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TCP 25 Watt Equivalent LED Decorative Torpedo Light Bulbs, Small Candelabra Based, 6-Pack, Dimmable Soft White LDCT25W27K6 (light bulb)

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Review of TCP 25 Watt Equivalent LED Decorative Torpedo Light Bulbs, Small Candelabra Based, 6-Pack, Dimmable Soft White LDCT25W27K6 (light bulb), made by Sunlite

(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)

Reviewer:

In the lighting industry's parlance, a "light bulb" is called a "lamp." To most consumers, a lamp is a fixture. Just to be clear, when I refer to "lamp" in this review I mean "light bulb" rather than the fixture that holds the lamp, socket, etc.

I've written about lighting extensively, for electrical trade magazines and a newsletter put out by a major electrical distributor. So keep that in mind when reading this review; it may help you feel more comfortable with what I'm about to tell you. Below this review is an explanation of LED; for most people it is worth the time to read. But it's not specific to this product.

The Amazon product page does a good job of describing this lamp and its features. But as a reviewer, I can provide more information to help you decide if this product is for you. And, yes, I really like it in the application I'm using it in.

This is a lamp for an E12 socket. Most people gloss over that, not understanding what E12 means. It's important to understand, however. The sockets for "light bulbs" come in various sizes, designated with an E. Candelabras typically have E12 sockets, though you may encounter one with an E11 or other size. Adapters do exist, and they don't cost much. The E12 is tiny compared to the classic "light bulb" socket such as those used in your typical residential lighting fixtures (other than candelabras). Chandeliers also may use E12; in fact that is a common size for them.

This matters, because if you buy these lamps for a specific application and find they don't work right for you then you can't just repurpose them to some other application. That is, if you buy them for your chandelier and don't like them there you can't just use them in place of those incandescent lamps in your closets, kitchen, garage door opener, etc. That limitation is not true for "standard size light bulbs" that are LED; if you count how many are in your home, you may be quite surprised. Just buy LEDs and try them, a mistake means just using it somewhere else in your home.

I did, in fact, try these in a chandelier I have. This particular lighting fixture is almost useless. It's mounted very high in a vaulted ceiling in the entryway and has 4 torpedo "bulbs" in it. The existing ones were 40W, and the TCP ones were 25W. A problem, right there. The chandelier's lamps point up, so to get light to where you want it below you're relying on the lower quarter or so of the bulb itself. But with the TCP lamps, that portion is all the base for the LED (where the power supply, etc., are contained). There's no light shining from there.

The real solution in this application is to replace that light fixture with one that make sense. That's on my to do list now. I don't know what idiot picked that fixture when this house was built, but all the homes in this subdivision with this floor plan have that same nearly useless lighting fixture. I could see using it if people were expected to crawl on the ceiling instead of walk on the floor, so maybe I just misunderstood how to use my own home.

Was all lost? Nope. I have another chandelier. It's over my dining room table. It has 5 torpedo lamps arrayed in a circle, and the center of the fixture has a classis "light bulb" socket. Using the 5 TCP around the perimeter and another LED lamp for the center light, I was able to convert the whole fixture to LED. I'm  very happy with it as it looks great and provides plenty of light. It's on a dimmer, but with the LED saving so much energy I don't feel a need to turn the light down as low as I can tolerate anymore.

I don't understand why this lamp is made at such a low luminosity. Why make it the equivalent of a 25W lamp when it can be made the equivalent of a 60W lamp and still use less energy? I'm finding LEDs in general are following this pattern. Instead of making 60W equivalent lamps, they should make those the equivalent of 120W or 150W. In my opinion, anyhow. I really noticed this seeming waste of an opportunity when downsizing from 40W to 25W. Chandeliers don't have their undersized lamps due to a lighting study, they have them due to a need to keep the wattage down. They are, by design, poor sources of illumination. LEDs give you the chance to upsize their lamps to fix that problem without raising the wattage. But LED lamp designers still don't understand this. Maybe one will read this review, and the proverbial light bulb will come on!

