• The second generation of the rear-drive giant, which was called the 300C first time around, arrives in Australia at a time when Ford’s and Holden’s large cars are on the ropes. Chrysler reckons it will draw people back to the big sedans that once ruled our roads. The heavily revised car will be available with a strong petrol V6, an efficient diesel V6 and a monstrous SRT V8.


    Chrysler has sharpened the pricing by as much as $10,000 on certain models and the base petrol V6 300 Limited now kicks off at $43,000, while the base diesel is $5000 more.

    There’s a choice between a better-specified V6 petrol 300C for $46,500, a fully loaded 300C Luxury at $51,000 or diesel equivalents for $5000 extra. The red-hot V8 SRT is great value at $66,000.

    The base 300 has a goodly amount of standard gear such as cruise control, an 21cm touch screen, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and 18-inch wheels, but misses out on leather seats (which used to be standard). The other models come loaded with more features than you would expect for the price.


    There’s something old and something new in every 300. It sits on a base that originates from a Mercedes E-Class introduced in the mid-1990s, but Chrysler has changed large sections of the body, fiddled with the suspension and replaced all engines. There is a potent 3.6-litre petrol V6 with 210kW and 340Nm linked up to a brand spanking eight-speed ZF automatic.

    The diesel is a premium 3.0-litre V6 from VM Motori with 176kW and 550Nm, while the rip-snorting V8 manages 347kW and 631Nm. Both of these engines make do with a five-speed automatic. Average fuel economy runs from a miserly 7.1L/100km for the diesel to 9.4L/100km for the V6 petrol and hits 13L/100km for the SRT V8.


    The last 300 looked so cool that rapper Snoop Dogg rang Chrysler and asked to drive one. Its brash and brutal design polarised people, but it had enough admirers to keep sales going. Then the fad faded.

    Now Chrysler has the difficult task of making an equally cool sequel. The new 300 doesn’t have the same impact as the first car, but its unique LED running lights, bold grille and tough, squat proportions give it presence. It looks grand, but won’t cause as much of a stir as the last one.

    It comes with a full load of safety kit, including front and side airbags for the driver and passenger, side curtain airbags for the front and rear passengers and a driver’s knee airbag.

    Electronic stability control is also standard, as are parking sensors and a rear-view camera. Optional safety gear includes a blind-spot detection system, adaptive cruise control and a collision warning system.


    The 300 is a big American sedan with lots of presence and performance. It’s a better car all round than the last model, as it should be. The interior is not quite at the level of Audi or BMW, but is vastly improved. We were impressed by the petrol V6, which is a sweet engine. The diesel is generally good, but lumpy at low speeds, and not worth the $5000 premium despite superior efficiency.

    The SRT V8 is a sledgehammer, an absolute cracker. We want one, but could never afford the fuel or the rear tyres.


  • An excellent resource for consumers and businesses looking for ways to save money is available online at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) can help anyone save money by replacing inefficient appliances and lighting systems with those that are energy efficient or that use renewable energy sources. In many cases, a simple lighting retrofit that makes use of LED lights can save an individual hundreds or thousands of dollars in rebates and other incentives provided by the government, utility companies and nonprofit organizations.

    DSIRE was established in 1995 as a project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, and the website is operated by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The information on the website is updated by a full-time staff of analysts who research existing statutes, new legislation, executive orders and public utilities commission orders. Additional sources of information include official websites, newsletters and news articles.

    The website provides consumers and businesses with a database of incentives and rebates based on renewable energy and energy efficiency. These incentives are provided by the federal government, state governments, local governments, utility companies and nonprofit organizations. They are organized by state, the organization offering the incentive and the type of incentive.

    Summaries are provided on each incentive, and links are available to supporting documentation, applications and official websites. Contact information is also listed for those who wish to speak or write to representatives directly. In addition, all summaries are printable to be viewed and shared later.

    DSIRE is the perfect website to learn how to receive rebates and tax incentives for the simple act of installing a lighting retrofit. LED lights can save homeowners and business owners hundreds of dollars every year in electric use, but the cost of upgrading can be recovered even more quickly by taking advantage of all the incentives in a particular area.

