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It is 2020 and incandescent is still better than LED

 
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Peter VanDerWal wrote:
Since Power = Volts * Amps.  For any given power level if you reduce the Volts you increase the amps.



All true & valid points. The deviation from my concept is that I don't try to maintain a given power level. I try to reduce it with LED's. My electric needs are small scale in comparison to most folks. Intentionally.
 
pollinator
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You missed the point.

Regardless of what power level you use, for THAT power level the current at 12V will be 10X as high as it would be at 120V.

14agw wiring can legally run 1440 watts worth of lights at 120V and even with 100 foot long wires will have less than 5% voltage drop.

The same wire at 1/2 the length (50 feet) and running at 1/10 the voltage (12V) can only handle about 30 watts before the voltage drop exceeds 5%.

Even with LEDs if you switch to low voltage you can not use wires smaller that 14awg either legally or practically.
 
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I read this thread a year or two ago and again just now.  It's an amazing thread.  

There's one angle I'd like to comment on, which is color temperature.  With incandescents, you have no say.  You get a warm color temperature with very high CRI (color rendering index) which is a high quality of light.  But it's always warm light.

With LED, you can control the color temperature.  Either high tech with full-spectrum smart bulbs and a home automation system that changes temp during the day, or manually.  Take a strand of cool temp LEDs intermingled with a strand of warm temp LEDs, put each on a dimmer switch, and be your own color temperature DJ. (Side benefit is it cheaply boosts the CRI!)

This is really important at two times: morning and night.  In the morning, you blast the cool LEDs and get that nice activating light.  Sleep psychologists often recommend staring into a blue LED in the morning to combat SAD or other sleep disorders.  It kick-starts your circadian rhythm.  At night, if you are the type who stays up past bedtime to play on the computer *cough*, the super warm, subdued light makes you sleepy.  This is something you cannot replicate with incandescent.

Obviously, natural sunlight does this sort of thing, er, naturally.  Yet there are times when we can't always live by that clock and need to simulate it.

As someone with a lifelong circadian rhythm delay (which sounds like BS but isn't) I can say that LED light has made a dramatic improvement in my conformity to a conventional sleep schedule.

 
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I haven't read this thread yet- need to though- I have gotten to like my incandescent bulbs more than LED or CFL's.

I wanted to share this option with all of you for extending the life of your incandescent light bulbs-

powerdisc.com

They used to make light bulb extenders back in the 1980's and it's hard to find these things anymore.
 
pollinator
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In my living room, in the lamp standing next to the seat, where I mostly sit, I had an incandescent light bulb. It was the last one I still had, that I bought in the time they were sold everywhere. In the time of the big promotion of CFLs I changed every light bulb that was broken with a new CFL. That was before I was on Permies. When finally I found out about the problem with the CFLs, I only had that one incandescent light left.
Now (some weeks ago) that last one has gone, stopped working. I am sad, I can't get these light bulbs anymore. Only one very specialised lamp 'boutique' sells incandescent light bulbs, but those aren't the ordinary ones, they are very expensive. If I'd known before, I'd bought the light bulbs in bulk, a box full of them
 
pollinator
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I want to see next-generation incandescents, with the insulated, thick filaments that aren't prone to thermal shock that reduces bulb life. Of course those will be super efficient because they don't convert so much energy to heat, which to some is apparently a good thing (not for me, at least half the year round).

I would also like LEDs to shed the trappings of incandescent bulb fixture design for more amorphous design. All the failings of LEDs, in my opinion, have to do with making them fit incandescent bulb infrastructure.

-CK
 
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Chris Kott wrote:
I would also like LEDs to shed the trappings of incandescent bulb fixture design for more amorphous design. All the failings of LEDs, in my opinion, have to do with making them fit incandescent bulb infrastructure.


I agree. I'd rather use adapters to make them work with incandescent structures and let the LEDs do what they are best at.

I'd REALLY like to see the old, better incandescents back for sale. I have been picking up old lightbulbs at garage sales etc, the older the better. They last longer, and I can work with whether I want heat output or not by using them or LEDs.  The current bulbs for sale suck, they don't work either way well, and don't last.
 
