LED Lamps

BASIC COMPONENTS OF LED LAMPS

  • Drivers: convert AC to DC power and protect against fluctuations in line voltage, similar to a surge protector.  Contain the dimmer and other control capabilities.
  • Optics
  • Housing Fixture
  • Thermal Heat Sink: crucial to the efficiency, reliability, and longevity, the heat sink dissipates the heat created when running an LED.  The bulbs are cool to the touch and do not radiate heat in all directions like other lamps. It’s the heat sink that creates the “space age” look of LED lamps but it’s also the reason why they last so long.

Electrons move through semiconductor material and illuminate the light emitting diodes.  Heat is also produced, and is dissipated in the heat sink.

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 Diagram of high powered LED: used to illuminate large areas.  (energystar.gov)

Lumens not watts
We are conditioned to equate the brightness of a bulb with the wattage used instead of lumens, the actual visible light, produced.  Clearly this direct association between lumens and watts is not a useful measure in efficient lighting.  LEDs give you a large amount of lumens for very little watts.

A general rule when replacing incandescent bulbs:  60 watt bulb = approx 800 lumen bulb.
New labeling requirements, seen below, make this transition much easier for consumers:

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The April 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Report, “Adoption of Light Emitting Diodes in Common Applications,” states “Commercially available white LED package efficacies have increased from 100 lm/W in 2008 to as high as 166 lm/W in 2012 and are projected to reach 235 lm/W by 2020.”

Quality
As with any product, quality affects performance.  If any of those four basic components have trouble, it compromises the bulb.  A poorly designed and manufactured light may result in any or all of the following behaviors:

  • Flickering light
  • Short lifetime
  • Color shift
  • Uneven lighting
  • Continuous power drain, even when turned off

A benefit of using FGI is our experience with the manufacturers and their products.  We represent you, not a manufacturer.  And we only suggest high quality, tested, and warrantied products.