A low-tech solution to a high-tech LED problem

Light quality of your LED bulb too harsh? Grab a yellow marker, and a little dab'll do ya!

There’s an old advertising slogan for a 1960’s hair cream: Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do ya!

It seems the same advice can help turn the harsh light emitted by LED lightbulbs into a warm glow.

So says one SmartPlanet reader. “I use a yellow marker and put a few dots on the LED,” commented “Dukhalion” last week after we mentioned the LED industry's general challenge of overcoming light coldness, in our report about difficult business conditions at LED manufacturer Cree .

Some people complain that LED bulbs do not emit the same warm glow as the energy-hungry incandescent bulbs to which we have grown accustomed over the last century.

But the Brylcreem technique takes care of that. After application, “The light is warm and nice. You don't always have to use difficult and expensive processes to get the (simple) result you want,” Dukhalion said.

LEDs stand a good chance of becoming lighting’s future. LED bulbs consume only 20 percent of the electricity of incandescents, and thus represent potential savings in utility bills and CO2 emissions.

But they’re expensive – somewhere around $40, albeit prices are beginning to fall. Manufacturers argue that LED bulbs offer huge lifetime savings, not only because they slash bills, but also because they last 25 years and thus effectively eliminate replacement costs. Critics counter LED bulbs can fail in less than a year.

And some people object to the light quality. We’re not suggesting that research labs and lighting companies stop developing phosphors and other materials that offer a more elegant and long-term improvement to LED bulb warmth.

But if light quality is all that’s stopping you from plunking down $40 on an LED bulb, then why not dig into your wallet and reach for the highlighter? If our reader is correct, by the time the light makes it through the colored dab, it will emit a warm, glowing white. Or in the words of another old Madison Avenue gem, you’ll wonder where the yellow went.

Images: Wikimedia

LEDing lights:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com