Cree raises its game, lowers prices with 4Flow bulb

Since I posted my Friday night topic and then a blog post about LED light bulbs, I've been quietly waiting for another chance to try out something new and interesting on the lighting front. I figured that chance would come with the introduction of the Finally Bulb, but that company's name is proving to be unintentionally uncomfortable. I'm now told they'll have samples ready next month.

Meanwhile, the folks Cree are making news today with the introduction of a new, cheaper consumer LED bulb. The firm's existing 60W replacement bulbs were already my favorites, and this new bulb further refines the formula. Have a look at, yes, our review sample:

As you can see, this puppy is shaped pretty much exactly like an Edison-style A19 light bulb. Cree has eliminated the external heatsink and replaced it with what the firm calls a 4Flow Filament Design. Without the heavy, bulky external heatsink, this LED bulb is shockingly lightweight—under two ounces—and costs quite a bit less to produce. As a result, the price for the 60W-equivalent bulbs is just $8.97, a dollar less than Cree's current 60W-equivalent offering.

Cree plans to offer 4Flow bulbs in 40W- and 60W-equivalent types, with a choice of "soft white" 2700K and "daylight" 5000K color temperatures. The new bulbs will be sold exclusively through The Home Depot, and they will add to Cree's lineup rather than replacing any existing products. Like other Cree LED bulbs, the 4Flow models are instant-on, compatible with dimmers, and rated for ridiculously long lifetimes.

One obvious competitive target for the 4Flow is Philips' nifty heatsink-free SlimStyle LED bulbs. The SlimStyle 60W equivalent sells for $8.97 at The Home Depot, and right now, my local power company is apparently subsidizing these bulbs in a deal that brings their price down to $5.97 in local stores. The SlimStyle offers excellent illumination that's almost indistinguishable from the Cree's. Its only major drawback is a funky, flat shape that may be a little wider than some fixtures will permit. The 4Flow matches the SlimStyle's base price and offers a more conventional shape.

Cree has managed to eliminate the need for a metal heatsink at the base of the bulb by combining several measures. Most obvious is the venting at the top and bottom of the plastic shroud covering the LEDs. Inside, the 4Flow bulb is divided into four chambers by the reflective metal substrates on which the LEDs are mounted. Each chamber contains two LEDs, for a total of eight in each bulb. The heat generated by the LEDs causes air to circulate, and the bulb is then cooled by convection.

Older Cree bulbs have 10 LEDs inside. Cree says it was able to reduce the LED count in the 4Flow thanks to its new Extreme High Power LEDs.

All of the LEDs inside the bulb are situated on the same plane, so the 4Flow retains the filament-like look familiar from Cree's earlier products. One could easily mistake it for an incandescent upon casual inspection. The 4Flow layout, however, eliminates the dark spot at the top of the bulb. Despite this dark area, the older Cree bulbs cast light in all directions pretty effectively, but I suspect some folks will consider the 4Flow an aesthetic improvement.

One downside of the new design is slightly higher power consumption: 11W versus 9.5W for Cree's earlier 60W equivalent. I got the chance to talk with Mike Watson, Cree's VP of Product Strategy, about the 4Flow, and I asked him about the added power draw. He said that the new bulb draws more power in part because of the different thermal process; it's driving the LEDs harder. He pointed out that the energy cost difference between the two bulbs over their lifetimes works out to about $4—$139 versus $135. Cree saw this tradeoff as acceptable so long as it could lower the price of entry without compromising light quality. He also noted that the 40W-equivalent version of the 4Flow has the same 6W power rating as its predecessor.

The 4Flow's open venting could make it susceptible to some problems that other LEDs wouldn't face, including damage from moisture and bugs. Watson told me the 4Flow isn't rated for use in damp settings, although it could go into outdoor fixtures that provide enough protection. As for bugs, Watson pointed out that the 4Flow's mostly indoor usage model should help stave off some problems. He also explained that LEDs do not emit light in the UV spectrum, so they don't tend to attract bugs like incandescents do. That's really interesting and somewhat reassuring, but I'll have to make it through a few Missouri summers with 4Flows in our indoor lamps before I'm entirely persuaded. I figure we're bound to have a cricket or spider fricassee itself on one of those LEDs eventually.

That worry aside, the Cree 4Flow looks to be the most compelling candidate yet to prompt a house-wide conversion from inefficient incandescents or nasty-looking CFLs. The extent to which it mimics the look and feel of a conventional light bulb is unprecedented. Before talking to Watson, I hadn't realized that Cree bulbs could be used in enclosed fixtures, but they can. The 4Flow's packaging warns only against combining LEDs with CFLs or incandescents in the same fixture. That fact opens up a new front at my house. I reckon having that knowledge will cost me some multiple of $8.97.

