UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > General Vintage Technology > Websites

Notices

Websites Found an interesting website? Post the details here and share it with the rest of us. Please stick to websites that are in some way related to our hobby/interest.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 8th Apr 2019, 5:47 pm   #1
crackle
Dekatron
 
crackle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Basildon, Essex, UK.
Posts: 3,059
Default The lightbulb conspiracy

Whilst browsing around the Elektotanya website I came across this youtube video. It describes a disturbing story on consumerism and planned obsolescence.
The concepts of repair and restoration and reuse if items is an approach I have always believed in.
The video is about 50 minutes long, so set some time aside to watch it.
https://youtu.be/esnS08xsRGY

Mike
__________________
BVWS Member
The KB Museum

My collection in the Radio Museum
crackle is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 20th Apr 2019, 9:39 pm   #2
ITAM805
Octode
 
ITAM805's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Folkestone, Kent, UK.
Posts: 1,682
Default The lightbulb conspiracy

A documentary about planned obsolescence - I never knew that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esnS08xsRGY
ITAM805 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st Apr 2019, 10:35 am   #3
Craig Sawyers
Octode
 
Craig Sawyers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Oxford, UK.
Posts: 1,954
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

That is exceptionally interesting viewing. But have you noticed that since 2014, when the video went on YouTube, there has been only 260 views? That in itself is a sad indictment of how unimportant the world perceives the whole topic of planned obsolescence.
Craig Sawyers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st Apr 2019, 11:14 am   #4
paulsherwin
Moderator
 
paulsherwin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 18,314
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

The relatively low number of views may simply reflect the large number of sources that have information about this cartel, such as the Wikipedia article.
paulsherwin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st Apr 2019, 11:24 am   #5
MrBungle
Dekatron
 
MrBungle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: London, UK.
Posts: 3,373
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

I read about the concept of a light bulb in Gravity’s Rainbow in the 1990s. Thought it was common knowledge these days that it was a conspiracy rather than an engineering impossibility.

Interestingly my father had a lightbulb in the garage that lasted 45 years. Was impressed.
MrBungle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st Apr 2019, 12:23 pm   #6
TonyDuell
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Biggin Hill, London, UK.
Posts: 3,263
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

I don't want to get involved with conspiracy theories, but...

It is actually quite easy to make a fliament light bulb last a long time. You just run it at a lower voltage. If you took a normal 230V bulb and ran it at, say, 110V it would give out some light. And it was last for many, many years.

The catch is, of course, that such a bulb is less efficient at providing light. You need more electrical power in to light the room (or whatever) properly.

Conversely you can make filament bulbs a little more efficient (more useful light output per electrical watt input) by running them on a higher voltage. That's essentially what photoflood bulbs were/are. A short life (only a few hours) but bright. So OK for photographic applictions where you only run them for a minute at a time.

So if you have a bulb that lasts a long time (saving money on replacements) you have to spend more money on electrical energy to light the room properly.

As I said, I do not want to get involved in conspiracy theories. But I was under the impression that the bulbs were designed to balance the cost of electrical energy against the cost of replacements.
TonyDuell is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 21st Apr 2019, 12:49 pm   #7
Maarten
Nonode
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Haarlem, Netherlands
Posts: 2,517
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

I think it was indeed that balance they played with a bit.

This was therefore in my eyes more like a cartel than a full blown conspiracy. Manufacturers agreed on the lower end of the feasible endurance range of the technical compromise that is an incandescent light bulb and also fixed their prices. A 2000h lightbulb would have been either more expensive or less economic but might still be on the higher end of the technically feasible range (a 240V light bulb run in continental Europe would have accomplished the same, and some brands did indeed sell 235-250V bulbs over here). In the end, they switched to halogen to get over the 1000h limitation and get higher economy. If they could have done it reliably without the halogen cycle, they would have (since that would have been cheaper to manufacture).
Maarten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st Apr 2019, 4:47 pm   #8
dave walsh
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ramsbottom (Nr Bury) Lancs or Bexhill (Nr Hastings) Sussex.
Posts: 4,413
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

I think it was the Electronics International [or similar] magazine that published a circuit for a little "dimmer" device for individual bulbs. It was designed to take out 20v or so without affecting the colour temperature or brightness that much but considerably extending the working life of the bulb.

I thought about something similar to reduce the overall voltage of the 5amp lighting circuit for ALL bulbs but never I never got very far with it so I still don't know if it might have worked Too late now I suppose

Dave W
dave walsh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st Apr 2019, 5:53 pm   #9
G6Tanuki
Dekatron
 
G6Tanuki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Wiltshire, UK.
Posts: 7,514
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

I don't see this as a 'conspiracy'.

You can make an old-style incandescent filament-bulb that will have a spectacularly-long life - but it will be rather inefficient in converting volts/amps into Lumens.

Equally, you can make an old-style incadescent-filament bulb that will have a spectacularly-short life - and it will be great at converting volts/amps into Lumens.

