Review & Test: Philips LEDbulb B22 14w 1400lm LED Globe

Sometimes you need to solve your own problems around the house, and the best place to visit is a hardware store. Just last week, I took a trip to Bunnings, and I couldn’t resist surveying their array of LED light globes. While consumers are still at a cross-roads when it comes to the CFL versus LED debate, LED technology and prices have continued to improve.

The Product

20150524-1217-5259Since I purchased my first set of Philips LED globes from Woolworths, it seems that Philips’ product line-up has improved. The 13W globe offered 1055 lumens, resulting in an efficacy of 81 lumens per watt, the new 14W LEDbulb offers 1400 lumens for an efficacy of 100 lumens per watt.Of course, these numbers continue to improve with each generation, as the efficiency of LEDs continue to improve. This is great news for those looking for a little more light than the original LED globes could offer.

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Of course, Bunnings has other LED globes on offer as well, many of them in smaller power ratings. The other LEDs are mainly from Osram which top out at 10.5W. As someone who is looking for higher powered globes, this wasn’t of much interest.

I purchased two samples of the bayonet cap (B22) mount globes, at AU$18.99 a piece, in order to cover the rest of the house as we have a mixture of fixtures. This is a bit pricey compared to CFLs, but still not out of the reach of individuals.

As seems to be common with LED globes, the choice of colour temperature is limited. Bunnings only stocks Warm White 3000K globes at 14W in both BC and ES, but also stocks a Cool Daylight 6500K 14W globe in ES only.

The claims made on the packaging haven’t changed much, with an 80% claimed energy saving and up to 15 year lifetime. It also claims light “equivalency” to about 90w.

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20150524-1218-5263The packaging has only suffered subtle changes, with the globe having a claimed lifetime of 15,000 hours, which is a little bit on the low side when it comes to LEDs. This may be due to the lack of external-facing heatsink, which is enclosed within a plastic shell, and due to their conservatism. The Warm White 3000K is slightly less warm compared to the 2800K offered by the IKEA globes. There is a change which claims you should use in >4″ diameter downlight, as opposed to 3″ previously. The globe remains non-dimmable, and is Made in China.

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From the outside, the globe appears the same as the 13w version, with an elongated enlarged shape resembling that of an old GLS globe. Due to the larger size, it may not fit in all fittings. When picked up, the globe feels a little on the lighter side compared to the IKEA 13w globes, which may indicate a slightly smaller metal content, implying a smaller heatsink.

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As expected, the branding and specifications are printed around the neck in grey. It is claimed to operate on a 220-240v range at 50/60Hz, drawing 80mA. Due to the shape of the globe, it seems that the globe is best used on light fixtures where the globe is mounted with the base up, so the diffuser points right at the ground.

As our dwelling uses a vast array of oyster alabaster fixtures, I had to forego the alabaster cover altogether because the globe would not physically fit otherwise. As it turns out, because of the sideways mounting, the lighting in one half of the room was much more than the other half. As a result, I handmade a right-angle adapter based around a short piece of flex, a suspension bayonet cap holder and a bayonet cap adapter, like a very short suspension kit.

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This allowed for a much better light utilization, although with a little glare due to the directness of the light despite the integrated diffusing dome. The light output was relatively impressive – I didn’t note any issues with flicker or brightness, and the colour temperature was as expected. However, the colour rendering index was not stated, and I didn’t have the equipment to measure it, but a difference in colour rendering was noted which made the light appear a little stark and colder, so I’d probably guess a CRI of >82.

Electrical Performance

The performance of the previous 13w globe was relatively middle-of-the-road, showing a loose regulation where the power consumption is strongly dependent on input voltage. The power factor was about 0.8, which is higher than a poor quality CFL, but hardly as good as it could be.

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The new globe improves upon this performance somewhat, with a higher power factor of about 0.9 across a broad voltage range. The regulation is still relatively lax, with the power consumption still strongly related to the input voltage. The claimed 14W is a bit of an under-rating with the consumption about 14.1W at 220v, 14.4W at 230v and 14.8W at 240v. As a result, it’s probably more of a 15W globe.

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From the voltage range being “shrunk”, it seems likely this globe consists of more LEDs connected in a series string, rather than less LEDs connected in a series-parallel arrangement. It also seems likely that the current driver design has changed.

As I don’t have the equipment to measure absolute light output, CRI and colour temperature, these parameters cannot be determined.

Conclusion

While LED globes at retail are being sold at high prices that make their prices difficult to justify based on their claimed lifetimes, it’s always nice to see that they are being offered as an alternative. LEDs reach full brightness instantly, and suffer very little from power on-off cycles which can be very desirable, and the lack of mercury is a positive for the environment.