The one question Watson couldn't answer directly was whether Cree plans to introduce a TrueWhite version of the 4Flow. Thanks to a neodymium coating that reduces the yellow bias in the light produced by LEDs, Cree's TW Series bulbs produce the best color rendering I've seen this side of an incandescent. I'd flip out over an inexpensive TW Series bulb. Of course, Watson couldn't comment on unannounced products. He did say that Cree is committed to having TW Series bulbs available and that if a TrueWhite version of the 4Flow makes sense, "we'll do it." I suppose time will tell.

Comments closed
    • just brew it!
    • 5 years ago

    Wish Cree would come out with some small-base clear globe LED bulbs. The only decent looking ones seem to be the Utiltech ones at Lowes, and those apparently have a reputation for overheating and catching fire.

    • just brew it!
    • 5 years ago

    So… were LED bulb makers just so hung up on making their bulbs look like… a [i<]bulb[/i<] that they didn't think to put vents in them prior to this? If these are good for enclosed fixtures, I'm sold. And yeah, I agree with #32, the existing Crees actually say not to use them in enclosed fixtures on the packaging.

    • Flying Fox
    • 5 years ago

    I am a light bulb noob I suppose. I did get into CFLs fairly early in the game, not just for the energy savings, but for the purported longevity aspect of it (I have a room where the light get switched on or off many times during the day).

    Is this a lumens issue when I found that the 60W equivalent were not “bright enough” compared to incandescents and I had to buy the 100W equivalent (only 23W, so it is still ok) to put in the same socket instead to be “brighter”?

    Are LEDs “brighter” with their equivalency ratings? Or I should check other numbers like lumens and etc.?

      • Damage
      • 5 years ago

      Cree’s 60W equivalents are clearly brighter than any CFL so-called equivalent I’ve seen. They’re even a little brighter than a 60W incandescent. See my Friday night topic link above for more discussion.

    • Waco
    • 5 years ago

    I bought 5 of the 60 Watt 4Flow’s for the chandelier over the kitchen table and I must say they are quite impressive in terms of both output and color quality. Dimmed, they are even better.

    <3 TR. 🙂

    • itachi
    • 5 years ago

    Cool! Techreport taking it to the next level I see :).

    Are these gonna be available in Europe ? I’d be curious to try ..I’ll have to check.

    • sschaem
    • 5 years ago

    As crazy is it may sound, I actually dont mind CFL.
    The biggest downside to CFL is the warm up time and binary nature.

    So the places I use LED is for dim-able fixtures and places that need immediate on/off performance.

    I also found the 9w cree to get really hot, while the CFL dont get hot at all.
    That I will need to investigate. a 9w bulb should ‘burn’ you, so I’m wondering if the one I got are defective.
    They are the 60w model, but seem much brighter then my 60w CFL…

      • albundy
      • 5 years ago

      sounds very normal to me. i’d rather not waste so much money on LED bulbs that are expensive and do not work as advertised. i’ve been buying the homedepot EcoSmart 14W/60W Eq. 800Lumens Daylight (5000K) for over a decade and a half, that’s now at a buck a bulb, and they definitely last the 5 years as listed. this cree bulb costs 8 times more per bulb with miniscule improvement on wattage. supposedly, it lasts 4 times longer…on paper, yet $4 worth of CFL bulbs last as long as one $9 cree LED bulb.

      • epicmadness
      • 5 years ago

      the good thing about CFL is it’s much broader color rendering index, typical LED lights have a narrower color rendering index.

      the down side to CFL though is its fragile, and could leak mercury.

    • Tirk
    • 5 years ago

    I’m glad you mentioned the Phillips bulb, my power company also subsidized them down to 5 bucks (Or is it the same power company, it was about a year and a half ago that I got them …) The light is indistinguishable from an incandescent, is dimmable, and my electricity bill is consistently below $100 ($50-$60 range) even with Air conditioning in the Summer in California.

    Solar City kept pestering me to put up their solar panels until they realized how little energy I consumed. Not that I wouldn’t put up solar panels but, economically speaking it doesn’t make sense for me to rent them from a company. I’ve converted my entire house to LED and pretty much never have to worry about changing out burned out bulbs and light up multiple rooms at the power cost of 1 incandescent.

    I highly recommend an LED to those who haven’t converted and Home Depot often has a light display showing off the different lights so you can compare what temperature of light that you prefer.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 5 years ago

    Because bugs never come inside houses or take refuge in small spaces regardless of UV rays, right? 😉

      • willmore
      • 5 years ago

      Especially when they’re warm and shielded from the weather.

