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ABOUT LED LIGHTS

Our LED lights have a lifetime of at least 50,000 hours, probably 80,000 hours and maybe 100,000 hours.  A big advantage of LED lights is that they will start at full brightness even in the cold.  The life and efficiency of LED lights increases in cold temperatures so these LED lamps are ideal for porches, wood sheds, garages and shops. 

The life is not affected by the number of On Off cycles making these LED lights well suited to high intermittent use areas such as bathrooms, entrance ways, and pantries. LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode, this is a solid state device and so any orientation is acceptable.  Polarity doesn't matter for our 12 and 24 volt DC LED's.  

Some of our LED lights use large 1 watt  LED's.  Our LED lights use only the best quality LED's and will keep 90% of their brightness even after 50,000 hours of use..  Beware of less expensive LED lights, most 1 watt LED's will become dim with only 1000 to 2000 hours of use.  

 

The voltage range on the 12V DC and 24V DC LEDs is 10.5V to 14.5V DC and 22V to 29V DC respectively. The voltage range on our 120V AC and 220VAC LED lights is plus or minus 10%. Polarity does not matter with our LED lights. 12 volt and 24 volt LED lights must not be used on normal 120V or 240V house power.

Only use 12V AC LED lights for track lights if the mains supply is 120V AC and transformed to 12V AC (i.e. if the house or boat is connected to the grid or an inverter).  However the 12V   DC LED  and 24 VDC LED lights can be used for track lighting if your system is a 12 or 24 volt battery system.

 

  

 

A Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a semiconductor device which converts electricity into light. LED lighting has been around since the 1960s, but is just now beginning to appear in the residential market for space lighting. At first white LEDs were only possible by "rainbow" groups of three LEDs -- red, green, and blue -- by controlling the current to each to yield an overall white light. This changed in 1993 when Nichia created a blue indium gallium chip with a phosphor coating that is used to create the wave shift necessary to emit white light from a single diode. This process is much less expensive for the amount of light generated.

Each diode is about 1/4 inch in diameter and uses about ten milliamps to operate at about a tenth of a watt. LEDs are small in size, but can be grouped together for higher intensity applications. LED fixtures require a driver which is analogous to the ballast in fluorescent fixtures. The drivers are typically built into the fixture (like fluorescent ballasts) or they are a plug transformer for portable (plug-in) fixtures. The plug-in transformers allow the fixture to run on standard 120 volt alternating current (AC), with a modest (about 15 to 20 percent) power loss.

The efficacy of a typical residential application LED is approximately 20 lumens per watt (LPW), though efficacies of up to 100 LPW have been created in laboratory settings. Incandescent bulbs have an efficacy of about 15 LPW and ENERGY STAR® qualified compact fluorescents are about 60 LPW, depending on the wattage and lamp type. Some manufacturers claim efficacies much higher than 20 LPW; make sure to examine system efficacy, which accounts for the power use of all components. In December 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy studied the efficacy of four luminaries. All four fell short of the manufacturers’ claims; the study implies that manufacturers are relying on measurements of how much light an isolated LED produces, rather than how much light an LED luminaire actually delivers.

LEDs are better at placing light in a single direction than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Because of their directional output, they have unique design features that can be exploited by clever designs. LED strip lights can be installed under counters, in hallways, and in staircases; concentrated arrays can be used for room lighting. Waterproof, outdoor fixtures are also available. Some manufacturers consider applications such as gardens, walkways, and decorative fixtures outside garage doors to be the most cost-efficient.

LED lights are more rugged and damage-resistant than compact fluorescents and incandescent bulbs. LED lights don't flicker. They are very heat sensitive; excessive heat or inappropriate applications dramatically reduce both light output and lifetime. Uses include:

  • Task and reading lamps
  • Linear strip lighting (under kitchen cabinets)
  • Recessed lighting/ceiling cans
  • Porch/outdoor/landscaping lighting
  • Art lighting
  • Night lights
  • Stair and walkway lighting
  • Pendants and overhead
  • Retrofit bulbs for lamps

 

 

        

 

               

Definitions and Terms      

Term

Definition

Units

How to interpret

Color Temperature

Color of light

Kelvin (K)

Sunlight at sunrise is 1800K
100W Incandescent light bulb is 2850K
Overcast Sky is 6500K

Color Rendering Index (CRI)

Light’s effect on color

Scale of 0 to 100 with sunlight at 100

The higher the number, the more “true” the color will look in that light

Brightness

The intensity of the light.

Lumens

The higher the lumens, the brighter the light

Power

Amount of electrical energy consumed

Watts

Lower the watts, the lower the energy consumed

Efficacy

The efficiency of the bulb to convert electricity into light

Lumens per Watt

More efficient bulbs provide more light using less energy

 

                LED Lighting

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are solid light bulbs which are extremely energy-efficient. Until recently, LEDs were limited to single-bulb use in applications such as instrument panels, electronics, pen lights and, more recently, strings of indoor and outdoor Christmas lights.

