How to choose a light bulb. Part 2: technical features of light sources

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In the second part of the article, we will try to identify important technical characteristics and functional differences between various bulbs, most often used to implement household lighting. We will consider the issues of saving as a separate item.

Choosing a lamp for lighting

Now on the market there is a huge number of lamps designed to complete an equally extensive range of lighting fixtures. To make the right choice from the available products and buy a light bulb that is ideally suited for specific conditions, you need to clearly formulate the tasks that our artificial lighting should solve. You should also understand the technological features of various light sources. In the first part of the article, we discussed the quality of the luminous flux that is produced by various electrical light sources, now we will determine the characteristics of the bulbs themselves, as complex electrical products.

Let’s put design issues aside and turn to building requirements. Already performing lighting wiring, we need to know some basic data, for example, what type of bulbs will be used in lighting fixtures. This will help you choose the correct wiring diagram (bundle, parallel, sequential), select the optimal conductor cross-section, plan the use of suitable wiring elements (number of keys on the switch, dimmer, pass-through switches). To understand which light bulb is best suited, you have to decide in advance on the operating conditions, the design of walls and ceilings, the type of lamps, the material from which the finishing layers of finishes will be made.

As you can see, many factors are intertwined and closely interconnected, you should know everything at once. If someone thinks that you need to first choose a lamp, and then put the most expensive and fashionable light bulb in it, and this can close the topic – they are seriously mistaken. The algorithm should be different:

  • we determine the required degree of illumination;
  • we consider the issues of color rendering and glow heat;
  • we determine the peculiarities of operation (street / sauna / bathroom / children’s …);
  • we take into account the spatial design of structures (wall / ceiling / floor, hollow / monolith);
  • we determine the finishing materials of the supporting structures (for example, special attention is paid to stretch ceilings);
  • we select a tandem “lamp + lamp”.

10 nuances you need to consider for a light bulb to work long and efficiently

1. Shape of bulbs and dimensions

“Hanging a pear – you can’t eat” – this is no longer relevant, traditional incandescent lamps for economic reasons are becoming a thing of the past. First of all, the geometric characteristics of light sources depend on their power, and already for specific standard sizes of lamps, lamp seats are developed. Now the focus is on minimizing dimensions with increasing brightness, which makes it possible to install lighting devices in tight places (for example, in steps and podiums, furniture voids, narrow arches and niches), to create “starry sky” effects.

Choosing a lamp for lighting

The most diverse are fluorescent lamps. In particular, energy-saving lamps are suitable for the main base (E27, E14, E40) and have the shape of a candle, a pear, a ball, a spiral, several U-shaped arcs, a steering wheel, a tablet. Mercury and sodium lamps are made with a bulb in the form of an ellipse, the latter can have the form of an oblong tube. The familiar fluorescent lamps are long tubes of various thicknesses that are great for indirect lighting in ceiling boxes, but there are also ring configurations of these light sources. Halogen bulbs are quite compact, often in the shape of a “finger” or “stick” (for spotlights), sometimes protected by a cone-shaped bulb. LED bulbs are also quite varied in shape, ranging from a standard bulb to a ring, barrel or long strip. Now they are made with various bases, both threaded and pin, which allows them to be used in almost any luminaire..

The base serves to fix the lamp and acts as a power supply conductor. We will not talk about them separately, we only note that the choice of a light bulb with one or another base depends only on the configuration of the cartridge in the lamp, indirectly on the dimensions of the lamp itself.

2. The shape of the luminous flux

According to this indicator, three types of bulbs can be distinguished:

  • focused, point light
  • directional light
  • wide angle, diffused light

Choosing a lamp for lighting

The nature of the radiation is selected depending on the tasks assigned to the lighting device. It depends on the shape of the lamp and the type of bulb. So foil-clad reflectors and various optical lenses on the bulb focus the light, ribbed diffusers narrow the flow in a certain plane, and all kinds of opaque sprays and filters scatter the glow and transform color parameters..

3. Working voltage of the lamp

220 volt bulbs do not require step-down devices and are ready to be installed out of the box. Low-voltage light sources operating at voltages of 6, 12, 24, 36 volts are gaining more and more popularity. They are more resistant to changes in current parameters in common networks and burn out less often. Also, such sources heat up less, which is especially important for halogen lamps used in small cavities. However, it should be borne in mind that to reduce the voltage, you will need to install a transformer, and with the possibility of its maintenance / replacement (that is, in the cavities). As a rule, transformers are installed near the mounting hole of one of the luminaires; it powers several light sources at once. By the way, LED lamps run on constant current, but the step-down devices can be either built-in or out-of-the-box if you need a miniature light bulb. And yet, in some countries (Canada, USA), the mains voltage differs from ours, but we cannot use their bulbs by mistake, since there the caps use peculiar.

4. The temperature that is emitted by the bulb

Incandescent lamps generate a lot of heat and therefore cannot be used in some conditions. For example, they are not suitable for PVC stretch ceilings. There may also be problems with halogens that are operated in small planes, for example, there are known cases of melting of lamps and wires located in plasterboard structures with insulating materials inside. In such cases, it is worth using low-voltage circuits, or using other light sources, for example, fluorescent. LED lamps also heat up, but special radiators are used to dissipate heat..

Choosing a lamp for lighting

5. Ambient temperature

In this case, we are interested in the resistance of bulbs to frost and high temperatures. Some fluorescent ones do not tolerate low temperatures well and quickly burn out outside in winter, while others can work for years, but do not give the nominal brightness. LED light sources tolerate frost normally, but do not like too high temperatures (for them efficient heat dissipation is a pressing issue), therefore they are not used in rooms such as baths, saunas, drying chambers, etc..

