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Alan B
06-25-2009, 09:54 AM
LED's have been discussed here quite bit but I think there are some unresolved questions.

In the US, the Nat'l average cost of electricity is $.11/kW (11 cents for 1000watts for 1 hour). The best LED's I've seen output roughly a 20w equivalent for only 3 watts of electricity. That's a 17w savings, however it would take 38,888 hours to break even*

*17 watts only costs 2 tenths of 1 cent ($.0018) per hour to operate. A 20w halogen costs $4, a quality LED costs the consumer $75 or $70 more to go with LED. $70/.0018 = 38,888 hours to break even. Which means it takes about 26 years (if lights are on 4 hours/day).

I think we can all agree the LED nor fixture are not going to last that long and you'd be very lucky if it lasted 1/2 that long. In essence for the typical 30 fixture job a customer will pay $2100 more for LED, to save $949 in electricity over 13 years. Additionally they'll get less light, less than optimal color, minor striations, and unknown bulb life. Fiscally it makes no sense to spend $2100 upfront to save $73/yr for 13 years.

However if the customer is ok with making a statement in support of green technologies, and is aware they are paying a 50% premium to get less (light, color, effect), then it is fine. Unfortunately 90% of the time I here LED's sold I hear this:

"80% more energy efficient, 40,000 hr life span, no maintenance, 20-30 watts of lumen's for 3 watts of electricity."

I will put a disclaimer in about James. He is in a unique situation where his market is the mansions for Canada's rich and famous. When a customer is at that level and willing to pay $300+ up per fixture for 40+ fixtures, the differential is not that big and they are happy to spend several thousand to make a statement in support of greentech--which is the perfect situation for LED's. However James market is not applicable to 95% of the landscape lighting customers. The majority of the market customers struggle with $200/fixture for 20 fixtures.

There is a slight savings on cable/transformers. Maintenance is yet to be proven until they are out there for 7+ years. Lastly, they are good for the hard to service location like a fixture mounted on top of a gable.

I have seen most customers misled about LED's, LED's sold on the benefits, but not the reality.

For the average installer-- do you think it makes sense for a customer to pay $2000 more for less light, worse color/beam spread, unknown life span and ~$73/year in energy savings? It is very hard to justify unless the customer is aware but just wants to make a green statement.

Lastly if you really are green, the place to save is on high amp electrical not LV lighting.

Just my opinion, and I have not really heard the true value proposition discussed here-- we've mainly discussed its performance not its value.

Respectfully,

Alan

Lite4
06-25-2009, 10:41 AM
Thanks Alan, I agree wholeheartedly. Very well said.

irrig8r
06-25-2009, 10:43 AM
You raise some good questions, but you don't appear to take into account the cost of labor to change halogen lamps, or their materials replacement costs over time...

Alan B
06-25-2009, 10:58 AM
You raise some good questions, but you don't appear to take into account the cost of labor to change halogen lamps, or their materials replacement costs over time...

because its speculation until LED's have been out there for 10 years. Frankly I was trying to give LED the benefit of the doubt. In reality I believe the color temp will start changing with-in 3 years, the effective lumens will decrease and life span maybe 10 years.

You're are right, I didn't take maintenace labor savings into account. However if I take the above into acct about LED's it is a far more costly expense I also left out (i.e. in 5-10 years likley have poor color, even lower 10-15 watts equiv of lumens) and have to replace the LED bulbs.

So I think LED is still getting a pass in my earlier analysis.

David Gretzmier
06-26-2009, 01:28 AM
Lighthouse is one of those franchises out there, as well as Nitetime Decor, that are pushing the LED's. In my opinion I think they could care less about being green, unless we are talking more green in thier wallet. it is a marketing ploy to charge more in the initial install.

The bulb changeout cost to the consumer for me is around 20-22 per fixture, and includes many things you have to do to LED's as well- cleaning the lens, re aiming, cutting back foliage from blocking the lights, cleaning out the trans and replacing the battery in the digital timer, etc. The bulb can be removed from that equation, but all that maintenance still has to be done at least yearly. James has had luck continueing to get maintenance contracts to service his LED jobs, but then again, james lives in a bubble of very wealthy clients who are not likely to service thier own system. Many folks I install for want to do thier own maintenance on Halogen now. when LED takes over it will only go up.

we are at 8 cents a kilowatt, and many business's are at 3-4 cents using peak metering. the energy savings are even smaller at those rates.

I'd have to say that most folks want their landscape lights on more than an average of 4 hours, probably closer to 6pm to midnight in the winter and 8pm to midnight in the summer. so maybe 5 hours. but about 25 % of my clients want them on all night long. so that would have to be around 12 hours average per night year round.

The Lighting Geek
06-26-2009, 01:58 AM
as far as cost of electricity, I believe the average customer with a pool pays more like .36-.45 per kilowatt hour, depending on the size of their home, and that changes all the calculations considerably. whether your talking about halogen 12v, 24v, or LED. I have been checking the electric bills of my customers and the average is around .38 a KWH. Just wanted to throw this out there to see if what I am seeing is the same as what others are experiencing. But then I live in Californica:)

irrig8r
06-26-2009, 10:36 AM
I think it depends on the user.... California has tiered electrical rates depending on your use and your provider.

The other thing is: Alan seems to assume those rates won't be raised over the next 13 years, while I think it's safer to assume they will.

