back to article Samsung strokes big bulb that'll keep going for decades

While we're waiting for flexible, flat, multi-cavity plasma array light bulbs to hit the market, Samsung has started selling advanced LED bulbs in the US that could last years. The bulbs, which Samsung hopes Americans will be using in their homes instead of incandescent, halogen and CFL bulbs, are inspired by the South Korean …


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  1. Chemist

    I've just been in B&Q

    and they had 50W equivalents on the shelf with 25 years printed on the packaging.

    Mind I think they were @30GBP

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I went to B&Q last year

      I bought 2 multi-LED 8W equivalent bulbs for 9GBP; 1 lasted 5 months and the other 13. I got 3 3-LED supposedly 50W equivalents at about 13GBP each; 1 lasted 2 weeks and was replaced and 2 have just died after 15 months. Granted that's no statistically valid sample but I'll take the predicted average 50,000hr/25 year lifetimes with a good pinch of salt.

    2. Mips

      Don't go to B&Q then

      They are only £13GB (and falling) elsewhere.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If Samsung's printer drivers are anything to go buy, I dread to think what their LED light bulb drivers would be like...

    1. Noons

      Re: Drivers?

      I thought I'd bring out how pointless your comment sounds by rephrasing it using a Samsung product even less related to LED light bulbs than print drivers. I tried hard, and failed. Well done, sir! You're so far out already, that it's actually bloody hard to be even more pointless...

      Beer, because I think you might be needing one.

      1. G Murphy

        Re: Re: Drivers?

        Humour fail you often?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    So at USD$60 per bulb for the track lighting version... will cost me USD$480.00 to replace the bulbs just in my Den?

    Something tells me that the likelihood of me buying these is quite remote. Like NFW, actually.

  4. David Barrett Silver badge

    $75 saved over 35 years!


    I could almost an pack of chewing gum a year with those savings!

    1. Noons

      "A small step for man,..."

      ... a giant leap for mankind?

      Granted, the savings on a single, or half a dozen bulbs may not be great, but if you're responsible for lighting in a building with a few thousand light bulbs, it may sound more interesting. Think about the whole country, and then the benefits of a small saving become more apparent. Besides, progress usually happens in a sequence of small steps, which are no less important than the big, rare jumps that impress smaller minds.

  5. Pirate Dave

    Such savings...

    $70 over 30 years? Wow, to think - if they'd started 10 years ago, I might have saved $23 on electricity by now.

  6. handle


    I have been getting MR16 and other sorts of LED lamp from the likes of DealExtreme for years.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Steven Roper

      I think the author meant

      an 1100 lumen *equivalent to a 75W incandescent bulb* light.

  8. G2

    3 hours/day?

    who uses lighting bulbs only 3 hours/day? who made up this crazy metric?

    if it's clouded or very foggy outside we even keep the lights on during the entire day and sometimes well past midnight

    1. James Hughes 1

      Duh - think about it....

      Well, in my house I have bulbs that are on for more than 3hrs a day, and some that are on for much less. I reckon on average 3hrs is about right, or perhaps even a bit high. But then I don't stay up till midnight.

      What metric would you propose? Worst case (24hrs a day)? Best case(5 minutes a day)? Or some sort of average (3hrs a day)?

  9. Ian Yates

    Three hours a day

    Is that over the whole day? i.e., supporting many on/off cycles in a day?

    Even then, three hours is an interesting average when my lounge lamps are probably on for well over six right now; does this affect their lifetime? I realise that they'll be used less in the summer, but if they've not tested the bulbs for longer periods, it will affect their figures.

  10. Piro


    Is it only me who admires the classic design of tungsten inside argon? Just a bit of metal and glass. No complicated electronics relying on incredibly cheap labour, no additional junk to pollute the ground when it breaks and you have to toss it.

    The idea that cheap flourescents were going to last forever is also clearly a crock. We need a nice, simplified design for something that absolutely fills our homes, offices, streets, and almost any place humans are.

    1. Steven Roper

      Well, I for one

      don't miss the 3rd degree burns you get when an incandescent bulb blows and you have to change it right away. I don't miss the bi-monthly light-bulb bill or clambering on chairs to change light bulbs multiple times a year. And I sure as hell don't miss the solid boost the damn things were giving to my leccy bills.

