I love LED lighting. I have played with them for years soldering up my own fixtures and DC power supplies. But these LEDs were from Radio Shack, and cheap.

Now I am trying to light my abode with factory made, 120VAC bulbs and they don't last any longer then incandescent bulbs! They are not cheap, at these short lifespans! I know LEDs give off heat, so we need to give them breathing space, and some kind of material to transfer heat to. They also don't like reverse polarity or fluctuating voltages. Well, knowing all of this hasn't helped me get more life out of LEDs.

Where am I going wrong?

closed as off-topic by Tyson, Daniel Griscom, ThreePhaseEel, Tester101 May 7 '18 at 10:44

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  • 4
    "reverse polarity" on a 120VAC bulb? – Daniel Griscom May 13 '16 at 17:32
  • 1
    "they don't last any longer then Incandecent bulbs" -- This is contrary to both my own experience and everything I have heard. – A. I. Breveleri May 13 '16 at 17:48
  • Who are the manufacturers (and models if you know them) of the LEDs that have been burning out on you? – Harper May 13 '16 at 18:47
  • 1
    3 causes I can think of: 1) bad batch/lot of LED lamps. 2) excess heat from an enclosed fixture 3) bad socket that creates even more heat. I haven't had an LED bulb burn out yet, and now have them everywhere. – Tyson May 13 '16 at 19:31
  • 1
    Today's LED lamps are rated for 20 to 50 years of life. Something is amiss here. I have known early versions of CCFL and LED's to have a very short life due to manufacturers going cheap on the drive circuits. An old discontinued batch dumped onto the retail market? – user51490 May 13 '16 at 22:45

I don't know if it's really useful to compare a 120V LED bulb to the stuff you can cobble together from radio shack. First of all the commercial bulbs include a significant amount of circuitry to adjust the voltage, compensate for dimmers, etc. Most bulbs actually accept a wide range of input voltages. And of course with an AC circuit there is no such thing as polarity. Plus the diodes themselves are often quite complicated, mixing various colors and also combining phosphor coatings that are not feasible to do yourself.

But to answer your question about how good they are... I think they're excellent now. I started buying them 5 or 6 years ago when they were $30/each (for high-usage areas only), but the price now is down to about $1/bulb so I don't see why you wouldn't replace every single old-fashioned incandescent at that price. The energy savings will pay for the bulb in only 10 or 20 hours of use.

Also I don't think I've ever had an LED bulb die yet... even using some bulbs in enclosed fixtures even though they're not rated for such usage. (Many bulbs are now, so if you have enclosed fixtures that is something to look for.)

  • I had one bad batch of LED bulbs die in one specific fixture. They were replaced for free and the new ones are fine. My experience, like yours, has been very positive. – iLikeDirt May 13 '16 at 18:17

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