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sprinkler guy
06-03-2008, 01:49 AM
All of the discussion about Lightfair got me to thinking. I'd like to start a thread talking about actual field experience using LED fixtures and replacement bulbs. Mine is very limited, but I'm trying to change. .

About two months ago I ordered 5 lights from DG Lights to check them out. I had a customer who was going 'uber-green' on the remodel of his house, so the added cost of LED fixtures wasn't a deal breaker on the proposal. Upon receipt, I did a demo with the customer to show him LED vs. traditional, and to help select the proper wattages. I then installed 3 of the lights at my house so I could see them in action night after night. The fixtures I got were a powder-coated aluminum. The seals were good, a solid abs pipe for a mount stake, paint color was consistent and hard to scratch. The metal however felt a little on the cheap side. The color output was great, as well as the projection, which to date, has been my biggest hang-up with any other LED bulb or fixture I've tried.

I received an order today for an install tomorrow. My only negetive about the aluminum fixtures was they felt a little cheap. What I got today was an all copper and brass fixture, double o-rings, double sealed glass lens. Weighty and beefy:weightlifter:, a darn nice light. I'll post pics in a couple days of the install.

irrig8r
06-03-2008, 09:53 AM
From a "green" point of view, which has more impact on the planet.... the mining, smelting, etc. of aluminum, or copper?

DG Lights are not cast, but machined from solid billets, right? So, how could the aluminum feel "cheap"?

JoeyD
06-03-2008, 10:29 AM
because its aluminum Gregg!! Keep us posted on the results Sean. Pics would be awesome!!

NightScenes
06-03-2008, 12:40 PM
This will be a great thread as we all venture further into the depths of LED!!

sprinkler guy
06-04-2008, 02:43 AM
From a "green" point of view, which has more impact on the planet.... the mining, smelting, etc. of aluminum, or copper?

DG Lights are not cast, but machined from solid billets, right? So, how could the aluminum feel "cheap"?

Gregg,
I'm not sure how the aluminum is made. The fixtures felt very light, and the metal was thinner as compared to an FX light. I shared this with Sherman, so I'm not speaking out of school. I was very impressed with the heftyness (is that even a word?) of the copper/brass unit.

As for the more harmful refining process, aluminum vs copper, I'm going to take a guess, and say copper?:confused:

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-04-2008, 10:49 AM
There is a lot of hoopla and false claims out there in LED market. It would appear that you cannot simply look at the spec. sheets of LED lamps and fixtures and get a real life understanding of what the product will do. It comes down to standardization I suppose. Some manufacturers will rate their products using different criteria and measurements then others do. This causes all sorts of confusion.

I look for:

1: Colour Temperature: Watch for false claims... one man's 3000K can amazingly look more like 4000K to others.

2: Light output measured in Lumens. Lumen output below 210 to 220 is not going to cut it. There are some LED lamps that claim 35W Halogen equivalency... They do it by providing a very cool colour and by over-driving the LED chips creating heat issues which will result in reduced lumen maintenance and lamp life.

3: Operation Temperature / Thermal Management: Operation temperature is critical. The LEDs and enclosure must operate in tandem to remove the heat that is created. Most of the LED lamps that I have tested operate above the rated max. temps. of the LED emitters that they use. This will result in reduced lumen maintenance and lamp life.

4: Lumen Maintenance rates. This will tell you how long the lamp will provide you with the light output you originally planned on. This data is generally not forthcoming from a majority of product on the market.

5: Packaging, body size, body materials etc. Packaging is critical in LED Lamps... many of the best quality LED lamps are produced in formats that will not fit in most fixtures designed to accommodate those lamps! Take the Lamina SOL for example... its light output is wonderful, but the enclosure they chose (to shed the heat) is so much larger then a std. MR16 that the lamp cannot be used in many applications. Also beware of Lamps that cannot handle the heat conditions when installed inside enclosed fixtures. The majority of product I have tested need open fixtures in order to shed their heat.

6: Optics - variety, quality, etc. There is a lot of crappy optics on the market. Most LED lamp manufacturers are putting their resources into LED engines and drivers and then skimp on the optics. Cheap optics create aberrations, halos, hard lines, shadows, etc in the beam. This is a big deal when you are doing architectural lighting, not such a big deal when lighting landscapes. Try before you buy.