      Sorry, but I don't miss the old tungsten-argon bulbs at all. I'm more than happy with CFLs and LEDs and whatever else the lighting industry turns up, as long as it doesn't burn my fingers off when I change it, blow every couple of months and cost me a bomb to run.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not just you, no.

      It's a pity they got (artificially, by cartel, apparently provably so) reduced to just a thousand hours; if you look you can find early adverts for bulbs lasting much, much longer. And there's the centennial lightbulb, though it doesn't appear to give that much light. Would be nice if the hadn't legislated the tech away; they should've instead legislated for better performance. I recall a report that with laser tricks that same filament could be made to perform much better. Would be nice to see how that'd work out.

      Then again, I'm not adverse to seeing what new techniques can do. For example, I liked the sulphur/microwave idea and it looks like it's in production again, though one fervently hopes the thing doesn't leak any of that 2.4GHz it generates.

      CFLs though, suffer from hype; they're not that much better thanks to poor power factor (though the CFL user doesn't pay for it; the power distribution losses just go up, causing indirect price hikes), can't be dimmed, and, well, aren't that nice.

      Curious how the EU has banned lead from solder (causing tin whiskers, causing early electronics failure), but effectively mandated widespread use of CFLs, and those things contain mercury even though in amounts that make it all but impossible to recover. It'll still end up in the environment, and might build up to dangerous levels eventually.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Supposedly, the savings in mercury emissions from burning less coal over the life of the CFL is greater than the mercury contained in the CFL. Of course, the actual life of CFLs appears to be far shorter than the claimed life and it does not apply to CFLs that are not powered by burning coal.

      2. Tim Bates

        Mercury isn't carbon.

        The reason we're not allowed to have incandescent light bulbs anymore is because they apparently produce carbon. And since carbon is such a deadly harmless substance, it makes sense to force things with mercury and other such heavy metals into our lives.

        Don't get me started on the lies about the lifespan of the alternatives, either... OK, I'm started anyway now... I swear I change CFLs as often as we used to change the old fashioned bulbs. And that's with decent brand ones. We got boxes of free CFLs from our power company a few years ago (government funded I think) - they ran for a few weeks before failing. WEEKS! Yet for a mere 50c, an incandescent lamp in the same fitting would run for months.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          icandescent bulbs produce carbon?

          "incandescent light bulbs anymore is because they apparently produce carbon"

          That's bollox isn't it? They might consume more power which may require more carbon based fuel to produce, but tungsten filaments in argon don't produce carbon.

  11. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Re: Stop!

    I feel for you. I too would like to know why we need to reinvent the Wheel, and kill off the Incandescent (i.e. Tungsten), Bulbs?

    If the Windmill crazy Tree-hugging dolts with their GeeWizzs' want something ~less polluting~ and, are stupid enough to pay over the odds for their next iDevice (read Lightbulb), then I say more power to 'em, BUT PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE!

    But I guess it's too late to save the good 'ol 60W'er now that that it got banned throughout the E.U.

    Dammed shame I failed to stock up on 'em before hand...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "If the Windmill crazy Tree-hugging dolts with their GeeWizzs' want something ~less polluting~ and, are stupid enough to pay over the odds for their next iDevice (read Lightbulb), then I say more power to 'em, "

      Surely that should be "less power to them"?

      I know, I'll get my coat...

    2. 2cent

      Still heating by the fire?

      While I agree with you, in balance, overall advancements in energy savings is still a good thing.

  12. Suburban Inmate

    Photosynthetically Active Radiation?

    The PAR bulbs on the other hand, can cost as much as $59.98 for the 1100 lumen, 75W version.

    Yeah... They know who's willing to pay that for a PAR oriented bulb that's energy efficient, cool, safe, and will last for yonks.

    *cough* Good shit, Sherlock!

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Dim one and bright zero

    A digital technology LED lamp? The LEDs are analog and, in fact, much more efficient when they're getting less than 100% maximum current. The switching power supply is an analog computer that tunes the pulse width of an oscillator driving a low-pass filter.

