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Keeping up with LED developments

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend an excellent presentation on LED lighting. The seminar was hosted by one of the more progressive lighting distributors that is doing an excellent job of ensuring their customers are well informed.


March 24, 2010
By Greg Jones

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t see advertisements and other marketing material promoting the benefits of a particular product. The problem is that while most of the material may be technically correct, it is often incomplete or based on different standards. As a result, it is very hard to find good information on the many new developments. This leads to some poor conclusions and ultimately poor decisions on what product or technology to use in a specific application.
The LED seminar was well attended, with over 100 guests that included contractors, designers, engineers, manufacturers and suppliers. The main speaker was from GE and is responsible for LED market development, but he also had a wealth of experience with lighting technology in general.

The presentation started with an overview of energy efficient lighting to make sure everyone had the right background information. He then introduced LED technology and reviewed the key developments over the past few years. He covered all aspects of the technology, or as he put it, “the good, the bad and the ugLEDs.” The seminar ended with a review of the most attractive applications for LEDs and some indication of where we can expect the technology to be in the years ahead.

Several key issues were raised that need to be considered when selecting an LED product:
1.    Is the supplier registered as a DOE Quality Advocate? This includes taking a quality pledge for LED products.
2.    Has the LED chip manufacturer’s chip data been appropriately de-rated for thermal losses, optical losses and driver losses?
3.    Does the supplier provide the L70 life (lamp life at 30 per cent depreciation) using industry standard tests?
4.    How does the supplier verify lamp life claims and does the process simulate operating conditions?

Getting answers to these questions will help ensure you select the right product for you, and that you understand the benefits and limitations of the product.
I think many people in the audience were a little disappointed that at present it seems LEDs are not ready for use in all applications. However, by the end of the seminar, everyone had a much better understanding of where the technology should be used — mainly accent lighting, pots and coves — and why it currently has limitations. The forum provided an opportunity for lots of questions and discussion that provided good quality information that is not generally available.

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This distributor should be commended for hosting this seminar and providing a valuable service for all who attended. Hopefully the success of this seminar will lead to future seminars on other topics.

Greg Jones (g.jones@nexstarlighting.com) is President of Nexstar Lighting.