Manufacturers have expanded the application of LEDs by "clustering" the small bulbs. The first clustered bulbs were used for battery powered items such as flashlights and headlamps. Today, LED bulbs are made using as many as 180 bulbs per cluster, and encased in diffuser lenses which spread the light in wider beams. Now available with standard bases which fit common household light fixtures, LEDs are the next generation in home lighting.

The high cost of producing LEDs has been a roadblock to widespread use. However, researchers at Purdue University have
recently developed a process for using inexpensive silicon wafers to replace the expensive sapphire-based technology. This promises to bring LEDs into competitive pricing with CFLs and incandescents. LEDs may soon become the standard for most lighting needs. We are following these developments with interest and will report the latest updates in this research.

 

Benefits of LED lightbulbs

Long-lasting - LED bulbs last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents, and far longer than typical incandescents.

Durable - since LEDs do not have a filament, they are not damaged under circumstances when a regular incandescent bulb would be broken. Because they are solid, LED bulbs hold up well to jarring and bumping.

Cool - these bulbs do not cause heat build-up; LEDs produce 3.4 btu's/hour, compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs. This also cuts down on air conditioning costs in the home.

Mercury-free - no mercury is used in the manufacturing of LEDs.


More efficient - LED light bulbs use only 2-10 watts of electricity (1/3rd to 1/30th of Incandescent or CFL) Small LED flashlight bulbs will extend battery life 10 to 15 times longer than with incandescent bulbs. Also, because these bulbs last for years, energy is saved in maintenance and replacement costs. For example, many cities in the US are replacing their incandescent traffic lights with LED arrays because the electricity costs can be reduced by 80% or more.

Cost-effective - although LEDs are expensive, the cost is recouped over time and in battery savings. For the AC bulbs and large cluster arrays, the best value comes from commercial use where maintenance and replacement costs are expensive.

Light for remote areas - because of the low power requirement for LEDs, using solar panels becomes more practical and less expensive than running an electric line or using a generator for lighting.

 

Choosing an LED lightbulb

Many different models and styles of LED bulbs are emerging in today's marketplace. When choosing a bulb, keep in mind the following:

• Estimate desired wattage - read the package to choose desired illumination level. For example, a 3W LED is equivalent in output to a 45 W incandescent.

• Choose between warm and cool light - new LED bulbs are available in 'cool' white light, which is ideal for task lighting, and 'warm' light commonly used for accent or small area lighting.

• Standard base or pin base - LEDs are available in several types of 'pin' sockets or the standard "screw' (Edison) bases for recessed or track lighting.

• Choose between standard and dimmable bulbs - some LED bulbs, such as the
ones that, are now available as dimmable bulbs.

Choose high quality bulbs or they will die prematurely - do not buy cheap bulbs from eBay or discounters. They are inexpensive because the bulbs use a low-quality chip which fails easily.


• Look for certifications - including FCC and UL.

 

The common styles of LED bulbs include the following:

 

ZetaLux LED bulb

Diffused bulbs
In this style LED bulb, clusters of LEDs are covered by a dimpled lens which spreads the light out over a wider area. Available in standard Edison bases, these bulbs have many uses, such as area lighting for rooms, porches, reading lamps, accent lamps, hallways and low-light applications where lights remain on for extended periods. 

 

EvoLux LED bulb
Diffused high power bulbs
Designed for standard household use, these bulbs produce light equivalent to a 100-watt incandescent bulb. The EvoLux (pictured), and  (pictured above) are the first UL Listed and FCC approved LED light bulbs for general household illumination.

 

 

 

 

MR 16 Pro LED track light bulb

Track Lighting
Available in MR-16 (pin base), LEDs are ideal for track lighting. LEDs do not contribute to heat buildup in a room because no matter how long they remain on, they do not get hot to the touch. Also, because they are 90% more efficient than incandescents, and last 10 times longer than CFLs, the frequency of changing bulbs is greatly reduced.

 

Par 20 Led Bulb

Recessed Downlight and Spotlight bulbs
LEDs are now available for standard recessed lighting pots and housings. For PAR 16 and PAR 20 cans, measure the can diameter and read the bulb dimensions to be sure it will fit. The light output and color quality are similar to incandescent downlights, but draws only about one-fifth of the power. Also, because they are 90% more efficient than incandescents. and last 10 times longer than CFLs, the frequency of changing bulbs is greatly reduced.

