Flicker free light bulbs

30 Dec 2008
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United Kingdom
I'm looking for some bulbs (standard bayonet fitting) for the task lighting in my workshop. I know some low energy bulbs can flicker a bit which I'd really like to avoid as I don't want any strobe effects with the machine tools. What bulb is likely to be the best short of buying up old filament bulbs?
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The best option is LED elements fed via current limiting resistor(s) from a smoothed DC supply such as a battery or well desgined power supply unit. If the DC supply voltage is variable then the LED elements can be dimmed without any problems.

That is NOT the same as 12 volts fed to an LED lamp with built in driver and LED element(s) where a switch mode device in the driver controls the current through the LED element(s)

Smoothed DC will eliminate all flickering and strobe effects that can be created by a switch mode LED driver.

Some energy will be wasted as heat produced by the resistor(s) but this is a trivial amount and far less than an incandescent filament.
Other than DC lighting there is always a chance of a stroboscopic effect with LED bulbs, however bulbs with switch mode drivers built in rather than those with simple methods of current control are less likely to produce the stroboscopic effect, this means in real terms looking for bulbs with 100 lumen per watt rather than 75 lumen per watt, as to get full 100 lumen per watt likely it will have a switch mode driver.

Fluorescent run from electronic ballasts can produce stroboscopic effect, but since in the MHz range it is unlikely to affect any normal equipment, it can upset some optical speed sensors. The same is true for most extra low voltage lamps, again because the frequency is so high. I read that the GX53 series of lamps have a voltage range 100 - 240 volt so are likely supplied with a switch mode power supply and you can get adaptors, however I have never used one. I would be interested to know how good or bad they are.

The question is why are you worried about stroboscopic effect, if it's because the things my look stopped to you, then most switch mode power supplies run at too high a frequency to worry about, if it is because of optical speed measurement then I know the switch mode power supply can still be a problem.
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