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Compact Fluorescent Invention Recycles The Ballast

When compact fluorescent bulbs first hit the scene, they were a revolution. A bulb that lasted many times as long as the incandescent counterpart and used only a fraction of the power. Well, GE put out an ecomagination challenge to see what they could do next and this idea is easily one of the best.

In the video below, you can see Robert Hand show a prototype of his idea that requires you to just replace the “bulb” part of a compact fluorescent rather than replacing the whole thing. The ballast part can be reused, Hand say it’s really the most expensive part of the package anyhow and easily outlasts the tubular twisty bit containing the chemical gas.

CFLs are supposed to save you money in the long run because they last so much longer and use less energy. They can get even cheaper if you can reuse the ballast part. Pretty interesting stuff, don’t you think?

[via ecomagination]

About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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  • Ru4hand

    Most people don’t understand that we can’t go back to incandescent bulbs and it will be years before LED’s are affordable. We are stuck with CFL’s for now. That is why we should get the most out of them. Thank you for the information and your comment.

  • l9i8f9

    The ballast on a normal CFL is made to a very cheap price and only designed to last the life of the lamp. A reusable ballast would be more expensive as its life would need to be 2 or 3 times the bulb life so the initial price is much higher. But yes it is “greener”.

    • Ru4hands

      Hello, I was wondering which of the 20 to 25 components, depending on the brand, on the the ballast would need to be changed. Please name them for me, so I know which ones you are talking about, and then, explain why. The truth is, the ballast can easily outlast the bulb when used right. By installing a red LED light on the ballast(base), we can know if the ballast is bad. When the fuse blows a red LED lights up, easily done. This should save good bulbs (with mercury in them) from being disposed of. For over 3 1/2 years or so, we have disposed of both parts. Even when only one part burns out. It’s like throwing the baby out with the bath water. That’s unexceptable, we need to deal with this now. Save resources…save waste… Thank you for your comment.

  • l98087

    Already being done by several manufacturers. In fact GE also did it several years ago.

    • Ru4hands

      Hello, your right CFL’s have been made non-intergraded already. But the type you refer to are to big the bulbs by them self are 5 to 6 inches long. They will not fit where a incandescent bulb can. These CFL’s will. Thank you for the comment.

  • Ru4hands

    Hello, The best part is if the ballast does goes bad(fuse blows out) the bulb is reusable. It works both ways. Thank you for your comment.

  • Neil Hambleton

    Should have said nearly 30 years. Since separate ballasts are still available, here, for example: http://kleinanzeigen.ebay.de/anzeigen/s-anzeige/2-stk-arcotronic-at-513-elektronischer-energiesparlampenadapter/9466334
    it follows that plug-in CFL’s without ballasts are also available, here for example:

    There’s no fortune to be made here. Since much superior LED equivalents are already available, CFL’s are now obsolescent and are being virtually given away in UK supermarkets.

    • Ru4hands

      Hello, I bet you have not replaced the lights in your house with the LED equivalents unless you are rich. Yes LED’s are superior and cost way to much. So CFL’s will keep being wasted over the next 3to5 years(atleast) untill we change to LED’s. Thank you for the comment.

  • Neil Hambleton

    I’ve been using these for over 30 years. My obsolete W.German Sylvania ‘Lynx-diamant’ are very heavy at 13oz. but they still work. My Swiss Arcotronic AT513 are much lighter and, after all these years, are still available on German EBay for 15 Euros.

    • Ru4hands

      Hello, Thank you for the information and comment.

  • Dillz1220

    I’ve used more money on those stupid bulbs than the regular bulbs. CFL lasts shorter than incandescent bulbs. That’s the truth.

    • Ru4hands

      Hello, If your CFL’s burn out way to soon. It could be the bulbs( try a brand name bulb). Make sure it’s not on a dimmer. If this doesn’t work let me know. thank you for your comment.

  • Anonymous

    That is an excellent re-engineering idea to reuse materials from exhausted equipments & off course this will be Eco-friendly without any doubt.

    • Ru4hands

      Hello, The best part is if the ballast does goes bad(fuse blows out) the bulb is reusable. It works both ways. Thank you for your comment.

  • Anonymous

    That is an excellent re-engineering idea to reuse materials from exhausted equipments & off course this will be Eco-friendly without any doubt.