David Gretzmier
06-26-2009, 04:43 PM
I don't know, maybe I live in a wonderful electric bubble, but I checked as far back as I have records, and 14 years ago I was paying 7.6 cents per kilowatt. now I pay 8.4. we do have hydro ( Huge Beaver Dam system) and nuclear power ( Russelville ) here, and the cost of that is pretty constant. Our nuclear plant was just given an upgrade for more juice and approved for 12 more years of service. So hopefully our rates will stay low.

Lite4
06-26-2009, 05:15 PM
as far as cost of electricity, I believe the average customer with a pool pays more like .36-.45 per kilowatt hour, depending on the size of their home, and that changes all the calculations considerably. whether your talking about halogen 12v, 24v, or LED. I have been checking the electric bills of my customers and the average is around .38 a KWH. Just wanted to throw this out there to see if what I am seeing is the same as what others are experiencing. But then I live in Californica:)

Don't worry Tommy, all your customers will think that is cheap once congress passes this deceitful "cap and tax" bill. Then we will all be paying around .60 or so per Kw/h.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-26-2009, 08:45 PM
I have discussed these items numerous times throughout this forum but will do it once more for the benefit of newer readers...

Please make sure you take a moment to read an accurate and comprehensive cost benefit analysis that will appear at the bottom of this post.

In the US, the Nat'l average cost of electricity is $.11/kW (11 cents for 1000watts for 1 hour). Make sure you combine the cost of electricity with the cost of delivery, any fees, and taxes to get your NET KWh cost. Here it is $0.14

The best LED's I've seen output roughly a 20w equivalent for only 3 watts of electricity. That's a 17w savings, however it would take 38,888 hours to break even* Sorry but your calculations are inaccurate and based on flawed assumptions. They also do not take into account all of the costs of operations.

We sell GE MR16 lamps to our clients at $10.50 each. (retail prices) We do not sell any cheapo $4 lamps.[/COLOR] a quality LED costs the consumer $75 or $70 more to go with LED. Completely false. A quality LED MR16 lamp like the Kumho product has a retail price of $55 each and the new LED lamp I am using is priced at $45 each. You have drastically overstated the cost of LED lamps. Which means it takes about 26 years (if lights are on 4 hours/day). The average LV outdoor lighting system is on for 6 hours per night. 2190 hours per year.

I think we can all agree the LED nor fixture are not going to last that long and you'd be very lucky if it lasted 1/2 that long. I dont agree at all. The L70 for a quality LED lamp that is engineered and built properly is about 40,000 hours. Additionally they'll get less light, less than optimal color, minor striations, and unknown bulb life. Completely inaccurate! Quality LED lamps produce the same intensity, colour and quality of light as a Halogen Lamp. I have several here to prove the point. The optics are also excellent. If you have a lamp that is faltering in any of these categories then I would be hesitant to represent it.

Unfortunately 90% of the time I here LED's sold I hear this:

"80% more energy efficient, 40,000 hr life span, no maintenance, 20-30 watts of lumen's for 3 watts of electricity." This, in a nutshell is pretty much accurate. I deliver the message a bit more smoothly supported with a proper CBA for the client. See Below.


I will put a disclaimer in about James. He is in a unique situation where his market is the mansions for Canada's rich and famous. Thank you but not exactly correct. I live and work in a market with the lowest per capita income of any region in the Province of Ontario! I have many installations on average properties for everyday normal folk. When a customer is at that level and willing to pay $300+ up per fixture for 40+ fixtures, Sorry but you drastically underestimate the cost of a custom designed and installed lighting system. the differential is not that big and they are happy to spend several thousand to make a statement in support of greentech--My clients are not making any 'statements in support of greentech... they are making informed decisions based on economics. See the CBA below. which is the perfect situation for LED's. However James market is not applicable to 95% of the landscape lighting customers. The majority of the market customers struggle with $200/fixture for 20 fixtures. I would suggest otherwise but this argument is for another thread.

There is a slight savings on cable/transformers. The actual savings on cable and transformers in a full LED system can be very significant. In small to average systems the cost savings on cable and transformers can completely cover the cost of the LED lamps.

Lastly, they are good for the hard to service location like a fixture mounted on top of a gable. LED lamps are an excellent choice for hard to reach locations and almost all tree mounted downlighting.

I have seen most customers misled about LED's, LED's sold on the benefits, but not the reality. I would suggest that my 2+ years of designing, installing and maintaining LED lamped systems trumps your understanding of "the reality" as you see it. Not trying to one up you here, but I have always valued the experience of "doing" as being greater than the experience of "thinking about".

For the average installer-- do you think it makes sense for a customer to pay $2000 more for less light, worse color/beam spread, unknown life span and ~$73/year in energy savings? It is very hard to justify unless the customer is aware but just wants to make a green statement. Your synopsis is based on faulty calculations and missing assumptions. Please see my CBA below.

Just my opinion, and I have not really heard the true value proposition discussed here-- we've mainly discussed its performance not its value.

Respectfully,
Alan

Here is my cost benefit analysis showing the advantage of installing LED MR16 lamps over Halogen MR16 lamps.