6. Resistant to moisture and dust

Not all paws tolerate high humidity conditions equally well. Many samples of incandescent lamps quickly fail if cold drops fall on the flask, therefore, for example, for a bathroom, it is better to use halogen bulbs sealed in the flask. Halogens are also good for damp rooms in that they are often powered through a transformer and operate at a safe low voltage. Luminescent sources are afraid of moisture, as vapors can oxidize printed circuit boards. There are also restrictions on the use of LEDs. In general, there are special waterproof light sources, even with a filament, in which the abutment of the cap to the bulb is reliably protected, and the bulb itself is made of heavy-duty glass. In any case, you need to pay attention to the IP indicator – for a moderately humid room, products with IP44 marking are suitable, for difficult conditions and streets – IP65 or more.

Regarding dusty rooms, everything is simple – it is better not to use high-tech LED and energy-saving fluorescent light sources without special lamps or in semi-open lamps, since dust can penetrate into the device and make “adjustments” to the operation of electronic elements.

7. Resistance of the bulb to vibration

In industrial and technical premises, in transport, when lighting sports facilities – incandescent lamps do not withstand vibration loads, their weak point is the spiral. But gas-discharge and LED, arc light sources are not so vulnerable. LED products even boast some degree of shock resistance, while competitors can break the bulb. By the way, broken fluorescent lamps are dangerous to health, since these lamps contain a certain amount of mercury, therefore, they need special disposal..

Choosing a lamp for lighting

8. Restriction on the location of the light bulb in space

Most light sources can be installed in any direction – bulb up / down / horizontally. But, for example, metal halide bulbs can be designed for a certain orientation and in the wrong position either do not last long or do not start.

9. Power-on delay, warm-up, flicker

After clicking the button on the switch, the incandescent lamps instantly light up and immediately give out the design amount of light. LEDs also work quickly. But metal halide bulbs and some others from the category of gas-discharge ones need to be warmed up – they first shine dimly, gain full brightness after a certain amount of time. Sometimes this delay is quite long. In addition, the start itself can also be made with a pause – therefore, when buying fluorescent bulbs and checking them in a store, pay attention to this. Another unpleasant property of metal halide lamps is known: after switching off, they must completely cool down within 3-5 minutes, and only then can they be switched on again (therefore, special “step” switches are used with them). Poor-quality fluorescent fluorescent lamps (tubular long bulbs) have their own possible drawbacks – noticeable flickering and noisy ballast operation.

10. Ability to connect control devices

The ability to adjust the parameters of the luminous flux significantly expands the functionality of the bulbs, but not all of them can operate in the power limitation / increase mode or change the color characteristics. The most common control device is a dimmer, which provides less intense and more economical lighting. It works well with incandescent lamps and 220 volt halogens. But, firstly, a special dimmer for an LED lamp is used (here the current flowing through the crystals changes). Secondly, some transformers for lowering the voltage of low voltage halogen bulbs are not compatible with dimmers. Thirdly, there are lamps in which the brightness cannot be adjusted, so this moment needs to be clarified.

Choosing a lamp for lighting

Note that when adjusting the brightness of the LED lamp, the “color” of the glow also changes. Their dimmers can be controlled with a remote control from a distance – a radio signal, an infrared beam. More advanced models of dimmers connect to the Internet (they are called base stations), and we can work with our bulbs through our home Wi-Fi network using any mobile device, for example, iOS or Android. By the way, sometimes smart bulbs (more precisely, smart dimmers) can be configured in flash mode for taking pictures or set an on / off timer for them, sometimes color music functions are available to the user. There are also Bluetooth-controlled smart bulbs.

How economical are the different types of bulbs

Often, different types of light bulbs can be installed in the same lamp, so the question becomes “which of them will be more profitable in operation”. Here you need to take into account several points at once..

Energy efficiency of the honey, its efficiency

That is, what brightness can be obtained for a given power consumption. In this case, LED devices are unconditionally in the lead. In general, the picture looks like this: a hundred-watt incandescent light bulb gives the same amount of light as a 50-watt halogen, 25-watt “housekeeper”, or an LED source that consumes 8 watts.

Choosing a lamp for lighting

Service life of the paw

And again there are LEDs ahead. The indicators are as follows: incandescent lamp – up to 1000 hours, halogen – up to 2000 hours, housekeeper – up to 10,000 hours, LED bulbs – up to 100,000 hours. You need to understand that this is the ideal, estimated operating time of light sources, in practice, operational limitations, or rather non-compliance with them, can quickly disable light bulbs, which, in principle, are declared as durable. Let’s say that too frequent switching on / off of an energy-saving light bulb shortens its service life. And some gas-discharge lamps do not immediately reach the peak of their efficiency (it may take more than a hundred hours), but after working for a certain amount of time, they begin to lose brightness and change color. The service life of many bulbs (in particular incandescent and halogen bulbs) can be increased by using soft starters.

Bulb cost

The most efficient light sources are also the most expensive. An LED lamp from a well-known European manufacturer with a capacity of 10 watts costs from 200-350 rubles (depending on the type of design), a 24-watt “housekeeper” similar in efficiency – 100-150 rubles, a 50-watt halogen with a reflector – just over 50 rubles , a standard incandescent lamp “weaving” – about 20 rubles. As you can see, the price range is large, but in practice it has been proven that LED light sources have the best ratio of “efficiency / durability / price / functionality”.

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