    • Bubster
    • 5 years ago

    Looks like I’m one of a few on a mixture of CLF and incandescent. The main problem is that my house, being an older house doesn’t have enough light sockets to support a large number of lower wattage lower brightness bulbs. Many rooms in my house don’t have lighting at all and I have to rely exclusively on lamps to provide light. Meaning that 60W bulbs simply don’t cut it as they are only about half the brightness as 100W bulbs (~800-900 lumens vs. 1600 lumens) unless I want to buy a ton more lamps and replace the lighting fixtures throughout the house. As I currently cannot find a good 100W LED equivalent without ordering online my options are incandescent and CFL. A lot of the bulbs are also too big for older style lighting fixtures. In my experience CFLs last no longer than a good quality long life incandescent bulb. They dim over time and have problems on dimmer switches (even with the dimmer locked in the maximum position). As CFLs seems to last no longer than incandescent they really don’t save any money and I have to deal with disposal.

    So my solution is to always have the lights off unless someone is in the room.

      • ludi
      • 5 years ago

      The Cree 100W equivalent is expensive, but outputs lots of light. The main downside is that it is physically about the size of a 150W 3-way incandescent, hence doesn’t fit in all fixtures.

    • eoi
    • 5 years ago

    I’ve been very satisfied with CFL’s. I was having to change an incandescent bulb every month or so, and in my apartment it’s not very convenient. Now that I have all CFL’s, I rarely change a bulb.

    The colors seem fine to me. They seem a typical yellowish light, while in the bathroom I wanted white light and found a nice clear white.

    But most of all, I’m 65, and I read somewhere that old people need 5 times as much light as young people. So I tried replacing the two 60W bulbs overhead with 100W equivalent CFL’s, of course much less than 60W in reality, so fine. And I have 3 floor lamps with 300W equivalents. I wish I had 500W equivalents, searching for that “surface of the sun effect”! Really, I like a well lit environment (don’t get me started on the DC metro and restaurants vs. Tokyo or Paris metro and restaurants).

    That said, the LED’s sound like terrific energy savers, and I’ll be looking to get them when they become cheaper. Thanks, Scott, for these articles.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 5 years ago

      Yeah, when I moved into my current rental house three years ago, I went through and replaced all the old bulbs with CFLs. Only one I’ve had to replace has been in a ceiling fan that just seems to kill lights (replaced that one twice).

      Even if it has only saved a few dollars on each bill, that still adds up. The CFL bulbs themselves were about $1 each thanks to rebate from the power company.

      Now I have my first LED light bulb… in the ceiling fan that kills light bulbs, so we’ll see how it goes.

      • Bauxite
      • 5 years ago

      You don’t want to see what that stuff *really* is on the floors and walls of the DC metro, trust me

      • just brew it!
      • 5 years ago

      You’ve been very lucky with the CFLs then. I’ve had so many of them die, some of them with the base (where the electronics is housed) looking discolored/burnt, some even with the glass tubing cracked (mercury vapor… hooray!) that I have sworn off of them. And yes, I’ve been careful not to use the ones that say “not for enclosed fixtures” in enclosed fixtures. Doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, about half of them seem to die within a couple of years, which is nowhere near their rated lifetime.

      Yes, a few (very few!) of the ones I bought close to a decade ago are still in service, but those are in the minority. Quality control seems to be sorely lacking on CFLs.

      I have had much better luck with LEDs. Started switching over to them 2-3 years ago (as the CFLs die I have been replacing them with LEDs), and I think I have had only one of them crap out so far.

    • finally
    • 5 years ago

    Nice review of a lightbulb that focuses solely on the bulb and not at all on the light.

    To date, I’ve yet to see any non-incandescent bulb actually illuminate anything (e.g. a lightbox for a camera) anywhere near as well as a simple 100W incandescent — which is what I buy.

    Also a review of a lightbulb with zero mention of cleanup or destruction — cradle to grave people. An incandescent lightbulb is 99.9% recycleable, and is actually a catalyst to creating new virgin lightbulbs. Alternatively, it produced very little trash, and is non-toxic. CFLs require a hazmat team to cleaup, especially from carpet (read the label). So what of these? How much plastix, toxicity is in them at the end — or, you know, when I drop one?

    So, a review of a technological product with zero mention of anything technical — not the useful light-output, not the ecological impact, not the safety.

    It’s a pretty shape, got it. And bugs don’t care about UV in my house. I find bugs in the dark too, as well as in lights that have never been turned on.

    Thanks for nothing.

      • liquidsquid
      • 5 years ago

      These Crees have plastic, I suppose you could recycle that. Plus thermally conductive PCBs likely made of epoxy and fiberglass. LEDs, phosphorous and epoxy optics, likely some copper and tin. The die itself is tiny. Some circuitry… so not easily recyclable, but recyclable for the most part.

      So nothing like a CFL bulb with mercury .

      Call me when you actually recycle a light bulb and don’t just chuck it in the trash.
      Call me when you invite the hazmat team over for a tiny amount of mercury that will evaporate in a few hours. Leave the dang window open for a bit and problem solved.