It seems that Philips has improved upon their former design with a higher power factor current driver, and a much improved efficacy (+23%) at a similar price-point. The current driver does a lax job of regulating power consumption over different line voltage conditions, but doesn’t seem to have any flicker issues. The short claimed lifetime may be down to conservative estimates, or the use of an “enclosed” heatsink with low metal mass, which makes purchasing LEDs for their longer lifetime an unclear proposition.

About lui_gough

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5 Responses to Review & Test: Philips LEDbulb B22 14w 1400lm LED Globe

  1. AlienTech says:

    One of the main major factors is the quality of led’s the companies use. I am beginning to not trust any of them except Phillips. Because although the light might last as long as they claim, their brightness drops of drastically with time. What is the use if the output is only half as bright in a few hundred hours even if they will last for 50K hours. I bought some others who were slightly cheaper, but then found out after using it an year that they were less bright. So I swapped it with a Phillips from another room and viola, I was not imagining things, The Phillips ones did not drop in brightness like the others. Actually I only paid less than 5% more for the Phillips bulbs. The long term cost would cost me twice as much to use other brands. Also other brands try to shave a few bucks here and there, eg have less led’s inside since we cant see it until we open it up. When new, it would be as bright as the rated quality but that drops off drastically in a short time as things settle in for the long term. Phillips would be extra bright when new because they have more led’s in there to account for the drop in brightness after a hundred hours or so and still keep up with their rated figures. After my experiences I will wait until I can get a good deal on Phillips bulbs.. Unless others recommend a particular one. But remember, they cant just use a test.. it has to be a practical one lasting months..

    • lui_gough says:

      I think you might be a little too wary – there are many major companies which deserve your trust. Osram have been a trusted supplier of light globes for almost forever – I’m sure their LED globes are nothing short of quality as well.

      That being said, the major “wearout” mode of LED chips is a reduction in efficiency – i.e. less light for the same power consumption. This generally happens as the crystal gets stressed by running at high temperatures for long times, and probably also due to wearout of the phosphor coating on the white LEDs. The fact you have experienced a noticeable loss of brightness in a short period points to a likely design problem – for example, poor heatsinking, poor thermal contact causing heat to build up in the LEDs, or overdriving the LEDs because of poor current driver design or deliberate “cost savings”.

      The best products generally have good heatsinks and good thermal conductivity by being built on metal core PCBs and feeling “warm” when in use (as the heat is transferred out of the LED package). They will also be run conservatively – say using 700mA, 1A or 1.5A rated LED packages at half or three-quarters their rated current. This also serves to increase their efficiency as well, as the efficiency falls as the drive current increases.

      Of course, it’s considered early days – you might find other avenues to failure including strobing LEDs from current driver failures, solder joint breaks, amongst other issues. It is only through several generations of products that better products can evolve – you and I have been a part of making that happen by buying into the technology now, rather than later.

      – Gough

  2. Remko Brugman says:

    Would it be possible to measure the produced harmonics and RF interference of the LED lights? Those are often overlooked, but in large installations could pose a problem. RF regulation is pretty bad here in the Netherlands, and it spoils the fun for radio amateurs too.

    • lui_gough says:

      I did have a look at the spectrum on my Winradio SDR, and I didn’t note anything specifically bad in the 0-50Mhz range. There wasn’t a noticeable rise in the noise floor with these globes, and I didn’t see any significant periodic “spurs” either. I did note problems with the Kogan branded globes a while back, but since then, going with quality branded globes seems to have mitigated the issue to a big extent. It seems likely because the better branded globes cost more, and don’t omit the necessary chokes/inductors to limit RF interference propagated through mains – probably a good reason to choose the better branded globes.

      – Gough

  3. jitter says:

    With respect to the conservative specification of the expected average lifetime:

    On a Dutch forum someone asked about the differences between two 9 W Philips LED-bulbs, one sold to professionals under the “Master” range, the other sold to cosumers. They look identical, are priced similarly and all but one specifications are the same. The only difference is that for the consumer version they specify 15,000 hours rather than 25,000.

    My guess is that these versions are actually the same and that Philips specifies a lower expected life to consumers to prevent claims.

    These are the links:
    [url=http://www.lighting.philips.com/main/prof/lamps/led-lamps-and-systems/led-lamps/master-ledbulb/929001150902_EU/product]Master version[/url]
    [url=http://www.philips.co.uk/c-p/8718696490945/led-bulb/specifications]Consumer version.[/url]

    There is a typo in the wattage equivalent of the Master version, both emit 806 lm of light and are therefore equivalent to 60 W.

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