Miscellaneous Comments on Diverse Topics

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  • Author: Gary Breed
Despite their energy savings, I’m not much of a fan of compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). It’s not that they cost more than good ol’ tungsten bulbs from Thomas Edison’s era, and it’s not that they contain mercury. No, my problem is that the color of the light is harsh. Even models that claim to be “warm” are simply uncomfortable to live with for long periods of time. So I still use the old fashioned bulbs in those parts of our house where we spend most of our time, and relegate the CFLs to closets, basement, garage and other places where the quantity, not quality of light is important. LEDs have more promise, since the color temperature can be tailored to almost any desired range. However, LEDs get their final color by mixing different narrow bandwidth colors, like your TV set gets its colors by mixing different proportions of red, green and blue. Thus, current LED lights have the same overall effect as the “blue glow” of a room lit solely by a TV set. Eventually, I expect LED developers to overcome this problem. Both CFLs and LEDs have high frequency circuitry to make them work—the CFL ballast and the switching power supply or DC-DC converter used in most LED assemblies. I may be able to tell when a problem with a light is causing interference, but I hope they are reliable enough so ordinary consumers don’t experience any mysterious behaviors.