    Information on the DSIRE website is updated regularly, and incentives are never included until they have been officially enacted. By omitting pending legislation and policy considerations, viewers can be assured that all information is current. The website also excludes information about vehicles and water efficiency, which makes it easier to find pertinent information on  electrical systems, such as lighting.


  • Ultraviolet light-emitting diode maker Sensor Electronic Technology Inc (SETi) of Columbia, SC, USA has achieved what it reckons are record efficiencies for UV LEDs operating in the germicidal UV-C range of 11% external quantum efficiency (EQE) with a corresponding wall-plug efficiency (WPE) of 8%. The result was achieved under the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Compact Mid-Ultraviolet Technology (CMUVT) program and in collaboration with the US Army Research Laboratories (ARL).

    SETi says that its latest development represents more than a five-fold improvement in performance, due mainly to improved light extraction from encapsulated LED chips with a novel transparent p-region and a reflective contact and further reductions in defect density in the LED structure, grown on sapphire substrates.

    Traditionally, UV LEDs have been manufactured with gallium nitride (GaN) p-type layers, due to the difficulties of p-doping AlGaN materials. However, GaN absorbs light with wavelengths shorter than 365nm, and hence reduces the extraction efficiency of UV LEDs operating at short wavelengths. So, instead, SETi has developed a completely new p-type region using doped AlGaN, which is transparent, even in the UVC range. This coupled, with a transparent p-contact, significantly increases extraction efficiencies.

    SETi has also further developed its migration-enhanced metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MEMOCVD)  growth process to reduce dislocation densities in the quantum well structure of UV LEDs grown on sapphire substrates, demonstrating threading dislocation densities (TDD) of less than 2×108, as measured by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). This improvement in TDD has led to a high internal quantum efficiency (IQE) of 60%.

    The milestone represents “a major step forward in reaching efficiencies of incumbent technologies, such as medium-pressure mercury vapor lamps, which typically operate at efficiencies of 15% or less,” says SETi’s president & CEO Dr Remis Gaska.

    The 350um x 350um encapsulated LEDs were designed for emission at 278nm and measured at ARL, where they were reported to emit 9.8mW at 20mA (the highest output power ever reported for an LED with a wavelength shorter than 365nm at this forward current) and 30mW at 100mA. Details will be presented at the IEEE Photonics Society’s Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics in San Jose, CA, USA .

    SETi has previously reported LED-based water treatment systems that disinfect (with a more than 4 log reduction) drinking water flowing at 0.5 liters per minute with less than 35mW of optical power at 275nm. SETi reckons that the results from its latest development put UV LED disinfection systems within reach of consumer markets for applications such as point-of-use water purification, reckons SETi.


  • Lumenpulse Inc., a leading innovator and manufacturer of high performance, architectural LED-based lighting solutions for commercial, institutional, and urban environments, today announced the release and availability of Lumendome, a family of direct view luminaires for creative pixel-style applications. Lumendome pixels can be used as a graphical tool, to accentuate architecture, or be integrated into building facades to create low-resolution screens for displaying branded content and imagery.

    The unique family of fixtures comprises 3 different sizes: the Nano, which is 2 inches (50.8 mm) in diameter, the Small, which has a diameter of 4 inches (101.6 mm), and the 6-inch (152.4 mm) Medium. Available in white (4 color temperatures; 2700K, 3000K, 3500K, and 4000K) and RGB color-changing versions, Lumendome luminaires feature a domed optic with a 240° viewing angle that enables pixel formations to be perceived from any angle.

    A 48V DC input enables long runs — up to 370ft (112.8m) and 33 Lumendome Nano fixtures, 260ft (79.2m) and 16 Lumendome Small fixtures, or 220ft (67m) and 7 Lumendome Medium fixtures on a single output — while remote, replaceable drivers enable easier access and service.

