Big Box Store LED Bulbs

UtilitechAfter a long DIY well pump replacement, extra parts I didn’t need went back to one of our big box stores.  Since we needed a carbon monoxide detector replacement (they don’t all last forever), I poked around through the lighting aisles and found a wide variety of LED replacement bulbs.  What I also found was the wattage ratings are creeping up to the CFL equivalent of 13W for a 60W equivalent bulb.  Not that I would buy a CFL bulb that needs replacing every seven months when the LED bulbs are carrying up to a three year replacement (and I have several that have lasted longer than that), but the concern is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) compared to what could be achieved.  It’s also called “comparisonitis” in some circles, (others call it penny pinching among other things).

Back to the bulb and some “standard” comparisons they like to write about:

  • Brightness
  • Lifetime
  • Wattage (compared to web)

The Utilitch Pro Warm White 60W Replacement bulb (indoor) part #0424722 is a glass and metal LED bulb that replaces the standard A19 base (screw in base normally found in the states). Distributed by FEIT Electric, this  UL listed (yay!) bulb is 800 lumens, and has a 270 degree light distribution.  Previous lights that have a “half-dome” exhibit shadowing that can make them inadequate for table lamps, casting most of the light upward.  The other issue with the upward facing configuration is the heat will concentrate on the glass, possibly shortening the life of the bulb. the curvature of the heat sinks may help alleviate some of this but I don’t have the equipment necessary to test such things; I’m a “home-moaner” not a scientist.

According to the packaging, the bulb consumes 9.8W.  The Kill-A-Watt measured 8.0W, measured after it had been on for about one hour.  On there is a similar bulb with the same box displayed advertising the bulb as a 13W, with the specifications stating it is 9.8W. There is also a similar bulb from utilitech that is a 65W replacement where the numbers in the picture and the specifications do match (this is part #0338931). Note: the big box store had them advertised at $10.98 US, so it was worth the drive compared to $15.99+ $5.49 shipping.

Aside from these discrepancies, there is the “Estimated Yearly Energy Cost”:  to reach the $1.18/yr cost based on $0.11/kWh, you would have to run the bulb for three hours per day average.  Also the 22.8 yr lifespan is based on this same use per day.

Factoring in a more realistic $0.20/kWh (since we’re not just paying for the electricity, but also the “line charges”, the “transmission charges” and probably the “utility worker driving by to electronically read our meter from the comfort of his cab at thirty miles per hour” charges, it still compares nicely at – okay, I just looked back at several of my posts: seems my calculations are a bit non-standard too…

So I’ll be going back and trying to “standardize” my measurements as well, starting now:The Utilitech Pro #0424722 run for 1000 hours will cost you $1.96, based on $0.20/kWh.

An equivalent 60W bulb run for 1000 hours would cost you $12 based on $0.20/kWh.

  • To figure out how much it will cost you to operate for 1000 hours, find your utility bill and figure out your actual cost per kWh
  • multiply the cost per kWh by the wattage of the bulb (in this case 9.8)

That makes about 2.74 hours per day for the bulb. Too low? You leave the lights on 8 hours per day? take the total from the 1000 hours and triple it for a close estimate.

Indoor Salad Garden – April 27, 2013

4.5 oz loose leaf lettuce

4.5 oz loose leaf lettuce.

Lettuce and chives under the LED flood light

Lettuce and chives under the LED flood light

Lettuce and Chives under the Philips LED Bulb

Lettuce and Chives under the Philips LED Bulb

After three + weeks of neglect – or should we say “no maintenance”, the lettuce and the chives just keep growing.  In fact, the letuce under the LED Flood light has come a long way, and may have outgrown the Philips bulb if they had started at the same time, but neighboring plants, the actions in the soil and other factors may have contributed to its growth as well.

Starting to get bitter though, so we cut down the lettuce and will be starting some tomatoes from seed.  Since all I have is Roma and Beefsteak, those will be what will go in.  The best tomatoes for indoor gardening are the dwarf and the cherry type, which I will be choosing for the next set of experiments. The soil was dry down to about one inch, but there was no drying of the leaves on the lettuce.  A couple of strands of the chives were brown but the plants continued to send out new blades.

