Tech Update: Two New Philips LED Replacement Lightbulbs Shine
DEFINITELY GO INTO THE LIGHT
Finally good looking, dimmable LED replacement bulbs for your home.
For several years I’ve been testing and discarding the “new” LED standard lightbulb replacements for home use.
They would tell you they replaced a standard 60 watt bulb on the package, heralding just a few watts of power usage.
But once you screwed the bulb into your home fixture, you found there were two key things left out of the details:
1.) They put out the lumens (brightness) equivalent of a 25 or 40 watt bulb, at best.
2.) Your room now had the ambience of a “Night of the Living Dead” sequel, bathed in a ghostly, pale white light.
Holiday light versions, some commercial versions and the widely pervasive flashlights improved much faster than the standard home lightbulb replacements.
But recently I found two LED replacement bulbs for the home that really shine for what they were designed to do.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised, especially since the price of entry, though not yet “cheap,” has started to fall.
Philips has been at the technology forefront when it comes to LED development, so it didn’t surprise me that they recently came through with at least two really exciting LED products.
Video Feature: US Department of Energy L-Prize Process
The Philips A19 (standard lightbulb size) specifically model #12E26A60 Dimmable AmbientLED 12.5-Watt A19 Light Bulb, was designed to stealthfully replace your standard incandescent 60 watt lightbulbs with the same 800 lumen light output as your current incandescent 60 watt bulbs.
Philips claims this model will last 22.8 years, using their calculated use of 3 hrs. per day, seven days a week. Both this bulb and the next one we talk about are also Mercury free.
This radically new energy efficient design won Philips the first L Prize in the nation, a competition created in 2008 as part of the new U.S. Department of Energy regulations.
The L Prize competition was designed to rapidly drive manufacturers to invent the replacement for the common light bulb. It’s working, but only Philips was able to meet their design criteria for this first prize.
To see the video about how rigorously this new design was tested, you can click on the Video Feature link above and check it out.
But here’s the really cool part. If you’ve bought other LED replacements, you probably noticed each type had a different color of light and none looked like the other 60 watt bulbs you had in the room.
This bulb was specifically designed to not only duplicate the same brightness output of a standard incandescent bulb, but to also have the same warm color.
In my tests, I had three standard 60 watt incandescent lightbulbs in a row. I then replaced only the middle one to see how it compared.
The light color was virtually identical! Other than the Philips actually being just slightly more pure in the light it emitted.
Previously, you had to replace all the bulbs in the area at the same time or live with a patch work of different colored lights within the same room.
No longer. If you’re using standard 60 watt bulbs now, you can upgrade them one at a time with this bulb and retain the light color landscape throughout the transition.
This bulb also looks like no other lightbulb you’ve ever seen. It’s a genuine piece of engineering magic.
The yellow lenses turn “white” when they are lit, but are also part of the secret behind matching the slightly yellow warmth of a standard incandescent.
This light is also dimmable to a reasonable degree, significantly more than any “dimmable” CFL (compact florescent) you’ve ever tried. Most of those dropped 20% in brightness and then shut off.
One important thing to know about dimmable LED’s is that they can be sensitive to electronic dimmers. Our research discovered that matched to some dimmers, the LED light will flash on and off trying to stabilize its voltage.
Some people reported having trouble with specific Lutron “smart” dimmers displaying this effect. A few had substituted an Insteon smart dimmer and that solved the problem.
Others said when they changed to a standard slider switch (dumb) dimmer (like pictured below), the problem often went away and it operated normally.
Since we all tend to have a mix of switches throughout our homes, you’ll have to try it yourself to know.
But if you have a dimming issue with either of these superior bulbs, here’s a link to Philips Dimmer Compatibility Chart, so you can solve it with a dimmer they have already tested to work.
Since this bulb might work longer than you live in the home, changing a dimmer to never change a lightbulb again is probably worth it.
In my tests, the (dumb) type of dimmer worked fine and would dim the bulb smoothly to about 40% brightness and then stop there as its minimum. But unlike certain smart dimmers or CFL bulbs, it did not shut off.
I also have a number of “smart home” switches and tested that type of dimmer with these LED’s.
This Philips A19 AmbientLED dimmed successfully alone and with a second LED bulb in a two light ceiling circuit tied to this one smart dimmer. It dimmed to about 40% and then the dimmer shut the two lights off. There was no flashing.
The only thing you may notice, regardless of the wall switch, is an instant of delay from the time you flick the switch and when the light comes on at full brightness.
I experienced this, as did others we found in our research. But it’s only a moment, mostly when the bulb is starting from cold. The bulb is so good for its purpose, it’s easily accepted.
If you want a genuine replacement for a standard 60 watt bulb, with a 6 year warranty, that betters it in almost every way, this breakthrough Philips A 19 AmbientLED is an excellent incandescent bulb replacement for indoor lighting.