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like this?

https://amzn.to/2RWCsLF


 
paul wheaton
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i tend to use these reflective style - to direct the light and heat where i want it

https://amzn.to/2RV6gIJ

 
Pearl Sutton
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Oh cool, Thank you Paul!

 
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I'm still worried about being able to find light bulbs for my incubator. Only incandescent works for the incubator. It does things that other light bulbs can't. I need those bulbs.
 
pollinator
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Chris Kott wrote:
I would also like LEDs to shed the trappings of incandescent bulb fixture design for more amorphous design. All the failings of LEDs, in my opinion, have to do with making them fit incandescent bulb infrastructure.



Pretty much this.


The widespread use of overly cool wavelength LEDs in all sorts of products is a major aggravation to me; that is a separate issue readily explained by the usual combination of corporate greed(slightly more lumens per $ or watt) and consumer stupidity. It's not a problem with LEDs, it's a problem with which LEDs are being used.

I think the power efficiency stuff in the OP is a bit of a red herring. Sure, it's a small amount of the power budget in a conventional Murican on-grid house. But the world is still full of dwellings that are none of these things! The implications for off grid use globally are pretty endless.


In my case, grid power would run about 70K to get it to my build site... it's at the road, I'm just a ways back from the road, and there's no transformer, and the poles would need extra support, and... That's with me doing as much of labour as I'm allowed to.

If I wanted lighting in my 4 old outbuildings that would be more money yet to run power to them and wire them up. Then I would get a monthly bill of around $20, increasing all the time, for the privilege of being connected... plus my power usage!

But LEDs are so thrifty that I can comfortably work at night with a good headlamp, and if that's inconvenient (welding, grinding..) can light the whole workspace with battery powered lighting. I will never need to run power to the buildings for this purpose.

Milwaukee has warm tinted workplace lights(they call it 'Trueview', not all their lights have it) using their powertool batteries, so it's actually pleasant light allowing for good depth perception and colour differentiation. I use the same light in my tinyhouse; I'll wire in dedicated lighting eventually, but the current system works so well that improvements to lighting are waaay down the list.

So I can light up a good work area in any of my buildings, or outside them, for a couple hundred bucks (light + battery/charger, though really in had those already), which is far less than the cost of the wiring for one building to have incandescent lighting... let alone power to that wiring!


I spend many hours a day working via artificial light, as it is dark here around 4pm in winter here...
 
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All people here try to get LED lights. The grid voltage is not stable and can drop from 220V (standard) to 100V. That turns incandescent bulbs into dim candles, while the regulated power supply of the LEDs still works flawless.
 
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Well, we found a bulb that is not an LED, and that is not a CFL, or incandescent.

It is the Finally Bulb, from finallybulbs dot com.

We love these bulbs.

They put out a warm glow, one that is soft white.

These are not LEDs: They do NOT put out an awful blue-ish cast that is hard to look at, and may be damaging to the eyes, according to some research.

These are not CFLs: They do NOT put out a horrible yellow-ish cast.

These look more natural than LEDs and CFLs because the spectrum of these bulbs is similar to that of the sun (and incandescent bulbs - which will be banned in a couple years).

Really happy with these bulbs.

Mac
 
Sebastian Köln
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So …if their claims are correct, they using an RF exited gas discharge lamp. So it is a (not so) compact florescent lamp with a good phosphor and plenty of marketing.
 
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centennial_Light



I thought this would be of interest,  longest lasting light bulb.

 
D Nikolls
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Mac McCoy wrote:
They put out a warm glow, one that is soft white.

These are not LEDs: They do NOT put out an awful blue-ish cast that is hard to look at, and may be damaging to the eyes, according to some research.




You can get that in an LED. Really. You just need to figure out what wavelength it is that you like, and maybe read up on CRI... and perhaps build the lights yourself from components if you are real picky. But the problem is not inherent to LEDs! Only to badly designed products using cheap, poorly selected LEDs.
 
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Sarah Koster wrote:I'm still worried about being able to find light bulbs for my incubator. Only incandescent works for the incubator. It does things that other light bulbs can't. I need those bulbs.



Are there heating mats that would work as well as incandescent bulbs?
 