      Now add in the incandescent ecological damage of the power source for that unnecessary heat you create in the process of making a little light. Add in the additional energy in the summer to pump that light’s heat out of your house.

      • modulusshift
      • 5 years ago

      These 4Flow lightbulbs are plenty for anything but professional work like you’re doing. I’d advise stopping by a Home Depot or ordering from them online and trying out a TW-series Cree 100W equivalent, just for fun. It’s not covered in glass, it’s some type of rubber that seems like it would bounce before breaking. There’s no hazard even if you did manage to break it, and it will use a fifth of the power of your current bulbs, which is a much smaller impact on the environment than your incandescents, especially since I’d bet they last a lot longer. They are also instant on, unlike CFL’s. A TW-series Cree has a CRI of 93, but the only ones I’ve seen have a white temperature of 2500k or so, but that should be roughly equivalent to a 100W incandescent?

      Edit: Okay, I’m sorry, looking online, the only 100W bulbs they’ve made are 1600 lumens but aren’t part of their TW series, and so only have a CRI of 80. They do have a color temperature of 5000k, though. Here’s a link: [url<]http://www.homedepot.com/p/Cree-100W-Equivalent-Daylight-5000K-A21-Dimmable-LED-Light-Bulb-BA21-16050OMF-12DE26-1U100/205054836[/url<] There's also

    • esc_in_ks
    • 5 years ago

    I overclocked mine to 1,000 lumens, but I did need to tweak the house voltage up to 123V. Seems stable.

    • Yeats
    • 5 years ago

    4Flow?

    Sounds like an herbal remedy for incontinence.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 5 years ago

    Nope. 60w equivalents are more like a reading lamp, not room lighting. I’ve actually been buying some of walmart’s new led bulbs, which are 75/100w equiv. Once walmart beats you to what you should have been selling from the very beginning at affordable prices, it’s over.

    I tried cree once, and decided it wasn’t worth it. The rubberized glass is stupid, as it peeled off in my hands as I installed the bulb. Should have used plastic, and the light isn’t noticeably different from other brands.

    Maybe Cree’s new products are better, but there’s nobody local who sells them. Walmart wins by default.

      • liquidsquid
      • 5 years ago

      Walmart? Seriously? You save a few $$ at the loss of much, least of which is your dignity.

      • UberGerbil
      • 5 years ago

      You have a Walmart but not a Home Depot? I have two Home Depots relatively nearby but I’m not even sure where the nearest Walmart is. It’s not anywhere close, so it must be over a bridge or off deep in the hell-burbs.

    • FireGryphon
    • 5 years ago

    To see some numbers behind the color rendering quality of different kinds of bulbs, check out [url<]http://www.designingwithleds.com/measuring-light-quality-philips-cree-led-bulbs-spectrometer/?PageSpeed=noscript[/url<]

    • Parallax
    • 5 years ago

    Anyone know of a site that reviews LED bulbs and measures flickering as well as sound output? Both of these issues have steered me away from LEDs so far (and most CFLs as well).

      • modulusshift
      • 5 years ago

      Mmgh. I was reading one of those sites the other day, and the guy said that Cree was easily the only brand worth buying. They are the only line of LEDs to be almost silent even on a pulse width dimmer meant for incandescents, and have no discernable flicker in any conditions. Combine that with their rock bottom pricing against anything but the Phillips Slim-Style, and they easily win, especially with the simply superior light quality of the TW series bulbs for a little extra money.

      Found the site: designingwithleds.com
      And their review of the Cree 60W bulb: [url<]http://www.designingwithleds.com/cree-60w-led-replacement-bulb-review-and-tear-down/[/url<] They've also published an article more recently about the entire Cree family.

        • Parallax
        • 5 years ago

        Thanks for the link, but on that page you referenced there’s a link to a review that used an oscilloscope ([url=http://www.ledbenchmark.com/display.php?id=118&name=Cree,+Inc.+9.5W+Dimmable+WW+Globe<]here[/url<]), and it shows 44% modulation at 120Hz for that Cree bulb if I'm reading it correctly. Will definitely look through those sites though.

    • Captain Ned
    • 5 years ago

    Are they rated to run base-up as well, or only base-down?

    • Firestarter
    • 5 years ago

    When I look for LED bulbs like these on Amazon, I find several that don’t seem to have an external heatsink but don’t have any of these ventilation holes either. One of them is a very well reviewed Philips ~800 lumen lamp, with a competitive price. Are these lamps just not as well-suited for more enclosed fixtures then? Would they overheat and/or die faster?

    • Crackhead Johny
    • 5 years ago

    After the Mar (?) write up here I ran out to the Home Depot and bought a bunch. By June 3 of the 6 were dead. My wife took them back to Home Depot and was told we have to deal with Cree about the failures.. Not good.

