LED Lighting

LED vs Price

For those who are seeking an LED lighting solution and are confused why so many products look alike and specifications appear to be identical and jump to the conclusion they are all the same so PRICE should be the deciding factor, I urge you to read on.

I have been involved in the LED lighting industry for over 10 years and can remember when the L prize was being chased by all the big organizations wishing to be the first to achieve what was at the time a coveted achievement. Philips were awarded the L Prize in 2011 for producing an LED lamp that was comparable in light performance to an incandescent 60 watt A stale lamp, the Philips lamp produced 940 lumens using 10 wats of energy and had a rated life of 25,000 hours the downside was a high investment of $30.

Today LED technology is gaining mass adoption with hundreds of manufacturer’s competing no longer on performance but on price! Don’t be fooled into believing that all LED products are equal, they are not and raw material costs together with variations in electronic component prices all affect the end cost. Failure of LED products can be put into two simple categories, firstly power supply failure sand secondly light degradation to the point it no longer provides safe illumination.

When it comes to electronics LED lighting is simply that, an electronic device that converts electric energy into visible light so the internal components are critical to its long term reliability. Basically the lamp is only as good as the weakest component and that might be a cheap capacitor. It’s true that reliability has improved in LED design but not all manufacturers use components rated to meet their claims of longevity. No one tests a power supply for long term performance only the diodes are tested for their degradation rate at set temperatures. Most premature LED failures relate to power supply issues, you may have already witnessed flashing LED lights that’s a bad power supply.

Heat is the enemy of all electronics so therefore components should be rated for the temperature they will be exposed to, if not they quickly fail. So why do so many LED manufacturers today use glass in their Linear tube designs, the last time I checked glass was an incredible insulator and that would create an environment similar to an oven for electronics the most important being the diode itself. Cost comes into play here as glass is far less expensive than aluminum which is a very good conductor of heat.

To conclude you might say so what the product comes with a 5 year warranty…does it? Can you guarantee the company making poor quality products will even be around in 5 years? First ask if they have even got a product in the market that has proven to exceed their 5 year warranty. A lot od company today selling LED lighting are simply resellers and they care more about their profits than yours, so they have no loyalty to one particular manufacturer they hunt for the best deal they can get or the lowest price, that allows them to make more profit. If the product you buy from them fails more than likely they will direct you to the manufacturer who will probably be in a foreign country.

My recommendation is do your homework first, determine if you are speaking with a reseller or direct from the manufacturer. Ask if their products have passed the 5 year test or how long they have been in business. Don’t buy based on lowest price ultimately that will probably be the costliest purchase ever. Always purchase a sample first and visually inspect the external quality, then install the product and after 30 minutes touch the housing it should be warm demonstrating it is conducting the heat away from the sensitive electronics. If the unit is cool to the touch it’s probably going to fail prematurely.


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