Way back in the mid-noughties, my wife and I were preparing to have a family. Our small house suited us perfectly but to cope with little ones we needed a bit more space and so converted our roof space into bedrooms. During the conversion, our downstairs hallway was completely trashed installing the staircase but with a spot of redecoration, all was well. There were new light fittings and I needed eight 40W-equivalent bulbs.
Looking back at 2007, LED bulbs were rare and expensive, so the choice was incandescent or CFL. The lights in the hallway are probably the most used of all our lights, so with an eye for the running costs, I went with CFL and ended up with a pile of GE 9W “Extra Mini” bulbs, officially GE BIAX Electronic. That’s 72 W total instead of 320 W with old-style bulbs.
This evening, I think the very first one of these failed. That’s over 15 years of use and surprisingly when I got a spare out of the cupboard, that’s exactly what it says on the box!
To formally review these bulbs, they output 480 lumens in a warm white. The bulbs turn on instantly but take a few minutes to come to full brightness and whiteness. They won’t work with dimmers. The short stubby size means that the bulbs will fit in most light fittings but they’re not great to look at. Opaque shades only. And they last for 15 years. Buy.
I only have one spare bulb which is now in use, so as the others start to fail, I’ll have to switch over to LED bulbs. They’ll only consume about 5 W and cost about £3 each from a reputable manufacturer.
The price of light is amazingly cheap when you think about it.
Jeffrey Powers talks to David Wang and Joshua Caillavet of General Electric about the GE EV Watt station, which is a charging station for electric cars. This is a level 2 charger, operating from 240V, rather than 110V, giving shorter recharge times for EVs (electric vehicles), say 4 to 8 hours, rather than 15 to 18 hours associated with a level 1 charger.
Fortunately, common sense seems to have prevailed with electric cars and a charging connector standard has been agreed by the manufacturers, so there shouldn’t be any compatibility problems between chargers and EVs.
Andy and Tom interview Elizabeth Kurfess, Product Manager for General Electric on GE Nucleus, a home energy management system. As utilities start to install smart meters on the outside of homes, the Nucleus unit wireless communicates with the smart meter to bring information on power consumption and tariffs into the home, allowing the homeowner to make intelligent decisions about the use of electrical power.
The information held in Nucleus can be shown on the homeowner’s PC or smartphone so that a real-time view of power consumption can be seen.
Nucleus can also connect to GE’s Brillion-enabled household appliances (white goods) to get information on consumption and instruct the appliance to stop or start depending on price. For example, a tumble dryer could be told to start drying once the cheap rate cuts in or stop if an expensive tariff comes on-line.
Wireless communication uses the Zigbee specification to pass the information between the appliances, the smart meter and the Nucleus. Information comes from the meter every15 seconds. Unfortunately, not every smart meter uses Zigbee – each manufacturer is different.