    Since then it has been ~8 months and all bulbs (original plus the replacements we bought) are a lot dimmer. This in nice as we can run them at full blast rather than half dimmed to avoid burning our eyes out of our sockets. This still suggests that if they somehow manage to last 20 years they will be as dim as candles by then.

    It would be good to have a write up where you revisit all your bulbs and talk about how many died and how much brightness they have lost (I guess there are meters you can buy off Amazon to test this).

    As it is current life expectancies seem to be made up to get people to buy them. Crees are still better then the cheap LEDs I got off Amazon where one died every 2 weeks (almost no thermal paste between the mounting plate and heat sink is most likely what caused the early deaths, from looking at the dead ones I took apart)

    Tip for anyone getting into LED bulbs: write the date on the base of the bulb with an indelible pen when you deploy one, so you know how much life you got out of the bulb when it dies. Also, save your receipts.

      • Welch
      • 5 years ago

      I hear you, I bought some of those same Cree bulbs (60w Equivs) and had one die in the first 2 weeks. Made a post about it in the forums.

      [url<]https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=95144[/url<] Seems to me that Cree with their 60w aren't built to last according to your post. The Feit brand bulbs I bought are all going strong, as are all of the other Cree bulbs so far. None of them show any signs of dimming, failure or anything like that. But the Feit just overall was a better buy SO FAR. Better light, perfectly smooth not like the dark spot on the Crees. The Feit were also roughly $5.50 vs $9 for the Cree, so large difference there. I'm going to keep my eye on these new Cree bulbs to see if they have any issues. The extra wattage isn't HUGE but its disappointing to see it go up instead of down. I guess the next thing will be to lower the wattage even more. I'd love to see 60w equiv get down to something insane like 2w!! Ahaha, that will be the day.

      • modulusshift
      • 5 years ago

      Heh, apparently it’s 20 years of 3 hours a day. I do think that your dimmer might have affected their lifespan a little, which isn’t really a defense for them, I know, but it’s something. At least Cree seems to be honoring their ten year warranty for 80% brightness, as far as I can tell.

      • gamoniac
      • 5 years ago

      Good tip. I will keep that in mind. To add to that, I noticed some store receipts fade to the point of undiscernible. You might want to print out a copy.

      And as far as LED review, I suppose scheduled turning on/off of the bulbs with timer is necessary in order to simulate real usage.

      • Zyphos
      • 5 years ago

      Another anecdote. I bought a mixture of 40W and 60W Crees earlier this year (June?) and one was DOA. Home Depot took it back without issue and let me get a replacement. Since then, all have been fine since. No noticeable dimming, etc.

      • Firestarter
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]save your receipts[/quote<] - Buy them online and save the confirmation email? Seems like less hassle and easier to not forget, although shipping them back is probably more trouble than it's worth

        • Crackhead Johny
        • 5 years ago

        Even with the case like Home Depot telling us to take it up with Cree with bulbs that lasted Mar-June, you still get the cheaper prices locally if local power companies are subsidizing the bulbs. If power companies are not doing that near you then you are just deciding if you want the easier chance at returning them.
        Saving the email confirmation/receipt may not be necessary depending on where you buy them. I can look up every purchase I have ever made at Amazon.

      • Razor512
      • 5 years ago

      The LED lifespan ratings are based on how long it takes them to lose around 60+% of their brightness. The issue is that the way it is measured, is in a lab where there is unlimited heatsinking on the LED, the LED is allowed to run for a fixed amount of time where a degradation curve can be plotted and then an estimate can be made.

      When you buy an LED light like these, they are running at main times the temperature that they ran at under their test condition, and given this design, it is likely running right at the edge of its limits since it is using the PCB as a heatsink, which while it can be done, it will kill the LED’s significantly faster.

      This is why even lower powered with reasonable output flash lights, use a heatsink on the LED. e.g., one from a $5 flash light [url<]https://www.flickr.com/photos/razor512/2460598398/sizes/o/[/url<] LED's use less power and do not run as hot as incandescent lights, but at the same time, they cannot handle much heat, and they have a very low and small temperature range where they can give their rated lifespan (though you may not use all of the life since part way through, you will be at half brightness.

      • localhostrulez
      • 5 years ago

      I have them all over the house (probably 15 of them in total, if not more) – been putting them in for the past year or more. So far, 2 failures, and I both were bulbs I installed more recently.

    • Igor_Kavinski
    • 5 years ago

    Isn’t the blue wavelength in the light emitted by these LED bulbs cause for concern?

    [url<]http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/122-a81/[/url<]

      • MadManOriginal
      • 5 years ago

      It’s a conspiracy by glass-wearing nerds who have UV protection on their lenses to make all the non-glassers go blind.

