MARGERY CONNER tests affordable LED-based beaming alternatives, anecdotic the able credibility in artefact design, vulnerabilities that may appulse reliability, and adequacy for applications.
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Fluorescent lighting is the bigger chump of electricity in the US, authoritative it an adorable ambition for LED lighting manufacturers. However, clashing beaming bulbs, which were an accessible ambition for LEDs because of the bulb’s boundless use of power, avant-garde T8 beaming lamps are about able adeptness users. Still, as a hands-on appraisal will document, there are adequate affidavit for bartering and residential users to accede solid-state lighting (SSL) alternatives to beaming products, and hands-on testing reveals such opportunities forth with acumen into altered LED-based artefact designs.
Indeed, there is still a ample installed abject of power-wasting T12 lamps and inefficient T8s both in the US and about the globe. As of July 14, 2014, beaming lamps that can’t accommodated adeptness levels of 88 lm/W, or 89 lm/W for lamps with CCT greater than 4500K, are no best accustomed to be bogus or alien into the US. This eliminates all T12 beaming lamps and abounding T8s.
LED lighting manufacturers, accustomed brands as able-bodied as about newcomers, are jumping in to ample the advancing void. I say “coming” because as of Spring 2015, you can still calmly acquisition T12s on the shelves of, for example, Ambition and Home Depot. Retailers are adequate to advertise out their inventory.
While LED versions of the accustomed T8 lamps acquire been accessible for some time now, it’s abandoned afresh that they’ve bigger in both achievement and bulk to the point that they are aboveboard alternatives to beaming lighting. And LEDs can accompany added advantages. LED-based tubes can bear bigger blush affection for ambitious bartering and retail settings (Fig. 1). In accession to abeyant adeptness savings, LED T8 lamps can additionally acknowledge to able controllers, for alike added activity savings. This “smart lighting” is abaft the move to alter fluorescents with LEDs in the commercial/industrial space.
In the residential space, fluorescents are about acclimated in algid environments, such as garages, workshops, and barns, area fluorescents about-face on sluggishly and about beam in the cold. LEDs can about-face on instantly, and algid doesn’t affect their performance. In addition, a high-CRI, dimmable LED tube lamp can accomplish a apparent aberration in kitchen, bold room, or bath lighting, with no aural hum or flickering. There are an absorbing cardinal of lamps and lights accessible now. What follows are capacity from hands-on evaluations of a another of tubes and accessories that are readily accessible and attending promising.
There are two altered approaches for brief absolute beaming lighting installations to LEDs: backup lamps, and retrofit lamps or fixtures. LEDs Annual consistently uses the “retrofit” and “replacement” descriptors changeable to betoken articles awash for advancement of accessories that use bequest beaming or beaming lamps. But actuality we will accomplish a attenuate distinction.
FIG 1. LED T8 lamps can be installed in abounding absolute beaming fixtures.
Replacement lamps are aloof what the name says – they are a absolute backup for a beaming lamp in an absolute blunt fixture: You cull out the old beaming lamp from the fixture, and in goes the LED lamp. This seems like an ideal solution, but its check is that the lamp charge assignment with the fixture’s absolute ballast, incurring the amends of the added ballast. A affection commodity from aftermost year advised the allowances from such designs while aloof aftermost affair (April/May) the annual ran a affection that authentic the capricious approaches to LED tubes.
As discussed in the aloft links, it’s a cogent product-development claiming for the tube architect to architecture an LED lamp disciplinarian that has to be able to acquire ascribe from a advanced arrangement of absolute beaming ballasts from altered manufacturers. And beaming ballasts about acquire a beneath lifespan than LED lamps that can accommodation the advantages of tube replacements.
Retrofit T8 lamps crave that the accoutrement be adapted for tube installation. Typically, the retrofit requires abatement of the ballast, acceptance absolute abject amid the lamp and the AC adeptness advancing into the fixture. The accessible disadvantage of the retrofit advantage is that it requires the cost, effort, and adeptness to rewire the fixture. The advantage is that the retrofitted accoutrement pays no adeptness amends aback it abandoned has its own lamp driver.
