FAQ about LED lighting
LED is short for light-emitting diode.
How long do LEDs last?
LEDs are notable for being extremely long-lasting products. Many LEDs have a rated life of up to 50,000 hours. This is approximately 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20-25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8-10 times longer than a typical CFL. Used 12 hours a day, a 50,000 bulb will last more than 11 years. Used 8 hours a day, it will last 17 years!
Where can LEDs be used?
They can be used almost anywhere. LED replacements are already available for bulb types such as A-shape, PAR reflectors, MR reflectors, decorative, undercabinet, and more. When used on dimmers, particularly dimming systems that support many bulbs, we suggest testing a few LEDs first to test compatibility.
What are the advantages of switching to LED?
The advantages of switching to LED are numerous. Here are just some of the benefits: LEDs use much less electricity than other bulbs, have extremely long rated lives, produce very little heat, do not emit UV or infrared, contain no mercury, are resistant to shock and vibration, and can operate effectively in extremely cold environments.
How green are LEDs?
LEDs are very green. For starters, they use much less electricity than many other lighting products. This means that less electricity has to be produced to operate them, and resulting in lower emissions from power plants, especially in areas where coal-fired plants are common. Unlike CFLs, they contain no mercury. Because of their long life, they also reduce solid waste: If you replace an incandescent bulb with an LED, you will prevent fifty 1,000 hour incandescent bulbs from being thrown away. Additionally, they produce very little heat and can reduce energy usage related to HVAC. The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that increased adoption of LEDs over the next 15 years would also reduce electricity demands from lighting by 62 percent, prevent 258 million metric tons of carbon emissions, and eliminate the need for 133 new power plants.
Can LEDs be used with dimmers?
Usually, yes. Many LEDs are specifically listed as being dimmable. Some dimming systems work with LEDs better than others, so it’s best to test one or two before completely re-lamping a space.
Are LEDs ready for general lighting?
The number of white-light LED products available on the market continues to grow, including a wide range of replacement lamps, as well as integrated light fixtures,such as portable desk/task lights, under-cabinet lights,recessed downlights, track heads, and outdoor fixtures for street and area lighting. Some of these products perform very well, but the quality and energy efficiency of LED products still varies widely, for several reasons:
1. LED technology continues to evolve very quickly.Performance and pricing of LED packages/devices are dynamic but both are steadily improving.
2. Lighting manufacturers face a learning curve in apply-ing LEDs. Because they are sensitive to thermal and electrical conditions, LEDs must be carefully integrated into lighting products. Manufacturers vary in their abil-
ity to do this effectively.
3. Price pressures can affect the quality of components used in LED products, particularly replacement lamps targeted to the general consumer.
What other LED features might be important?
Depending on the application, other unique LED character-istics may merit consideration:
• Directional light
• Low profile / compact size
• Breakage and vibration resistance
• Improved performance in cold temperatures
• Life unaffected by rapid cycling
• Instant on / no warm up time
• No IR or UV emissions
With the advent of LED technology more attention needs to be paid to the way light fittings are controlled. Switching LEDs is very straightforward but dimming is a bit more complicated. There are different ways of dimming (see below for the different dimming types) and the type of LED Driver needs to be matched to the control system in use. It is also recommended to test drivers and dimmers together; even if theoretically compatible, they aren’t always so in practise. We ensure that the fittings and drivers we supply work together well.
Dedicated LED lighting (i.e. not retrofit lamps) isn’t generally compatible with the rotary type resistive dimmers commonly installed in residential properties. These legacy dimmers will need to be replaced with an alternative system to facilitate dimming.
Different Dimming Types
Switched Mains (Non Dimming)
If you don’t need to dim your LED fitting then this is the driver type to choose. These drivers will work with conventional on / off light switches or lighting control systems.
Mains Dimming (Leading Edge)
This method of dimming is most commonly used for Electronic Low Voltage transformers typically used for Halogen lamps. Rarely used for LED fittings. No control cable is required.
This method often works very well for dimming dedicated LED fittings when coupled to a 1-10V dimmable driver. Dimming is often smoother and lower than mains dimming options. It requires a separate ‘control’ cable to be run from the controller to the fittings driver.
Mains Dimming (Trailing Edge)
Mains Trailing Edge dimming can be used to dim most dedicated LED fittings when coupled to a mains dimmable driver. No extra control cable is required.
DMX is commonly used for colour programmable fittings. The DMX signal is generated by a lighting control system and requires dedicated cabling between the controller and driver. DMX is generally used with professionally designed lighting control systems.
DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) has been more commonly found in commercial environments and is a digital system. It is very flexible in its deployment and use. As with the 0-10V system it requires a control cable, but with DALI this cable can be run between many fittings. DALI is generally used with professionally designed lighting control systems. We are increasingly using DALI in residential lighting projects for its superior dimming, flexibility, cost-effectiveness and simplified wiring structure.
Understanding the different dimming types is critical to the success of any lighting project. As part of our lighting design service we can supply lighting control systems with matched drivers and dimmers;