Sebastian Köln
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Rebecca Norman wrote:

Sarah Koster wrote:I'm still worried about being able to find light bulbs for my incubator. Only incandescent works for the incubator. It does things that other light bulbs can't. I need those bulbs.



Are there heating mats that would work as well as incandescent bulbs?


As far as I know, lamps for heating purposes are excluded from the ban.
A search for "100W Incandescent Reflector Light" brings up many lamps.
 
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Incandescent lights were supposed to be banned here in Australia starting around 20 years ago, I thought? They are still available.


Good LED's are far superior to incandescent lights, unless you are using them for heating. The trouble is most LED lights are cheap garbage with terrible light. Mass produced rubbish sold as green... take a look at the people who's back yard they are produced in.
 
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I've wanted to reply to this thread for some time (probably 6 months) but I wanted to try to understand the various (especially Paul's) position more fully.

paul wheaton wrote:if you are trying to save energy, and you are still using a clothes dryer, then you really should not be exploring "which light bulb saves the most energy"
Heating and cooling use more energy - so those should also be explored first.

This is hugely, massively, ridiculously important. Using the dryer once uses as much power as months of Paul's lightbulbs.

paul wheaton wrote:if you really think picking out which light bulb to use will save you that much energy, there is a very good chance that exploring your lighting habits will save you far more energy (money) than trying LED.

Also hugely, massively, ridiculously important.

paul wheaton wrote:Next up:  incandescent light has two big properties:  high quality light + radiant heat.   Radiant heat, when pointed at a person, is more efficient than convective heat - which is the most common way that people heat a home.  I live in montana.   And when it gets cold outside, the days happen to get much shorter.   So when I need more light, I happen to also need more heat.  A twofer.

This is the central tenet of Paul's point and very important.

Radiant electric heat has been used in factories and churches for decades. This is because they don't heat the air which takes a huge amount of energy but only heat people (oversimplified but we'll leave it there).

So why hasn't it caught on?

Because it's rubbish, ok that's too harsh. People, in general, don't like radiant heat.

1st problem; it's directional.
If you are sat in the same place it works brilliantly. As soon as you move out of the direct radiance you get cold again. Also having multiple radiant heat sources isn't a great solution because of the way the energy spreads Inverse-square-law, which means that generally you get a lot more energy directly under one light, than you do when halfway between two lights.

2nd problem; it doesn't work nicely with other heating systems.
When I lived with my parents, my ceiling lights were behind my desk. The light was great for electronics, building computers and writing but I started to feel sick when sat there for 1/2 an hour. This was because I was overheating but because only my neck (lots of blood vessels, not a lot of nerves) was hot, my body couldn't work out why.

paul wheaton wrote:
  In the scenario of cold climate area and the lighting is in winter and a party is using electric heat, then using incandescent light will pay for itself by not only reducing your heat bill, but if used correctly, the light bulb can actually REVERSE your heat bill.   Proper use of an incandescent light bulb can save HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS PER YEAR.   Maybe even THOUSANDS!   In fact, for any type of heat, proper use of an incandescent light bulb can dramatically reduce your overall heat bill - and whatever you use for heat is going to use FAR more energy than what you use for light.  




So this works if;
you stay relatively still when you want heat,
when there is one heat source per person &
it's the main form of heating.

It doesn't work as well in communal spaces and as soon as you stop using incandescent for heating, the modern leds are 'better' than modern incandescents.

Longevity

paul wheaton wrote: Unlike CFLs, the amount of light it gives off five years later is the same as when it was brand new.



Not quite, the 10,000 hours life isn't based on the mean time between failures but on when the individual leds only put 70% of their original light. The leds should then continue to work for much longer than that. I'm not sure if the 70% is used on the average led or if it is a minimum expectation and the average led could be still at 80%. So leds do lose light output over time but they should last past that point.


A quick note on toxicity and manufacturing energy.

A standard incandescent is quite simple and relatively non toxic but all of the components are very energy intensive to manufacture, especially distilling air to generate the argon filling.