The little MES bulbs used in battery-powered cycle-lamps/pocket-torches/flashlights fit into the latter catrgory: the 'expensive' bit in the equation is the cost of the battery so running them 'hot' and sacrificing bulb-life to get the most-lumens-from-your-battery makes sense. The bulbs may only have a life of a few hours.

Similar MES bulbs used in commercial/industrial indicator-panels, car-sidelights or the festoon-bulbs in bell-pushes, well there you don't really worry about power consumption but having to replace the bulbs every few hours [or having a warning-indication missed because the bulb had blown] is expensive, so you design the bulb for long-life at the cost of poor energy-efficiency.

This isn't a 'conspiracy', it's pure economic sense. Would you want a 100-Watt incandescent domestic bulb to last for 100,000 hours if - in doing so - it was so inefficient it cost more in power than the cost of a few spectacularly-more-efficient-but-somewhat-shorter-lifed equivalents?

The same applies to modern LEDs: I'm happy to buy cheap-but-overdriven GU10 LEDs which I know will fail after a couple of years. The technology's progressing so fast that the replacements will invariably be more-efficient/more-economical-to-run than the failed ones I hurl into the trash.
G6Tanuki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st Apr 2019, 6:07 pm   #10
Maarten
Nonode
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Haarlem, Netherlands
Posts: 2,517
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBungle View Post
I read about the concept of a light bulb in Gravity’s Rainbow in the 1990s. Thought it was common knowledge these days that it was a conspiracy rather than an engineering impossibility.

Interestingly my father had a lightbulb in the garage that lasted 45 years. Was impressed.
Forgot to mention in my last post, the relation between voltage applied and filament life has a power of 13 in it. So it's relatively easy to make a light bulb last long by operating it outside normal parameters. Even a simple NTC resistor in series will prolong life. Likewise, some manufacturers would have aimed for a 2000h life in stead of the agreed upon 1000h (especially eastern european ones may have done that). Also, the bulb could have been a 250V one or a reinforced construction lamp (as seen in traffic lights, hard to reach lights, workshops). As some others already mentioned, it really isn't that hard to make a incadescent light bulb last longer. The cartel was really about choosing the parameters for optimal production and optimal financial gain. Within a technically feasible range of a few hundred to a few thousand operating hours, the optimum was found at 1000 hours. Everything from the top of my head, I didn't watch said documentary recently.

Last edited by Maarten; 21st Apr 2019 at 6:15 pm.
Maarten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Apr 2019, 12:53 am   #11
Argus25
Nonode
 
Argus25's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia.
Posts: 2,271
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

Quote:
Originally Posted by ITAM805 View Post
A documentary about planned obsolescence - I never knew that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esnS08xsRGY
If you look at post #31 on this thread earlier in the year I mentioned this doco:

https://vintage-radio.net/forum/show....php?p=1109280

It has been around for a while. The thing about it is that its not really about conspiracy, only to the extent that some manufacturers essentially agreed to have the same life cycle for their bulbs. It much more about the way people are cultured to believe old is bad, throw away the old and buy the new.

Also how manufacturers life cycle their products, a good example being a print counter IC in a printer, that disables the printer at the hardware level, after a certain number of prints.

One other thing that is really making me laugh is that some companies selling plastic enclosures for electronic instruments are boasting "Biodegradable plastic" and I bought an enclosure like this. After 2 years the plastic is already brittle and starting to fail. Most plastics have a limited life anyway, so now before the electrolytic caps have failed the instrument you have bought or made, is crumbling away in your hands.

The notion these days of using software inhibition of functions is called "crippleware" You will notice some cars go into limp mode if they are not serviced on time. So either what you are using requires a software reset or you might have to pay extra money in the first instance to get a registration key to enable some software inhibited feature that is already there.

According to the editorial in the recent Silicon Chip Magazine, Vol 32, No5, MAY 2019, this was likely a factor in the Boeing 737 max crashes, where apparently there were two AOA (angle of attack) sensors installed in the plane for the MCAS anti-stall system (but only one was active) so there was no opportunity to compare outputs to check if data from one sensor was faulty and disable the MACS.

So the system that tells the pilots if the AOA sensors are not functioning normally (even though it is fitted at the hardware level) was inactive. The suggestion was the manufacturers charged more $ to enable the second sensor (or disable the crippleware).

It is an example of crippleware applied to a safety feature according to the Editor of S/C. So if this is true, this notion has really been pushed as far as anyone could ever have imagined and the stupidity and greed behind that unfathomable.

Last edited by Argus25; 22nd Apr 2019 at 1:02 am.
Argus25 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Apr 2019, 6:56 am   #12
Electronpusher0
Hexode
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Bognor Regis, West Sussex, UK.
Posts: 404
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

According to the Digital Trends website France and the US are investigating Apple over inbuilt obsolescence.
https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile...-obsolescence/

Peter
Electronpusher0 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Apr 2019, 9:08 am   #13
Radio Wrangler
Dekatron
 
Radio Wrangler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Fife, Scotland, UK.
Posts: 12,365
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

Without the cartel what would have happened? Either there would have been a race "Our bulbs are brighter!" as consumers got stuffed with bulbs of ever shortening lives as manufacturers competed on brightness, or it wouldhave gone the other way "Our bulbs last longer" and consumers would suffer dimmer and redder lights.

