LED Lighting FAQ
This document contains a LED Lighting FAQ, intended to answer many of the questions you may have about LED lighting. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, please contact us and we’ll get you the answer.
Q: What is LED Lighting?
The first known report of a light-emitting solid-state diode was made in 1907 by the British experimenter H. J. Round. However, no practical use was made of the discovery for several decades. Independently, Oleg Vladimirovich Losev published “Luminous carborundum [[silicon carbide]] detector and detection with crystals” in the Russian journal Telegrafiya i Telefoniya bez Provodov (Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony). However, Losev’s work languished for decades.
The first practical LED was invented by Nick Holonyak, Jr., in 1962 while he was at General Electric Company. The first LEDs became commercially available in late 1960s, and were red. They were commonly used as replacements for incandescent indicators, and in seven-segment displays, first in expensive equipment such as laboratory and electronics test equipment, then later in such appliances as TVs, radios, telephones, calculators, and even watches. These red LEDs were bright enough only for use as indicators, as the light output was not enough to illuminate an area. Later, other colors became widely available and also appeared in appliances and equipment. As the LED materials technology became more advanced, the light output was increased, and LEDs became bright enough to be used for illumination.
Most LEDs were made in the very common 5 mm T1-3/4 and 3 mm T1 packages, but with higher power, it has become increasingly necessary to get rid of the heat, so the packages have become more complex and adapted for heat dissipation. Packages for state-of-the-art high power LEDs bear little resemblance to early LEDs.
LED lighting has been around for many years and is just now really coming into its own. For years, the Light Emitting Diode was simply used as an indicator or display light in various small-scale applications. Think of those old Texas Instruments calculators, or your blinking VCR light.
LED is a solid-state technology. This means there is no glass bulb, no pressurized gases, no mercury and no burning filament. In the traditional bulb, Heat was the main result while light stood as a mere by-product of electrifying the filament.
With LED technology, what you have is a circuit board and a computer chip. The properties of the chip create light that is generated and focused through a plastic diode to create light. Depending on the chip and materials used, different colors in the color spectrum can be created. Early on the easiest color to create was red, which is why your calculator and VCR had red display lights rather than any other color. For many years, there were no advancements in LED technology and very little change in lighting technology over all; changes that did occur were mostly just plays on a theme. Metal halide, fluorescent, etc. were all just different ways to do the same thing with different effects.
In recent years, LED technology has completely changed and reinvented the light bulb and the way we think about lighting in general. This was not really possible prior to the technological revolution of the ‘90s and the rapid advancement of the microchip. The same advancements that spurred the computer to reach dizzying levels of efficiency have also done the same for the LED. Just as computers have become faster and cheaper, LED lights have become brighter, smaller, less expensive, and much more sophisticated.
Q: Are E26 and E27 LED Light bulb bases interchangeable?
Yes however we manufacture our LED bulbs utilizing E26 (medium) bases for the American market but can custom manufacturer to accommodate customer specifications. The E26 is the standard 120 Volt American base. The E27 is the European variant and is rated at 220 Volts. E26 is 26 mm and the E27 is 27 mm diameter. However, an E26 bulb can fit in E27 base and an E27 bulb can fit in E26 base without a problem. The sockets / bulbs are interchangeable except for the voltage rating. Therefore, LED E26 bulbs that are universal line-voltage can be used in both E26 and E27 sockets.
Q: What is IP ratings for LED Lights? (i.e IP65, IP67, IP68)
For LED lamps and other light sources, the first digit following IP is the rating for Solids and the second digit is for Liquids. Therefore, IP65 means “Protected from total dust ingress” and “Protected from high pressure water jets from any direction”. In the case of IP67 it means “Protected from total dust ingress” and “Protected from immersion between 15 centimeters and 1 meter in depth”. IP68 would even provide additional protection for the LED light source from Liquids and would be described as follows, “Protected from total dust ingress” and “Protected from long term immersion up to a specified pressure”.
Q: What are the advantages of using LEDs over traditional incandescent lighting?
There are quite a few advantages to using LEDs. Generally LEDs do not produce heat, use 90% less energy, and can last up to ten years. They are also smaller and do not contain any dangerous chemicals like mercury. They can readily be put in places that have always been too small or out-of-the-way for many incandescent lights, as well as in places that were always very dangerous or difficult to get at. Also, the more sophisticated LED apparatuses like wall washers and spotlights are DMX-controllable, which means they can be used in some really impressive ways.
The bottom line is that LED’s are easier and safer to use than all previous lighting technologies. Plus, LEDs will save you money by consuming less power, lasting much longer, and generating much less heat, which in turn combine to result in lower climate control costs.
Here are our Top 10 reasons to buy VeraLED LEDs…
1. Energy Efficiency – LEDs (or Light Emitting Diodes) are up to 90% more energy efficient than conventional lighting sources. LEDs are also more directional, making it possible to efficiently direct and focus the light, achieving useful illumination with far few lumens, and much less energy wasted.