7: Manufacturer's Name, Industry Reputation, etc. There are a few big names in LED emitters: Nichia, Cree, Phillips / Lumilux, Seoul Semiconductor, GE, Lamina (although I am not sure they actually produce LEDs) however these companies do not build full lamp assemblies (yet). They sell their products to others who assemble the emitters, along with drivers, bodies and optic assemblies to create lamps. Who does this engineering, matching, pairing and assembly is critical. Stick with large name brand companies. The market is flooded with "no-name" upstarts.

There is a lot of junk in the LED lamp category.... I know as I have tested dozens of Lamps over the past couple of years. Only two have impressed me enough to use them in my business. I now have about 800 fixtures installed with LED lamps and all are performing very well.

JoeyD
06-04-2008, 10:56 AM
James we need to see some of these 800 you have lit up? Anyway you can post pictures of a few that are in the landscape?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-04-2008, 11:06 AM
Joey, I have vowed that I will return to taking pictures of my jobs in 2008... and I will. Our foliage has only been "out" for about two weeks and I am racked and stacked with installations right now, working days on outdoor lighting and nights on interior lighting...

As soon as we have a few nights break I will start out and take the photos. I assure you will not be able to see any difference between the systems using 20W Halogen lamps and the 4w LED lamps... the similarity in real world applications is remarkable.

Right now I am laid up on the couch with a very badly sprained ankle... some fool managed to talk me into playing baseball this year! Monday was my fist game and I was in the ambulance by the 5th inning! The timing for this couldnt possibly be worse. What a complete and total drag! At least is it not fractured.

NiteTymeIlluminations
06-04-2008, 11:06 AM
As James states you have to know what you are buying...3000 kelvin plus or minus 500 kelvin is what you are going to see alot. I have had so many guy send me mr16s to test and they are all sitting in my basement in a box...I try them all in my dining room with a "firwood" painted wall...its amazing how many of these lights make that wall look green.

And you better know what you are buying and how to use it. Visiting Lightfair and looking at LED retrofit lamps doesnt make anyone an expert. What were the lamps shining on...ummm nothing...straight into the air...with some dizzy blonde telling you that is a pretty bulb. Get real...any booth without the developer, an engineer or soemone who can spit serious jargon was spinning their wheels.

Anyone want to drop a $60.00 Led mr16 in their fixture go right ahead. I'll stick to a nice mr16 or a Par20 from Philips where they give me the exact specs on the lamp and I know what it will look like 6 months from now.

I use a lot of LEDs just not some LED mr16. I truly belive in a well built LED flood with a DMX controller, LED pool lights, LED cobra head for security all kinds of things but a $60.00 mr16 placed into a brass spot light made for a a halogen...there are better ways to spend your money I think. Just my opinion.

Eden Lights
06-04-2008, 11:10 AM
There is a lot of hoopla and false claims out there in LED market. It would appear that you cannot simply look at the spec. sheets of LED lamps and fixtures and get a real life understanding of what the product will do. It comes down to standardization I suppose. Some manufacturers will rate their products using different criteria and measurements then others do. This causes all sorts of confusion.

I look for:

1: Colour Temperature: Watch for false claims... one man's 3000K can amazingly look more like 4000K to others.

2: Light output measured in Lumens. Lumen output below 210 to 220 is not going to cut it. There are some LED lamps that claim 35W Halogen equivalency... They do it by providing a very cool colour and by over-driving the LED chips creating heat issues which will result in reduced lumen maintenance and lamp life.

3: Operation Temperature / Thermal Management: Operation temperature is critical. The LEDs and enclosure must operate in tandem to remove the heat that is created. Most of the LED lamps that I have tested operate above the rated max. temps. of the LED emitters that they use. This will result in reduced lumen maintenance and lamp life.

4: Lumen Maintenance rates. This will tell you how long the lamp will provide you with the light output you originally planned on. This data is generally not forthcoming from a majority of product on the market.

