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 Post subject: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Savers
PostPosted: Jul Sun 01, 2012 11:04 pm 
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Seeing how incandescent light bulbs are slowly being phased out and just recreantly I had a cap blow up on one my 26W CFL light bulbs, I decided that I was going to buy some of those little light saver diode buttons that you drop in to the light socket and then screw in the light bulb. The button rectifies the AC to DC by half wave rectification thus extending the lifespan of the light bulb. Since the light bulb will only get half of the current and in one direction, a certain amount of luminosity will be lost, around 20%. If you want 60 watts of light, you’ll need to use a 75 watt light bulb and if you want 100 watts of light, you’ll have to use a 120 watt light bulb and so on. For the longest time, there was a product called “The Button” that accomplished this.

Image Image

Unfourtaintly, the company that manufactured this nifty little device, Lemra Products, has closed down.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/lemra-products-brooklyn

Nobody on the internet seems to carries it any more except Amazon.com and they’re asking a bundle for a single package of three buttons which used to sell for about $4.50 back in 2005. So, my question is, does anybody know where I can still find these buttons and at a reasonable price? Are there any other brand name buttons that I can look for? I hope there are because, at this point, I’m starting to get a little concerned.

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Sun 01, 2012 11:07 pm 
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Wouldn't these generate some noise on AM?


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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Sun 01, 2012 11:10 pm 
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http://www.heartlandamerica.com/browse/ ... &pin=72816


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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Sun 01, 2012 11:35 pm 
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Lou deGonzague wrote:
Wouldn't these generate some noise on AM?


I shouldn't think so. I hope not.

Thanks, wiscojim, for the link, but unfortunately, they say that they, also, are out of stock. Seems like everybody's out of stock of these buttons.

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Sun 01, 2012 11:43 pm 
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The ones I have seen are "thermistors", That have a higher resistance when cold and lower resistance when hot.

This will if properly selected, limit the inrush current and should extend the life of the bulb.

I have been using them for some time on slide/movie projector lamps, radios etc. On 115 volt lamps, you don't notice the 1/2 to 1 1/2 volt drop, on low voltage lamps, the drop is noticeable

Charlie


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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Mon 02, 2012 3:02 am 
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I would just try a different brand of fluorescent bulbs. I switched to all-fluorescent years ago and some of the early compact bulbs did fail sooner than expected, but the newer ones I have bought have all been much more reliable. I don't remember changing any bulbs in my house in a couple of years, except one floodlight in my driveway (and those are on 2400 hours per year or more).

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Mon 02, 2012 4:56 am 
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Although it would be easier to use one of those buttons if you can find them, I managed to find one of the patents for it, which seems to just describe diodes in the device.

This one is from 1975, if you can't read it, google "patent 3,963,956" and it's this:

http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en&tab=gw#hl=en&safe=off&sclient=psy-ab&q=patent++3%2C963%2C956+&oq=patent++3%2C963%2C956+&gs_l=serp.3..0l4.146109.147000.0.147281.3.3.0.0.0.1.531.906.3-1j0j1.2.0...0.0.SOOZAYFcxa8&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=3ddc6ee7f452a242&biw=1120&bih=598

It shows a diode positioned between two discs.

This is the earlier patent, if you can't see it, google "patent 3,450,893". This one is from 1965/1969:

http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en&tab=gw#hl=en&safe=off&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=patent+3%2C450%2C893&oq=patent+3%2C450%2C893&gs_l=hp.3..0l4.2062.3468.0.3828.8.6.0.0.0.0.610.2486.4-3j2.5.0...0.0.Af80B7ZkFTg&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=3ddc6ee7f452a242&biw=1120&bih=598

I think you could just add the diode where the wire attaches to the socket and accomplish the same thing. I only looked at both patents for a second, but I didn't see anything else on it then the diode and the wafers sandwiching it.

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Mon 02, 2012 6:01 am 
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Thanks for the reality check, EICO. Fact is, these buttons are nothing - you can replace them and even do better with electronic components that you no doubt already have on hand. The button's selling point is usability. Anybody can install them and do so at the greatest convenience - no taking apart, no wiring, no soldering.

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Mon 02, 2012 6:42 am 
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Don't add anything to a socket for a fluorescent lamp.

Here is another one: There is a technical discussion.

I think its a triac button.

http://support.radioshack.com/productin ... Ds&Reuse=N

Diode buttons are an anathema to power systems.
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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Mon 02, 2012 6:52 am 
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Why not use 130 volt bulbs? I had some 60 watt Sunbeam bulbs installed in my house when i moved in. With regular use they all lasted about a year-to year and a half. The ones i have are rated for 10,000 hours. One i removed from a fixture that was still working and it was nearing 2 years of almost steadily being on 24-7. The only draw back is the amount of lumens they produce.. which isnt much. They were more like 40 watt bulbs instead of 60 watt.