    The fixtures are made from architectural-grade materials for durability and utilize a dual chamber technology, which helps dissipate heat to create an L70 lifetime of 120,000 hours. All Lumenpulse products are backed up with a 5 year warranty covering the entire assembly.

    “The Lumendome family will enable new ways to merge architecture and media, creating environments that communicate after dark,” said Francois-Xavier Souvay, Founder, President and CEO of Lumenpulse. “Our solution will promote customized urban concepts which are easy to integrate. We have already seen Lumendome pixels play a prominent role on the Vancouver city skyline by helping to define the city’s landmark Telus World of Science at night.”

    Lumendome fixtures have been installed to trace the outline of the Mount Royal Cross monument that overlooks the city of Montreal. And, at the Telus World of Science in Vancouver, 260 Lumendome fixtures provide points of light that make the structure legible after dark. The landmark museum now has the ability to change color to mark specific events throughout the year, turning green to mark Earth Day or blue to create awareness for World Autism Day.

    Founded in 2006, Lumenpulse develops and manufactures high performance, sustainable architectural LED-based fixtures and solutions for commercial, institutional, and urban environments. Attention to detail in mechanical, optical and fixture design has positioned Lumenpulse as a leader in the global LED lighting marketplace for indoor and outdoor uses. In addition to comprehensive product family offerings, Lumenpulse also specializes in the design, manufacturing and commissioning of large scale, customized, LED lighting solutions worldwide.


  • Incandescent light bulbs are really little space heaters with a side benefit of producing some light. They are an old technology that is being phased out for many applications by more efficient alternatives. Now, in addition to the LEDs and CFLs, we can add ESL bulbs, which have started to reach the market, to the available technologies.

    We’ve been watching for Electron Stimulated Luminescence (ESL) lighting technology for a few years. It is now commercially available with the introduction of the Vu1 bulb. ESL lighting uses an electron gun to stimulate a phosphor coated surface for illumination, much like an old CRT or television tube. The bulb is actually a vacuum, with no mercury (or anything else) inside it, so disposal and recycling is easier.

    The Vu1 bulb has an expected lifespan of 11,000 hours, which can be 5 times that of an incandescent and close to that of a good CFL. It uses 19.5 watts to produce 500 lumens, so it falls in between CFL and incandescent in efficacy. The color-rendering index (CRI) of the ESL bulb is 90+, again falling between an average CFL with a CRI of 80 and an incandescent with a CRI of 100.

    Street pricing for the Vu1 is about $15. That’s more expensive than a CFL these days, but that’s in the range of what CFLs were a decade ago, and LEDs with this color quality aren’t at this price level, either. For further information and a more subjective review of the light, you can read a longer review about the Vu1 light on my personal blog.

    Manassas Republican Delegate Bob Marshall has made some big claims about how dangerous compact florescent light bulbs are, in light of a new federal law that will stop the production of the old incandescent bulbs.

    Here’s his latest. Marshall said the new bulbs that we will be encouraged to use. can create a “hazardous materials situation in your home.” The bulbs he’s talking about are CFL’s… the bulbs PolitiFact Virginia refers to as “curly cues.”

    Marshall is concerned about a broken bulb in your house. He told a House subcommitee that “if (the mercury) contaminates your shoes, you’re supposed to throw away your shoes.”

    Is Del. Marshall overstating the impact of a broken bulb?

    PolitiFact Virginia asked Marshall for some specifics and he referred them to four different state websites on how to clean up broken CFL bulbs. But, none of the sites said  it was necessary to throw away your shows if you s stepped in the mercury. The reason: there’s not enough mercury in a standard CFL bulb to pose that big a problem.


  • The Gerald Phillips-coached Streaks won 23 games while only losing 4 and captured top honors in two conferences, a holiday tournament and vaulted themselves into the Sweet 16 at Champaign.

    The trip to the state finals was not traveled on a smooth road, as they had to dispose of Monmouth and Canton in the sectional tourney.

    The Streaks and Zippers split their regular season games with Monmouth edging Galesburg 34-32 and GHS winning 42-29.

