Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Should You Use LED Light Tubes In Your House?

Unlike incandescent bulbs, high-power LED light tubes cannot be simply plugged into a wall socket. 

Several companies are working to overcome the technological and economic challenges by developing LED light fixtures and retrofit these lights using high-power LEDs. 

Thermal management, complex drive circuitry, optics, and packaging are challenging hurdles for developers to contend with. 

There are also educational barriers to overcome in the development of commercial LED illumination products. 

Getting users to adopt new types of fixtures, understand the illumination characteristics of LEDs, choose the appropriate viewing angle for a given application.  

And also select the appropriate intensity for a given application, and understand the limitations of LED color temperatures are pivotal to developing the market for LED technology in commercial and residential lighting.

The Illumination Angle

LEDs are extremely energy-efficient from an illumination efficacy standpoint, i.e., lumens per watt. 

Upwards of 95 percent of the light can be directed at the target area of illumination whereas a typical incandescent bulb may be only 60 percent effective. 

In other words, a lot of the light produced by an incandescent bulb does not go to the intended target.

Incandescent bulbs require reflectors, louvers, and/or diffusers to compensate for unnecessary light. Fluorescent bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescents, but the ballast may consume up to 20 percent of the electrical energy going into the fixture.

Retrofitting LED technology in traditional luminaries is tricky because most fixtures are designed to overcome the limitations of traditional spherical light output. 

Reflectors, cones, masks, shades and diffusers help bend, redirect, or shield the light emitted from incandescent, fluorescent and halogen sources, but it creates unnecessary physical barriers for implementing LED technology. 

Designing specific forward-fit LED-based luminaries can produce several times foot-candles on a given area per watt than other traditional incandescent bulb technologies. 

Because of the directional illumination pattern that LEDs provide the light can be directed to the specific area that needs to be illuminated.

The Light Color

Over the years, fluorescent light bulb manufacturers had some challenges getting users to accept the white color produced by fluorescent technology. 

Because of the limitations of phosphor technology, the fluorescent industry introduced subjective terms such as "cool white" or "warm white" to draw comparisons to incandescent white. 

Not coincidentally, white LED manufacturers face the same challenges since white LED technology is based on phosphor energy. 

To put things in quantitative perspective, LED manufactures have referred to Color Rendering Index (CRI) which is a measurement of a light source's ability to render colors accurately. 

The higher the CRI, the more natural the colors appear, with natural sunlight having a CRI of 100. However, this may not be the best metric for comparing light sources.

But the bigger issue is, the light intensity benchmark for an LED tube lamp is not the watt. 

Traditional LEDs used for simple status indication and displays come in small epoxy packages and their light output is measured in candelas because this is a measurement of direct-view luminous intensity. 

With the recent development of high-power LEDs for illumination purposes, the lux or lumen (one lux is equal to one lumen per square meter) is a more suitable unit of measurement to compare the LED light output to traditional sources because we are more concerned about the volume of light rather than the directional intensity.

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