It uses only 12.5 watts, has 800 lumens output, a predicted 22.8 year lifespan, reasonably nice dimming and a color that plays really well with other old fashion bulbs.
(remember, that’s the bulb light color you likely used to choose the colors on your walls).
The second bulb replacement I mentioned is a flood light, a Par 30L,often used in recessed lighting. This bulb is also for indoor use only.
When it come to pure, clear, natural looking light, my personal opinion is
delivers the most beautiful down light of any LED bulb I’ve experienced.
When it shines down on glass objects, granite counter tops and fabrics, the light is soft and clear. It makes colors come alive, but still look warm and natural.
Although this model emits only 630 lumens of brightness, the pleasantness and clarity of the light is so enjoyable, I found it wonderful to work beneath for hours (and I do). It also has a nicely defined pattern and zero harshness.
However, as much as I love its light, dimming this bulb with a “smart” (electronically regulated) dimmer when you have more than one of this bulb on the same dimmer, may sometimes display a problem, depending upon the type of dimmer you have.
(Refer to the Philips Dimmer Compatibility Chart link I’ve included for a list of the dimmers Phillips has certified work well with their LED lights of each type.)
With only one of these bulbs in the circuit, my smart dimmer would evenly dim the bulb to about 40% brightness and then the dimmer would shut it off.
But, when I paired two of these LED Par 30 flood lights in the same circuit and tried to dim them, they began flashing like a disco, except when the dimmer was at full brightness.
Our research uncovered that some who experienced this flashing issue using one type of Lutron “smart” (electronically regulated) dimmer, did not experience it when they substituted an Insteon “smart” dimmer or a one of the Philips Tested dimmers, some which are also made by Lutron.
When I put two of these Par 30 LED bulbs in a circuit with a “dumb” Lutron dimmer (one that uses a mechanical on / off switch with the slide dimmer mounted next to the switch), they dimmed evenly down to about 40% brightness and remained lit.
The exceptionally beautiful light of this Philips 12W PAR30L Soft White; Dimmable – Model #41028 /12PAR30L, is something you should experience.
Philips claims this model will last 15 years, using the same 3 hrs. per day, 7 days a week calculation.
To top it off, Philips back up both bulbs with a 6 year replacement warranty.
Click on the links below to get the current discounted price online through Amazon.
And that’s the latest on two great looking LED’s. Clear evidence that this technology is becoming a genuine low energy, high quality option for lighting our homes with both efficiency and elegance.
I’ll be posting a video for you to see these bulbs in action under the “Tips and Tricks” menu.
Now back to finding more GreatStuffThatWorks!
FYI-1: You’ll notice that most LED replacement bulbs have ribs or heat sinks surrounding them in some way. This is because, unlike the standard light bulb that can handle much higher heat (think Easy Bake Oven), this LED bulb type has electronics that need to stay cooler.
Be sure to install any indoor LED replacement bulb Only In Open Ended Fixtures, ie. recessed lighting, lamps. open top or bottom sconces.
Closed covers without ventilation around these bulbs will trap excess heat and significantly shorten their life.
FYI-2: Manufactures all create a code to identify each type of bulb.
Here’s how Philips codes their bulbs so you can decipher if you are getting the type of bulb you really wanted:
First, on the package there will be a bar code with a number under it. Philips products are coded 46677 to indicate it is a Philips product.
The second group of numbers, (40990 for the 60w replaccment or 41028 for the flood) indicate the specific model of bulb.
Odd as it seems, where Philips says “Model#” on the package is not actually the specific model number, but a code to tell them what the key attributes of the bulb are.
We cross referenced both with Philips to be sure that what we linked you to at Amazon is the exact same bulb.
Under the Model#, is an “Ordering Code” that provides more detail about the bulb, but unless you know how to decipher the code, it won’t help you much.
So, here is the code breaking information to help.
Example: their “Ordering Code” for the LED flood I discussed above says this:
In English this means: It uses 12 watts, has a standard bulb shape of PAR30, “L” indicates is has a long neck on the bulb, AMB indicates it is in their family of Ambient branded bulbs, FL indicates it is a Flood Light design, 25 is the degrees of spread pattern the light will create from the point of origin, and 12ov is 120 volts.
For the 60 watt bulb replacement above, the “Ordering Code “on the package says:
BC12A19/AMB/2700-800 120v which translates to:
BC indicates Blister Card packaging, 12 is the number of watts consumed, A19 is the shape, AMB indicates the Ambient line, 2700 is the color temperature (the color of light it emits), 800 is the number of lumens it produces and 12v indicates it is a 120 volt bulb.
Now you can really impress your friends……….. Cheers, PG