      • Krogoth
      • 5 years ago

      I doubt it.

      The Sun emits far more damaging EMR to our eyes than a silly LED blub.

    • fade2blac
    • 5 years ago

    I like the attention given to important visual aspects of LED and CFL lighting such as color temperature, CRI, spectrum, and actual lumen output. These really are what will determine if the products can serve as a true incandescent alternative. Simple wattage savings are an easy thing to market, but the subjective experience and quality of the actual light output is something the average consumer can likely only appreciate by actually seeing it in person.

    One missing aspect of the discussion on LED and CFL bulbs thus far is the possible impact on power line noise and power factor. Do these LED bulbs have a high power factor and do they generate negligible electrical noise?

    As a residential customer in the US, we don’t really have to care about power factor, but commercial and industrial customers actually get billed and in some cases penalized for poor power factor. Most cheap CFL’s that I have come across have a pretty abysmal power factor of about 0.5-0.6 (whereas incandescent bulbs are basically just a resistor so they should have a power factor of about 0.99). One can argue for such a small power draw they are not significant enough to alter the net power factor of an entire house. However, power companies can’t be thrilled with millions of homes installing tens of millions of CFL’s. Due to the low power factor, the power companies have to generate about twice the apparent power (VoltAmperes) compared to the real power (Watts) used by CFL’s. This also affects transformers used for power distribution since they need to accommodate the apparent power (VA) quantity not just the real power (W). High power factor CFL’s exist but are hard to find and are likely to be prohibitively expensive and since most people are only billed for Watts there is little incentive to bother.

    Power factor aside, there is also an integrated ballast and chopper circuit inside CFL’s that can inject high frequency (high frequency relative to the 50/60Hz of ideal AC power) electrical noise on the power lines in your home. Even some LED lamps use “dirty” circuits that can be just as bad if not worse. This can cause interference, poor performance, and even audible noise coming from sensitive or poorly isolated equipment. Things like powerline networking and home automation appliances are prime candidates for suffering poor performance and interference as a result of noisy electronics. Add in dimmer switches and a handful or so of cell phone chargers and other switch mode power supplies and you can create quite a chaotic environment in your home’s electrical wiring. These various sources of noise can interact in strange and unexpected ways via resonance or constructive and destructive interference to create issues that are difficult to diagnose. Surge protectors often have some form of EMI filtering which can help contain/block noise but even this has it’s limts.

    X10 and Compact Fluorescent or LED Bulbs
    [url<]http://jvde.us/x10/x10_cfls.htm[/url<] Power Factor & CFLs [url<]http://www.lumicrest.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=9[/url<] Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and powerline networking [url<]http://www.avsforum.com/forum/39-networking-media-servers-content-streaming/1307518-compact-fluorescent-lights-cfls-powerline-networking.html[/url<]

      • modulusshift
      • 5 years ago

      Honestly, I don’t understand half of what you just said. 🙂 But since you seem to be looking for resources, this guy seems to know a lot about this sort of thing, too, and did a teardown and analysis of a bulb from this series, and came away very pleased.
      [url<]http://www.designingwithleds.com/cree-60w-led-replacement-bulb-review-and-tear-down/[/url<]

        • fade2blac
        • 5 years ago

        Thanks for the link. There is definitely some useful and insightful information in their reviews. I also found a link to [url<]http://www.ledbenchmark.com[/url<] in the comments. Between these two sites there is a lot of additional technical info. When did something as simple as replacing light bulbs get so complicated >.< I really hope this is just growing pains for a developing market.

        • continuum
        • 5 years ago

        The Q&A link within that one is actually pretty useful.

        [url<]http://www.designingwithleds.com/cree-expands-led-bulb-line-with-9-5w-br30-flood-light/[/url<] PFC is mentioned, but no mention of it's active or passive PFC. (or might be-- I didn't bother to decode the part numbers mentioned) [url<]http://www.designingwithleds.com/3-way-led-bulb-teardown/[/url<] Shows excellent power factor (0.99 or close) for the 3-way model, someone who wants to look more closely into the controllers used might get an idea of PFC for the others...

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 5 years ago

      Interesting.

    • danny e.
    • 5 years ago

    why do people like yellow light so much? Its lame.
    white light is the way God intended light to be!

    also, bright… every bulb should be bright!

    [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Fluorescent-Spectrum-Photography-Daylight-Balanced/dp/B00CBTWCP4/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1414514453&sr=8-14&keywords=150W+daylight[/url<]

      • w76
      • 5 years ago

      Because we spent many, many millenia evolving as a species with fire as our only supplement to the moon and starlight at night. It’s probably hard-coded in to our genetics at this point, as are so many other things (preferences, senses, aversions) that are less useful in a city.

      • Generic
      • 5 years ago

      What time of day is the light bulb trying to mimic?

