plug and play lightbulb. Otherwise I may just have to revert back to CFL bulbs. Maybe down the road I’ll simply have an electrician change out the three hallway light fixtures and cut my loses.

It took me a half hour to figure out how to take the light and ballast apart. Then when I looked inside there was no way the ballast was ever meant to be unwired. I am not an electrician by any scope of the imagination so I said “F*ck this” and reassembled everything.

I don’t even know what a ballast does.

I’m taking the rest of Sunday off and watching a movie or playing video games.

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The inside of a CFL light fixture ballast.

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Garage Door Opener Bulb

Okay, so this probably isn’t my most exciting written piece, but I’m kinda jazzed I got light bulbs for my garage door openers. We were placing an order on Amazon and I noticed they now offer these great Genie brand garage door opener LED bulbs. I had worked on a project designing several displays for these bulbs and my interest was piqued.

The reason you need a special bulb for your garage door opener is one, they need to be vibration resistant for obvious reasons. And secondly the garage door opener can cause interference with regular LED bulb electronics.

These gems were about $10 apiece and are a 10w bulb (60w equivalent). So they’re not the most efficient bulb but then again how often are the going to be on. They put out an amazing 800 lumens each. They are 3000K, so fairly warm for a garage, and will last 22+ years. The bulbs are also rated for cold weather (it’s 60 degrees in January today so maybe that’s not as much a concern anymore in Ohio), and damp locations, so no worries with their garage environment performance. I believe the bulbs are also smaller than a typical light bulb; I think they are considered A19.

 

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Update on my upstairs hall LED’s: one of the bulbs flickered and went out. I think I need to remove the CFL ballast and direct wire the bulbs. I call the store I bought them from and they referred me to MaxLite. I left a message at MaxLite but haven’t heard from them yet. I may just try and do it myself and use the bulbs I have as opposed to sending them back. I’ll keep you posted (yes, I know, it’s all so thrilling).

G24Q LED Bulbs

[Update: these bulbs didn’t work for my application without removing the ballast, and that was “no bueno” when I tried. Read about it here.]

The upstairs hallway lightbulbs have been burning out, so it was finally time to replace them. I took the opportunity to upgrade the bulbs from compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs to new modern LED bulbs.

The biggest challenge was the light fixture takes four pin G24Q style bulbs, which I’ve never even seen before. So I searched the internet and sure enough there were some options for LED G24Q bulbs. Even just a year or two ago it might have been difficult to find this form factor in LED technology, but now that LED’s are mainstream so to speak, I believe you can find them as a replacement for virtually any bulb you’ll find in your home.

I wanted an LED bulb that matches the warm 2700K glow of the CFL’s (the higher the number the colder or blue the light gets all the way up to 5000K). The LED bulb also needed to work with this CFL light fixture, which means it needs the built in electronics to run without having to modify the fixture’s ballast or wiring. I discovered just what I was looking for at Energy Avenue online.

There are three reasons why I chose LED replacement bulbs versus CFL bulbs. One is CFL’s contain Mercury, so if you break a bulb you have a major problem to clean up. Mercury is a huge health hazard if you inhale, touch or otherwise are exposed to it. Secondly LED’s use less energy. In this case at 8 watts, they use less than half the energy of a CFL. Lastly the LED bulbs will last 20 years compared to around 5 years for the CFL’s which means I don’t have to get up on a chair and change bulbs in this enclosed fixture very often, saving me about an hour of my life.

Switching the bulbs was easy and they provide an equal amount of light and color as the CFL’s did. The LED bulbs I selected are unidirectional which means they cast light down only, not all over like the CFL’s. This does create visual hot spots in the fixtures when they are on, which can be distracting, but in the grand scheme of things I don’t care too much, plus I don’t go upstairs that often. You can get LED’s that shine in all directions, I just didn’t think it would be an issue and I’m too lazy to send them back. The MaxLite bulbs I bought do have a cool swivel action so you can rotate the lens to where you want it. This is helpful because with the G24Q four pin base you can not always plan on which way the bulb will face.

By changing these four bulbs upstairs the number of non-LED bulbs we have falls even further down. Pretty soon we will be 100% LED light bulbs in the house which has always been a dream of mine. This really reduces our electric bill, saving us money and reducing how much our family is polluting the environment.

I’d love to hear if you’ve been trying LED bulbs in your home or office.

Have you discovered any interesting or uncommon LED bulb shapes or applications?

Share in the comments below.

-Chris

 

My 2017 (Home) Would Like To Do List

As the calendar flips over and coming off of a slower couple weeks during the holidays, it’s a great time to establish a mental game plan for the house in the coming year.  The live Christmas tree is planted, and later this year we’ll celebrate our fifth house anniversary in the house. So far everything is holding up splendidly. Here are some of the “roll up my sleeves” projects I envision I can take on next.

Laundry Room

This would be low on my list, but it’s at the top of the spousal unit’s list, so who am I to argue. We need to clean out the laundry room, and get it organized. I’ll make a couple sweater drying “racks” to put in the alcove along with straightening the clothes drying rods. A fresh coat of paint in the room should brighten things up a bit as well.

Basement

There is a lot I need to do in the basement. Much of the tile still needs grouting, and all of the trim needs to be caulked, sealed and painted. These are all dreadful jobs that I have no desire to do myself, but I will have to do regardless of my personal wants or needs. What I would like to do is get the suspended ceiling materials bought and installed. The basement is very dark right now with only a handful of lights and no ceiling. I will be trying my best to make the space more appealing for living, since we have the space we may as well use it. I would like to get a television and some comfortable furniture as well. Create a movie watching, and video game playing space.

Storage Room

Also in the basement, the storage room could use a workbench like structure so the wife can spray glue her artwork, possibly even a spray booth. I’d also like to create some hanging clothes storage as well, for winter coats and bee suits in the off season.

Garage

The garage needs to be cleaned out and organized. What I would like to do is build a “loft” platform over the workshop area for storage. I’m thinking a framework of 2×6 or 2×8 with five quarter deck boards on it. Maybe build in some overhead lighting to illuminate the workshop area below the storage loft.

Beyond that I don’t have any other major projects I can think of that I want to do in the coming year. I figure focusing on a few good projects will be better than trying to do everything at once.

What’s on your home to do list this year? Let me know in the comments.

-Chris