Assumptions:
1: Cost of electricity (includes elec. delivery, fees, taxes, etc) = $0.14 KWh
2: Cost of a GE Halogen MR16 Lamp (retail) = $10.50
3: Cost of a LED MR16 Lamp (retail) = $55.00
4: Cost of service labour = $65 per hour
5: Avg life of Halogen MR16 = 4,000 hours
6: L70 life of LED MR16 = 40,000 hours
7: Time to change Halogen MR16 (avg) = 15 Mins


Halogen Lamp - Cost of operations for 40K hours
20w x 40,000hrs = 800,000 / 1000 = 800 KWh x 0.14 = $112.00
10 Lamps used in 40,000hrs (10 x $10.50) = $105.00
10 lamps changed x 15 mins ea = 150mins / 60 = 2.5 Hrs X $65 = $162.50

Total cost of operation for 40K hours = $379.50

LED Lamp - Cost of operations for 40K hours
3.5w x 40,000hrs = 140,000 / 1000 = 140 KWh x $0.14 = $19.60
1 LED lamp installed (initial lamp cost) = $55

Total cost of operation for 40K hours = $74.60

Conclusion: The client will save over $300 for each and every LED lamp installed when compared to the operations and maintenance costs of using comparable halogen lamps.

Now when you extrapolate that over a 20 fixture installation, the client stands to save more than $6000 over the course of some 18 years. In order for them to realize these savings they must commit to an increased installation cost of only $890.00 (this does not take into account using reduced sized transformers or cable!)

Would you not spend $890 more now in order to save $6000 over 18 years? It is such a no-brainer that over 95% of my clients have made the educated decision to go with LED lamps.

Alan B
06-27-2009, 09:26 AM
James,

I appreciate your reply, detail, knowledge and contributions.

At $400-$500 fixture I agree with your whole perspective at everything you say on here. (I don't know what you charge, but you did say "$300+ per fixture for 40+ fixtures grossly underestimated the cost of your custom systems).

What is good for you and your customers does not make it the defacto for everyone else (in all aspects of biz, not just LED).

I'll just leave it at this... I am surprised that your analysis is willing to accept an assumption that a bulb is going to last 18 years for 6 hours a night (not to mention hold the same lumens and color for 18 years).

Sincerely,

Alan

Lite4
06-27-2009, 05:40 PM
I have discussed these items numerous times throughout this forum but will do it once more for the benefit of newer readers...

Please make sure you take a moment to read an accurate and comprehensive cost benefit analysis that will appear at the bottom of this post.



Here is my cost benefit analysis showing the advantage of installing LED MR16 lamps over Halogen MR16 lamps.

Assumptions:
1: Cost of electricity (includes elec. delivery, fees, taxes, etc) = $0.14 KWh
2: Cost of a GE Halogen MR16 Lamp (retail) = $10.50
3: Cost of a LED MR16 Lamp (retail) = $55.00
4: Cost of service labour = $65 per hour
5: Avg life of Halogen MR16 = 4,000 hours
6: L70 life of LED MR16 = 40,000 hours
7: Time to change Halogen MR16 (avg) = 15 Mins


Halogen Lamp - Cost of operations for 40K hours
20w x 40,000hrs = 800,000 / 1000 = 800 KWh x 0.14 = $112.00
10 Lamps used in 40,000hrs (10 x $10.50) = $105.00
10 lamps changed x 15 mins ea = 150mins / 60 = 2.5 Hrs X $65 = $162.50

Total cost of operation for 40K hours = $379.50

LED Lamp - Cost of operations for 40K hours
3.5w x 40,000hrs = 140,000 / 1000 = 140 KWh x $0.14 = $19.60
1 LED lamp installed (initial lamp cost) = $55

Total cost of operation for 40K hours = $74.60

Conclusion: The client will save over $300 for each and every LED lamp installed when compared to the operations and maintenance costs of using comparable halogen lamps.

Now when you extrapolate that over a 20 fixture installation, the client stands to save more than $6000 over the course of some 18 years. In order for them to realize these savings they must commit to an increased installation cost of only $890.00 (this does not take into account using reduced sized transformers or cable!)

Would you not spend $890 more now in order to save $6000 over 18 years? It is such a no-brainer that over 95% of my clients have made the educated decision to go with LED lamps.

That sounds great but those numbers are still theoretical since no one "really" knows if the LEDs will perform for that full period of time in an acceptable manner. I know, I have heard all the facts about "laboratory tests" that stress and "simulate" longevity, but there is a vast difference between the laboratory and the real world, I'm just saying, it still seems like a lot of blue sky to me. I am going to watch for a while and see some real world results.

The dollar savings is a no brainer and makes the products a very easy sell, especially in the eco-crazy world we live in today. However, I just don't see a wide enough variety in the lamps in llumen output and beam spread to view it as a viable tool at this time.

See Joeys animation in the manufacturer thread!

David Gretzmier
06-28-2009, 07:11 PM
We all know James is for LED's, and he does a great job defending the cost difference. Using james own math, at 8 cents a kilowatt, or 3-4 cents as many business' have here, the numbers don't play as well.

The longevity of LED's, along with the color, spread and brightness as that LED ages is the big unanswered question. That, and of course, the spectacular failure ratio of all the LED's that have come before these newer ones. ( how many LED landscape lights failed before 18-24 months ago, uh, all of them. how many LED lights out now is James happy with? less than 5%? )

We all want to stand behind what we install, and be able to fix it if it fails. James had originally said in some thread a few months back he installs the system wire and trans wise to be halogen ready even if he uses LED's. I think that is extremely wise and prudent on all considering LED's, as you may be going back to halogen in 3,5 or 8 years if they have problems or failure. So probably no savings on trans and wire if you play it safe.

