LIGHT EMITTING DIODE LAMPS AND FIXTURES
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Excerpt from Steve Maxwell in his YourHome.ca article in the Toronto Star entitled:
Learn to discern LED bulb quality
One of the brightest lights on the horizon is offered by LED technology. This acronym stands for light emitting diode and it’s a lighting approach that’s vastly superior to the transitional technology of compact fluorescent bulbs. LEDs offer the potential for much greater lifespan and lower energy consumption than anything else. That said, I use the word “potential” for a reason.
The extremely high price of LED bulbs has attracted the same sort of hucksters that always flock toward an opportunity to make windfall profits by selling shoddy goods. Sooner or later you’ll be standing in the hardware aisle looking at two 100W LED light bulbs. Both bulbs cost $50. One will be good, one not so good. Which will you choose?
Tom Herstad knows more about the flood of bad, expensive LED lights than most because he’s trying to counter this deceptive trend. He’s made it his business to bring high-quality LEDs to market through his company, Regal Lighting Designs (www.regalleds.com ; 1- 888-900-0702), but the job isn’t easy.
“There are too many false performance claims out there and overselling is commonplace,” explains Herstad. “Some manufacturers are facing legal charges for misrepresenting the light output of their products and working life ratings.”
So, what’s quality all about in an LED? One big issue is something called thermal management. Even though LEDs use less energy than incandescents, they still need to get rid of waste heat. More than you might think, in fact. Greater surface area on cooling fins is better than less, and that’s something you can compare by eye in the store.
In tests I conducted in my shop, full-size LEDs made to thread into conventional sockets had fins that become too hot to touch after 15 minutes of use. Fins are definitely an important issue. “Cheap LEDs have no heat management,” says Herstad, “and that’s one reason they fail quickly.”
Another thing to watch for is price. Bargain-basement $8 LEDs deliver less value than $45 equivalents because they burn out proportionally faster while delivering lower-quality illumination. Of all the offshore LED manufacturers, Taiwan shows the highest commitment to quality along with reasonable price levels.