5: Packaging, body size, body materials etc. Packaging is critical in LED Lamps... many of the best quality LED lamps are produced in formats that will not fit in most fixtures designed to accommodate those lamps! Take the Lamina SOL for example... its light output is wonderful, but the enclosure they chose (to shed the heat) is so much larger then a std. MR16 that the lamp cannot be used in many applications. Also beware of Lamps that cannot handle the heat conditions when installed inside enclosed fixtures. The majority of product I have tested need open fixtures in order to shed their heat.

6: Optics - variety, quality, etc. There is a lot of crappy optics on the market. Most LED lamp manufacturers are putting their resources into LED engines and drivers and then skimp on the optics. Cheap optics create aberrations, halos, hard lines, shadows, etc in the beam. This is a big deal when you are doing architectural lighting, not such a big deal when lighting landscapes. Try before you buy.

7: Manufacturer's Name, Industry Reputation, etc. There are a few big names in LED emitters: Nichia, Cree, Phillips / Lumilux, Seoul Semiconductor, GE, Lamina (although I am not sure they actually produce LEDs) however these companies do not build full lamp assemblies (yet). They sell their products to others who assemble the emitters, along with drivers, bodies and optic assemblies to create lamps. Who does this engineering, matching, pairing and assembly is critical. Stick with large name brand companies. The market is flooded with "no-name" upstarts.

There is a lot of junk in the LED lamp category.... I know as I have tested dozens of Lamps over the past couple of years. Only two have impressed me enough to use them in my business. I now have about 800 fixtures installed with LED lamps and all are performing very well.

What two leds do you like?

Eden Lights
06-04-2008, 11:15 AM
Joey, I have vowed that I will return to taking pictures of my jobs in 2008... and I will. Our foliage has only been "out" for about two weeks and I am racked and stacked with installations right now, working days on outdoor lighting and nights on interior lighting...

As soon as we have a few nights break I will start out and take the photos. I assure you will not be able to see any difference between the systems using 20W Halogen lamps and the 4w LED lamps... the similarity in real world applications is remarkable.

Right now I am laid up on the couch with a very badly sprained ankle... some fool managed to talk me into playing baseball this year! Monday was my fist game and I was in the ambulance by the 5th inning! The timing for this couldnt possibly be worse. What a complete and total drag! At least is it not fractured.

You bring up a topic that is very important, How many of you have short term disability insurance or key man and or women insurance? We just added this to our insurance package and it really feels good to have if needed?

JoeyD
06-04-2008, 11:20 AM
As James states you have to know what you are buying...3000 kelvin plus or minus 500 kelvin is what you are going to see alot. I have had so many guy send me mr16s to test and they are all sitting in my basement in a box...I try them all in my dining room with a "firwood" painted wall...its amazing how many of these lights make that wall look green.

And you better know what you are buying and how to use it. Visiting Lightfair and looking at LED retrofit lamps doesnt make anyone an expert. What were the lamps shining on...ummm nothing...straight into the air...with some dizzy blonde telling you that is a pretty bulb. Get real...any booth without the developer, an engineer or soemone who can spit serious jargon was spinning their wheels.

Anyone want to drop a $60.00 Led mr16 in their fixture go right ahead. I'll stick to a nice mr16 or a Par20 from Philips where they give me the exact specs on the lamp and I know what it will look like 6 months from now.

I use a lot of LEDs just not some LED mr16. I truly belive in a well built LED flood with a DMX controller, LED pool lights, LED cobra head for security all kinds of things but a $60.00 mr16 placed into a brass spot light made for a a halogen...there are better ways to spend your money I think. Just my opinion.

:clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping:

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-04-2008, 11:22 AM
but a $60.00 mr16 placed into a brass spot light made for a a halogen...there are better ways to spend your money I think. Just my opinion.

Ultimately it is not "our" money we are spending it is the client's money.

I have shown my clients that the added cost of installing the LED lamps is more then returned to them over the life of the lamp in reduced electrical and maintenance costs. In our applications and market, my clients are saving $175+ per LED lamp installed over the life of the lamp when compared to a GE Halogen Lamp.

Keep in mind that a overwhelming majority of my installed lamps are located way up... where the cost of maintenance is much higher then ground based applications.

LEDs will continue to develop and improve over time and it is only a matter of time before they are the dominant lighting technology.