Finally, the cutting the throat of the residual rebulb income in this business makes wait and see a very good idea economically. and yes, I'll beat this dead horse, ask any business broker what it does to the selling value of your company to remove 40k, 80k, 120k plus in recurring rebulb revenue.

David Gretzmier
06-28-2009, 07:15 PM
And also in James defense, he went really easy on the halogen numbers by assuming we only change halogen every 4000 hours. I change every year, or closer to every 2000 hours. And my service labor will be more than 65 per hour in 10 or 18 years.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
06-28-2009, 10:13 PM
David... speak to any accountant or business consultant and ask them if they would rather make $20 net profit today, or would they rather make that same $20 net profit spread over the next 7 to 10 years, $2 to $3 at a time.

I will gladly take the money I make from LED lamps and bank it today, rather that 'risk' the chance of many different scenarios that might see me losing the client or the service work over time.

Also, as all lamps in a system are not the same, the system will still need regular service, if only for making adjustments, cleaning, aiming, and enhancements. You really do not loose anything, but gain a whole lot of upfront money on the installation.

Twenty in the hand today is better than Twenty in the bush that you hope to harvest over years of re-visits.

Lite4
06-29-2009, 10:18 AM
James,
I totally love the idea of a direct replacement MR or Par in LED. I just need more lamp options than 1-20 watt equivelant lamp. Now if this new lamp of your does play out well in terms of color stability and longevity (say 5 years or more), I could see using them in situations where you need a BAB anyway and just place those instead, assuming they hold their color for blending with the color of the surrounding halogens.

Hold on, my phone is ringing....It's Purina calling about the horse!

S&MLL
02-18-2010, 05:02 PM
Is it spam because He doesnt sell unique? Or because hes not a sponser.


Ha J/K Joey

JoeyD
02-18-2010, 05:04 PM
If he sold Unique I would probably let it go....LOL.....I KID I KID....But when your not a paying sponsor and you hit 6 threads with the same copy and paste post its spam!

JoeyD
02-18-2010, 05:05 PM
well wasnt that quick!? lol Mods are quick on the draw with the spammers!

S&MLL
02-18-2010, 05:05 PM
Now I look like a dummy haha

JoeyD
02-18-2010, 05:07 PM
now you do?




J/K...LOL

Pro-Scapes
02-18-2010, 05:50 PM
well wasnt that quick!? lol Mods are quick on the draw with the spammers!

I emailed Jody about the spammer fast. I cant stand that even if you are sponsoring the site. Took her all of 3 min to deal with it.

JoeyD
02-18-2010, 05:55 PM
I was reporting the post, that was the first time I ever used that feature! I only have had one person use the post reporting featuring on my personal forum, it works well and fast!

emby
02-18-2010, 10:40 PM
Just to get back on topic for a moment I would like to add some things here as well.
I really believe that LED will dominate our market in the future and I believe that eventually we all will be installing them into our designs. I am much like the rest of you as I like to shop and analyze the spec sheets on all the new products that are appearing at our local distributors. I must stress that it is VERY important to look at certain specifications when it comes to the new LED.
It totally makes sense to me to install LED lamps into those "hard to get at" fixtures. With that being said you really do have to spend the time to investigate what brand of LED bulb is going to match the colour of your halogen sources. One LED bulb might match your Ushio bulbs but not match your GE bulbs. Trial and error.(if anybody has done this you should share that information with us)
As far as installation goes for now I am currently engineering my jobs to except our halogen source and I am also looking forward to replacing all of those halogens in the near future with LED's. It will be great to contact all your old customers and inform them that they will be saving money(bulb changes) with LED's and not sacrificing the light output or design that they currently have.
This change will happen and now is the time to prepare and experiment so that you are ready for that change.
I have also seen some manufacturer's producing the all in one LED fixture. Stick it into the ground and wire it up and its running. Not for me as I still like to offer the "last a life time fixture".
As I often return to my business foundation for review I will ensure that I will be ready because its pretty much a given that its going to happen.
Everybody inlcuding the manufacturers, distributors and contractors will be lost in the wind if you do not watch the LED's.
Just my 2 cents as usual.

Ken

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-18-2010, 11:37 PM
One LED bulb might match your Ushio bulbs but not match your GE bulbs. Trial and error.(if anybody has done this you should share that information with us)
Ken

Yes I have done this. It is not so much trial and error actually as understanding your lamp specifications; namely CCT, CRI, Lumens, Optics and how they interrelate with one another in the LED lamp platform.

Generally speaking 3000K more closely matches the light output of GE Constant Colour Precise MR16 lamps and 2700K more closely matches the light output of Ushio and other aluminized reflector MR16 lamps. This is assuming the LED lamp you are comparing also has relatively high CRI values in the high 70s to low 80s.

I maintain that you MUST have all of the five critical metrics for LED light sources and understand how they correlate before you can make good decisions on what to rely upon. CCT, CRI, Lumens, Junction Temp, L70... if you are missing one you dont have a full specification.

OR - you can just rely upon a well known, well engineered, well built, trusted and proven LED lamp to cover all this for you. :waving:

irrig8r
02-19-2010, 12:24 PM
Am I correct in understanding that LEDs can't be dimmed?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-19-2010, 01:00 PM
It depends on the unit Gregg. Some LED lamps can be dimmed, most are not dimmable. There is a lot to consider there. The type of driver used dictates if the lamp/fixture can be dimmed. Then you get into the type of power supply, be it magnetic/inductive LV or electronic LV. Both of these require completely different types of dimmers to control the power supply.

