incandescent

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Who would have thought that we’d be holding a 20W LED replacement bulb in our hands in 2012? Well we are, and thanks to LED light manufacturer TESS, we have the first 2000 lumen output bulb that easily matches a 125 watt incandescent bulb. Similar in size to a normal incandescent bulb, the secret of this bulb is a 100 lumen per watt LED luminous output system and an advanced thermal dissipation technology that includes vents and a small internal fan that shunts hot air out of the casing. Pretty neat!

Longevity? Well lumen decay is good, and 70% of the original lumen output is maintained at 40000 hours. Our only concern here is the longevity of the electronics in a bulb putting out serious light. That said, the colour rendering index is as expected – around 70, and with CE, UL and FCC certifications, you are fairly certain of a well designed product.

No one is talking about cost and while that may be the least pretty part of the equation, the product is likely to gain ground quickly. Everite are expecting a 60W replacement to dip below US$10 in latter 2012, so who knows what this bulb will cost. Our guess, US$19-24.

All in, impressive and the sign of things to come in 2012

TESS 20W led light wil change lighting

TESS 20W LED Light

 

 

 

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By 2020, 8 out of 10 lights you see will be LED lights. The lighting revolution is no different to the communication and information technology revolutions that have driven our development.

So what are the 10 great reasons to make the change?

1. Low efficiency

Do you really switch on your lights to heat up the room? No! But 85% of the electricity going into your incandescent lightbulb is emitted as… heat! 60 Watts of energy ends up heating up your room… not great!

2. Longer life

Incandescent lights last for 1000 hours… LED lights last for 30000-50000 hours. A big difference…

3. No UV radiation

Yes, UV radiation is emitted by our current lighting. You are not about to get a beach tan from your lighting, but UV light is an issue, and it will impact fabrics and paintings. LED lights have no UV emissions.

4. Mercury..

Fluorescent lights contain mercury! LED lights contain none. Your choice!

5. No glass

LED lights are made of plastic and aluminum…no glass. So there is no safety issue and no glass that can shatter and cut.

6. Color rendering index

How “real” are the colors under different light sources? Is pink really pink? Under fluorescent light, you may see about 65% of the “real” color. Incandescent lights are better at around 90%, but LEDs come in across the board at around 80-90%. So similar for LED replacements of incandescent lights but if you replace fluorescent lights, you’ll have a great reason to change your lights.

7. Power efficiency

We’ve talked about lumen efficiency per watt of electricity. But what about power efficiency. LED lights use from 2-10 times less power for the same light output. Incandescents  put out less than 15 lumens per watt (consider lumens as a measure of light output). Enter the LED light – 7 Watts at 100 lumens per watt. 7 Watts of electricity will cost you a lot less than 60 Watts! That’s a great reason to replace your lights with LED lights!

8. Directional light

LED lights emit light where you point them…not behind them like an incandescent light. Direct the light where you need it…who needs the ceiling lit when you are more interested in the light on your dining table?

9. Color

You can literally make your LED lights in any color – some even change color with a remote control. So mood lighting is possible and not only can you dim them, but change color as you need to.

10. Finally, safety.

LED lights run on 12 to 24 volts. So a broken bulb will not kill you! A pretty good reason to change your lights to LED lights!

So there are 10 reasons… why not contact LED Lighting Solutions to advise on your LED light replacements.

 

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LED lights? What is the fuss all about you may well be asking. “LED ???” … what the heck does that mean? Here’s a quick, light (sorry!) look at this thing called the “LED light”.

An example of an LED light used to replace standard lighting bulbs

An example of an LED light that replaces a 60W incandescent light bulb

First, let’s begin with the meaning of LED. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode… and even a non-rocket scientist (like me!) can work out that the main thing to note is that it “emits light” . It does this when a power source (like a battery) is applied to its two input terminals and it does so because the boffins have worked out how to get the now powered up little electrons to give off light as they move through the material that makes up this “diode” thing. They have been around for years…but until recently they have been used only as “indicating” lights (e.g. is the TV, cellphone, kettle, hifi etc  on or off) and not for illumination. So they are that little colored plastic light in your hi-fi, hair dryer etc that comes on when you turn the power on.

The electronics of an LED are not important here, just that you need to know that when you attach a power source like a battery or electricity, the result is an electron flow that results in light being emitted.

The catalyst for their development into lights was the realisation that they use very little power to create light. Take your cellphone. That little light that flashes to tell you that it is “on” is not about to drain your battery in a hurry. So some clever people thought “hey, if this thing uses so little power, what about making a light bulb out of them?”.