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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Tue 03, 2012 3:13 am 
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Tuberadiogeek wrote:
Why not use 130 volt bulbs? I had some 60 watt Sunbeam bulbs installed in my house when i moved in. With regular use they all lasted about a year-to year and a half. The ones i have are rated for 10,000 hours. One i removed from a fixture that was still working and it was nearing 2 years of almost steadily being on 24-7. The only draw back is the amount of lumens they produce.. which isnt much. They were more like 40 watt bulbs instead of 60 watt.


220 volt bulbs will last even longer. I have one that is going into its second decade of being on 24/7. I also have a porch fixture rewired to series two bulbs. This setup has been on 24/7 for over 25 years.

RRM


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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Tue 03, 2012 3:22 am 
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Will a 220 volt bulb even operate on 120 volts with out modifications?

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Tue 03, 2012 3:40 am 
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That's not even a legitimate question for someone who's a member of this forum... :lol: :lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Tue 03, 2012 4:07 am 
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radiotechnician wrote:
Don't add anything to a socket for a fluorescent lamp.

The CFLs don't care about a 1N4007 in series with the input...

Some years back I went with the rectifier and a 60w bulb in a dusk till dawn light, bulb lasted less than a year, so I screwed in a CFL for giggles and it worked as normal... I thought the rect was probably shorted, so I tried another incandescent and it was clearly dimmer than normal... I've gone back to CFLs in that fixture(rectifier still in it) and those last approx two years...

I have another dusk till dawn that uses a "U" shaped compact florescent, that one has been flawless for at least eight years now... The one with the rectifier has gone through the incandescent and at least three CFLs in the same period...

Tom


Last edited by 35Z5 on Jul Tue 03, 2012 4:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Tue 03, 2012 4:10 am 
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Tuberadiogeek wrote:
Will a 220 volt bulb even operate on 120 volts with out modifications?

Well, you could gently open it and allow some of the vacuum out. Then it will be a sixty volt bulb. But without modification, it will just be one more dim bulb.
:wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Tue 03, 2012 5:31 am 
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I figured it wouldnt be very useful at 120 volts.. I wouldnt even know where to find an E27 220 volt bulb that isnt an LED from China. Anyways.. If you can no longer find them bulb saver buttons and cant find 130 volt long life bulbs, i would suggest halogens. I'm talking about the type that look like a normal incandescent bulb,except they have halogen bulbs mounted inside the globe. This is one style of them: http://www.ebay.com/itm/GE-Lighting-787 ... 545wt_1139

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Tue 03, 2012 6:03 am 
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mescalero wrote:
you could gently open it and allow some of the vacuum out. Then it will be a sixty volt bulb.


Yeah, a sixty volt bulb for a few minutes, if that... :lol: :lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Tue 03, 2012 6:27 am 
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Location: Powell River BC Canada
35Z5 wrote:
radiotechnician wrote:
Don't add anything to a socket for a fluorescent lamp.

The CFLs don't care about a 1N4007 in series with the input...

Some years back I went with the rectifier and a 60w bulb in a dusk till dawn light, bulb lasted less than a year, so I screwed in a CFL for giggles and it worked as normal... I thought the rect was probably shorted, so I tried another incandescent and it was clearly dimmer than normal... I've gone back to CFLs in that fixture(rectifier still in it) and those last approx two years...

I have another dusk till dawn that uses a "U" shaped compact florescent, that one has been flawless for at least eight years now... The one with the rectifier has gone through the incandescent and at least three CFLs in the same period...

Tom



In many cases where fluorescent lamps have caused trouble, and our inspection department has got
involved, lamps have been installed in fixtures/circumstances not specified by the fixture maker or
the lamp maker.

So there is a bunch of red tape that would make it unwise to install a diode in series
with a socket. For a while, we had self ballasted lamps rated to work on dimmer circuits, but were triac
or transformer type.

Anyone can do what want but, since the button question first was about incandescent
accessories, being used whey are not rated, i.e for cf lamps, my answer was don't do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Tue 03, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Back in the 1970s, I used to sell diode chips to makers of light bulb buttons. If an incandescent lamp is operated half-wave, it is noticeably dimmer, but because it runs cooler, the filaments last many times longer.

At first 1N4004 were used in series, either in the lamp cord or in the fixture. It was much easier and more versatile to put the chip in a capsule that fit between the center contact and the socket.

There were problems, however:

--Too much contact pressure would crush the chip

--Hong Kong found that so many buttons were used that the power factor on some systems got screwed up. If you could make sure that half of the diodes in use were mounted "up" and the other half "down", the system would be balanced, but too many diodes on one transformer really messed things up. I think HK eventually prohibited the buttons.

I am not sure that all CFLs will tolerate half wave input. There is a full wave bridge in almost all CFLs, but some might have troubles if the internal control circuit needs power during the 8.3 milliseconds between pulses. I suppose a bigger electrolytic could solve that issue, but electrolytics in CFLs are already the cheapest and least reliable.

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Help, No More "The Button" Incandescent Light Bulb Saver
PostPosted: Jul Tue 03, 2012 5:01 pm 
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An alternative would be to install light dimmers. They also sell dimmer sockets for table lamps. It would do the same thing, which is that it'd allow you to slowly turn on the juice versus having all of it slam into the filaments all at once.


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