FIG. 2. The ashen adeptness administration (SPD) of the Hyperikon LED T8 lamp shows bigger than beaming achievement as characterized by a Moreland Lighting spectrometer.
Other LED beeline lighting options are branch lights and absolutely new accessories that don’t await on dispensable lamps. The table summarizes the blueprint for the seven altered lights that I evaluated, all 48-in. alternatives to T8 or T12 beaming lighting.
The Hyperikon lamp is a retrofit-type lamp, which requires that you acquire the beaming accoutrement rewired with abatement of the aboriginal ballast. The ablaze is direct-wired into the building’s AC power. Fig. 2 depicts the ashen adeptness administration (SPD) as abstinent with an MK350 spectrometer and MoreSpectra software from Moreland Lighting (morelandlighting.com).
The lamp has a admirable CRI of 82 at 1980 lm and a CCT of 4000K. The light’s arch advantage is its accomplished price. At $19 per lamp, it’s the lowest-priced LED lamp of the ones I evaluated.
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However, for me its Achilles heel is that there is a apparent adjournment in its turn-on. This is a accord breaker for me, but for those who apprehend to about-face the ablaze on and leave it on in a boutique or branch environment, this adeptness not be so critical. Read more: http://bit.ly/1AmaklT.
Specifications for lights beneath appraisal – 48-in. alternatives to T8/T12 fluorescents.
The Hollywood Lights (HL) is accession retrofit lamp (Fig. 3). The HL’s ablaze numbers are absolute adequate with CRI of about 90 and beaming alteration achievement of 1900 lm per lamp. Moreover, let’s accede added capacity of the absolute ablaze characteristics by comparing the SPD of the HL artefact about to a Cree artefact that we will altercate a bit afterwards (Fig. 4).
I’ve taken advantage of the MoreSpectra software’s adeptness to bury one light’s SPD on another. Attending at Fig. 4 for the HL lights and you’ll see a red band superimposed. The red band represents the SPD for the Cree LS series, which is a new designed-from-the-ground-up beeline LED accoutrement with accomplished CRI.
As you can see from the red line, the dejected spectrum is beneath able and peaks at a beneath amicableness in the case of the Cree product. We can see that the HL has accomplished blush affection – commensurable to the Cree LS Alternation – but at a atom of the price.
In addition, the HL has a altered affection for an LED tube retrofit lamp in that it is accordant with legacy, triac, phase-controlled dimmer switches. Aback I apparent aloof how big-ticket it is to add the ascendancy accessories for 0-10V concealment of LED lights aback researching the Cree LS alternation dimmability (http://bit.ly/1IszbLI), I acquire a newfound account for the artlessness of concealment with triacs. I acclimated to anticipate triacs were electrically blatant and a awkward way to dim a light, but I now acquire the advantage of not accepting to bond a abstracted band for concealment ascendancy information.
Now let’s booty a attending at what’s central the HLs – some of which is axiomatic in Fig. 3. These LEDs are not the accepted detached LEDs army on a distinct long, attenuate printed-circuit lath (PCB). Instead, the HL’s centralized LEDs appear six to a module, area anniversary bore is a aggregate leadframe and calefaction sink. Hollywood Lights has activated for a apparent on this, and calls it chip-on-lead-frame/heat bore (CoLH). The advantage of this access is that the LEDs are in abundant afterpiece acquaintance with the calefaction sink, acceptance them to blow added calefaction and crop greater adeptness (lumens per watt, lm/W).
FIG. 3. The Hollywood Lights T8s await on LEDs packaged on a thermally added bore for believability and aerial efficacy.
In addition, modules accomplish for a added reliable packaging design, aback there are beneath detached LED apparatus to be assembled, and anniversary added basic in a architecture about increases the abeyant for failure. Modularization of the LEDs additionally makes for easy, automatic accumulation as able-bodied as repairability and alike advance of the lamps, commodity that’s to be acclaimed in our departure culture. The aggregate of accomplished dimming, aerial CRI, and reasonable bulk makes the Hollywood Lights an accomplished best for replacing your T8 fluorescents. Of the LED T8 lamps I’ve activated so far, it’s my favorite. Read more: http://bit.ly/1DFbdGq.
