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Fluorescent Phaseout

NeXT

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
8,140
Location
Kamloops, BC, Canada
This one blindsided me. I knew that Japan started to phase it out back in 2015 and was hoping to have the whole country switched over to LED by 2020 (they did not) but I was talking to someone in another forum today and they mentioned I should "get my orders in before next week" because apparently some parts of North America are starting to phase it out as soon as then!
I looked it up and yes, it seems most places by the end of August will no longer allow the sale of or begin to reduce available stock of tubes, ballasts and fixtures until production completely shuts down in a few years. Existing installations will still be allowed to go through the remaining NOS supplies but from then on no new fluorescent installations will be allowed.




But....I like fluorescent.... ;_;
Seriously though, I've been having quality issues with LED replacements from both good brands like Sylvania or GE and the fly-by-night chinese brands. Excluding the edison base bulb replacements that can't handle almost any heat (Except for some of the early Philips bulbs which have massive metal bodies, but they stopped making those years ago) I've been dealing with yellowing diffusers and expensive/unobtanium inverter ballasts along with everyone's favourite of turning a light off for the weekend and it never comes back on Monday. The 2000's CFL screw-ins and instant-start fluorescents were crap but some of those fluorescent ceiling fixtures you just can't kill. You'll put one in the laundry room in '88 and it's only eaten a pair of bulbs in the last 35 years. I probably have enough remaining stock here to last me another 25 years but I honestly was not expecting the rest of the world to push for it to be phased out so fast.
 
I went into my garage the other day and found two LED 4' tubes on the way to the grave. The first had a few LEDs out; the second was completely dark. The odd thing is that there are a total of 4 2-tube fixtures in the garage and both tubes were in the same fixture. I was a bit disappointed.
My dentist recently moved his above-the-chair-of-pain illumination from incandescent to LED. The fixture has two sets of LEDs--one warm-white; the other yellow. I asked about it and he said that you have to be careful with the white light because it has quite a strong near-UV component which can cure the dental goop that he sticks in cavities. So that part of the procedure is done with the yellow LEDs.
 
I kind of hate to say it, but, good riddance.

Back in 2011 or so, which was only a dozen years ago, we had to rebuild the kitchen in the house we bought, and because of the local code requirements we ended up with in-ceiling recessed 4-pin CFL cans with integrated ballasts. (LED lights "existed", barely, at this point, but weren't really baked as a consumer product yet and residential fixtures were *much* more expensive than florescent.) And, straight up, those things were the freaking worst. The bulbs lasted no longer than incandescent bulbs (we were blowing a bulb, I dunno, about every third month or so after the first year, maybe?), ran surprisingly hot, and they had a really nasty habit of breaking when you tried to pull them out of their sockets to replace them.

Anyway, about six years ago I finally lost my temper, went down to the hardware store to buy a new set of LED-native ceiling cans and jumbo box of dimmable inserts to stick in them, and ripped the old cans out and installed the new ones over the course of roughly four anger-fueled hours. (Best part was having to *slightly* enlarge the holes in the ceiling because the hardware stores only stocked 4" and 6" cans while the florescent ones I was ripping out were some oddball 5-inch-ish size... but hey, drywall cuts pretty easily with a steak knife.) All the parts didn't cost much more than a new set of bulbs for the old cans, and I have *zero* regrets. Haven't had to replace any of the inserts yet, they run ice cold... So, yeah, I'm sold, CFLs at least can die in a fire. (Before experiencing these cans I thought the suck with CFL was mostly due to the little ballasts on the Edison replacement versions, but I think these were were *worse*, if that's even possible.)

I'm probably more torn on the 4/8' tubes being phased out, they *can* be nearly immortal, but unless you have a more modern ballast they're also prone to flickering which I'm really prone to getting wigged out by. When it comes to smaller tubes... not so much of a fan there either. I have several LED strip lights sitting on top of fish tanks that replaced fluorescents and I would never go back. While it's definitely true that LED bulbs can be... "inconsistent", to put it mildly, when it comes to quality, when you find good ones that Just Work they're better than anything else out there.
 
