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31 comments

Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

Posted May 14, 2011 9:18 AM

Complaints about the humming noise emanating from bedside fluorescent lamps in submarines led the U.S. Navy to replace them with quieter LED counterparts. Besides no noise, the LEDs have other benefits including half the energy consumption and significantly longer life. That brings up the question: How many offices, shops, plants, etc. still use fluorescent tube fixtures? What's in yours?

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#1

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/14/2011 10:43 AM

Wow!!! Submarines must be real quiet.

I served on a surface guided missile destroyer. Just underneath our berthing compartment ran one of the main propeller shafts. I had a small fluorescent reading lamp in my rack, but I never noticed any noise.

At least they had sense enough to switch to LEDs, rather than those useless compact fluorescents.

I only have one LED. It's in a flashlight................works great!

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#7
In reply to #1

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/16/2011 9:13 AM

What was that you said?................Sorry I can't hear you!!!!!

No wonder you didn't hear any Fluoro's humming!!!!!

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#2

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/14/2011 10:54 PM

I was on a destroyer, berthed right above the screws and also didn't notice the humming. Later on a nuke cruiser, on the opposite side of the bulkhead where I lay my head was "the head" - and men would not latch the stall doors OPEN when they finished, so all I heard all night was the swinging banging doors while we were underway. How could anyone sensitive to fluorescent noise survive in the Navy? Must have been an officer bothered by his ONE roommate's lamp who made this decision! Put those submariners on surface ships (targets) and let them find what NOISE really is!

Anyway, back to topic ... I have found all led lights that I've used so far to strain my eyes - must be something about the wavelength? My office still uses tubes, probably because that's what the existing fixtures are, and we don't own the building. I'm reluctantly using cfls at home except the double "circuline" (?) fluorescent fixture in the kitchen. They do seem to be improving.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/15/2011 5:59 AM

You may find that "warm white" LEDs may help with your reading problems.....

Or get an RGB LED where you can adjust the each of the colours in a mix to any colour (almost!) that you like......

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#5
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/15/2011 3:29 PM

I'll bet the submariners don't even have to strap themselves into their racks to get some sleep while in the North Atlantic, or have salt and pepper shakers,(and everything else), turn into projectiles while they're trying to eat.....................wimps!

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#10
In reply to #2

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/16/2011 3:27 PM

I spent ~50% of my time on the sub right between the main engines and the turbine generators (with ear plugs of course). There are definitely quiet places though on a sub, just not where I spent my time.

I'll have to agree 100% that it had to be some officer that whined.

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#12
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/16/2011 4:55 PM

They don't say it.................but it had to be an officer.

The argument about the electricity saved is a joke.

http://inhabitat.com/u-s-navy-to-install-led-lights-in-submarines-following-complaint/

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/16/2011 5:09 PM

You're 100% correct!!!

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#15
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 6:59 AM

If the complainer was so smart, he would have gone to Walmart before his next deployment, bought few stick on LEDs to read by for 5 bucks, and called it a day. It would have saved the Navy millions in retrofitting costs.

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#4

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/15/2011 11:12 AM

Submarines...........Nah!..........You can keep them all to yourself.

On surface ships you certainly have noise, apart from main propulsion systems, the noise of fuel flowing through baffles in half empty tanks, ventilation systems, etc., as an engineer you can sense when something is wrong and I even used to wake up from a sleep if machinery malfunctioned, because of detecting that little something different in the sound............however I do not think that I ever worried about the noise of fluoros.

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#16
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 7:55 AM

It was strange how a piece of your equipment on the other end of the ship could be sensed - I experienced that many times on board a DDE - long time past now!

Cheap ballasts may buzz - nothing to do with the type of lamp though.

I also agree that it had to be an officer that was crying. Enlisted just got over it.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 8:13 AM

Enlisted get told to "suck it up and drive on" or at least that is what the army uses.

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#20
In reply to #17

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 9:57 AM

The US Navy's motto should be "suck it up" as well...

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#22
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 10:08 AM

It was......................at least it was for us snipes, (boiler room and engine room crew). No whining allowed.

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#23
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 11:46 AM

Engineman 2nd class back then - got out in 69

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#27
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 4:48 PM

Machinists Mate main engine room. Got out in 83.

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#30
In reply to #27

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

06/16/2011 5:29 AM

<...got out....>

Hmmm.....