Problem. Until recently, the amount of light that they could generate was very, very small. So you’d have to connect a room full of them together to get anything near a light that could replace the standard globe above your head.

But, along came even more clever folk who were able to increase the lumen output (call that a measure of light given off) from 3 lumen per watt of electricity to 30 lumens…then 50 lumens and now we are at 100 lumens per watt in commercial applications. I hear the “even more clever” people have prototypes at over 300 lumens per watt. So watt you say!

Well here’s the buzz – a standard 60W incandescent light (which most of us use for lighting) gives off about 700-800 lumens… so that is just 13 lumens per watt. Much of the electricity goes to generating heat in the incandescent bulb…and anyone who has tried to change an incandescent bulb that has been on for a while…will know that! Ouch!

So if we can get the same amount of light that a 60W bulb (60 x 13 lumens/watt= 800 lumens)  puts out with an LED light that requires only 8W (8 x 100 lumens/watt) of electricity, we stand to radically reduce the electricity consumption of that light. That is the beauty of the LED light.

So less power = less cost for the consumer and less carbon dioxide emissions from that power station down the road because only 1/8th of the electricity needs to be generated from coal. Very “green” indeed!

Brilliant! So why are we not ripping out our globes (after they have cooled…of course!) and fitting LED globes?  Well, this is a new technology and at present, the cost of manufacturing the LED lights is still higher than most consumers are willing, or in today’s times…”able…” to spend. There is …um…light on the horizon though, as performance is increasing and costs are coming down. Mainstreaming of the technology will occur in the next 3 years I reckon.

Now when you look at an LED light, you will notice that the base looks quite “heavy”. The reason for this is that the electronics that help make the light work, can generate heat. The problem here is that the more heat that is generated, the more likely the electronics will eventually pack up. So those clever folk in the R&D labs have developed aluminium heat sinks, or ways to get the heat away from the electronics. The aluminium carries the heat away, and because it has a large surface area with all those fins or folds, it allows heat to move off into the air around it. That is why the base looks “heavy”.

That said, LED lights convert 80-95%  of the power into light so they actually don’t get very hot at all. This saves further electricity usage in that air conditioners are not required to cool down the warm air that the incandescent lights are creating (not an advantage in Alaska maybe…but anywhere else it could be quite a saving!).

So there we have it. A new technology that makes low cost lighting possible; reduces carbon emissions and has some other advantages (like they don’t give of ultraviolet light) that add to the positives.

The negatives are that as a disruptive technology, not all products on the market will work as promised and quality varies significantly from manufacturer to manufacturer. I replaced a 50 W halogen spotlight with an LED and ended up staggering around the room trying not to bump into anything! Not at all the equivalent lumen output that the manufacturer had promised, and had I not known better, I may have rejected LED lighting as a “con” and become cynical about this new “ponzi” scheme! Fortunately, I have some really great lights that have adequately replaced the power guzzlers… ahh…that reminds me…the other BIG advantage is that LED lights can last for 50000 hours before they become dim (gradually over time they do go dim… but they don’t  ”burn out” every 1000 hours as do incandescent lights do ). Now if you just use your bedsite light for an hour a day… it means that you’ll die before your 50000 hour LED light will! Imagine leaving your bedside light to your loved ones in your Will..!

So all in all, a technology with a very promising potential. Watch this space in the years ahead… could be just as wonderful and as useful as cell phone technology. The difference is that LED lights won’t be helping your work to follow you everywhere you go! ….

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By Steve Giddings

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I took a walk through Builders Warehouse today and was very surprised to see the large number of CFL lighting products on the shelves. Then to my utter amazement…some LED bulbs! Not a great range, but some replacements for 35W incandescents and some GU and MR16 bulbs. The cost? A cool R126 for the 5W LED and R99 for the MR16 bulb…ouch! Compare that to R10 for a 60W incandescent and much the same for the little 3W MR16.

Rushed home to try them out. The family couldn’t see any difference with the MR16 in the ceiling but the 5W LED fell short of the 60W bulb it replaced. To be fair, it was stated as a replacement for a 35W bulb but then there wasn’t a 9W LED on the shelf.

Well we are definitely getting closer to “green” with at least some LED bulbs on the shelves. A bit too pricey and not great quality…yet. But prices internationally are coming down as volume picks up and we may yet see the early adopters giving way to the mainstream in the next few years. Companies like Led Lighting Solutions will be poised to assist this transition. Watch this space

By Steve Giddings

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