  14. Ron1

    LEDs still 4 times less efficient than CCFL

    A 15,000h lifetime 20W Osram Dulux EL CCFL gives out 1200 lumens of light, a 75W LED only 1100, so the CCFL is still 4 times more efficient than LED.

    15,000h lifetime translates to ~15 years at 3h a day...

    Nothing (significantly) new on the LED front...

    And the Dulux EL costs only ~$10.

    1. Zog The Undeniable

      It's not a 75W LED; that's just marketing rubbish to indicate the equivalent incandescent. It draws about 1/8 of that. CFLs and LEDs are very close in luminous efficacy.

      Heatsinking a 75W LED would be challenging, going by the size of a heatsink on a 7W GU10 LED.

  15. Zog The Undeniable

    The technology isn't bad but these LED replacement lamps are all made in the People's Republic of Crapland, where everything is carefully engineered to use the cheapest materials and last a day longer than any enforceable warranty. 25 years? Yeah right.

  16. James Hughes 1

    Just to add my experience

    My CFL's seem to last way longer than incandescent (think one has failed in the last three years). And I have never had an LED GU10 failure, whereas the incandescents are blowing all the time.

    I also seen a noticeable decrease in electricity requirements.

    1. The First Dave

      I guess that may depend on the quality of your mains power - I am at the very far end of some long power lines, and thus pretty 'dirty'. My gut feeling is that tungsten is much more robust than newer tech, particularly when run through a dimmer at say 90%

      judging at how often they need replaced.

  17. Alan Edwards
    Thumb Up

    I don't miss the power bill

    I, for one, don't miss the electricity bill caused by incandescent bulbs.

    My living room has an 8w (it actually burns nearer 10w) CFL in an uplighter that runs all the time it's dark. The main room light has 3x60w spotlight bulbs which burn over 200w combined. Admittedly I'd drop them to 40w or less as they are much too bright, but if I had to have the main room light on all the time I'd still use 10x the power.

    The main lights use more power than the 37" LCD TV..

    BTW, the 8w CFL has been used pretty much every day, probably averaging 5 hours a day, for over 4 years. It's starting to get a bit dim when first switched on, but for now it's still going strong.

  18. Steve King

    GU10 LEDs

    I've used a few different GU10 LED ligths over the last 2-3 years - most of the house has LEDs now.

    I have had to replace eight failed ones in that time (out of 30 with widely varying usage) - not very impressive, but I'll live with it.

    What really confuses is that some evenings I seem to get massively more output from the lights than I do on others. To the extent that one evening I may need all nine 3W GU10s in the bedroom on and still be squinting, but another evening I may only need half of them on and feel it is quite bright enough. My wife and kids also confirm the effect.

    Any ideas why gratefully received!

    (oh, and if you are buying, check the colour temperature - it makes such a difference to the effect you get)

  19. John Sturdy

    A different theory

    An alternative theory is that the bulb manufacturers supported the ban, because the new types of bulbs are more profitable than the old incandescents. has collected notes about the ban.

    Also, the "waste" heat from incandescents, at the time of year when lighting is used most, is helping to heat the room anyway.

  20. Jon H

    LEDs can only do directional lighting

    As good as LED lighting is, it can't replace the traditional bulb in the centre of the room. Rather than giving out light in every direction, the LEDs can only throw light forwards with a limited beam angle.

    So it's not just a case of replacing an old bulb for something new, you have to change your whole lighting system, install downlighters or other spot lights. You generally need more of them to flood the whole room.

    1. Suburban Inmate

      Grab your sander. it is all down to the nature of the optics, which in the case of a bare transparent LED is a bit of epoxy or whatever plastic.

  21. 2cent

    A place I hate to be at.

    There are places where a light bulb is just dam inconvenient to get at, but the best place for them.

    Second floor or higher flood lights, chandeliers and high stairways.

    I'm hoping that in my old age, the thing that kills me in an accident won't be changing a light bulb.

    These bulbs are worth every penny.

    If they last?

  22. Mips

    Me to

    Samsung adds nothing to what is already in the market, and at a lower price.

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