LED lamps can be an excellent choice in the right application, or a bad choice in the wrong application. I gave you two applications to illustrate this point. Based on those, you should be able to determine if you can find a good place in which to install this lamp. Make sure you look at the direction your lamps are pointing in relation to the surface you want lighted. If they point away from it, the distance must be on the order of a few feet. So a chandelier over a table is no problem regardless of direction. In an entryway, it's not going to work.

Some information on LED lighting

LED (light emitting diode) is not a variation of CFL (compact fluorescent). The CFL is a bad idea that I never bought into. In the typical home application, a CFL lamp actually results in a net waste of electricity versus an incandescent lamp. That's because of the high inrush current and abominably low power factor; it takes time to "pay off" those minuses with run time, and the typical run time isn't long enough. A CFL lowers the efficiency of all connected loads, including your refrigerator, by lowering power factor on the load side of your service. CFL also gives you light that is of unacceptably poor quality. CFL isn't compatible with existing lighting controls; if you have dimmers for incandescent lamps, you have to replace those with CFL-compatible ones. CFLs also have a short lifespan, quite the opposite of the propaganda that they are long-lasting.

LED is solid state, and thus efficiency is very high. But that also means it runs at the same voltage as what's inside your computer. So an LED lamp needs a 5V (or lower) power supply. If it's a direct replacement screw-in for a 120V incandescent, as this G30 is, that means it needs a power supply in its base. The power supply generates waste heat which, in some circumstances, is too much for a given application. For example, you generally do not want to use an LED in a recessed lighting "short can" fixture (the tall can is fine).

LED gives you many advantages. These include:

  • Ultra long life. This varies by model, but it's several times what you can get from an incandescent or CFL.
  • No mercury. Fluorescent lamps use mercury, and the CFL is no exception. How that device ever got onto the market I still do not understand. Having a few T8 lamps in your garage is one thing, having glass containers of mercury all throughout your house is just stupid. Count how many "light bulbs" you have.
  • Great color rendition, color temperature, etc. (if designed for those features, and most LED lamps are). Depending on the model, you can have very nice lighting.
  • Ultra low energy usage. Your typical 60W incandescent lamp puts out about 750/850 lumens. An LED direct replacement will use about 10W (most of that consumed by the power supply). If you replaced several of your most commonly used (in your home) incandescent lamps with LED lamps, you would see the difference in your electric bill.
  • Many interesting shapes and styles.
  • Compatibility with controls, such as dimming (if designed for that, and most LED lamps are).

The first LED direct replacement lamps that came out were not dimmable. Then it dawned on the lamp manufacturers that the target market for energy-efficient lamps would be, duh, people who cared about energy efficiency. What a concept. Such people have already made extensive use of dimmers. In our home, nearly every light is on a dimmer rather than just an on/off flip switch. That meant we could not buy LED lamps. Today, most such lamps are dimmable (including this one). Always look for that on the package. If you have dimmers in your house, it is best to buy ONLY dimmable lamps so you do not inadvertently mix and match.

Because I've replaced so many incandescent lamps with LED, I'm using considerably less electricity each month. In the summertime, this savings is amplified by the decreased load on the air conditioning (which I use sparingly, but when temps go past 100 DegrF that baby runs). If Congress (the opposite of progress) would end Daylight Wasting Time, I would not need to use lights in the morning. I'm still not sure why Congress imposes this energy-wasting, public endangerment (traffic fatalities and industrial injuries spike for the 3 weeks following each clock change) on us, but they do.

The big energy savings (even with DWT) also means less coal burned to satisfy my needs, so less mercury ending up in tuna fish, less acidification of the oceans, less destruction to coral reefs, etc.

I'm not saying buy a few LEDs and you save the world. My home is very energy-efficient in other ways, including all energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient HVAC/heat pump system, insulated doors and windows, wall insulation, extra insulation above the ceiling, energy-efficient habits, etc. What was missing prior to the emergence of dimmable LED lamps was a way to meaningfully reduce the electricity used in lighting. The LED lamps solved that problem.

 

 

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