... I guess I have to say that recently at least my main "gripe" with LED is actually with the LED replacements for *halogen* bulbs. One of the bathrooms has a fixture that takes those little T4/G9 pin-base halogens, and all the different types of LED substitute I've tried (I think I've gone through at least three) have had severe reliability problems/not aged well. I would guess there's just not enough physical space in those tiny bulbs to implement a decently reliable voltage dropper/rectifier to power such a bright light.

The right thing to do would probably be to throw in the towel and get a native LED fixture. The old halogen one is very... avant garde, but maybe it's time to let it go.
 
I always considered halogen to be a fad that rolled in with the late 80's and hung around to the early 2000's. For yard lighting they were fine but inside they seemed to be incredible fire hazards.
 
I really like how if you're gauche enough to dare get a fingerprint on a halogen bulb when you're installing it just your finger grease might be enough to cause problems.
 
When I redid the kitchen, CFLs were the thing, but I installed incandescent cans anyway. The CFL lamps are history, replaced by LED equivalents that have lasted nearly 10 years so far. No complaints. I still have quite a few ceiling cans for accent lighting with incandescent lamps (75W floods), but we use those so infrequently that they'll probably last longer than we will. I don't like the idea of handling lamps that are 11' off the floor.
 
Well, off to ebay as with most things these days. Can't buy new stuff that actually WORKS any more.

Supposedly there is now also a ban on incandescent light bulbs. Just bought some replacement decorative incandescent bulbs on ebeh for a specific use.

I wouldn't hate LED light bulbs so much if they actually WORKED right.

How about an LED light bulb that doesn't flicker off when I turn my box fan on or off? Not at Wally-World anyway.

How about an LED light bulb that doesn't die after a couple of years because the components on the power board break their solder connections? Of course have to break the thing open to get to that.

How about an LED light bulb that doesn't flicker at 60hz? Some do, some don't. Bizarrly, I've even seen some car LED headlights that seem to flicker at 60hz although that is DC power - how did they manage to F that up?

How about an LED lightbulb that does not put off RF interference? Yea, I have some here that do.

How about LED lightbulbs that don't dim over time? Well, never measured that myself, logically they should not, if done right. But the way these Chinese supposedly over volt and wire them in series, that will happen.

How about an LED lightbulb that does not take half a second to turn on? Yea, I've got one that does that.

And, of course, how about LED lightbulbs that don't burn out my eyeballs, but still produce usable light? Got to be careful about checking the so-called "temperature", and even then when the bulb seems bright, everything around it still seems too dark. (I find it harder to read under LED lights. Well, guess the "fix" for that is that everyone these days is supposed to always read everything from a precious smartphone rather than paper).

There may be some out there that do all those, but not easy to find. No one else seems to care.
 
How about an LED light bulb that doesn't flicker at 60hz? Some do, some don't. Bizarrly, I've even seen some car LED headlights that seem to flicker at 60hz although that is DC power - how did they manage to F that up?

They are multiplexing the individual LEDs. Drives me nuts, esp in tail lights and any in my peripheral vision.
Along with headlights stupidly bright at night. A disturbing number of people have no clue their brights are on at night too
on a city street.
 
A disturbing number of people have no clue their brights are on at night too
on a city street.
Those aren't even the brights - modern headlights are just insanely, eye-piercingly bright even on "low" beams. Drives me up the wall, and I have to wonder at what point the safety merits of better visibility trade off with the problems attendant on blinding oncoming drivers...
 
Apparently, the lifetime of screw-base lamps is governed by the manufacturers over-driving the LEDs. Clive posted a YT video that goes into a special model LED lamp made exclusively for Dubai.
I just purchased a LED replacement from Lowes for my upstairs bathroom fan assembly. The package says it's made by GE and guarantied to last 13 years if only used 3 hours per day. At my age I don't know if I can wait that one out or not.
 
... I guess I have to say that recently at least my main "gripe" with LED is actually with the LED replacements for *halogen* bulbs. One of the bathrooms has a fixture that takes those little T4/G9 pin-base halogens, and all the different types of LED substitute I've tried (I think I've gone through at least three) have had severe reliability problems/not aged well. I would guess there's just not enough physical space in those tiny bulbs to implement a decently reliable voltage dropper/rectifier to power such a bright light.
Some friends had done a halogen to LED replacement for their ceiling lights. Some, not all, replacements showed various issues, including flicker, unreliable turn-on, and low brightness. The cause turned out to be that, in the ceiling space, the voltage downconverters for the halogens had a minimum load requirement, which the LED replacement lamps were not meeting. The problems disappeared after the converters were swapped over to 'LED driver' type converters (12 Vac out, 0 to 50W).
 
