In our article Dimmable Energy Saving Lightbulbs we discussed the recent introduction of CFL energy saving lightbulbs which can be used with standard dimmer switches. In order to look in more detail at these bulbs we have conducted in depth reviews of a couple of standard sized lightbulbs from the latest Megaman Dimmerable range.
At the same time, we’ll have a closer look at a couple of Megaman GU10 compact reflector lightbulbs, designed as direct replacements for standard 50W halogen spotlights.
The Bulbs Under Review
During this review we will be looking at the following selection of lightbulbs from the Megaman range:
(1) 9 Watt smooth dimming SES E14 candle lightbulb (CL809d) in 2700K warm white. Equivalent to a 45 Watt incandescent. Typically used in chandaliers and similar light fittings with multiple small candle bulbs.
(2) 11 Watt smooth dimming B22 bayonet lightbulb (GSU111d) in 2700K warm white. Equivalent to a standard 60 Watt incandescent light bulb which is probably still the most common light bulb sold in the UK.
(3) 11 Watt GU10 compact reflector lightbulb in 4000K cool white and 3000K warm white versions (BRO711i). Equivalent to the common 50 Watt halogen spotlight bulbs.
All bulbs were tested using a plug-in mains power monitor and the claimed power consumptions of each bulb confimed to be accurate.
The Dimmerable Lightbulbs
The two bulbs from the Dimmerable range are designed to be used with any standard dimmer switch, and claim to provide smooth dimming through 10%*-100% brightness.
* Subject to dimmer specifications.
These bulbs have a very similar shape to their standard incandescent equivalents, and therefore can be used in the full range of attractive light fittings and chandeliers without looking out of place.
When we first tested these bulbs we had a number of compatibility issues with the dimmer switches we used. When the dimmer switch was turned up to full brightness, the light bulbs turned on (after a very short delay) and gave an overall brightness to the room just a little below that from a 60W incandescent (and a bit whiter). As we turned the dimmer down, the brightness level fell very smoothly to approximately half brightness. Below that – as we continued turning the dimmer down – the bulb started to flicker a little, and then started strobing (i.e. flashing on and off many times per second). With the dimmer switch at around 30% the bulb turned off altogether.
However, third time lucky, we found a lighting circuit fitted with a dimmer switch which enabled the bulb to be dimmed from full brightness to approximately 20% brightness before turning off. There was no flickering or strobing whatsoever, and the bulb worked very well. It was also possible to turn the bulb on with the dimmer switch set to very low brightness which is very useful.
We would therefore recommend these bulbs, but with a warning that you should purchase and try just one bulb to see if it will work well with your dimmer switch. Alternatively contact Megamann directly with the manufacturer name and model number for your dimmer switch and they should be able to advise.
One thing to remember is that with any dimmer switch, the amount of electricity consumed is not directly proportional to the brightness of the bulb. For instance, when the bayonet bulb which uses 11 Watts of power at 100% brightness is dimmed to just 10% brightness, it still uses 5 Watts of power (almost 50%). Therefore, you can save electricity and money by dimming your lights, but a more efficient way to save is to fit a lower powered lightbulb in the first place.
The Megaman GU10 Spotlights
The Megaman GU10 spotlights are available in two different colour types – a 3000K warm white, and a 4000K cool white. While we recommend (and sell) a range of GU10 LED Spotlights they are not as bright as the 50W halogen bulbs they are often destined to replace. In addition, their beam angle is quite narrow compared to that of halogen spotlights, and their colour is a very cool white. Therefore, LED spotlights make fantastic “spotlights“, and use just 1 Watt of power, but there are situations (such as general lighting in a large room) when a brighter warmer alternative to LED spotlights is needed.
Pictured above are photographic comparisons of 1 Watt LED spotlights, a standard 50W halogen spotlight, and an 11W warm white Megaman GU10 CFL bulb. It is difficult to see in the photograph, but the halogen definitely had a warmer, more yellow light than the Megaman bulb. The beam angle and overall brightness of the halogen and Megaman bulbs are very similar so the Megaman 11W bulb can indeed be used as a direct 50W halogen replacement. Both of these Megaman bulbs give a room a brighter ‘whiter’ feel which will not be to the taste of everyone – particularly the cool white Megaman bulb which lives up to its name.
When one of these bulbs is first switched on, it takes around one second for the bulb to light up, and a further couple of seconds for the bulb to reach full brightness. This feels a little strange at first, but you soon get used to it. While these 11 Watt powered bulbs run cooler than 50W halogens, they are still too hot to touch after just 5-10 minutes (unlike LED spotlights which run very cool) and so the usual rules regarding ventilation around spotlights must be followed.
Note that the Megaman bulbs are 20mm longer than standard GU10 halogen spotlights, which will in many cases cause the light to protrude from light fittings. This can be particularly problematic with flush mounted ceiling spotlights.
The bulbs promise an average lifespan of 15,000 hours – equivalent to 2 years non-stop use, or four hours per day for 10 years. They are also rated to be turned on and off up to 600,000 times – equivalent to 164 times per day for 10 years! – so there is no excuse not to turn off the lights when you leave an empty room.
A dimmer switch compatible Megaman 11W GU10 bulb is also available costing a few pounds more but with a shorter average lifetime of 10,000 hours of use. It promises smooth dimming from 10-100% brightness.
Buy Megaman Bulbs
A good selection of GU10 and dimmerable Megaman energy saving bulbs are available for sale at Rapid – click here to view the list of Megaman Bulbs they have on offer.