Leds themselves contain a very small amount of very nasty stuff.
The drive components in a well matched DC system should just be a resistor which is a bit of metal film rolled up inside a bit of plastic- not particularly toxic and the resistor is reusable and should last decades if not centuries.
The drive components in an AC or poorly matched DC system involve some sort of integrated circuit chip (really nasty stuff), a lot of copper wire inside inductor and transformers, some simple resistors, some capacitors (similar construction to resistors but with a fairly toxic paste inside and the part most likely to fail).
The vast majority of the weight difference is made up of the copper coils which should be negated by lighter mains wiring and isn't particularly toxic anyway.

So although the components of led lamps are more toxic, I would guess that the volumes required are so much smaller that there isn't a huge difference in the total toxicity.


As Paul has said, it all boils down to how the technology is used.
 
paul wheaton
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Shawn and I are talking about updating the section title in our book about light quality and light bulbs.  The chapter is named "The Wicked Lies about Light Bulbs".  For the section title I am thinking of:

The light quality is so good, it's like a slow drip of cocaine to you employees through the work day!



That title is a little too long.  

I am trying to stick to the theme of "wicked lies" and include a bit of what is actually said, combined with something a bit too silly.  

The truth is that the blue light is a stimulant.  

Any suggestions for a section title?


 
Chris Wang
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Rebecca Norman wrote:

Sarah Koster wrote:I'm still worried about being able to find light bulbs for my incubator. Only incandescent works for the incubator. It does things that other light bulbs can't. I need those bulbs.



Are there heating mats that would work as well as incandescent bulbs?



Yes, in an incubator you can use a variety of heating options that are far more reliable than incandescent bulbs. I use heat cords (sold as a reptile keeping product), but there is also a range of heat mats and other options available too. Incandescent lights are easier to use for brooding, but you can also substitute these for other heat sources.
 
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Great topic and I loved all the info and videos.  I landed on this site searching for "quality of LED light."  For me, it's not about the color of the light or the cost of the electricity or the cost of the bulb.  It's about the quality of the light.  I'm actually happier with halogen than I am with most other types of bulb.  I think it is because of the "quality" of the light - most importantly that it produces hard shadows like sunlight does.  LEDs and CFLs produce what to me is a terrible fog of nearly shadowless light.  If you get a bright enough bulb it will produce shadows but they are fuzzy and indistinct.  I just don't want to be in the room with that depressing light.  I want to be in a room which closely replicates the long hard shadows of a early summer morning or evening.  I'd love to see you do some tests on this quality and it's psychological impact on people vs the foggy CFLs and LEDs.  I'm stocking up on Halogens now that they will be sunsetted at the end of the year.

BTW - I have some incancescent light bulbs that have been working 20 years - flicked on a few times a day for a few seconds.  When I moved into my house 20 years ago it came with the same light fixture in both bathrooms.  Each had 8 clear 40-watt light bulbs.  That was 320 watts!  Very bright and you could feel the heat from 5 feet away when you turned on the light.  Nice in the winter.  When the light bulbs started to burn out, I didn't replace them because it was still plenty bright.  After about 8 years I replaced the fixture in one bathroom and saved the bulbs that still worked for the other fixture.  Guess what?  I still have more than 8 of the original light bulbs still working after 20 years!
 
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here is a news article about the health dangers of LED lights and a study they did in France about it.

New findings confirm earlier concerns that "exposure to an intense and powerful [LED] light is 'photo-toxic' and can lead to irreversible loss of retinal cells and diminished sharpness of vision," the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) warned in a statement.

The agency recommended in a 400-page report that the maximum limit for acute exposure be revised, even if such levels are rarely met in home or work environments.

The report distinguished between acute exposure of high-intensity LED light, and "chronic exposure" to lower intensity sources.

While less dangerous, even chronic exposure can "accelerate the aging of retinal tissue, contributing to a decline in visual acuity and certain degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration," the agency concluded.

Long-lasting, energy efficient and inexpensive, light-emitting diode technology has gobbled up half of the general lighting market in a decade, and will top 60 percent by the end of next year, according to industry projections.

LED uses only a fifth of the electricity needed for an incandescent bulb of comparable brightness.

The world's leading LED light-bulb makers are GE Lighting, Osram and Philips.

The basic technology for producing a white light combines a short wavelength LED such as blue or ultraviolet with a yellow phosphor coating. The whiter or "colder" the light, the greater the proportion of blue in the spectrum.