Oh rats!
I wonder what all of the schools and offices that use these are gonna do. I've seen so many use the large tube-style CFL lights. I suppose LED replacements will be available, but still.

My basement tech room is lit using two CFL fixtures with two tubes each in fact. They're also due for a replacement, so I should probably get on that while I still can.

To be fair, my current bulbs have been absolute tanks and not given up running since I've been here for the past several years. Just one of the two fixtures is getting dim now, but I'll probably swap all of them out at once.

I also wonder whether this will mean anything for replacing the lamps in old CCFL LCD panels. You can usually still find the right size tubes on AliExpress and the likes for now, but how long is that gonna last? Will those no longer be able to be imported? Hmm...
 
Oh rats!
I wonder what all of the schools and offices that use these are gonna do. I've seen so many use the large tube-style CFL lights. I suppose LED replacements will be available, but still.

My basement tech room is lit using two CFL fixtures with two tubes each in fact. They're also due for a replacement, so I should probably get on that while I still can.

To be fair, my current bulbs have been absolute tanks and not given up running since I've been here for the past several years. Just one of the two fixtures is getting dim now, but I'll probably swap all of them out at once.

I also wonder whether this will mean anything for replacing the lamps in old CCFL LCD panels. You can usually still find the right size tubes on AliExpress and the likes for now, but how long is that gonna last? Will those no longer be able to be imported? Hmm...
I have a florescent fixture our laundry room that's been there since 1990. THE WO
 
I have a florescent fixture in our laundry room that's been there since 1990. The workbench in my garage has one that been there since 1989 but it now flickers badly. The garage also has 4 dual florescent fixtures overhead and they are still bright but when it get real cold they don't come on except in one or two places. I have no problem with florescent lighting and I intend to keep mine as long as I can.
 
My office uses 4 4xF40 fixtures. Half are LED (retrofit) the other half are T8 30W fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts. I've still got most of a carton of the T8s, so I'm in no hurry to convert the last 8 lamps.
 
My basement tech room is lit using two CFL fixtures with two tubes each in fact. They're also due for a replacement, so I should probably get on that while I still can.
Compact fluorescent lamps? They're the worst of the technology. I think the only one I have left is in the front porch light. Standard fluorescent lamps (4' or 8') can last a long time. The way the 4' and 8' lamps wear out is usually because the phoshors dim after awhile.
 
Oh rats!
I wonder what all of the schools and offices that use these are gonna do. I've seen so many use the large tube-style CFL lights. I suppose LED replacements will be available, but still.

The EPA published an article around a decade ago overviewing a replacement plan for fluorescent fixtures in academic institutions, such as elementary and high schools. The major reason they had to write the document in the first place was that many schools were found to still be using fixtures either contaminated with PCB's or were still operating ballasts that pre-date the national ban on PCB's in fluorescent ballasts.
All of the large stores I know in Canada have already rolled out LED refits. Wal-Mart redid the entire store here in town back in 2015 with 4 foot LED replacement tubes and removed all the ballasts. It took them three overnight shifts to complete the work.
 
Most lighting stuff sold here is sourced from China, and the price depends on where you buy it, not the quality.

In my house the led in-ceiling lights seem to start dying at about 3-4 years old, so about 1-2 a year at the moment.

As they usually have several strings of series led's, you may not notice one is a bit dimmer until the other string fails and it goes dark.

The really anoying bit is when replacing one, you can't find a matching unit any more, so I buy a few spares when replacing them, so I they don't all end up different.

The larger led ceiling lights are no better either. The failures in mine were bad led's rather than drivers.
Luckily I have managed to find new ones where the new base took the old cover.

Slow turn on is the delay for the constant current driver to get up to speed, and the universal voltage and low power factor ones seem to be the slowest starting.

I prefer led's to CFL's as they don't slowly get dimmer, and I find the bright white colour improves my vision with aging eyes.
 
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