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Cree uses convection cooling in its cheaper new LED bulbs

Cree's new LED bulbs will be less expensive than the current models, thanks to a heat sink-less design
Cree's new LED bulbs will be less expensive than the current models, thanks to a heat sink-less design
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Cree's new LED bulbs will be less expensive than the current models, thanks to a heat sink-less design
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Cree's new LED bulbs will be less expensive than the current models, thanks to a heat sink-less design
4Flow Filament Design incorporates slots both in the base of the bulb, and at the top
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4Flow Filament Design incorporates slots both in the base of the bulb, and at the top
One of the current generation of Cree LED bulbs, with the heat sink visible at the base (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)
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One of the current generation of Cree LED bulbs, with the heat sink visible at the base (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)

Cree has already gone a long way towards making incandescent light bulbs obsolete, by introducing its relatively normal-looking, inexpensive LED bulbs. Today, however, the company announced that those bulbs will soon be ... well, even more normal-looking and inexpensive, thanks to the elimination of the heat sink.

On the current generation of Cree LED bulbs, the heat sink takes the form of a sort of multi-finned collar that goes around the base of the bulb. This gives the bulb additional surface area, allowing it to better dissipate the heat that it generates while running.

The new bulbs, however, incorporate a convection-based technology that Cree calls 4Flow Filament Design. This incorporates slots both in the base of the bulb, and at the top. As heat generated by the bulb rises and exits out the slots on top, it continuously draws cooler ambient air in through the slots on the bottom. This eliminates the need for the heat sink, resulting in a cheaper-to-manufacture, lighter bulb.

4Flow Filament Design incorporates slots both in the base of the bulb, and at the top
4Flow Filament Design incorporates slots both in the base of the bulb, and at the top

Cree's new LED bulbs will be available in 40- and 60-watt equivalent models, putting out 460 and 815 lumens, respectively. They will also each come in soft white (2700K) and daylight (5000K) color temperatures. According to the company, they use up to 85 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts, while lasting about 25 times longer. They also have a shatter-proof casing.

The bulbs can be ordered now via the Home Depot website, and will be in the retailer's stores as of November. Prices start at US$7.97 per bulb, as compared to the $9.97 minimum price of the current generation.

Source: Cree

11 comments
David Elderkin
i bought 3 and with in a week one died. not to impressed.
Daishi
A couple of the more normal looking LED lightbulbs I have are "LED filament" bulbs that look pretty much like this: http://i.imgur.com/jLnc3dE.jpg The brand I bought has pretty good efficiency (3.6 watt @ 450 lumen) but isn't sold anymore. Another decent/cheap bulb I have been using is Philips Slim Style. The 10.5 watt 800 lumen ones can be picked up for about $7/each. So for I haven't had any LED's go out which is good because the ones I bought in 2012 were between $20 and $35 each. Back then the 450 lumen LED's were 8 or 9 watts and the 800 lumen lights were 12. We are at a point now where its cheaper over the life of the bulb to go with LED over CFL. Not being prone to shatter and (generally) having to be replaced less often is a bonus.
xs400
Mounting them the right way would be critical, not my idea of a solid state LED. May not suitable for all applications?
esar
At least you shouldn't get that nasty shadow that the heat sinks cause!
Julie Short
Regardless of the "latest" thing in light bulbs, I will be buying ONLY bulbs "Made in the USA" - period.
Noel K Frothingham
I'm still surprised that the heat is being discarded when the technology to convert the heat directly into electricity. One camping equipment manufacturer chose to put a thermal generator on the base of a camp coffee maker.
Joris van den Heuvel
@Noel K Frothingham: the efficiency of said heat to electricity conversion would increase the LED's total efficiency by a few percent, while costing a multitude of a normal LED lamp. Why not put that money into more efficient LED dies to begin with?
Rutherford Gnarlybone
Our entire house uses the older Cree LEDs (warm white) ... we find them to be excellent. Very happy. A number of them are on dimmers and they dim well.
warren52nz
I love the concept of LED bulbs and have a few around the house. However 2 have already stopped working in what I'm sure is less time than an ordinary incandescent. Other than junction drift at the PN junction in the LED there shouldn't be anything else to wear out. They should go for years. But they don't. Well not yet anyway. Maybe it's dodgy electronics making the conversion from mains voltage to low voltage DC.
Slowburn
I don't think I have a single fixture in the house that is orientated correctly for the bulb.