Many of the LED lamps/fixtures that claim to be dimmable offer a reduced range of operation, in that you can only achieve dimming down to about 20% lumens and up to 85% lumens. Obviously this is not optimal. Also, linear drivers (more easily dimmable) tend to run the chips hotter than stepped drivers. (difficult to dim)

All that being said... Work is being done right now to come up with a driver that will be dimmable with both leading edge and trailing edge dimmers (magnetic & electronic). When we have that the ball game should change quite a bit.

I recall grilling a major name in LED lamps at a trade show a couple of years ago. They claimed their new "be all and end all" LED MR16 lamp was dimmable. I asked the tough questions. Could it be dimmed with both MLV and ELV power supplies. "Well of course" came the reply, "why wouldnt it?" It was about 4 months later that I noted a change on that company's website. Their lamps are now rated as dimmable on magnetic power supplies, not recommended to be dimmed on ELV circuits as the lamp will flicker and cut out at around 20% output. Hmmmmm.

jshimmin
02-19-2010, 04:10 PM
Lighthouse is one of those franchises out there, as well as Nitetime Decor, that are pushing the LED's. In my opinion I think they could care less about being green, unless we are talking more green in thier wallet. it is a marketing ploy to charge more in the initial install.


Since I was lumped in above, I thought I might answer..

I have put LED out there as an option for the customer to choose. I usually show them a seven year break even number for them based on the initial installation. To date all of the LED installs have some common scenario's.

1 - Dusk to Dawn Operation
2 - Replacing a problematic system installed by an idiot
3 - HOA common area or Commercial facility

Unless you know the facts, opinions are usually best kept to ones self.

David Gretzmier
02-19-2010, 11:05 PM
The fact is if you go to light house lighting's website they push it front and center. Fact checked and verified. when speaking with the nite time decor rep at the Louisville expo show 90 days ago the first thing he handed me was an led fixture. fact checked and verified. it is cash now rather than cash over the long haul. on LED's, except for the occaisional water feature cooled color changing units, I just cannot take the substantial financial and reputation risk even though it seems James is on the right track.

I feel the same about LED's as I have about any product that has about 18 months to 2 years out there- it is for testing purposes only.

Although my recent post on ryco transformers shows they are holding up very well after 2.5 years, I'm pretty sure no one here will be rushing out to buy them.

irrig8r
02-21-2010, 05:10 PM
James, or anyone else..., have you heard of a new LED from Cree that generates 300 Lumens per Watt at 200 Milliamps?

A friend of mine saw it at a big LED lighting show in town about a week and a half ago...

irrig8r
02-21-2010, 05:24 PM
http://www.cree.com/press/press_detail.asp?i=1265232091259

This is the most recent I can find... maybe my friend got his numbers wrong...

208 Lumens / Watt at 350 mA

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-21-2010, 08:12 PM
http://www.cree.com/press/press_detail.asp?i=1265232091259

This is the most recent I can find... maybe my friend got his numbers wrong...

208 Lumens / Watt at 350 mA

Gregg, there is a BIG difference between what Cree is achieving in the lab and what they are making commercially available. That chip you referenced there is not currently available.

The most recent Cree product is the new MPL: http://www.cree.com/press/press_detail.asp?i=1265118848578

Currently looking at the feasability of developing a lamp around this new chip.

jshimmin
02-22-2010, 07:33 AM
I believe that the CREE chip referenced operates in the 4500k range as well when I last spoke with them. Not sure if the color has any effect on the lumens.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-22-2010, 09:06 AM
CCT has a direct relationship with lumen output. As you warm up the CCT of an LED the Lumens decrease. This has to do with the use of phosphors that convert the relatively blue light from the LED chip into broad spectrum warm white light.

Cree, Nichia, Seoul Semiconductor and to some degree phillips/lumileds are always pushing the envelope in the labs in terms of output and efficiency. Turning that into product that is acceptable for general illumination applications can take some time.

The MPL chip is the latest and greatest from Cree, only a couple of weeks on the market.

wbaptist
02-26-2010, 11:43 AM
The MR-16 design makes cooling the LED a challenge. Most people assume cool to the touch means no problem. This is not the case. The temp must be measured at the at junction piont or as close to that as possible. In most cases when we have measured the temp of LED its 15 to 20c higher than what the manufactuer said the max temp was. Many LED MR-16's list an operating temp of -20C to +40C (104 F). Some areas of the country are 100F at night. We have some LED manufactures say there MR-16 can not be used in a sealed fixture due to heat. I think LED will happen soon but I dont think it will be in the form of MR-16 for outdoor lighting.

This is some testing we have done on LEDs that are on the market today.

http://i139.photobucket.com/albums/q304/rusty51501978/LEDLightFixturesCurrentConsumptionG.jpg

Alan B
02-26-2010, 12:15 PM
The MR-16 design makes cooling the LED a challenge. Most people assume cool to the touch means no problem. This is not the case. The temp must be measured at the at junction piont or as close to that as possible. In most cases when we have measured the temp of LED its 15 to 20c higher than what the manufacturer said the max temp was. Many LED MR-16's list an operating temp of -20C to +40C (104 F). Some areas of the country are 100F at night. We have some LED manufactures say there MR-16 can not be used in a sealed fixture due to heat. I think LED will happen soon but I dont think it will be in the form of MR-16 for outdoor lighting.

