What is an LED?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. It's made of a semi-conductive material that produces light via a phenomenon called Electroluminescence.
See LED EXPLAINED for a detailed description of LED technology.
- Low running costs
- Long life
- No heat or UV light
- Earth friendly
- Instant light
For the full benefits summary see LED Explained.
Unlike traditional incandescent lamps, LEDs themselves do not produce heat within the beam as they do not use infra-red wavelengths (unless a specific infra-red LED). Heat is however produced in the semiconductor process. Effective heatsinks are employed to manage this process and maintain a cool running temperature by dissipating the heat away from the LED to optimise the life of an LED. The cooler they run the longer they last and the brighter they are.
Short answer – Yes!
It is possible to dim LEDs using equipment that facilitates it. Typically a dimmable LED driver or Power Supply Unit coupled with a suitable dimmer switch or dimming control system. ABC LEDS has tested many types of dimmer switch – See section 6 for more detailed information.
Dimming & Lighting Control
Cool White -vs- Neutral White –vs- Warm White and RGB
Colour Temperatures are measured in Kelvin (k). To start with a benchmark, your traditional Halogen down light would be around 2700k – 3000k. The warmer colours are closer to the red colour spectrum and the cooler temperatures, closer to the blue colour spectrum.
Cool White or Warm White are generic names given to designate certain colour temperate bands but there is however, no specific industrial standard as to exactly where one colour temperature band ends and another starts. It is entirely possible to have the same colour temperature called 2 different names by different people.
RGB – Stands for RED/GREEN/BLUE and is the term most often associated with colour changing LED systems whereby different intensities of those three colours are combined to create others. Just like a Television does to create its pictures and a little like mixing paint types at school.
CRI stands for Colour Rendering Index and is measured on a scale between 1-100. Essentially, different CRIs have different effects on the colours they illuminate. Colours look their best under the midday sun on a clearday which is 100 CRI. The closer you get to this mark the better your colours display. We'd recommend at least 80+ in the home.
The lumen figure is the measure of the total amount of visible light (to the eye) from a lamp or light source. The higher the lumen rating the brighter the lamp will appear. In LED terms, it is important that you know the lumen figures when comparing products as the wattage of an LED product does not necessarily dictate the brightness. When looking to replace a 50W halogen for example, you want to be looking for an LED product that produces around the 500 lumen mark. It is also important to note that the lumen figure quoted may be chip lumens – the light that comes straight off the LED as opposed to the delivered luminaire lumens which is the figure that is available after any optics and bezels have been fitted.
All LEDs colour shift over time, but then again so does every type of light. The same is the case for the amount of light they produce compared to when they were brand new. All light sources degrade over time.
That said, LEDs are typically stable for far longer than traditional light sources. It's also worthy of note that higher quality LEDs coupled with well-designed heat sinks will have a better colour stability for longer.
The Diodes themselves are not too expensive however when built into a product such as an integrated down light, known as a luminaire, they would appear to be more expensive compared with the halogen lamped equivalent due to all the associated components. There are also many different grades/quality of LED, which will be explained later, that also effect the end cost.
It's important to note it's only the up-front investment that appears expensive. In the long term, LED has very significant cost benefits to the user in terms of money saved through less energy consumed and the fact that they last so much longer than traditional lamp types. On average LED lasts 20 times longer than incandescent and 3 times longer than Compact Fluorescent. It also has a significant saving on maintenance costs.
Efficacy is about the results. How effective something is at doing its job.
Efficiency is about waste when achieving the results. Something could be said to have good efficacy but poor efficiency.
Used properly, LEDs have a general life in excess of 50,000 hours (if you were to use the light for 8 hours per day that would be around 17 years) although some LEDs have been working since the 70's and are still going after 45 years! Much of an LED's life is dictated by heat management.
All light sources degrade or depreciate over time. LM80 is the approved quality method for measuring how much lumen depreciation the light source will suffer. This is not to be confused with an estimation of life. LED's typically do not fail as they have no filament to burn to end their life, rather degrade beyond useful life output.
In many respects yes. Where a light can be used is dependent on its Ingress Protection (IP) Rating.
In a bathroom for example, there are different zones that require different IP ratings accordingly. Have a look at our IP ratings explained section to see the details
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