17 August 2014

New Lights on the Horizon!

I've already posted this on my facebook page, but I still felt like making a blog post out of it.
About a week back I bought a LED-equivalent of a 10W light-bulb (the type we use as a night lamp). It's just a light-bulb, so what's so exciting about it? Well, consider this: it only consumes 1/20th of the power of the regular one! That's right, its power rating is a meager 0.5W!
The reason for my excitement is that I've waited for the day when LED-based lighting would start to become economically feasible, when we could hope to buy LED light-bulbs for not-too-much money. And the day is upon me, apparently. :-)
Why all the fuss about LED's? Here's why.

These new lights are extremely energy-efficient, as I just mentioned. Even compared to today's popular CFL's, they'll probably cut your electricity usage by atleast half. 
They don't need delicate handling like bulbs and CFL's. The one I bought has a plastic shell instead of glass. It sounds like a large-ish TT ball when tapped with a finger nail. :-) You could probably drop it on hard floor and expect it to work when plugged back in. Try doing that with that CFL you so proudly show off. Mine survived a roll across the tiled floor (I didn't push my luck too far).
They don't get hot even after days of continuous use. My little 0.5W remains cool as if it was never switched on. Removing and putting it back is easy; no need to wear a glove, or wait until it cools down. 
So, all that was from my own experience. There are even more possibilities with them.
LED's, atleast the small ones, can be made to produce any colour. This is done using three coloured LED's in combination: red, green, and blue. The same can be done with bulb replacements, too. I saw ads on TV that say that you can choose any colour you want from you LED room lights. Ofcourse, you can set them to any brighness level you want, too (think amber-coloured mood lighting, or blue or purple. Green, red. Anything that makes you decor 'cooler'). However, as far as I know, such lighting systems are quite expensive as of today. Still, the tech is here!
LED's can work with really low voltages. The power supplies for them are easier to design and cheaper to make than ballasts (choke) for CFLs and tube-lights. Brightness control will probably be much easier with LEDs. They are much 'greener' as compared to any other lights you can buy today! No mercury or such chemicals that go into CFL's. No broken glass either. 

Last but not the least: LEDs last! While your CFL will give it up in a year or so, your LED bulb will continue to shine like new well beyond 10 years. The makers today try to play it safe and claim a life of about 4 years. I've personally seen the small LEDs last much, much more than that, so I'd like to bet on 10 or more. 

All said, there is still a catch: they are expensive. My 0.5W is Rs. 99 compared to the Rs. 16 for a 10W bulb. But they are catching up fast, so I remain optimistic. :-)

Thanks for reading!


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