    Monmouth entered the sectional tournament full of confidence that they could handle the Streaks even though it would be played in Steele Gym. A few days before the big match, Phillips spoke to a luncheon meeting of the Maple City Uptown Coaches Association.

    The Monmouth Uptown Coaches attempted to put the jinx on Galesburg High by presenting Phillips with a small trophy adorned with a 40-watt light bulb. A letter accompanying the so called gift read, “Fifteen members of our organization have each contributed 1-cent for the purchase of a Mazda 40-watt-115 volt light bulb. It would be appreciated if you would add it to the battery of the very dim lights in Steele Gym. We are happy to inform you that the 15-contributors made this gesture quite generously and without any pressure intended. Sorry but we cannot give our best wishes for a victory by your team against the Zippers.” Cordially Yours, Monmouth Uptown Coaches Club.

    Coach Phillips good- naturedly placed the special trophy from his Monmouth friends in a conspicuous setting at the south end of Steele Gym beneath poster representing the GHS and Monmouth teams and colors. The “Light Bulb” trophy remained unlit until after Galesburg’s 39-36 victory and then it was switched on to a loud cheer from the Silver Streaks faithful. The Monmouth faithful found out that the Burger fans also could demonstrate as sense of humor by their handling of the special lighting.

    Galesburg started on the right foot at Champaign, edging the pride of southern Illinois, West Frankfort, 45-42. The Streaks then engaged Decatur in one of the greatest overtime battles in state tourney history before falling 73-72 before over 7,000 fans at Huff Gym.

    Local fans were afforded an opportunity to hear both the West Frankfort and Decatur game through an amplified sound system in Steele Gym. The Illinois University radio station WILL was the only one allowed to broadcast the entire tournament. Through the cooperation of WGIL Radio in Galesburg permission was granted to stream the Champaign accounts of the game to the local station and then into Steele Gym.


  • Buying lightbulbs is no longer the simple task that it used to be, new federal regulations are leaving some consumers in the dark.

    Steve Goodman wanted to replace his garage light bulb, but when he went searching for a new one he found that they no longer make the kind he’s been using for the last 25 years. Goodman’s bulbs are among the energy-guzzling bulbs being phased out in favor of more energy-efficient bulbs.

    “Suddenly you have all these fixtures with nothing to put in there that’s gonna fit its like how do you deal with all that,” said Goodman.

    Goodman is not alone in his frustrations, David Brooks owns, Just Bulbs, a light bulb shop on the Upper East Side and CBS2’s Kathryn Brown that new federal regulations that take effect January 1  have some consumers in a panic.

    “They’re hoarding them, they don’t want to change with the law so they’re buying enough for the rest of their lives,” he said

    The regulations state that manufacturers must stop making the traditional, inexpensive incandescent bulbs by Friday, that includes the basic 100-watt bulb. Manufacturers will only be able to make bulbs that meet more stringent energy rules.

    Brooks explained that consumers will see an immediate difference because the more efficient bulbs last about 10-times longer, they also come in a wider variety of colors and shapes.

    “This one’s about nine-dollars and this one’s about two, so the price differential is huge but it would pay for itself in a matter of 3 months of operation,” he said.

    But the learning curve remains frustrating for many consumers.  Most of the newer bulbs will fit into older fixtures but some will not.

    The Goodmans were able to get an adaptor for their’s but said that more transparency and explanation was necessary for consumers to understand the changes.

    “It needs more explanation, give us the real story and give people real alternatives of how to make it work,” Steve Goodman said.

    “In the end its a good thing, but its a pain, it’s definitely a pain,” said Robin Goodman.

    The biggest adjustment for consumers will be how to use the new bulbs. Unlike traditional bulbs, the new ones use more power being turned on than being left on.

    “Most people aren’t getting the full savings because they are turning it on and off all the time,” explained Brooks.

    While political red tape stripped the new law of the funding needed to enforce the regulations most manufacturers say they’ve already invested millions of dollars in the new technology and have already begun to phase the old bulbs out.

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