      Them Circadian Rhythms

    • Milo Burke
    • 5 years ago

    I’m finally getting interested. Which color is preferable?

      • modulusshift
      • 5 years ago

      2500k is very warm, like present incandescents, 5000k is like sunlight, very neutral, and anything higher is a cool color, each are preferable for different uses. I’d recommend a one-for-one replacement of an incandescent with a 60W equivalent TW-series 2500k Cree bulb from Home Depot. It’ll have a wavy rainbow on the front of the packaging, and probably be marketed as Soft White. This is the best light quality from an LED widely available, though not all that widely since they only have a distribution deal with Home Depot and only honor their very generous warranty when presented with a receipt or some other proof of purchase from there, I hear. Still, should be fun for an experiment. I’m very happy with mine so far.

        • funko
        • 5 years ago

        if you have a multi-bulb fixture (some older ceiling fixtures with 3 bulbs in a circle) i mix in one warm (2500kish bulb) with 2 cool (5000K+-ish) and i like that balance a lot.

    • Shambles
    • 5 years ago

    What’s the lumen rating on these things? The last time I looked at LED bulbs they were way too dim. They couldn’t even keep pace with the light output of an incandescent which is pretty low to begin with. I’m still rocking halogen bulbs in areas where I need good illumination.

      • Damage
      • 5 years ago

      815 lumens. To my eyes, the Cree 60W equivalents appear to be brighter than the incandescent bulbs that I’ve replaced with them.

      • ludi
      • 5 years ago

      Some smaller LED floods have trouble matching the lumen output of an equal halogen but the Cree Type-A bulb and PAR38 outdoor floodlight replacements are incredible, and the BR30 indoor floodlight replacement is pretty good.

    • TheMonkeyKing
    • 5 years ago

    By the way, what is the math used to base the bulb’s lifespan? The website says the normal lifespan of one of these is 22.8 years based on 3 hours per day usage.

    What is the lifespan of the bulb used 6 hours per day, 11.4 years? Or less?

    EDIT: I read elsewhere this bulb has a 3-year warranty and not a 10 year as previously attached to other Cree bulbs.

      • willmore
      • 5 years ago

      Should be pretty linear.

      • tstartrekdude
      • 5 years ago

      Something to note also is that life span of the bulb, if based on the led, is to 80% brightness and not failure like other bulb types. But I would expect that the driver would crap out before the LED itself anyhow.

        • willmore
        • 5 years ago

        Actaully, it’s L70, not L80–which is what other bulbs use, too. Interesting note, Cree–at least on their web site and in their docs is using L90! That’s way better.

        I wish I could find a good whitepaper on their new LEDs. What are they doing with SiC? I thought that as dead a decade or more ago. They’re making transistors with it, too. Interesting….

    • TheMonkeyKing
    • 5 years ago

    Has anyone done a spectrum testing to see how close they get to true white or at least daylight?

    I changed the halogen bulbs on my stovetop hood to close-to true white bulbs. Side by side with halogen, I realized I had soft yellow cast to my food prep while these new ones lights up the whole area without the soft shadows. So while the two new bulbs set me back more dollars than a halogen replacement, these run on less juice and emit much less heat.

    You can order these on the Home Depot site for home or store delivery. A six pack is selling for $49.82 with free shipping so that makes it about $8.30 per bulb.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 5 years ago

    Number one question. Can it be used in enclosed fixtures?

    So many LED bulbs are not that, and many others just don’t say. I’d outfit a whole house with these if only I can get the official word on that.

      • Terra_Nocuus
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Before talking to Watson, I hadn't realized that Cree bulbs could be used in enclosed fixtures, but they can.[/quote<]

        • CuttinHobo
        • 5 years ago

        That’s not the experience I had with Cree 60W LED bulbs from Home Depot. The packaging said no enclosed fixtures -and ignoring that led to a high pitch humming/whining sound. We don’t have many open fixtures, so they’re of little use to us.

        I’m having better luck with Feit LEDs from Costco. Enclosed fixtures aren’t a problem for them, and my wife and I like the color quality.

          • LoneWolf15
          • 5 years ago

          I should add –a number of lamps with heatsinks won’t fit enclosures, like dual-lamp ceiling fixtures or ceiling fans. That was why I was excited about these. It’s not that I need a lightbulb-shaped LED lamp for aesthetics; I need them so that they can fit places in my home where I’d like to save energy but have so far been unable to because the fixtures were designed for something shaped like a traditional incandescent.

          I need to find out if those flat Philips bulbs allow enclosures; those might work.

            • CuttinHobo
            • 5 years ago

            True. I installed a couple of fixtures where these were a tight fit. I wanted to like the flat Phillips bulbs – I have a few other Phillips items I really like, but they exclude enclosed installs.