All cut, we had 4.5 oz. of lettuce leaves from what turned out to be four plants, not just two, and 1.4 oz of chives or onion greens (chives are actually smaller that these greens, as these were “pearl onions that had started to grow, so I placed them in with the lettuce).

Once the tomatoes start and I remember to check on them, we will update the site again, unless we begin dabbling with something else.

If you are interested in performing your own experiments, the lights we used were the Philips 12.5W LED bulb, and the LEDwholesalers 10 Watt LED Waterpoof Outdoor Floodlight, found in big box stores as well as Amazon.
Note: using the links above cost you nothing extra and help fund our continuing dabblings.  Thanks in advance for your support.

Cut and Come – Two Weeks of Neglect

harvest of 1.25 oz after two weeksIt’s been a couple of weeks since I checked on the lettuce in the silos – only had about five minutes to make a salad and go, so here’s the pic of the picking – 1.25 oz from one lettuce plant, and enough for a nice salad. Included a couple of sprigs of onion greens, a hard-boiled egg, some ham and a vinaigrette made a satisfying salad. Still more than enough to pick another salad or let it grow, the leaves are crunchy and not the slightest bit bitter. Over at, you can see the latest of our non-cellar endeavors: lettuce grown in potting mix held by “steamers” – microwave utensils that are typically used once and recycled.

Cut and Come – Pick Your Salad and Let it Grow

Lettuce as of 2013-03-16 before picking

Lettuce as of 2013-03-16 before picking

Since the lettuce under the Philips bulb is doing so well, I decided it’s time to harvest a bit of it.  Picking the outer leaves, I was able to get 0.75 oz of lettuce leaves and still have plants that dwarfs the other two, though they are continuing to grow.  “Cut and Come”, “mow and grow”, “plow and chow” – you don’t have to pick the whole plant and start new every time.  We’re going to see how many “garden salads” we can get from these plants before they start getting woody or just decide enough is enough and give up the ghost.  Meanwhile, we are starting some more lettuce plants elsewhere under traditional fluorescent bulbs to see how they fair.



2013-03-16 Lettuce after picking

2013-03-16 Lettuce after picking

0.75 oz of lettuce from under the Philips 12.5v bulb

A nice garden salad.

Similar scales can be found here.

New Experiment – Let’s Play Catch-up!

Lettuces under LED Flood and Philips bulbLED Flood and box from LEDWholesalers -

Removed the “Miracle-LED” lights from the left-hand silo and replaced it with an LED Flood light.  Shown on Amazon as a 10W flood, the box says 12W.  Have to bring the “Watt-Miser” down to check the actual power consumption.  The LEDwholesalers 10 Watt LED Waterpoof Outdoor Security Floodlight 85-264v Ac, 3701WH comes with tinned bare wires and a wire clamp so you can tap it in – this is supposed to be wired by a certified technician.  Fortunately, the color coding is easily found on the net, and armed with shrink-tubing electrical tape and Gorilla tape, we were able to connect it to an unused three-prong grounded plug with little difficulty.  Nice bright white light and barely warm, it will be interesting to see how the plants respond.  I had gotten a second one from a different vendor that was unfortunately a 12V version which will be going back to Amazon.  Amazon makes it easy to return products – just an explanation and a printout of a return label and away it goes.  I’ve bought from LEDWholesalers before and like their products – this is no exception.

May harvest the lettuce on the right and transplant one of the smaller ones to do a better a/b split test against the Philips LED bulb.  The eventual plan is to use two of these floods to grow some tomatoes and cucumbers to see how they fair in the cellar with little to no regular sunlight, but that is a future experiment.

Solar Powered Wireless Keyboards

solar powered wireless keyboard from logitech - dabblings_netLove wireless, hate charging. Solar powered keyboards make sense, but only if they work in ambient light. You don’t want to say to your cubical boss “Sorry, got to go outside for an hour so I can recharge my keyboard.” (or maybe you do…). Logitech has come up with two solar powered keyboards that work in ambient light that will hold their charge for three months in total darkness (in case monkeyboss decides to save money by making you work without the fluorescent lights flickering at you overhead).

They come in two models: the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 works via a 2.4 GHz wireless connection with a tiny USB transceiver, has sculpted keys and feels great.

