Monday, February 18, 2008

LED Lighting The Future is Bright!


LED Lamps Replacing Halogen Downlighters
A Photo sent to me by Liam Ellis

Talking About LED Lamps
with Liam Ellis of Vario Lighting Ireland

A few weeks ago I had a very interesting e-mail from Liam Ellis of Vario Lighting in Co Meath. Liam’s company manufactures various end products using Cree LED modules. Cree is US based and is one of the top producers in the world of high power LED lighting.

I later phoned Liam and had a most interesting conversation on LED lighting. Here is an extract from Liam’s e-mail:

My name is Liam Ellis and I set up a company just over 3 years ago in Navan Co Meath that is Ireland's first, and as yet only, High-End LED product manufacturer. I’m very much on the smaller scale of things but growing.
We have LED units in warm and cold white for replacing halogens without loosing any light levels!!

Our 2.34 watt unit = 20 watt halogen and
our 6.93 watt unit = 50 watt halogen.

Tony I was wondering what your thoughts were on LED's? If you were thinking of doing an article on your blog about them, there is not a lot I don’t know about them. So just ask away if you need some answers. Anyhow I just thought I’d say hi and keep up the good work!!

Liam Ellis.
Vario Lighting.

The Price of LED Lamps

I asked Liam about the price of LED lights. At the moment he agreed that these lights are quite expensive and are really only for the specialist market like commercial displays etc. A replacement lamp for a halogen down lighter currently runs at about 20 times the price of an equivalent halogen lamp. Mind you, they do last a virtual lifetime and they are at least twice as efficient as CFL bulbs so they would eventually pay back but that would take a while. However there is a price break on the horizon. In the next year or so the price of high power LED lamps will tumble.

The Chinese are already producing low priced LEDs but these are not of good quality. China has not got the quality control thing going properly at all yet - but we should thank them all the same, as they are forcing the West into better price efficiency.

Problems with LED Lamps.

I asked Liam about one of the problems with the high-powered LED lamps, that they tend to blow due to overheating. Liam says this is not a problem with the Cree brand, as these have proper heat sinks to dissipate the heat generated. It is the excess heat that causes the damage.

Another problem I discussed with Liam is the fact that the colour of the light of a LED lamp will tend to “go off” as it ages. Liam pointed out that this is mainly due to overheating and to poor quality of dye in the substrate of the device. Where high quality control and proper heat sinks are used, colour drift is not a factor.

New Even Higher Power LEDs on the way.

Liam told me he is looking at the first few samples of an exciting new breed of LED. These are Super High Power LEDs with light output equivalent to halogen lamps of several hundred watts.

The Future of LEDs

I talked with Liam about the future of LED lighting and we agreed that LEDs are exciting technology and will become better and cheaper in a short time. In a couple of years there will be reasonably priced LED replacements form many of the current bulbs. These will last near enough for a lifetime, will have perfectly balanced colour temperature, be highly efficient and easily dimmed or used in colour changing displays. You will be able to dial-up a colour mood for your room. LEDs will be 100 safe as they generate little heat and they are also just about 100% environmentally friendly as well.

The price of LED lamps will soon come way down which will make them an attractive alternative for the average householder. But just now they are really only for the specialist market.


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