As for the cost of the lamps coming down... I wouldn't bet on it. Like most technology, as the new stuff comes out it tends to command the highest price point. Look at PCs over the years.... I spent $2200 on a top of the line PC XT (8088 cpu + 40meg hdrive + 2x4.25" floppy drives + 12" amberchrome monitor + 9 pin dot matrix printer) system in 1986. In 2007 I replaced my computer with the best I could find and spent $1700, no peripherals at all. Same with TVs, CellPhones, etc etc... And who is going to want to install 2007 LED technology in 2009? Not many I would bet.

Regards

NiteTymeIlluminations
06-04-2008, 11:30 AM
showing them savings and proving saving are 2 different things though...i wish you luck for sure but I bet in 1 year you are either changing that LED lamp, there goes another $60.00, or going back to a MR16 becaue you find the color or output is just not acceptable anymore...I hope I'm wrong trust me...

Pro-Scapes
06-04-2008, 12:00 PM
I dont think its fair to sell your client on the long life or long term savings on an unproven technology. Like Doug said. Real world if that fails in a year your in a bad bad position.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-04-2008, 12:12 PM
Thanks for your concern, I have my position very well figured out and covered Gentlemen.

I have not ventured into this market without considerable analysis and planning. If there is some reason to revert back to Halogen lamps I am covered. All my installations are built to Halogen lamp load standards in terms of transformers, wiring, circuits etc. And the profit that is generated on the installation of LED lamps is more then enough to cover multiple "free" changeouts of halogen lamps if the need ever arises.

Also, the LED lamps that I am installing have a full manufacturer's warranty. I am certain that as with most on-going, growing, and sucessful relationships, the manufacturer will take care of me IF the need arises. Have you ever had a company that you have a long standing, sucessful partnership with deny you a warranty claim on a product they make? Other then BK, (long story) I haven't

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-04-2008, 01:31 PM
I was just told that the new Ushio Synergy line of LED MR16 lamps is not available. They "launched" the product at lightfair by positioning it at several vendors throughout the show but it is not yet available through distribution channels.

I was told that it will not be available until August.

In the meantime the Kumho MT and ET series in Warm White, 60 Degree optics are available from inventories held here in Ontario and In the USA. The 38 deree optics are in production and should arrive here in short order.

Feel free to contact me for more info. The manufacturer will not deal directly with small orders or sample requests.

JoeyD
06-04-2008, 01:48 PM
I was just told that the new Ushio Synergy line of LED MR16 lamps is not available. They "launched" the product at lightfair by positioning it at several vendors throughout the show but it is not yet available through distribution channels.

I was told that it will not be available until August.

In the meantime the Kumho MT and ET series in Warm White, 60 Degree optics are available from inventories held here in Ontario and In the USA. The 38 deree optics are in production and should arrive here in short order.

Feel free to contact me for more info. The manufacturer will not deal directly with small orders or sample requests.


You are correct. We got our Ushio's on order yesterday. We are hoping to see our first order in July to begin testing.

David Gretzmier
06-07-2008, 04:10 PM
James- I can't figure out how to PM you - Could you PM me the info on the Kumho Bulbs you have had luck with ? i'd like to try a few- Thanks, dave g

David Gretzmier
06-07-2008, 04:19 PM
My experience with LED's has been limited to the underwater realm. The RGB LED/ remote controlled Mr16 bulbs are fun and perfect for water app's. The slow fade through 16 colors is bright ( although you can dim it down) and cool to your high tech clients. You can sync the fading on the lights as long as you use only one remote. It also automatically sycs upon turn on once you set the program. the Royal blue is a setting on them that appeals to most clients wanting a single color. The white is ok for less discriminating clients, for me, not so good.

I've got more than a few of these floating around for 6 months now, no problems or failures. I put them on my same 1 year guarantee, but they may last much longer than that if they live to spec. being water cooled, I am hoping for 3-5 years life. we'll see.

Chris J
06-07-2008, 08:07 PM
My experience with LED's has been limited to the underwater realm. The RGB LED/ remote controlled Mr16 bulbs are fun and perfect for water app's. The slow fade through 16 colors is bright ( although you can dim it down) and cool to your high tech clients. You can sync the fading on the lights as long as you use only one remote. It also automatically sycs upon turn on once you set the program. the Royal blue is a setting on them that appeals to most clients wanting a single color. The white is ok for less discriminating clients, for me, not so good.

