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Author Topic: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?  (Read 256 times)

Nick1911

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LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« on: November 20, 2021, 09:18:06 PM »

I bought a good number of LED bulbs about three years ago, after a move.

In the past few months, they've been dropping like flies.  I've lost at least 6 Feit Electric 60W Equivalent cheapies, and three of four Smart Electrician LED shop lights.

Because I'm curious, I've disassembled all of them on the bench and preformed a failure analysis.  I thought I'd find something silly in the power supply or a hack job of a driver.  But no, in both cases I actually had an open LED in a chain of them in series.  In one of the lights, I read the datasheet for the LED driver (BP9938X), saw it operated as a current source, and reasoned that I should be able to just jump across the dead LED and get back to working.  That worked as expected, but I'm not going to bother wasting time fixing all of these dead units - not for what they cost to replace.  I'd like to get a datasheet for the LED's themselves and see if they are being run too hard or not, but I can't find a part number on them.

What are your experiences with the longevity of your LED lights?

Bogie

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2021, 09:22:23 PM »

Unscientific: A bit better than CFs, but not a lot. I've replaced my bathroom lights at least twice. My kitchen lights once. In a 10 year period.
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Ben

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2021, 09:33:53 PM »

I don't think I have enough data. When I moved in here, going on three years ago, they had incandescents everywhere and I replaced most all of them with LEDs. A combination of Feits and whatever brand the power company gave me for free when I moved in.

All of them continue to work. The only issue I have is that a couple of months ago, the bulbs in the ceiling light in my office started to flicker when I first turned them on. It goes away after about 30 seconds. I haven't gotten around to swapping them out because it hasn't overly bothered me yet, so I don't know if it's the bulbs or something with that fixture.
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Bogie

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2021, 09:41:48 PM »

Oh, and... I bought some replacement tubes for some shop lights in the workshop.
 
They died rather rapidly.
 
I bought some "built LED" shoplights, and they still work.
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Brad Johnson

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2021, 09:52:21 PM »

I try to only buy Philips or Cree unless a cheapie no-name is the only choice. Had a couple of cheapies fail over the years but all the decent stuff is still doing fine.

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Bogie

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2021, 09:57:25 PM »

Had one Cree that died inside of about five years. On about 6-8 hours daily.
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Jim147

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2021, 10:18:53 PM »

Check your hertz.
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And sometimes goes on and on and on.

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Bogie

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2021, 10:20:23 PM »

And what, may I ask, does a smoother cost for a whole house setup?
 
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BlueStarLizzard

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2021, 10:23:25 PM »

I couldn't give you a failure rate, because I have yet to have a failure.

Every working light fixture had an LED in it before Dad died. I think I hit the last bulb the year before he died so... four years + with many having been in place up to two years longer than that. Most of them are GE, but there are a few odd brands as well.
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RocketMan

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2021, 12:14:33 AM »

I've had a just a couple of the Home Despot EcoSmart bulbs fail.  However, I've had several of the Cree 5000k 60 and 100 watt equivalent bulbs fail in the last couple of years, and that's causing me to doubt that brand.  I've still got a four of the Cree Connect bulbs in service, and they've not had a problem.
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MillCreek

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2021, 12:23:23 AM »

I have been very pleased with the Wiz WiFi bulbs that I get from Costco.com and being able to verbally command then via Alexa is great.
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Perd Hapley

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2021, 02:04:30 AM »

I've had several of the Cree 5000k 60 and 100 watt equivalent bulbs fail in the last couple of years, and that's causing me to doubt that brand. 

I don't know why, but I've never trusted Cree's lamps or luminaires. The only advice I can give is to buy lamps rated for at least 25,000 hours - 50,000 is better. Also, most lamps have a warranty of at least a few years, so take advantage of that where possible.

I like Eiko, which we sell a lot of. I tend to think Satco and GE are pretty good brands, though I don't have that much experience with them.
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zahc

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2021, 03:04:24 AM »

Cree doesn't have a good record.

They seem to fail nearly as often as incandescent for me. Which makes economic sense. It's even more annoying though because I have a lot of fixtures that take 3 or 5 bulbs and you can never replace one with a match. I've found even the same make and model from the same store comes out of the package different sometimes. The color is slightly different or it dims at a totally different rate. So you either replace them all or live with mismatched everything.
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230RN

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2021, 03:14:54 AM »

Unscientific, anecdotal, but it seems ventilation is an important variable, just as it is with incandescents.

Good failure analysis, Nick1911, thanks.

K Frame

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2021, 06:46:29 AM »

I think i've had 2 or 3 fail... one good one, the other ones were cheapies that I bought from Woot or Amazon.