Rusty,

What you say is spot on. We have done a fair amount of research on this as well and that is what is holding up our LED line. To cut through the "fluffery" Junction Temp (the temp at the point of contact of the chip) is the key for LED landscape lighting applications. We have met with many independent engineers and landscape lighting poses 3 unique problems over the rest of the LED market (in addition to the standard LED issues of lumens, color temp, CRi and reliability):
1. The requirement of outdoor fixtures being sealed contains the heat that comes off the heat sink. This makes cool operating temps even more important. And as a reminder to what Rusty said--it is the junction temp that matters, not the lamp/heat sink temp. Even with a low junction temp and great heat sink, with our applications the heat inside the sealed fixture can tend to increase the junction temp. Higher junction temps lower lumen's, decrease life spans (I will suggest that most LED life spans in an enclosed fixture may last several years but getting close to the 10-20 yrs 40,000 hr life spans are completely unknown -- these claims are based on open fixture environments in the best conditions in a lab.
2. Presently, the conforming size MR16 is on the small side physically to reach the higher lumens (and be cool enough to actually last for the claimed time periods).
3. Moisture and outdoor environments. Even in a sealed fixture there is condensation. Components should be potted.

Now I have given James a perfect entry for rebuttal (his LEd is focused on cool junction temps, and potted for moisture) which are great steps. Still there is question by LED engineers about how cool you can really get the JT in a sealed fixture and reach 20-35 w equivalents. Plus the potted/moisture element is a factor. All independent engineers who focus on this have said these are real issues and that the small size of the conforming mr16 add add'l issues to solving them.

That being said, there are advancements being made and problems can be over come. I believe there are ways to aid in releasing the heat within the sealed fixture and have a lower JT. We are addressing these in our new fixtures. One of our bigger hold backs has been on deciding to stick with the conforming mr16 (exact shape of and MR16) or move to a non-conforming (larger version--slightly taller and wider).

And interesting idea would be to switch to an entirely different lamp than the MR16 for LED,s--higher lumen and cooler temps CAN be reached with larger lamps. This is an area I would love to here the board feedback on.

Developments coming and I'm sure James will chime in about his items.

also another interesting factor-- environment temps. All LED's intergrated like Kichlers or retrofit, will output more lumens in cool environments (say Canada in winter) and less in AZ in Summer. The actual effect could be significant but needs more study.

With all this said, I still believe that retro (if problems are addressed) are better than integrating into a non-servicable aluminum fixture. the tech is changing so quickly with retro you can keep up, improve, modify--integrated you are stuck with changing the whole fixture. I'm not sure it is right to have and end customer pay big bucks for a system that will be behind the times in 2 years. With retro they have an adaptable system (plus of course you get the tried and true fixture quality and are not going backwards. I'm not sure how many of you who buy aluminum intergated LEDs would even consider the fixture (in regards to its construction/quality/design) if it was not an LED.

Sincerely,

Alan

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-26-2010, 01:18 PM
The MR-16 design makes cooling the LED a challenge. A challenge yes, but I have proven that it is not an insurmountable challenge. Most people assume cool to the touch means no problem. This is not the case. The temp must be measured at the at junction piont or as close to that as possible. In most cases when we have measured the temp of LED its 15 to 20c higher than what the manufactuer said the max temp was. The details are in the available specifications. If you cannot get a full array of specifications from the Manufacturer you should be wary of the claims. Many LED MR-16's list an operating temp of -20C to +40C (104 F). Some areas of the country are 100F at night. We have some LED manufactures say there MR-16 can not be used in a sealed fixture due to heat. I think LED will happen soon but I dont think it will be in the form of MR-16 for outdoor lighting. I completely disagree with your conclusion. Currently working on an effective LED MR16 that will have all the right specifications and be as bright as a 35W Halogen. Did it with the 20W equivalent halogens already... that has been proven.

This is some testing we have done on LEDs that are on the market today.


I appreciate you posting the graph of some tests, but I fail to see what the data displayed in that graph has to do with LED lamps, heat, L70, CCT, CRI or optics. looks to be like basic volts x current for a number of annonymous products. Please explain.

wbaptist
02-26-2010, 02:46 PM
I appreciate you posting the graph of some tests, but I fail to see what the data displayed in that graph has to do with LED lamps, heat, L70, CCT, CRI or optics. looks to be like basic volts x current for a number of annonymous products. Please explain.


The graph was done to show how the electronics act with different voltages. You can see some of the drivers fail at lower voltage. You can see some of the drivers compensate for voltage drop by increasing the current thus keeping the wattage ouput level. I just put this up as an FYI showing that not all LEDS are created equal. Alot of companys are still experimenting.

If you talk to 50 different engineers they will all tell you something different. The fact is time will tell. Most of the life ratings pleople are claiming are simply based off a chart. They test the heat of the fixture and then they look at the LED chart and see what the LED should be rated for. Traditional life testing is done by taking (for example only) 100 lamps at 12V and running them 24 hours a day until 50% fail. That is now the rated life of that lamp. With Halogen lamps the test can be accelerated by uping the voltage to the lamp. You cant just up the volatge to the LED lamp because the electronics will correct the current like the graph shows. So if this was done with LED the testing would 4.56 years. I dont think any LED MR-16 or Intergrated fixture manufacture has done this testing.