 

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Outdoor Floodlight LEDs
Typically, security lights and outdoor floodlights use energy sucking halogen bulbs. Some people use CFL bulbs instead, and find they die quickly if installed in motion -activated switches. LED bulbs are great replacements: they are energy efficient, and will last up to 50,000 hours even when flicked on and off frequently. However, they are not as bright as halogen bulbs.

 

  LED Terminology

CRI - Coloring Rendering Index. CRI represents the quality of light and its faithfulness to render colors correctly. The RA30  9 watt PAR 30, is  76
CCT - Correlated Color Temperature is the measure used to describe the relative color appearance of a white light source.

CCT indicates whether a light source appears more yellow/gold/orange or more blue, in terms of the range of available shades of "white." CCT is given in kelvins (unit of absolute temperature). 2700K is "Warm" and 7000K is "Cool".

Luminous Flux - the flow of light measured in lumens. With light bulbs, it provides an estimate of the apparent amount of light the bulb will produce. Depending on the application, much of an incandescent's light is wasted because it's emitted in every direction. LEDs on the other hand, put out directional light, sending all of the light exactly where it's needed. This is why an LED producing 500 lumens might be equivalent to an incandescent producing 900 lumens.

 

LED Colors

Red - red is the traditional color for maintaining night vision.

Green - green is now the preferred color for pilots and the military. The green color is also great for retaining night vision, and it doesn’t erase the red markings on maps and charts.

Blue - many people like the blue because it is very easy on the eyes. Blue appears to be a good reading light for elderly eyes. Elderly folks report that they can read under the blue light for hours without eyestrain, compared to severe eyestrain in less than 30 minutes with incandescent lighting.

White - the most popular of the LED colors. It produces a soft white light, without harsh reflection, glare or shadows.

Amber - LED amber bulbs do not attract flying insects, as do ordinary white bulbs. Amber LEDs are used outdoors in areas such as patios and decks where insects flying around lights are a nuisance.

 

Limitations of CFL lightbulbs

Although CFLs are an excellent source of energy-efficient lighting, they are not always the best choice for all lighting applications. Here are a few limitations to consider:

 

  • On/Off cycling: CFLs are sensitive to frequent on/off cycling. Their rated lifetimes of 10,000 hours are reduced in applications where the light is switched on and off very often. Closets and other places where lights are needed for brief illumination should use incandescent or LED bulbs.
  • Dimmers: Dimmable CFLs are available for lights using a dimmer switch, but check the package; not all CFLs can be used on dimmer switches. Using a regular CFL with a dimmer can shorten the bulb life span.
  • Timers: Most CFLs can be used with a timer, however some timers have parts which are incompatible with CFLs; to check your timer, consult the timer package or manufacturer. Using an incompatible timer can shorten the life of a CFL bulb.
  • Outdoors: CFLs can be used outdoors, but should be covered or shaded from the elements. Low temperatures may reduce light levels - check the package label to see if the bulb is suited for outdoor use.
  • Retail lighting: CFLs are not spot lights. Retail store display lighting usually requires narrow focus beams for stronger spot lighting. CFLs are better for area lighting.
  • Mercury content: CFLs contain small amounts of mercury which is a toxic metal. This metal may be released if the bulb is broken, or during disposal. For more information about mercury and CFLs, see below.

The principle reason for reduced lifespan of CFLs is heat. CFLs exhibit shorter lifespans in light fixtures and sockets where there is low air-flow and heat build-up such as recessed lighting. For these types of sockets it is recommended to ues specially designed CFLs for recessed lighting or LEDs. Another main reason for reduced lifespan of CFLs is too-frequent on/off cycling. These bulbs should be used where they will be left on for steady periods without being flicked on and off.

 

Mercury and CFLs

Mercury is a toxic metal associated with contamination of water, fish, and food supplies, and can lead to adverse health affects. A CFL bulb generally contains an average of 5 mg of mercury (about one-fifth of that found in the average watch battery, and less than 1/100th of the mercury found in an amalgam dental filling). A power plant will emit 10mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time. The net benefit of using the more energy efficient lamp is positive, and this is especially true if the mercury in the fluorescent lamp is kept out of the waste stream when the lamp expires.

Handling and Disposal of CFLs

The mercury in compact fluorescent bulbs poses no threat while in the bulb, but if you break one:
- open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more
- use a wet rag to clean it up and put all of the pieces, and the rag, into a plastic bag
- place all materials in a second sealed plastic bag
- call your local recycling center to see if they accept this material, otherwise put it in your local trash. Wash your hands afterward.

Burned out CFLs can be dropped off at Home Depot and Ikea stores. Another solution is to save spent CFLs for a community household hazardous waste collection, which would then send the bulbs to facilities capable of treating, recovering or recycling them. For more information on CFL disposal or recycling, you can contact your local municipality.

 

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