Next up, the Philips Lighting InstantFit T8 was alien aftermost year and is one of two backup lamps that I examined. According to Todd Manegold, administrator of LED lamps business at Philips, 80% of absolute beaming ballasts are cyberbanking instant-start ballasts, over 10% are accelerated start, and beneath than 5% are concealment ballasts. Philips went for affinity with the ample installed abject of non-dimming instant-start ballasts in the InstantFit development.
The InstantFit additionally targets beaming lights that charge assignment in algid temperatures, as low as -22°F (-30°C). The ablaze has a rated boilerplate activity of 50,000 hours, which no beaming lamp can alike access at algid temperatures. My SPD analysis appear that the InstantFit articles bear affection ablaze with a CRI of 83.
The Philips lamps acquire about aerial efficacy, but the absolute alteration produced is still abandoned 1600 lm – the everyman of any of the lights I arrested out. We’ll awning differences we can apprehend to see in LED tube lamp lumens compared to beaming tube lumens afterwards in the commodity because the alteration bulk isn’t necessarily bad news. Read more: http://bit.ly/1FAESqa.
Like the Philips InstantFit, the Cree LED TW Alternation T8 is a backup lamp that works with absolute beaming accessories that acquire their balance still intact. This is a new lamp, not to be abashed with Cree’s aboriginal T8 backup lamp that the aggregation alien a year ago, which will no best be sold.
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FIG. 4. A allegory of SPDs amid the Hollywood Lights T8 and the Cree LS Alternation artefact reveals the above to be an accomplished artefact for the price.
FIG. 5. The new Cree TW T8 delivers accomplished ashen adeptness administration and ablaze affection in either 2700K or 4000K CCTs.
The new artefact is a annular tube, clashing its predecessor’s egg-shaped tube, which additionally had a solid aluminum calefaction bore forth the back. The new adaptation is all artificial and is blurred on the ancillary that’s forth the fixture. I activated 2700K- and 4000K-CCT versions of the artefact and anniversary delivers accomplished ablaze quality. As you can acquaint from the two SPD graphs, the ablaze affection is accomplished for both blush temperatures. Fig. 5 depicts the SPD of the 2700K version.
I’ve afresh acclimated the bury adequacy with the MoreSpectra software to highlight the differences in the SPDs of the two Cree articles – the blooming band in Fig. 5 is the outline of the 4000K light. As you can see, the dejected is abundant beneath arresting in the 2700K light, yet the R12 (blue) cardinal is absolutely college than the 4000K version, and the 2700K ablaze has a hardly college CRI of 91 – which I wouldn’t acquire accepted if attractive abandoned at the SPD, and which credibility out the bulk of actuality able to see the abandoned R ethics to acquire all of the light’s spectrum.
The Cree lamp’s beaming alteration is defined as 1700 lm. Now is a adequate time to attending at the aberration in lumen achievement quoted for beaming lamps against LED T8 lamps. Lumens characterize all ablaze achievement by a lamp in a complete all-around pattern. Aback beaming lamps afford in a 360° field, you end up with aerial cardinal of lumens, alike admitting for best accessories the ablaze emitted from the top (fixture-side) of the lamp charge aboriginal animation off of the accoutrement afore it makes its way bottomward to the apparent we absolutely appetite illuminated, with optical losses inherent in the design.
LED lamps, actuality fabricated up of directional LED components, don’t decay ablaze by bouncing it up against the beam but absolute about all of it downward. This is why, alike admitting fluorescents tube lights adduce a college cardinal of lumens, LED tube lights can bear added accessible ablaze to the assignment surface.
So what’s central the new Cree lamp (Fig. 6)? The best accessible alien change is that the new lamp doesn’t acquire the aluminum calefaction bore courage from the above-mentioned Cree architecture – acutely a cogent bulk savings. The new lamp’s alien amalgamation is an all-embracing artificial tube. The cyberbanking apparatus are all detached apparatus with no adeptness administration IC. And the cardinal of LEDs themselves has abandoned from 120 in the old adaptation bottomward to 80 in this newer model.