 
Chris Kott
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Thanks for the article, R.

If you read it, it clearly stresses that the concern is over blue-light concentrations, though the quoted bit doesn't make that clear. It speaks a lot about the damaging effects of blue LED light on developing eyes.

It also goes into circadian rhythm disruption.

Honestly, and I could be wrong here, but it seems like any observations made about LEDs outside of the blue-light issues apply equally to LEDs as they do incandescent, or candlelight.

The base message seems to be that anything we do to mess with our circadian rhythms messes with our regenerative capabilities, and blue-spectrum light makes it worse.

I think my takeaway here is that when I purchase LEDs, they will be the warmest spectrum available, especially in the bedroom.

I would still like to see new-generation incandescents with insulated filaments. Those seem like the best of all possibilities.

-CK
 
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Yeah blue light, especially late in the day, is not good for sleep patterns. I've used f.lux on my laptop and desktop before, https://justgetflux.com/ and you schedule it to reduce the blue light output for a few hours before bedtime.
 
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When I visit my dad’s house, I put an amber sleep bulb in the bathroom, and use only that bulb at night. It is an LED. It helps my circadian rhythms a lot. Actually I seem to get sleepier with just the amber LED on before bed than with total darkness leading up to bedtime. So I don’t think that LEDs have to be bad for your circadian rhythms. I think it depends on the color.

I have some reservations about LEDs—namely the resources and pollution involved and how complicated they are. However, the combination of living with barely any electricity in my truck + living in a hot climate means that I do choose LEDs pretty often.

LEDs mean that I have many fewer issues with my truck battery going dead because I needed to use a light or leave the doors open while doing something. They also mean that handheld lights, etc. last a lot longer both in terms of the bulbs themselves and the battery life. My mom found the same thing living in her RV. Many people I know who live on boats find that they can use a smaller solar array and battery bank and avoid a generator or running the engine to charge batteries by switching to LEDs.

If I am in a house, I use incandescents during the winter and spring until I start getting noticeably hot under the lights, and then switch to LEDs for the summer. When it starts getting chilly, I put the incandescents back in.
 
r ranson
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Headline reads US lifts ban on old style light bulbs

 
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Not a surprise really that incandescent is better. If you are having trouble getting them, you can always make your own. You need a Sprengel pump to get the air out, tungsten or carbon filaments, thin wires, and reused parts.
 
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I don't think I ever put my two cents in here, but I have watched with some interest, although not all posts, just a few here and there occasionally that caught my eye.

I'm mostly going to share my experience with 12 volt leds.

They are cheap--2 watt light bulbs about 20-30 cents each. If you wire raw leds yourself you can get really long life, but it's a hell of a lot more convenient to just accept the pre wired bulbs --plug and play.

They don't last forever,but they do last a long time and with no inverter to waste power they are perfect for off grid applications.

I saw reference to wire size, off grid here means no inspector, I frequently string up 18 ga wires to run a 12 volt low watt system with no issues.

Even with several 2 watt bulbs (each equals about a 20 watt incandescent) I rarely am drawing more than a couple amps--14 gauge may be code for ac, but dc uses stranded wire and overall smaller diameter.  I could use solid copper wire but it would be highly inefficient.

And maybe someone knows more than my observations, But I spent a lot of time playing with christmas leds that plug into 120vac, and never found a "driver" circuit anywhere-- I think all they use is a diode circuit to rectify the current, and then do a series wiring with the bulbs to match the 120v.

If you have an old christmas led string that has failed, most of the leds are probably good, 4 in series is a 12 volt  string, and will last almost forever.

3 in series will be brighter in the same 12 volt application, but will fail sooner.

 
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Christmas LED strings generally do not use any rectification, they simply put the LEDs in series to drop the current and run them on AC

(The LEDs are only on during the positive going cycle, thats why you can see a 30hz flicker)
 
Chris Kott
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Does anyone remember the old propane gas lights, usually sconce-style, and looking and operating much like an old alcohol lamp sconce? I encountered one once as a teen in an off-the-grid cabin powered by propane.