Prison inmates use the same term.....

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#31
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

06/16/2011 12:33 PM

I often laugh at the some of the "prison" conditions when I compare it to my time on a sub.

Just as inmates do, alot of us submariners had count downs to freedom too!

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#6

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/16/2011 8:28 AM

I have noticed the humming from tube type fluorescents lamps. My cfl's have never had a humming noise.

As for LED's, so far, I only have them in my outdoor spotlights. They are great! The two light up the entire patio as if it were daylight (almost). I am waiting for the price of the regular 60 Watt bulb replacement to come down before I purchase them. Until then, I will keep my cfl's.

Note: I alter the "daylight" cfl's with soft cfl's for a well balanced light scheme in my house. It helps reduce my migraines.

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#8

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/16/2011 10:21 AM

Yes, subs ARE quiet. But those old magnetic ballasts can really get on your nerves if they're loose and make a sharp buzzing sound. Electronic ballasts are quiet.

LEDs are the wave of the future and may now be justified through lower maintenance costs and better performance (dimming, intelligent control). It will be a long time until I replace the incandescent in my closet, though; it burns an hour a year.

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#9
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/16/2011 10:27 AM

Obviously you are not a closet drinker!!!!!

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#11

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/16/2011 4:46 PM

Unless I'm mistaken, the main reason to use LED's on submarines is to eliminate all noise when running silent. The slighest sound can be picked up by enemy listening gear.

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#13
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/16/2011 5:07 PM

There are "sound short" concerns on a sub when a piece of equipment vibrating at some frequency is in direct metal to metal contact with the hull. Beyond that, the equipment noise itself is of little concern (as I noted above, I had to wear earplugs for the majority of the time I was working).

The transmitted sounds that of great concern are mostly people made e.g. a mechanic dropping a wrench or a cook dropping a ladle. From what our sonar techs said, the biggest impact to "silent running" is securing all maintenance and restricting the sailors not on watch to their bunks! (i.e. I'm still going with the whiny officer theory)

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#18
In reply to #13

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 8:20 AM

You don't really think much about the lighting until "all hell breaks loose". The shots from the big guns cause lights to come loose and pop out of their spring-loaded positions. When the electrical system is hit and you're running on emergency, you start to kneel and thank God for the low powered lights that allow more power to be available for critical systems, and for light to be available all over rather than only in mission-critical areas. The LED dimming circuits can be problematic if they cause the LEDs to have visible strobing. Those little guys have fast response times, unlike the filament of the old-school bulbs, or the magnetic inductance of the tube fluorescents. Still, what's annoying is that LEDs tend to be task lighting oriented unlike the fluorescent tube - linear or circline which have a much larger light-projecting surface, which light up areas with minimal shadowing.

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#19
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 9:04 AM

...........a mechanic dropping a wrench........

I assume you mean this:

.....and NOT this:

Because these can "damage" people when they slip.............also if fastener manufacturers wanted round corners on nuts they would have been manufactured with round corners.

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#21
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 10:00 AM

Ouch... yeah, you have it right. No "all sixteenths" wrenchs allowed!

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#24
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 12:30 PM

We could hear something like a wrench being dropped in a sub at around 20 miles in the 1960s, (assuming no inversion), I am sure that is even truer today.......

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#25
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 12:33 PM

In the 60's I remember well when we were on sub hunt exercises - the only way the surface ships could ever find them was when the Officer in charge of the exercise ordered the sub to shot up a flare.

In a couple of minutes they were gone again - until the next flare.

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#26
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 4:41 PM

We were on a sub hunt in the Atlantic against a US sub in the late 60's. We bombed them with inert bombs and claimed a kill in quite bad weather.

Our "kill" claimed was not honoured as "we were nowhere near" according to the sub's commander.

We laughed our socks off when they surfaced a few hours later and needed/requested our assistance to remove an 500 LB. inert (Squid) bomb of ours that was lying across one of the access hatches in the fin!!!! Boy were they embarrassed!!!

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/17/2011 4:55 PM

From my experience in the 90's, it sounds like the typical sub captain mentality hasn't changed much since you were in.

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#29
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Re: Hmmm... No Humming with LEDs

05/18/2011 5:08 AM

You are so right!!!

They are NEVER at fault!!!

Ours were no different!!!

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