It’s additionally noteworthy to altercate the LEDs acclimated in the new Cree tube. The beforehand artefact acclimated the company’s high-power XLamp XH-B LEDs. And Cree has been a allegiant backer of high-power packaged LEDs over mid-power LEDs for accepted lighting applications. But the LEDs in Fig. 6 are not adumbrative of any lighting-class LEDs in the Cree portfolio. Perhaps the mid-power LEDs came address of the Cree affiliation with Lextar appear in August 2014. Moreover, the mid-power packaged LEDs may accredit a lower-cost product.
The aboriginal Cree T8 had a ablaze achievement of 2100 lm, and with 120 LEDs the algebraic works out to 17.5 lm/LED, while the new lamp’s 1700 lm and 80 LEDs works out to 21 lm/LED. The new artefact has a bead in absolute lumen achievement but a 21% access in lm/LED over the aboriginal version. Cree allegedly believes the bazaar will acquire a lower-rated lumen achievement for the lamps, and, accumulation it with the added achievement per LED, it’s able to bead the cardinal of LEDs per lamp.
While Cree specifies the new lamp to acquire a arrangement adeptness draw of “as little as 18.5W,” the balance I used, a absolute accepted Philips Advance, showed a absolute accoutrement adeptness draw of about 49W, or 25 W/lamp. This about aerial adeptness burning is because of the bequest balance in the beaming fixture. I asked Cree what balance they acclimated in their analysis to get the 18.5W number. The aggregation had not responded to me by columnist time. Aback LEDs are associated in best consumers’ minds with adeptness efficiency, it may appear as a abruptness that – at atomic in the fixture/ballast aggregate I acclimated – the Cree is beneath adeptness able than a high-efficiency beaming light.
Hands-on testing of accepted LED T8 lamps and beeline accessories reveals promises and pitfalls (MAGAZINE)FIG. 6. Both of the Cree TW Alternation lamps bear accomplished ashen adeptness advance and a aerial CRI.
FIG. 7. The Feit boutique ablaze looks like a beaming tube-based accoutrement for chump familiarity, but the accessories does not absorb user-replaceable lamps.
Why would anyone appetite to alter their able beaming lamps with less- able LED lamps? If you’re a homeowner with beaming lights in a kitchen or bathroom, the accomplished ablaze affection of these lamps makes them a able adversary with a high-CRI, advanced blush spectrum that can’t be approached by beaming competitors. And if you are attractive at these for a retail establishment, area your barter will be abundant happier aback they don’t attending like the Crypt-Keeper in shades of air-conditioned dejected and green, these will be a hit, as able-bodied as extenuative you time and money in tube backup costs. Read more: http://bit.ly/1JVaxBv.
The 48-in. Feit boutique ablaze (Fig. 7), is, as far as I know, awash abandoned by Costco. A boutique ablaze is altered from a archetypal beaming accoutrement in that, rather than actuality hardwired into the architecture power, it has its own adeptness bond that plugs into a bank outlet. Boutique lights are a adequate applicant for LED lighting: You get abroad from the charge to blend with the architecture abject as you do in in a retrofit light, but you aren’t ashore with bequest beaming ballasts the way you are with backup LED T8 tube lights. The Feit doesn’t acquire to abutment a acutely amaranthine arrangement of ballasts the way the Philips InstantFit or Cree TW T8 do.
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FIG. 8. The SPD blueprint shows the Feit artefact to be a able aerialist in applications such as garages or shops.
The Feit boutique ablaze sells for a absolute reasonable $38 and produces 3700 lm of 83-CRI ablaze while arresting 38W. This compares agreeably to the agnate of two T8 beaming lamps. While at aboriginal glance it looks like the ablaze has two dispensable tube lamps, they are absolutely basic to the accoutrement and can’t be replaced. Some consumers assume abashed by the abridgement of dispensable lamps based on comments on the Costco website. But Feit apparently maintained the lamp-like attending for chump familiarity.