This is all my opinion.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-26-2010, 04:54 PM
I would encourage anyone interested in learning more about LED lamp life measurements to become familiar with L70 - initiated by the Lighting Research Center (LRC) and also the "Approved Method: Measuring Lumen Maintenance of LED Light Sources - LM-80 by the IES. Soon there will be more forthcoming on the IES TM-21; a procedure in development that will outline procedures for deriving the LM-80 test data into service life rating, establishing consistency between all manufacturer data.

Here are some links to help you out:

https://www.ies.org/store/product/approved-method-measuring-lumen-maintenance-of-led-light-sources-1096.cfm

www.lrc.rpi.edu/programs/.../Narendran-WhiteLEDsTokyo2007.pdf

http://www.ledsmagazine.com/news/6/4/16

http://www.architecturalssl.com/content.php?section=magazine/archive&id=02_09_story2

Lite4
02-27-2010, 07:02 AM
All this thread tell me is that I need to keep installing tried and true halogen until all of these kinks get worked out.

Classic Lighting
02-27-2010, 08:03 AM
Ditto to Tim's sentiments. This is getting way over my head.

RLDesign
02-27-2010, 08:41 AM
All this thread tell me is that I need to keep installing tried and true halogen until all of these kinks get worked out.

Tim,

I had that same approach to LED and was hesistant to install for a bunch of reasons. I always found retrofit to be a better fit, but I know there is a place for the LED fixture in certain markets. Jame's links and info are valid, and at AOLP Annual meeting we learned how to apply the different data and test results when choosing an LED lamp or fixture. Pretty much, since LED is new and evolving so quickly we need to be up to date and understand the technical terms in how it relates to the way we are familiar in designing with halogen and various other light sources. I am confident that LED is here, and I am doing my best to install a few projects this year... hopefully a couple projects that will be 100% LED. I do understand your approach to waiting for the evolution to be further down the road. I feel (only after AOLP) that if I don't get up to speed on the technical terms and testing of lamps, I will not be ready to make an informed decision. The various testing and certifications need to be unified, and also need valid field testing in order to be considered viable to myself. If I wait that long, 15-20 years, or half that 10 years - I may be retired? LED is happening so fast that I need to get set up quickly - and for me that means being familiar with relevant data.

Talk soon.

Tanek
Reynolds Lighting

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-27-2010, 09:47 AM
All this thread tell me is that I need to keep installing tried and true halogen until all of these kinks get worked out.

Hey Tim. It really isn't all that complicated. Like most technology you need to know the basics to make informed decisions and that much is pretty easy to understand. Beyond that there will always be those who are more into the technical aspects.

The "5 pillars" of LED specifications are:

CCT - Correlated Colour Temperature

CRI - Colour Rendition Index

Lumens - Total amount of light produced (apparent to the human eye)

Junction Temperature - The temp where the LED chips mount to the board

L70 - The amount of time elapsed until the light output reaches 70% of initial lumens (as determined by IES LM-80)

Thats about it. If you have these and understand their relationships you are able to make informed decisions. If you don't have these specs, don't buy. If you have 4 out of 5 of the above, dont buy.

Also realize there are some in the market who have a vested interest in trying to obfuscate and confuse when it comes to LED technology. They, for whatever reason, have made a decision to venture off in different directions. I think it would be more upstanding of those companies to promote their directions and ideas and not try to further muddy the waters of LED technology. (Publishing meaningless data in graph form for instance)

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-27-2010, 10:05 AM
The graph was done to show how the electronics act with different voltages. You can see some of the drivers fail at lower voltage. You can see some of the drivers compensate for voltage drop by increasing the current thus keeping the wattage output level. I just put this up as an FYI showing that not all LEDS are created equal. A lot of companies are still experimenting. This is all my opinion.

Okay, I have to comment here as your statements above are somewhat misleading.

"You can see some of the drivers fail at lower voltage." This is not true. The drivers are not "failing" at lower voltage. Your use of the word "fail" implies that they break or stop working indefinitely. Fact is different drivers react differently to various operating conditions. If you have an LED lamp that accepts 10vac to 14vac input it will operate just fine within that range. Below the min input voltage it will flicker, fade or turn off with no harm done. Above the max input voltage and you can fry the driver. JUST LIKE INCANDESCENT LAMPS, you must operate the LEDs within their parameters to get optimal performance. What happens to a 12V halogen lamp when you 'over drive it' with 13 or 14 volts? Similarly what happens to a 12 V halogen when you 'under drive it' with say 9 volts. In both cases you will have less than optimal performance and premature failure.

Companies involved in LEDs certainly are 'experimenting' just as Unique is 'experimenting' with different versions of power systems. That doesn't mean that the product that is on the market is risky in any way. We have done our experimenting in the lab, and found ways in which to make the technology perform. Then release this to the market. The 'experiment' continues in the labs as we develop new, better, and more advanced technology. If we were not 'experimenting' there would be no innovations and advancements made. Doesn't mean that those 'experiments' are some how being surreptitiously released to market.

The entire global lighting market is on the LED super highway. Those who think that the technology "is not ready yet" have to open their eyes and look around. Every major lighting company in every single sector of the industry is offering LED products. This is not a fad. Get yourself to a major trade show like LightFair and you will see what I am talking about.