Bluetooth wireless keyboard for iMac-iPad-iPhone dabblings.netThere is also a bluetooth version
for Mac/iPad/iPhone without the numeric keypad that has an integrated switch so you can work with two different devices (say your iPad and you iPhone) without having to re-pair it every time. Reaching over four stars with over 500 reviews each, these affordable keyboards are worth picking up.  They’re both on my wish list, so when Father’s Day comes up, you know what you can get me…

Sadly, there are no solar powered mice currently – but give them six months, they’ll come up with it.


The winner is:

Well, it’s difficult to say.  The total plant content from the “naked LED” silo came in at 1.75 oz, while the standard Philips LED bulb’s total plant content was 2.45 oz., but there were two plants in each silo, so the numbers are skewed.  Welcome to home /not -so-scientific measuring.  It will all depend on how you want to look at the results as to which was the clear winner.

Harvest Day

Harvest Day

Two Plants in Each Silo

Two Plants in Each Silo

Philips LED 2.45 oz

Philips LED 2.45 oz

Naked LED 1.75 oz.

Naked LED 1.75 oz.

As for flavor, they both taste fresh and clean with a slight bitterness typical of this type of lettuce.

For our next experiment, we are going to grow more lettuce. This time, we are going to pit the standard Philips LED at 12.5W against two 2W LED grow lights that have the specific red/blue mix that is popular for solid state grow lights.  they boast 200 Lumens per bulb, so 400 Lumens of red and blue vs 800 Lumens. Unfair advantage for the Philips bulb? Possibly, but the “Miracle LED” bulbs are only outputting the red and blue spectrum, not the whole spectrum of light.  We will see as the weeks progress.

Since we’re not taking clones from a mother plant, and since we just got some seeds from a lettuce called “Salanova” ( which came in as a mix, we are going to plant them side-by-side as before in separate “silos” to see if there is any significant difference between the two. If we can, we will also grow more under another light – depending on whether I can find and make another grow container. Pics and updates coming soon.


Lettuce under the "normal" led bulb

Lettuce under the “normal” led bulb

The two side-by-side

The two side-by-side

I just ordered some interesting new “Salanova” lettuce seeds from Johnny’s Select Seeds – they have me scratching my head since they’ve got a “utility patent” on them (5977443)  According to Johnny’s PDF, “…

A Plant Variety Protection (PVP) is granted by the
US Department of Agriculture (USDA). It protects a
unique seeded species by prohibiting others from
selling the species’ genetics. The PVP remains in
effect for 20 years before it expires. Generally, this
form of protection is only sought after for open
pollinated varieties since hybrids are protected
based on the need for both parents to create the
hybrid. A grower may save the seed of a variety
with the PVP designation for planting on their own
holdings, but cannot legally resell or give the seed
away. …”

.  Will have to look this up at some point.  Meanwhile, we’re continuing to grow the lettuce until the seeds come in or we run out of lettuce in the fridge.  Below are pics as of 2012-01-17, they’re getting bigger by the day, and enjoying the cool weather.  I shifted the regular light over for the photograph, and they look quite similar. The leaves under the “naked” led appear more mature, but the bulk and size is still similar.  Once again, when we cut them and weigh them, we’ll find out.  Taste will also be a factor unless we just put them into one big salad.

lettuce under the "naked" led's 2012-01-17

Under the “naked” led’s (blue)



“Naked Philips LED” [Left] Standard Philips LED [Right]

The lettuce is about ready to pick, and there is a slight difference between the two, notably the lettuce under the blue LED’s have stronger leaves, thicker stalks and are standing taller, though the one under the standard bulb seems fuller.  Once cut and weighed, we will find out which has produced more.  The lettuce in the back room are a bit smaller, and due to lack of watering looking rather weak.  Our next experiment will be with a new set of lettuce provided I can get more to sprout, and we will be pitting one of the Philips LED bulbs at 12.5W against two 2W “Miracle Bulb grow lights.  These won’t need the reflectors since they are so directional. The challenge will be to direct the “Miracle LED’s onto the one plant.


“Naked” Philips LED


Standard Philips LED

Standard Philips LED


The Next Experiment will be with two of these!