When I angry the Feit ablaze on, there was a aside hum aback I put my ear adapted up abutting to the light, but it bound fades and becomes aside aback the ablaze is abeyant from the ceiling. The ablaze itself is added than adequate for barn and branch lighting, as you can see in the SPD blueprint (Fig. 8).
The R9 (red) CRI of 12 may not assume absolute aerial until you accede that beaming boutique lights about acquire a abrogating R9 value. At the added end of the spectrum, the R12 (blue) is a admirable 67. The all-embracing CRI of 83 is a heck of a lot bigger than what you may currently be accepting from your beaming boutique lights. So in agreement of ablaze quality, the Feit boutique ablaze performs well.
Let’s see what’s inside: As I mentioned before, the Feit doesn’t acquire dispensable tube lamps. This is absolutely a adequate architecture decision. By authoritative the tubes basic to the fixture, Feit can booty advantage of the continued activity of LEDs. There’s no charge to accomplish a allotment dispensable aback it’s no best the weakest link. Anniversary tube contains a long, angular metal-core PCB with 60 mid-power packaged LEDs.
FIG. 9. The Cree LS Alternation beeline LED accoutrement is an basic architecture advised for flush residential or bartering lighting applications.
The Feit accoutrement makes use of connectors, rather than hand-soldering, to attach the disciplinarian electronics to the LED PCB, which is about a added reliable approach.
FIG. 10. The SPD of the Cree LS Alternation shows the cogent advantage that LEDs can action over beaming sources.
The LEDs are commonly army on the PCB in adverse to the LED bore access acclimated in the Hollywood Lights T8 LED retrofit lights apparent previously. The Hollywood Lights access is a added reliable, manufacturing-friendly one, while the Feit architecture is about a lower-cost approach. But the Feit is, afterwards all, an bargain boutique light, while the HL ablaze is a high-CRI dimmable calm light. Both approaches are adapted for their application. Read more: http://bit.ly/1GJEggt.
The aftermost accoutrement we awning in this article, while a beeline LED light, is not a backup or retrofit for an absolute beaming accoutrement but an absolutely new beeline ablaze – the Cree LS Alternation (Fig. 9) Apparent Ambient. The ablaze produces 4000 lm with a CRI of 92 and is dimmable with 0-10V dimming.
As you can see in the photo, the ablaze accoutrement itself is absolutely narrow, but it still produces an agnate bulk of ablaze to a abundant added two-lamp beaming fixture. The ablaze antecedent and accoutrement are basic with no lamp to alter and aggregate dust, and no abstracted ablaze diffuser, authoritative this a no-maintenance light. In addition, it comes with a 10-year warranty, a big added for any new lighting product.
I won’t be assuming an under-the-hood photo of the LED antecedent as I’d acquire to breach accessible the module, and Cree is absolute bright that this will abandoned the warranty. I paid $127 for this ablaze – which is too abundant to trash!
My abstract appearance of the ablaze affection of the 3500K adaptation was that it looked great, abnormally adequate for bark tones; as this ablaze replaced an anachronistic T12 accoutrement in a bathroom, accomplished ablaze affection was important. But the absolute affidavit is the spectrometer account apparent in Fig. 10.
It absolute Cree’s claimed aerial CRI at 91. But a added all-embracing compassionate of the ablaze is acquired from the R values. The R9 (red) is a advantageous 53 and the R12 (blue) is a 79 – abundant bigger than the fluorescents, and cogent the accomplished adventure bigger than the CRI alone. In addition, I’ve overlaid an SPD of a beaming lamp in blooming to drive home the affecting advance in ablaze we see with a high-end LED light. Read more: http://bit.ly/1IszbLI.
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It’s bright at this point in the LED technology change that SSL articles can finer alter beaming technology. In some cases, the SSL another can action added activity accumulation – and, in best cases, bigger ablaze affection aback consumers accept articles carefully.
MARGERY CONNER is the editor of the Designing with LEDs (designingwithleds.com) website.
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