FIRST Green 'e-Watt Saver' 7W LED Lightbulb (Product Review)

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

Support a Good Cause and Save Energy

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is a non-profit founded by inventor Dean Kamen over 20 years ago. It aims to inspire young people to learn about science, technology, engineering and math through challenging robotics competitions. To raise funds, they sell FIRST branded energy-saving LED lightbulbs (better than chocolate!). I had the chance to get my hands on one, so here's my review.

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

Technical Specs of the FIRST LED Light

The FIRST LED bulb is a 7-watt/450 lumen LED light bulb that replaces up to a conventional 60-watt household light bulb. It is made by TESS with CREE LEDs (which are used in many models of LED lights). The exact model number is T-67004S. It is non-dimmable (TESS also makes dimmable models - the T-67012 and T-67005 series) and produces warm-white light at 2700K.

It is of course mercury free, lead free, and RoHS compliant. Based on 3 hours of use per day at 11 cents/kWh, it would cost 84 cents per year. The life of this LED bulb is estimated at 9.1 years based on 3 hours/day of use, but that seems very conservative considering that most other LED bulbs are rated close to 20 years and they use many of the same components.

Above is an exploded view of the components.

To better understand what a LED is, check out this 'Anatomy of a L.E.D.' video by LED manufacturer CREE:

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

Heat is the Enemy of LEDs

Here's a side view. The heatsink is big not because LEDs produce lots of heat, but because they are more sensitive to heat than incandescents. This means that they have to radiate that heat away from the bulb to stay at their optimal operating temperature.

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

From left to right: GE 'Energy Smart' 9W LED lightbulb, Qnuru 6.4W LED lightbulb, FIRST Green 'e-Watt Saver' 7W LED lightbulb (the one I'm reviewing here), and the Philips 12.5W LED dimmable lightbulb (review coming soon).

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

I turned the table around, so the order is reversed in this photo and the one below.

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

As you can see, it's smaller than the Qnuru 9.2W LED bulb, though it's about the same size as the 6.4W Qnuru (not pictured).

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

Because of the way the bulb is made, it's not as omnidirectional as the GE LED bulb (the real champion for sending light in all directions so far), but it can still be effectively used in a reading lamp like the one pictured above.

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

It really shines in a torch lamp -- more than the GE LED because it doesn't waste light by sending it downwards. It's probably not quite bright enough to be the only light source in a big room, but I've been using it a bedside lamp in my small-ish bedroom and it's producing more than enough light.

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

Photo: Michael Graham Richard

This last photo is of a 11W warm-white CFL. As you can see, the e-Watt Saver LED bulb is pretty similar (I left the camera on the same manual settings and didn't adjust the colors in post-processing, but obviously the photos weren't taken at the same time and I didn't have a controlled angle, so the comparison isn't perfect by any means). From my first-hand experience, I can tell you that the color quality of the LED light is good enough for daily use without problems unless you are very picky about getting exactly the 'correct' light color.

Price: The suggested retail price of each e-watt saver bulb is $19.99. FIRST is a non-profit organization that helps young people from 6 to 18 to discover science, technology, engineering and math through challenging robotics competitions. FIRST teams raise funds by earning profit on each e-watt saver sold. You can find more information about how to buy a FIRST Green' e-Watt Saver' LED bulb on FIRST's website.

You can also purchase them from the online store of FIRST Robotics Team 1538 (aka Holy Cows). 100% of the proceeds go to their robotics team expenses.

See also: GE 'Energy Smart' 9W LED Lightbulb (Product Review)

See also: Qnuru 6.4W and 9.2W LED Lightbulbs (Product Review)

See also: Philips AmbientLED 12.5 Watts LED Lightbulb (Product Review)

See also: Philips AmbientLED 17 Watts LED Lightbulb (Product Review)

Thanks to FIRST for providing the review unit.

If you like this article, you can follow me on Twitter (@Michael_GR) and Stumbleupon (THMike). Thanks.

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Tags: Energy Efficiency | LEDs | Lighting


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