Overall, I'm entirely happy with my LED bulb experience from a light quality and energy savings standpoint.
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Bogie

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2021, 07:49:17 AM »

Have any of you tried the fixtures? I'm a little leery of building something in, and then a couple of years later having to replace the whole unit. That said, the shoplights seem to be okay...
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zxcvbob

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2021, 07:54:03 AM »

I've had a few fail, but they now cost about the same as incandescent and they last longer even with the premature failures.

I don't like the curly compact fluorescents, in part because they lose brightness long before they actually fail.  LEDs seem to have much better lumen maintenance.  And LED works better when it's cold.  I do have one CFL that does not have a curly tube, it has 2 U-shaped tubes, and it's over 20 years old and still works fine and it's nice and bright.  Of course it's in a fixture I don't use very often, but it still seems to be holding up much better than a few twisted CFLs that are also seldom used.
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Perd Hapley

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2021, 10:21:06 AM »

It's even more annoying though because I have a lot of fixtures that take 3 or 5 bulbs and you can never replace one with a match. I've found even the same make and model from the same store comes out of the package different sometimes. The color is slightly different or it dims at a totally different rate. So you either replace them all or live with mismatched everything.

Yup. You buy an LED bulb/fixture in May, and six months later they've updated to the next generation.

Unscientific, anecdotal, but it seems ventilation is an important variable, just as it is with incandescents.

Good failure analysis, Nick1911, thanks.

Ventilation can definitely be a factor. Some bulbs are rated for enclosed fixtures, but you might have to go to the manufacturer's website to find that information.
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ConstitutionCowboy

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2021, 11:26:57 AM »

About two or so years ago, I installed 7 each, 4 lamp, 4' fluorescent fixtures in my garage/workshop. The tubes started failing one by one after about a year. Over the last year, about a third of the lamps had failed. Last month I converted all seven fixtures to LED's. The conversion eliminates the ballasts completely and each LED tube runs on 120 volts directly. The lamps are 6500 K which is very bright, and they say they are rated for a 50,000 hour lifetime.

The increase in illumination in the shop part of the garage is amazing. I only hope they last half as long as they say they will.

I can now listen to AM radio in the shop without the nasty howl from the fluorescent ballasts. Before, I had to set the radio nearly on the floor and oriented so the static could be somewhat nulled out. I can place the radio wherever I want to now.

That said, some LED'd will produce static but it is nowhere as bad as one can get from the fluorescent ballasts.

I have replaced most of the incandescent light bulbs in the house with LED's but have had to replace a couple of them. They were the same brand, and those of a different brand seem to be holding up so far. Buy quality.

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K Frame

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2021, 12:13:02 PM »

Have any of you tried the fixtures? I'm a little leery of building something in, and then a couple of years later having to replace the whole unit. That said, the shoplights seem to be okay...

YeS, in 2015 I put in 6 LED fixtures from Lowes -- 3 in my galley kitchen, and 3 in the halls.

All 6 have been running perfectly.

The ones in the kitchen were a godsend because the 4' florescent fixture I had in there didn't provide nearly enough light, especially at the ends of the kitchen. By spacing the three lights evenly over the length of the kitchen I have a MUCH better lighting situation. I can actually see to work.

Forgot that i also put in two motion sensor puck lights in my walk in closet and in my pantry to replace the old porcelain pull chain fixtures. Better light, no string dangling down to break off at the worst possible time,
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Bogie

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2021, 09:02:42 PM »

In the early 1970s, my mother bought a round fluorescent thing that would go in a table lamp.
 
That thing lasted until after 2000...
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AJ Dual

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Re: LED Bulbs - Failure rate?
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2021, 10:00:22 AM »

I've got a bunch of Feit wi-fi smart bulbs and non-smart bulbs from Menard's.

I couldn't give you a count. But it's in the dozens.  All but one have been okay so far, some for a few years.

I have one smart Wi-Fi bulb in my bedroom that's currently on the fritz. It's doing things like turning on and off by itself. Made a loud "click" (Breaker, thermal protection?) and turned off, and wouldn't work until the actual lamp base was turned off/on to power cycle it. And it's also doing weird things like not responding to the app, and just leaving itself on at 1% power.

It's in a traditional lamp base with a shade on a night stand, so shouldn't be any thermal/overheat issues with it.

From what I've saved in money so far over buying more name-brand LED's and smart/wi-fi bulbs, I'm not too salty about it.

I just need to toss it, and put in another new one, I'm just too lazy to deal with the few minutes of wrangling a new bulb on the app to get it registered. Since the smart bulbs all run on 2.4gHz "old" wi-fi, getting them to ignore the simulcast 5gHz SSID in my house is kind of a pain, but I've figured out how to get the bulbs to register through their built in access point mode (Amazed at a semi-disposable light bulb has a wi-fi access point in it? Minor future-shock), download the SSID for the home network through the app on my phone and the passcode, then work from there.

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