As it was, fixing the life/brightness was probably a good thing. The effect on prices of stifled competition wasn't.

When I do get a volcanic island, and the monorail and the goons, etc. the first people in the piranha tank will be the printer makers!

David
__________________
Can't afford the volcanic island yet, but the plans for my monorail and the goons' uniforms are done
Radio Wrangler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Apr 2019, 7:04 pm   #14
McMurdo
Dekatron
 
McMurdo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Staffordshire Moorlands, UK.
Posts: 3,566
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

I can't speak with authority on light bulbs themselves but certainly planned obsolescence within the forum's general scope of how it leads to and affects repairs is certainly in evidence.

For example a certain brand of item uses OSCON super long-life electrolytic capacitors in its smpsu apart from just one, a little 10uf 50V thing. It's always that one that fails and it kills the psu dead. Why did they mount it under the main heatsink where it's guaranteed to fail?

If NASA had super-accurate MTBF figures in the 1960's for its super-complicated spacecraft systems, I'm sure the DVD and TV OEM's can design it into their stuff too.

Industrial touch screens using lcd displays sometimes have user-replaceable backlights, unplug and slide out on a little cassette. Not too difficult for a TV, is it, surely!!
__________________
Kevin
McMurdo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Apr 2019, 8:49 pm   #15
The Philpott
Octode
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Colchester, Essex, UK.
Posts: 1,881
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

It was repeated ad infinitum in the 'eighties as a sort of 'did you know' story, that 1000hr domestic lamp life was enforced by an industry cartel and better lamps vis-a-vis life AND lumens could be made if they wanted to make them.

Whether it was true, exaggerated, distorted or untrue, a modern echo of this comes to mind, repeated by Dr.Barry Taff. He cited a case where a man invented a lithium battery pack for vehicles which had a vastly improved safe charge rate and much longer number of charges before deterioration of capacity. The inventor was allegedly told that if he attempted to market it he would 'end up in the same hole as it.'

Dave
The Philpott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Apr 2019, 9:05 pm   #16
AC/HL
Moderator
 
AC/HL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, UK.
Posts: 7,423
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

The desire to believe conspiracy theories is one of mankind's weaker attributes.
__________________
Bill, BVWS member
AC/HL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Apr 2019, 9:58 pm   #17
Oldcodger
Octode
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: West Midlands, UK.
Posts: 1,346
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

Bit of history .
Another side to #9- for years railways ran signal head lamps ( dual filament 12v ,can't remember the wattage) below 12. Something like 11.5v for the main and a bit less for the reserve. This was because longevity was the requirement. I remember seeing something about Halogen replacements, where the voltage had to 12 . Then LED ones came in ,the reason being much improved life.
Oldcodger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Apr 2019, 10:04 pm   #18
Radio Wrangler
Dekatron
 
Radio Wrangler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Fife, Scotland, UK.
Posts: 12,365
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

A really good conspiracy theory is a form of doublethink Orwell would have been proud of.

The conspiracy theorist simultaneously believes that the accused is up to all sorts of vile shenanigans while simultaneously believing that the accused is utterly incompetent.

Whatever you do, never point out this illogicality.... well, unless you are a very good runner.

David
__________________
Can't afford the volcanic island yet, but the plans for my monorail and the goons' uniforms are done
Radio Wrangler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd Apr 2019, 11:55 pm   #19
Sinewave
Heptode
 
Sinewave's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Oxfordshire/Bucks borders, UK.
Posts: 836
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

Always good to shed some light on the subject.
__________________
Avometer and vintage Fluke collector. Metrology addict.
Sinewave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23rd Apr 2019, 9:38 am   #20
Heatercathodeshort
Dekatron
 
Heatercathodeshort's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Warnham, West Sussex. 10 miles south of DORKING.
Posts: 6,775
Default Re: The lightbulb conspiracy

Lamp life was reduced when the 'coiled coil' filament was introduced. They burned hotter for the same consumption of power but could not stand up to any form of vibration.

They usually failed on switch on resulting in a flash and a bang, taking out the glass fuses built into the lamp stem. Without the fuses the house lighting circuit fuses would have failed.

The old rough service lamps were always single coil capable of taking quite considerable shock but never gave the same light output as their equivalent wattage coiled coil type.

I have a large collection of light bulbs, some well over 100 years old but most are very inefficient when compared with later filament bulbs. The drawn wire 'cage filament' types from the late 20's/early 30's are noticeably superior. Interesting thread. John.
Heatercathodeshort is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 7:26 am.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2019, Paul Stenning.