I've got more than a few of these floating around for 6 months now, no problems or failures. I put them on my same 1 year guarantee, but they may last much longer than that if they live to spec. being water cooled, I am hoping for 3-5 years life. we'll see.

David, what kind of control system are you using for these underwater lights? Are the fixtures and the control units from the same manufacturer? I noticed you said "if you use only one remote." What kind of remote is that you speak of?

Thanks,

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-07-2008, 09:02 PM
Chris, I believe that David is talking about the Colorstars RGB MR16 LED lamps. There is an accessory remote control that is available for them which you aim at the lamp and adjust the output, colour, intensity, and colour change if desired.

I have not tried these out as I dont have much use for colour-lamps. I have tried the Colorstars 5W warm white LED MR16 lamps and am not at all impressed with them.... The colour is too cool and they seem to burn out after only a few hundred hours. If anyone wants some of these, i have about 40 here at a bargain price!

Regards.

Chris J
06-07-2008, 10:15 PM
Thanks James. Hopefully David will confirm, but do I understand this correctly? The lamp itself has the capability to receive control inputs from a remote? Is this new to the market, or have I been living under a rock? I've never heard of such a device.

Pro-Scapes
06-08-2008, 12:19 AM
I too have the colorstars RGB units here. There is a hand held remote similar to a small TV remote and you can aim it at the lamp and choose your color or a patern such as flash...fade and pic the intensity such as 25% 50% 75% and 100%. I have had these for I guess about 6 mo.

The white is nothing like a halogen and very similar to a typical cool led color but if you need something that changes color or offers an array of colors this might be what your looking for. As David said there is a way to sync them so that they are all the same.

They are typical China quality and avalible for a fraction of the cost of the ushio or kumho led's. As James said the colorstar led leaves much to be desired altho at lightfair they did have some new arrays which were much better I wouldnt even compare them to the lamina atlas engine(same chip DG is using) or mr16 SoL which cannot be completly enclosed which is a real bummer because it had a really nice output.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-08-2008, 12:35 AM
Hey Chris, How is that rock doing? Do you have AC under there? :)

doubleedge
06-08-2008, 01:24 AM
In 2007 I replaced my computer with the best I could find and spent $1700, no peripherals at all.

Then you obviously didn't see this one (http://alienware.com/product_detail_pages/alx/alx_overview.aspx?SysCode=PC-AREA51-ALX-R8&SubCode=SKU-DEFAULT):weightlifter:. With all the best stuff, it tops out at over $9,000.

Chris J
06-08-2008, 11:15 AM
I'm moving from the rock and going back to the cave.

genesgreen
06-09-2008, 05:50 PM
LEDs are great but the problem is they're still so darn expensive. I'm betting they'll come down in price just like CF bulbs have the last few years.

JoeyD
06-09-2008, 06:01 PM
I dont think they will come down much.

Pro-Scapes
06-09-2008, 07:17 PM
I'm moving from the rock and going back to the cave.

So easy a .................. oh never mind :)

Chris J
06-09-2008, 11:14 PM
So easy a .................. oh never mind :)

Come on Billy! Speak your mind. Sissy. :laugh:

David Gretzmier
06-09-2008, 11:57 PM
Chris- james has it right. These are available on ebay and several lighting websites. The "white" from the combination of the RGB LED's is not so nice, but OK when used in fading functions between green, blue, red, violet, etc.

I can only reccomend them in submersibles, I have no experience with them in free air situations. the heat issue may prematurely burn them out. They typically do come with a credit card sized remote, but not Radio frequency, it is infra- red. so you have to be right in front of the fixture to change the settings. whatever you set it on it does remember. and it automatically will sync with the other lights if all are on the same program such a slow fade or fast fade when all the lights are set and then the system is turned on then off.

They are extremely cool to tech-savvy customers, and tacky to style conscious customers. they make waterfalls and fountains look really neat in my opinion, but then I am tech savvy.

James- thanks for the PM. I emailed you today.