Cree aims to make fluorescent tubes obsolete with LED T8 series
Fluorescent lights aren't on the top of many people’s favorites list. Ever since they were introduced at the New York World’s Fair in 1939, they've been notorious for their cold, bluish light that is the definition of “uncomplimentary” and accompanied by flickering and a telltale buzz. Cree, Inc. is aiming to relegate fluorescent tubes to the pages of history with its new T8 series of LED tubes that promise LED-level energy savings and greatly improved light quality.
LEDs have proven a useful alternatives to both incandescents and fluorescents when it comes to bulbs with their durability, economy, and promise of better light, but when it comes to tubes, LEDs haven’t quite made the grade. It’s easy enough to shape an LED to match a fluorescent tube, but the color leaves much to be desired and they aren’t as bright as they need to be.
The Cree T8 is a new series of tubes designed to replace conventional fluorescents. According to Cree, the T8 is capable of putting out 2,100 lumens per tube for 21 watts of power, or 3,800 lumens for a two-tube fixture. In part, this is due to the oval shape of the tubes which is designed to avoid wasting light illuminating the inside of the fixture.
With a 30 percent energy savings, Cree says that the tubes will pay for themselves within three years. It has a near-universal driver compatibility and the company claims that the T8 has the industry’s best color quality, capable of covering both the 3,500 K and 4,000 K color temperature ranges.
Cree is claiming a 50,000-hour lifetime for the T8, which is also dimmable and compatible with over 90 percent of electronic ballasts (that is, the circuitry used to regulate fluorescent tubes), including instant start, programmed start, and rapid start ballasts.
“Similar to what we've achieved with the Cree LED Bulb in the residential market, the Cree LED T8 Series is revolutionizing the commercial lighting market with a product that saves energy, delivers superior light quality and is universally compatible with nearly all existing fluorescent T8 ballasts," says Chuck Swoboda, Cree Chairman and CEO. "There’s no reason to install another linear fluorescent tube again."
The Cree T8 is available in the US and Canada for a suggested retail price of US$30.
The video below introduces the T8 series of LED tubes.
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I liked the Cree Sam that they were going to make (not sure if they made it or not). It was a three wheel electric car with a 'plastic' looking body. I thought it was really neat. I liked how the doors open. The passenger sits behind the driver.
All of the other high priced energy saving light bulbs make similar claims yet they last about the same amount of time as standard (and very low cost) incandescent light bulbs.
It depends - they are generally more sensitive to heat and quality of power. I have purchase my fluorescent lights when I moved into my new house about 18 years ago - I was quite an early adopter. Got some General Electric branded, 9w.
I have replaced only 3 bulbs 4 years ago; they burned up all together because my kid was playing with the light switch (like clickclickclickclickclickclick ... poof) ... at least in my case, they was really a good investment.
I'm going to replace my neon tubes as soon as CREE will publish the full light spectrum, I need something that is suitable for plants and animals.
It's true that the color temp of the really efficient fl. tubes tends to be cooler. LED color temp has been much improved lately. Cree is making some great stuff, yet I still think they will need to get a lot closer to the cost per tube of fl. to be competitive, and please stop with the specious cost savings claims.
Also, the 'compatibility with electronic ballasts' the article speaks of may be another way of saying that the ballasts must be bypassed and are not needed. Bypassing would mean you can't just insert these into the fittings and be done. That would be a major hassle on a ladder.
They save electricity two ways, through reduced power to produce the light and they give off very little heat, which means the refrigeration compressors need to run less.
Want to cheaply boost the light output of a fluorescent tube fixture? Get a roll of aluminum flue tape and apply it to the white painted "reflector" to drastically increase the amount of light bounced downward.