Poorly Designed LED Lamps Waste Power

I just purchased a new reading lamp for my beside table. Mostly I wanted one that would let me direct the light better, but I was pleased to get a model that used LEDs. 6 W of power is a nice improvement from 80 W. I only use this lamp for about half an hour a day, but it’s a small step in the right direction.

Or is it.

LEDs use DC power so there needs to be a power supply (wall wart) to convert from AC power at 120 V to DC power at 6 V. The trouble is, this converter never turns off. According to my Kill-A-Watt my new ‘efficient’ lamp is drawing 3 W when idle. 23.5 hours at 3 W plus 0.5 hours at 6 W is 73.5 Watt hours a day. With the same usage pattern my old incandescent lamp was using 40 Watt hours a day (80 W for 0.5 hours).

  Incandescent LED
Idle power (per day) 0 Watt hours 70.5 Watt hours
Active power (per day) 40 Watt hours 3 Watt hours

It makes me sad that my new and ‘efficient’ LED lamp is going to use about 83% more power. It doesn’t need to be this way. Lamps can be designed so that when they are turned off the power supply also turns off. I’m taking this one back and I’ll wait for one that works. It’s only a few dollars a year, but I feel an obligation to push back on such unnecessarily wasteful design.

The lamp is an Izzy Task Lamp (5 W LED) from Destination Lighting. If you agree that this is poor design, drop them a line at customerservice@destinationlighting.com.

Update: Destination Lighting responded, promptly and politely. However my reading of their response was that wasting a few watts saves them money, so it may take a while for their designs to change. Polite pressure could speed up the process.

About brucedawson

I'm a programmer, working for Google, focusing on optimization and reliability. Nothing's more fun than making code run 10x as fast. Unless it's eliminating large numbers of bugs. I also unicycle. And play (ice) hockey. And sled hockey. And juggle. And worry about whether this blog should have been called randomutf-8. 2010s in review tells more: https://twitter.com/BruceDawson0xB/status/1212101533015298048
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1 Response to Poorly Designed LED Lamps Waste Power

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