    • DPete27
    • 5 years ago

    So 1.5 Watt difference is only $4 over the lifetime of a bulb? Yeah….I’ll stick with the 13W (60W equivalent) CFL bulbs I can buy in a [b<]four pack for $1[/b<] at Menards

      • chuckula
      • 5 years ago

      SAVE BIG MONIES AT MENARDS.

      • ozzuneoj
      • 5 years ago

      Agreed. I still have the first CFL I installed myself (7 years ago) and it still works and looks fine to my eyes. I’m sure the standard for home lighting will eventually move to LED since it is slightly more efficient (and more environmentally friendly I think?) but for the time being the cost is far too high for little benefit unless you have very specific needs for lighting.

      • weaktoss
      • 5 years ago

      Over the lifetime over those LED bulbs, to be fair. And that lifetime is significantly (I think at least 2.5x) longer than the lifetime of a CFL.

      The LED probably still wouldn’t recoup the additional cost over your $1 4-pack, but it would be closer than one might think at first.

      • TheMonkeyKing
      • 5 years ago

      I hate CFLs. I’m one of the rare ones that can hear the buzzing and in the winter time, they can take a while to warm up and get to their proper brightness.

        • plonk420
        • 5 years ago

        i hate CFLs because of the mercury i know is in them … and because you JUST KNOW there are quite a few dumbasses out there just throwing them away in the trash

          • w76
          • 5 years ago

          I bet easily 95% of people do.

          My other complaint with CFLs: lifetime. They lasted as long or less than incandescents. I suspect its the power quality (oddly, this happened at 3 different homes in which I tried them), but whatever the reason, my Cree’s have handled the same fixtures in the same homes without complaint.

          Instant on, lifetimes so long I no longer care, less heat, better quality light by almost any measure, much less toxic waste.. Yeah man, maybe I’m just not the target audience, but you can keep those $1 CFLs. 😉

          • flip-mode
          • 5 years ago

          Oh? How are they supposed to be disposed of?

            • tanker27
            • 5 years ago

            [url<]http://www2.epa.gov/cfl[/url<] Everything you wanted to know and more about properly disposing a CFL. Take note as to what to do when a CFL breaks!

            • SomeOtherGeek
            • 5 years ago

            Take them to you local Home Depot and they will happily take care of it for you.

          • Crackhead Johny
          • 5 years ago

          When CFLs were a new technology (priced like the LED bulb of today) I read something on “TEH INTARNETS” that said if you smashed every CFL bulb in existence you would not get as much mercury out of them as you would out of a single medical thermometer.
          The mercury in them seems more like media scare than real threat. I think many of us have rolled a ball of mercury around in our hands and have no ill affects from it.
          Which is worse, the sushi I eat or neighbor kids smashing a few CFLs in the street?

            • modulusshift
            • 5 years ago

            key words: when they were new. There are a lot more CFLs now. And besides, it doesn’t take a medical thermometer’s worth to be a health threat. There’s a reason those are so well sealed.

      • ludi
      • 5 years ago

      …with poor warm-up times, lousy or unavailable dimming performance, shorter lifespans, no rating for enclosed fixtures, mercury content, and an occasional tendency to self-immolate.

      I used CFLs for years but have been getting rid of them as fast as possible now that LEDs are finally an equal competitor.

      • Welch
      • 5 years ago

      Why…. CFL’s suck for so many reasons.

      1.) Dingy color! This isn’t noticable at first but all of the CFLs I’ve had hands on with eventually turn this crappy dingy color.

      2.) Life span. This isn’t in reference to the day they stop working, it has to do with effective light output. They quickly reduce their light output before the end of their rated life. Sometimes its only by a small margin like 20%, other times its as much as 50%!

      3.) Time to warm up. This doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people, but anywhere it cold (garage, ect) you have to let them warm up to be able to see properly. Up here, a garage can easily drop down into the mid 40’s with the door closed. With the garage doors just opening the garage can evacuate all heat and go as low as -20*F really quick making these bulbs take minutes to see anything. Outside up here…. forget about it.

      I’m not going to site the mercury thing as I find that to be a crap excuse. But all around they just aren’t a good long term solution.

        • DPete27
        • 5 years ago

        Yeah I notice the warm up time. Especially in Wisconsin winters. But it doesn’t really “bother” me. In the morning I actually prefer the warm up time to let my eyes wake get used to the light.

    • drfish
    • 5 years ago

    After reading your initial write-up of the Crees I couldn’t wait to outfit the new house with them. I’ve bought about 30 bulbs of varying wattage including some floods, all soft white and dimmable (I installed dimmers for three different locations, make sure to check their compatibility list for best results). They rock! I’m not convinced I would prefer this new design though.

      • ludi
      • 5 years ago

      This new design will install in some fixtures where the original design was just a hair too long.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This