Bunnings Hardware are now selling three sizes of Osram Parathom LED light-bulbs in Australia. These are shaped like a conventional incandescent light bulb, with the lower section a metal heat sink painted white and the top a translucent hemispherical dome. They are all "Warm White" and rated to last 25,000 Hours and are avialable in bayonet and Edison screw fitting. The links in this post are to the Amazon German and UK web sites, as I have not been able to find these for sale on-line in Australia (but you would be better off going into a store in Australia, as the European prices seem very high).
The largest is a Osram Parathom 12 Watt LED for $29.90, equivalent to a 50 Watt incandescent bulb. This is about 20 mm taller than a standard bulb. I found this worked very well in a "Tastic" bathroom fan/heater. The dome projects down below the fan fitting, spreading light evenly around the room (better than the reflector bulb it replaced, which sent light straight down). It looks very bright in a small bathroom.
The 6 Watt is rated as equivalent to a 25 Watt incandescent bulb and is $17.90. It is the same size and shape as a standard bulb.
There is also an Osram 42780 Parathom 4Watt LED, shorter than a standard bulb.
All these bulbs direct very little light downwards, towards the base. They would be good for a ceiling fitting directing light downwards, or an up-light. They would not be as good for a fitting where the bulb lays on its side, or a desk lap where the bulb points upwards, but light is wanted downwards.
The bulbs look very well made with a very solid metal base and strong looking translucent cover (it is a shame to cover the unit with a shade, as they look like modern sculptures). The light is a pleasant color and very uniform. It will be interesting to see if they reach the 25,000 life: the electronics in LED lights tend to fail long before the LEDs themselves dim from old age. My bathroom light is used only about 30 minutes a day and so should last 100 years. ;-)
The price of these bulbs is likely to come down rapidly in the next few years. I can recall when a compact florescent bulb cost $30 (they are now around $4).At the top end Philips are selling their Philips Master LED Bulb 12W at very high prices. There is also the Philips MyVision 9 Watt LED Bulb which looks very much like the Osram Parathom and is more reasonably priced.
What I have not seen so far is bulbs exploiting the unique characteristics of the LED. As an example, the LEDs are very small. It would be possible to build a bulb which had four or more separate LEDs, which from the factory would point out in all directions giving even light, but could be swiveled to point in one direction.
See also: "LED Lighting becomes main stream" at Ecologically Sustainable Sydney.
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