The Lighting Geek
02-27-2010, 11:59 AM
All I can say is I have 1100+ LED fixtures installed in the field and I have had 1 in 100 to 150 fail, most within 48 hours which says to me it was defective out of the box. That is a smaller failure rate than my halogen systems. I would have to travel the job regardless, only now I do fewer service calls. My customers love them, I love them. I have mostly Kichler as you all know, but I have a few Kuhmo 20 watt retro fit as well. I have found a balance as to where LED work best for me and where halogen works as well. I currently install 80/20, LED to Halogen. Some get hung up on the fixture appearance, but to me the look of a fixture doesn't matter anyway, because it is the illumination that counts.

I understand the concerns. In my area, it works for me.

I liken the LED issue to the fist cars vs. horse and buggy. Those people who went to work for ford worked full time for the rest of their life. Those whose went to work for the buggy whip manufacturers, well, you know what happened to them. LOL Eventually we will all be installing LED.

worx
02-27-2010, 12:01 PM
Do you remember when satellite dishes first came out, they were about the size of a hot tub and cost thousands of dollars. Then the mini dishes arrived on the scene and cost @ $700 plus annual contract. Now they install better dishes free just to have you use their service.

Now I know LED's will never be free, and I know LED's are the future of lighting, but I'm just not sure it's feasible yet.

irrig8r
02-27-2010, 12:29 PM
....With all this said, I still believe that retro (if problems are addressed) are better than integrating into a non-servicable aluminum fixture. the tech is changing so quickly with retro you can keep up, improve, modify--integrated you are stuck with changing the whole fixture...

Might be true with the Kichlers, I don't know because I haven't seen one.

The potted driver in the new Vistas is in a separate compartment from and plugs in to the sealed emitter arrays. They are easily serviceable.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-27-2010, 01:23 PM
Might be true with the Kichlers, I don't know because I haven't seen one.

The potted driver in the new Vistas is in a separate compartment from and plugs in to the sealed emitter arrays. They are easily serviceable.

I recently saw and handled the new Vista LED bullet fixtures and I will admit they are a better design than the Kichler product as they are field servicable.

However, I would suggest to vista that they should take this modular approach one step further in their next version. I think they should make the LED array separate from the shroud body. Then the optics would be more easily replaceable and dynamic. Currently to change the optics of the fixture you would have to switch out the entire LED array / Shroud unit.

I have yet to see the new LED path light offerings from Vista but I have heard they are/will be available across their entire copper/brass pathlight line.

So things are improving and advancing in the LED fixture category and I welcome that. However, keep in mind... there are tens of thousands more LV lighting systems installed to date then there will be new installations in the next few years. So instead of hitching your wagon to a system that only works forward, I prefer to work with technology that we can retrofit into existing systems seamlessly. LED Lamps provide all of your existing, Gold clients the opportunity to update and upgrade their systems without a major overhaul and renewal.

sal rodriguez
02-27-2010, 02:28 PM
probably should be noted that most of the contibutors to this thread have a vested financial interest which influences their opinions and statements .

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-27-2010, 02:54 PM
Hey Sal. Those who know me know that I am a passionate guy. When I do something I do it to the best of my ability.

I started out on this path of LED lamps about 3 years ago now. I immediately saw the benefit and logic of using lamps over fixtures. It just made sense to me and to my operations as a lighting systems designer and contractor. For the past two years I relied upon LED lamps made by others. The whole time (it is public record on this forum) I have freely offered my knowledge, advice and opinions. I think I have positively contributed to many people's understanding of the topic and done so, for the most part, for absolutely no financial incentive or gain.

So yes, although I now do own a business that builds LED lamps, I think I can honestly say that the information that I share here is not influenced by my business interests. I have been saying the same things, and helping people learn in the same way, for a long time now.

irrig8r
02-27-2010, 05:00 PM
Sal, I don't have any horse in this race... I like what Vista has come up with recently, and James is right that they could go a step further.

I wish all the LED MR 16 replacement manufacturers would make available the detailed specs that James has with his line so I could compare AND show my clients the difference between what I can order thru James and what som of them have ordered on their own.

I can't get detailed specs from either Nightscaping or Troy-CSL on the ones they offer.. best they can tell me is color temperature.

I don't think they are hiding the rest, just that they don't even know themselves and haven't done the legwork James has in order to know the right questions to ask of their suppliers (Chinese- CSL, domestic- Nightscaping) even when they rebrand them.

Alan B
02-27-2010, 05:05 PM
probably should be noted that most of the contibutors to this thread have a vested financial interest which influences their opinions and statements .

X2,
I agree (myself included).

I want to note that the reason we do not carry any LED fixtures (or retro lamps) is because we did not feel they were ready to be an option that we could endorse. Things are changing quickly. Even when we start carrying them later this year, I would still recommend halogen-- the LEDs line we carry will be for:
-high electric cost areas (CA)
-dusk to dawn apps
-hard to reach fixtures
-those who just want LED (to be green, cutting edge or whatever the motive)
-those contractors that want to push LED as a differentiators.

I still would recommend halogen if the app did not fit into one of the above categories (at least for now until I see more progress).

I like Sal's point -- in life -- we should always look at what we hear in the context of the speakers paradigm. Think about it next time you buy a fixture from distribution, or hear something from the lighting "establishment". :clapping:

Alan