First, They Came for the Incandescents and Halogens

Now they are coming for the LEDs!. The horrendous premature failure rate of LEDs has recently been pointed out on Scanalyst. When I was originally forced to adopt CFL’s, I wrote the in service date on each of the bulbs - which were supposed to last 10+ years. Ha! Half were dead in less than a year. Very few went for more than 2 years and there are zero still operating.

In light of this and innumerable jackbooted federal intrusions, I find myself asking if the word “choice” has any applicability outside the uterus. Which, of course, leads to the important question of whether there is a hierarchy of privacy/choice between men and women with uteri. Angels, heads of pins anyone?
ADDENDUM: My mistake - they are now banning CFLs. The Pledge of Allegiance is also being amended: …“One nation under bans”.


I hasten to add that I write these posts as to the federal perfection of home lighting, thanks to my home’s automatic standby generator. Due to the general descent of the US to third-world status, the power is out for the second time in 6 days due to the rare occurrence of high winds due to passage of a weather front. A shocking, rare weather event! Who could predict it would routinely cause electric outages in the greatest country on Earth™. Seeing the handwriting on the wall 10 years ago, I had the generator installed, along with a load-shedding transfer switch. My neighbors know they are welcome to come over as guests on my wifi and to charge their devices.


It’s the CFLs they’re banning:

While U.S. households have increasingly switched to LED light bulbs since 2015, fewer than half of households reported using mostly or exclusively LEDs, according to the most recent results from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

Overall, 47% use mostly or only LEDs, 15% use mostly incandescent or halogens, and 12% use mostly or all compact fluorescent (CFL), with another 26% reporting no predominant bulb type, the federal data showed. In December, the DOE introduced separate rules banning CFL bulbs, paving the way for LEDs to be the only legal light bulbs to purchase.

That 47% number means a lot of CFLs burned out long before the alleged lifespan.


Yes, you’re correct. I saw red when I saw it and perception went out the window. Plus I am old and getting stupid-er every day.


CW, you are only getting stupid in an absolute sense. Society is getting stupid faster than you are.

Same with strength. In your twenties assume you could take 25% of twenty-something guys in your demographic in a fight. Now, you have half the strength and need to steady yourself standing up. But, in a world full of male waif models in skinny jeans, you could still take 25% of twenty-somethings otherwise in your demographic


What is remarkable about this is that it is completely unnecessary from an engineering standpoint. LEDs, if operated within their design specification and packaged in a way that can dissipate the heat they generate, can last twenty, thirty, or more years. The short lifetime of mass market LED bulbs is almost always due to:

  • Overdriving, to get more light out of fewer and cheaper diode elements
  • Poor thermal design (inadequate heat sinks, poor thermal conductivity), often compounded by overdriving
  • Failure of cheap driving components
  • Poor quality of diode elements

What make this doubly inane is that overdriving LEDs not only reduces their life (dramatically), but wastes energy, as overdriving converts more of the electrical energy input into heat, not light, negating the supposed energy savings from LEDs.

On the old SCANALYZER I wrote on 2021-01-14 about Philips LED lamps which, at that time, were sold only in Dubai. These lamps use more light emitting elements run at lower current and have a much longer lifetime and better energy efficiency. They also have internal voltage regulation, so they don’t flicker with changes in mains voltage (for example, when your furnace burner kicks on or off).

Here, on 2022-04-22, I posted about “Philips ‘Ultra Efficient’ LED Bulbs”, which had just come onto the market in Europe. They use the same strategy as the Dubai bulbs, but use a cheaper electronic drive circuit without the regulator. They claim to have a lifetime of 45,000 hours and use 60% less electricity than regular LED bulbs of the same light output. So far, I have not seen these for sale in Switzerland.

The whole plague of shoddy LED bulbs makes we wonder if we’re seeing a return to “The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy” in which the Phoebus cartel agreed to reduce the average lifetime of incandescent bulbs to 1000 hours from the 1500 to 2000 hours previously the norm. This stayed in effect from 1935 through 1939 when the outbreak of war broke up the cartel’s operations.


I installed probably three dozen LED bulbs to replace incandescents, and half a dozen LED can lights, over the past ten years. I also paid, a few years ago, to have every fixture in my office and shop replaced with LEDs, a total of 20x 40" shop fixtures and about 15 suspended ceiling indoor fixtures. I’ve had a single failure in my entire history with LEDs.

{ Completely resisted buying any twisty CFLs, so was an early LED adopter. }

But I haven’t bought many in the last five years, as both house and office are fully converted. Deliberate lifespan limiting conspiracies wouldn’t surprise me at all.


You know i like and support well designed LED light fixtures but i don’t like having some unelected beurocrat mandating to everyone what they must use. Next they will be telling us what we can say, read, wear, drive, pray, believe, and you get where I’m going. The free market will lead everyone to the best conclusion for for the individual.

P.S.: I detest the CFL lights. Some of the same issues John W. Identified but even worse.


CFLs are fragile, and have a small amount of mercury in them. Strictly speaking, they are toxic waste and you should not just discard them into the trash.


IIRC, the multi-page insert accompanying the bulb when you buy one included instruction for clearing the room for several hours after breakage, opening windows and generally treating it as though it were plutonium with a very short half-life


Me too. One time my wife was feeding our granddaughter in our family room next to a lamp with a CFL. It went out, smoked and then caught on fire. Happily my wife had a wet diaper at hand and threw it over the bulb extinguishing it.

I asked my electrician how this could happen with circuit breakers. He explained that is is quite possible for electricity to arc without drawing enough amperage to trip the breaker. This led to my installing a new panel with arc-fault detection built in to every breaker. But that is another story. Let’s just say they are sensitive.


I toured Alcatraz a couple of years ago. The original lighting they still have going there is less unpleasant than that put out by those CFLs.