LED Lighting Basics

A short overview describing some of the basic advantages and features of LED lighting follows below:

Incandescent bulbs use resistance in a filament to impede the flow of electricity, heating up to a degree which emits light. It takes high amounts of energy to do this and the filament burns out in time and a high level of wasted energy is given off in the form of heat.

CFL "energy savers" - fluorescent tubes and many other conventional lamps use high frequency to excite harmful chemicals to emit light. One 5 foot 1,5 meter tube contains enough mercury to contaminate a swimming pool. Billions have been dumped into waste disposal. Heavy metal poisons have a cumulative effect. In the long term these cannot be a "fix" for the energy crisis we face today. "Energy savers" are in our opinion very harmful and should be ultimately banned.

LED lighting uses less energy than most other lighting sources, producing 70-100 or more lumen's per watt and does so with a good power factor. Initial start up current being low as well as the low wattage consumption means that LED lighting fits in very well with renewable energy sources.

Led lighting can give the illusion of natural light and thus the lit area may not be so obvious as with the predominantly yellow wash from other technologies.

However, this warm effect can be created with the appropriate (warm) color scale choice of LED. (Kelvin scale) LED lamps can be made to any specific color from infra-red to ultra violet for specific requirement.

For example, the pure white, 5000-6000K or daylight white 6000-7000k (slightly blue to look at) will greatly enhance viewing of detail, help old tired eyes with reading and greatly improves CCTV camera image quality.

The limited white light band emitted by LED luminaries does not reflect off glass for example so that CCTV cameras will view inside vehicles much better. Visual quality control of food products and manufactured goods is also enhanced.

LED useful life span is longer than most other forms of lighting, you can expect 20-30 000 hours plus before they will have lost output to the point of requiring replacement. They are not subject to color change in normal circumstance.

High power LED's do run hotter, but not as hot as metal halide, fluorescent, HPS or incandescent. Actually LED lifespan is governed more by the mains power supply conversion components that drive them (they run on very low voltages). Conventional low voltage down lights for example mostly use copper wound transformers. These type of transformers are around 50% efficient so it takes approx 75watts to run a 50watt lamp.

Low power LED's run extremely cool relative to "conventional" lamps so can even save on air conditioning. A fluorescent or incandescent lamp in a fridge is effectively having a small fire inside a fridge.

Output voltage follows input voltage. LED power supplies are "switch mode" electronic power supplies that run at high efficiency into to the 90's and run cooler, have internal short, temperature and overload protections with automatic restoral. Their input voltage range is wide and their output is stable.

LED lamps are recyclable and contain no harmful toxins. In addition to this the manufacturing process of this produces less carbon emissions than other older type of lamps. No hazardous substance disposal procedure required. They will have relatively high recycle value and can achieve RoHS and IEC-60958 certification.

The light output is color specific, which does not degrade over time. Unlike most other light sources, they emit very low levels of harmful UV rays.

For food processing areas, our lamps, if broken, will not contaminate the area and can be made with PVC or poly carbonate covers so no broken glass issues either. (food production plants)

LED lights are available in many forms, so most of your old fittings can be retrofitted with LEDs to minimize cost and waste. (tubes, bulkheads, downlights etc).

LED lighting is directional, so light pollution in to neighboring areas can be contained. This also allows for much lower power for example in the case of reading lamps. (task lighting). Less confusion blinding night creatures, less attraction and burning of insects.

This technology has leaped in the last two years and continues to move forward. Contact us at sales@lightshop.co.za should you be seeking specific information with regard to what’s practically available.