2. Environmentally Friendly – LEDs do not contain hazardous mercury, unlike CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps).
3. Long Lifespan – Conventional lighting lasts from 1,000-10,000 hours, while quality LED lighting will last 50,000 to 100,000 hours (that’s 17-34 years at 8 hrs/day!).
4. Color and Color Rendering Capabilities – LEDs can emit light of any color without the use of color filters (gels) that traditional lighting methods require (assuming proper controls). With recent technological advances, white light LEDs have been able to increase the CRI value making them ideal for numerous retail and commercial applications.
5. Durability – LEDs contain no moving parts or fragile filaments. Being that they’re solid state components, they are difficult to damage with external shock.
6. Application / Design Flexibility – A single LED is relatively small in comparison to other light sources.
7. Low Heat – LEDs radiate very little heat, which helps to maintain temperature control in and around lit areas.
8. No UV Emissions – LEDs produce no UV radiation, making them ideal for illuminating UV sensitive items on display, such as antiques, works of art, jewelry, etc.
9. Cycling / On/Off Time – LEDs light up very quickly and are ideal for use in applications that are subject to frequent on/off cycling, unlike fluorescent lamps for example, which tend to burn out more quickly when cycled frequently, or HID lamps that have a significant warm-up time.
10. Wide Selection of Products / Uses – LED products have followed the rapid technology advances of the computer industry, and now LEDs are available for almost any application you can imagine, including white LEDs for general illumination, spot lighting, wall wash lighting, submersible lighting, cove lighting, rope lighting, flex neon, retrofit lamps, displays, exterior/outdoor areas, pool/spa lighting, pond/fountain lighting, marine lighting, video tube lighting, dance floors, architectural lighting, club/restaurant lighting, and event lighting, to name a few…
Q: What types of LED Lighting products are readily available?
Today there are hundreds of different products available in varying brightness levels, color temperatures, and sophistication levels to meet every lighting need – from those of an architect’s latest high-rise condo project, to those of a rural homeowner’s kitchen renovation. There are replacement bulbs for screw-in Edison-style bulbs and for nearly every style of Fluorescent. Plus, the LED replacements are of the “plug and play” ilk with no other modifications needed. There are also many different types of architectural lighting, such as wall washers and spotlights.
Q: How do I compare my current lighting with LED lighting so I can make intelligent decisions?
In the past, we have generally referred to the brightness of a bulb in terms of its wattage, or the amount of power that the bulb uses (or energy it consumes). Because of the disparity between incandescent and LED technologies, we have to change our language a bit in order to account for progress. When referring to brightness, we now find ourselves comparing lumens (see Q: What is a lumen?). However, when comparing LEDs with incandescents, there is no easy mode of comparison because the typical incandescent is projecting light in 360 degrees – everywhere, not just where you need it. Because LED lights are directional, they focus all the light they generate exactly where you want it, and nowhere that you don’t.
Another consideration is color temperature. In the past, this has been very difficult to control because you basically got whatever color your particular bulb produced. Typically this was a Warm White (about 3000K) if you had an incandescent bulb, and a Cool White (around 5000K) if you had a fluorescent bulb. Because the LED is an intelligent, solid-state technology, we are able to produce LEDs that not only produce Warm White and Cool White, but are able to produce up to 16 million different colors, each a different temperature.
Q: Who is using LED lighting?
EVERYONE! Architects and lighting designers are specifying entire LED lighting packages in their new designs. Contractors are using LED bulbs in everything from custom kitchens to retail stores. Many homeowners are replacing their incandescents with LED bulbs. LED lighting can replace every instance of old lighting technology, as well create entirely new lighting applications due to versatility of LED lights. Your imagination is its only limitation.
Q: With all the buzz around compact fluorescent bulbs, should I skip this step towards efficient lighting altogether and move directly to a LED bulb?
Compact fluorescents are great bulbs, but they lack all the advantages of LEDs namely size and environmentally friendliness because they contain mercury and do not last as long.
Q: What is lumen?
Lumen is amount of light emitted from light source.
According to Wikipedia, “If a light source emits one candela of luminous intensity into a solid angle of one steradian, the total luminous flux emitted into that solid angle is one lumen. Alternatively, an isotropic one-candela light source emits a total luminous flux of exactly 4π lumens. The lumen can be thought of casually as a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted.” For example, a standard 100 Watt incandescent bulb emits about 1500 lumen.
Q: What is Lux?
Lux is lumen per square meter.
According to Wikipedia, “The difference between the lux and the lumen is that the lux takes into account the area over which the luminous flux is spread. 1000 lumens, concentrated into an area of one square meter, lights up that square meter with an illuminance of 1000 lux. The same 1000 lumens, spread out over ten square meters, produces a dimmer illuminance of only 100 lux.”