Assuming the gas was on from the tank, you'd just put your lit match or candle or what have you near the incandescent mantle, open the valve, and it would catch. Place the glass chimney back on, and you're done.

I wonder if there's a place for propane or biogas light out there, in the cold temperate off-grid market. I mean, there have been propane gadgets for decades before there was reliable electricity; it may be easier to run a homestead off of biogas, propane, or natural gas in some instances.

They'd certainly heat better than an incandescent, though unless you're living with the sun in the warm parts of the year, it would share the heat waste problems of incandescents.

Technically, I suppose any light that has a mantle that becomes incandescent, including these gas-powered lights, along with old-style limelights, used in pre-electricity spot lights, would be considered an incandescent. The filament is just larger.

I am still waiting for the long-duration incandescent electric bulbs with the glass-insulated filaments they made back at MIT a decade ago, if I remember correctly. Those would be a game-changer, though I wonder if they'd still pose an efficiency or draw problem for off-grid situations.

-CK
 
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Chris Kott wrote:Does anyone remember the old propane gas lights, usually sconce-style, and looking and operating much like an old alcohol lamp sconce? I encountered one once as a teen in an off-the-grid cabin powered by propane.

Assuming the gas was on from the tank, you'd just put your lit match or candle or what have you near the incandescent mantle, open the valve, and it would catch. Place the glass chimney back on, and you're done.

I wonder if there's a place for propane or biogas light out there, in the cold temperate off-grid market.



The style we had in our Yukon River cabin in the early 1980s: wall sconce held the mantle pointing down (hanging below the gas fixture that fed it fuel) surrounded by a globe-type glass with only a fairly small hole in the bottom.  You could raise a match or lighter flame up through the hole to ignite the gas; no need for handling or even touching the glass.  

They were by far the best hydrocarbon lighting we ever used.  Blazo/whitegas pressure lamps (Coleman) were brighter but also noisier (very loud hiss) and needed frequent fiddling to pressurize and refuel.  A good Aladdin lamp ("Pearl" kerosene only, accept no substitutes) was a warmer, nicer light, but never quite as bright, and extremely finicky. (Tiny vibrations would break the mantle, and minor adjustment problems would lead to flames shooting six feet out the top -- a problem in a small cabin.)

Unfortunately, I'm not sure a large enough market for a good pressurized gas lamp actually exists.  Last I heard from folks up north, the propane lights got discontinued and old ones are trading like gold among people who still want to live that lifestyle.  
 
Ryan Hobbs
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Dan Boone wrote:

Chris Kott wrote:Does anyone remember the old propane gas lights, usually sconce-style, and looking and operating much like an old alcohol lamp sconce? I encountered one once as a teen in an off-the-grid cabin powered by propane.

Assuming the gas was on from the tank, you'd just put your lit match or candle or what have you near the incandescent mantle, open the valve, and it would catch. Place the glass chimney back on, and you're done.

I wonder if there's a place for propane or biogas light out there, in the cold temperate off-grid market.



The style we had in our Yukon River cabin in the early 1980s: wall sconce held the mantle pointing down (hanging below the gas fixture that fed it fuel) surrounded by a globe-type glass with only a fairly small hole in the bottom.  You could raise a match or lighter flame up through the hole to ignite the gas; no need for handling or even touching the glass.  

They were by far the best hydrocarbon lighting we ever used.  Blazo/whitegas pressure lamps (Coleman) were brighter but also noisier (very loud hiss) and needed frequent fiddling to pressurize and refuel.  A good Aladdin lamp ("Pearl" kerosene only, accept no substitutes) was a warmer, nicer light, but never quite as bright, and extremely finicky. (Tiny vibrations would break the mantle, and minor adjustment problems would lead to flames shooting six feet out the top -- a problem in a small cabin.)

Unfortunately, I'm not sure a large enough market for a good pressurized gas lamp actually exists.  Last I heard from folks up north, the propane lights got discontinued and old ones are trading like gold among people who still want to live that lifestyle.  



The Amish here in Ohio still make gas lamps. You just have to figure out how to get ahold of them. It's not like they have an Email. There is also a Canadian company that makes gas lamps called Falks. You can find them sometimes here in Ohio at oldschool mom and pop hardware stores.
 
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