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View Full Version : Jumping on the LED bandwagon


irrig8r
09-30-2009, 11:42 PM
Got notice of this today.

http://www.nightscaping.com/ledfixtures/

How many different lighting manufacturers are now offering LEDs?

How do they rate as far as light output goes?

How many offer guarantees, and for how long? How do we determine longevity, and is it reflected in price?

I've heard that FX and Vista are into their second or third generation of LED offerings... what is going to be available in a year or two years or five?

How fast will current LEDs become obsolete?

I heard somewhere that Kichler LED fixtures are guaranteed for 15 years...anyone here using them, and how are they working out?

Lite4
10-01-2009, 09:39 AM
I have used a few of the Kichler LEDs but after feeling how much heat those babies eminate I fear they will not make the whole 15 years. But who cares about the LED, the cheaply made housing will be lucky to make it 10 years so who cares. The real revolution will be in direct replacement LEDs for the standard size lamps we all use everyday and have thousands of in the field.

irrig8r
10-01-2009, 10:53 AM
Here's what sounds like a new development announced this week... supposed to be equivalent output of a 50W halogen...

http://www.ledsmagazine.com/products/19964?cmpid=EnlLEDsSeptember302009

JoeyD
10-01-2009, 11:03 AM
EXACTLY TIM!!!!!....Direct replacements will be where its at. Fully potted LED's are going to be a thing of the past in a short amount of time!

Remember when a customer asks for an LED all they are asking for is a Long Life Lamp with Low Wattage Draw. For that reason we have just developed our new XR16 lamps which will be 5-10-15-20w lamps in multiple beam spreads. They are essentially XENON MR16's with 10K-20K hour ratings. This will be an offering along side our current LED replacement lamp from Ushio.

We are working really hard right now on solidifying Unique as a leader in energy efficient SYSTEM offerings. Between our Astro and Intelli Brite XENON bi pins to our new XR16 Lamps to our LED lamp replacements to our industry changing 24v system which reduces VD, increases wire capacity, and increases transformer and energy efficiency. Unique is ready for the next generation of landscape Lighting!

We are developing and testing new means of energy efficient lighting design and fixture application techniques that incorporate Dark Sky because we believe being green isn't just reducing materials and conserving energy. It means being concious of how we are utilizing these materials in our designs.

While some sit back and think of ways to discredit 24v lighting systems and others try to focus solely on LED as the end all solution Unique is developing Design, System, and Lamp solutions that will surely change the way we approach landscape lighting without abandoning all that the industry has gone through over the years to get us to where we are today!

We are at it again folks, be prepared for the Unique Lighting Green Light Philosophy!!!!! :weightlifter:

steveparrott
10-01-2009, 03:58 PM
For those folks installing LED's I suggest one simple reality check. When you install an LED lighting system, buy an extra fixture and keep it in your shop. Once a year, take the unused light and power it up side by side with the installed fixture. Hold a white poster board so both beams hit the board. (This is only if you don't have a footcandle meter.)

If you can see a perceptable difference in brightness between the two fixtures that means about a 10% deprecation. There should only be about a 2% deprecation (for a lamp operating 8 hrs/day for a year), meaning that you shouldn't see a difference for about 5 years.

Report back here with the results.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-01-2009, 11:28 PM
The real revolution will be in direct replacement LEDs for the standard size lamps we all use everyday and have thousands of in the field.

Well it is nice to finally start hearing some other's out there say what I have been saying for over two years now! :clapping:

Even the manufacturers are starting to wake up and see it my way. Why re-invent the wheel, or in this case the fixtures, when we already have a plethora of fantastic fixtures to choose from? Instead put your R&D and effort into fantastic new lamps that will fit into these fixtures.

LED lamps are the future, and they are here now.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-02-2009, 12:25 AM
Here's what sounds like a new development announced this week... supposed to be equivalent output of a 50W halogen...

http://www.ledsmagazine.com/products/19964?cmpid=EnlLEDsSeptember302009

Looks very interesting. The use of a liquid cooling circuit is somewhat novel but not the only work being done in this area.

It would be interesting to see how this form would fit into fixtures that use MR16 lamps. I dont think it will retrofit very well by the shape of it.

Just looked at the 'specs' on the manu's home page.... They list the colour output of their warm white version to be in the range of 2600k to 3700k ! That is quite the range!! It would appear to me that you would want to be all over them about binning and batching the lamps in order to ensure a constant and accurate colour output. There are SO many variables you have to look at and understand when purchasing LED lamps. Make sure you get a full technical specification before you commit.

lilmarvin4064
10-02-2009, 03:01 PM
EXACTLY TIM!!!!!....Direct replacements will be where its at. Fully potted LED's are going to be a thing of the past in a short amount of time!

Remember when a customer asks for an LED all they are asking for is a Long Life Lamp with Low Wattage Draw. For that reason we have just developed our new XR16 lamps which will be 5-10-15-20w lamps in multiple beam spreads. They are essentially XENON MR16's with 10K-20K hour ratings. This will be an offering along side our current LED replacement lamp from Ushio.

We are working really hard right now on solidifying Unique as a leader in energy efficient SYSTEM offerings. Between our Astro and Intelli Brite XENON bi pins to our new XR16 Lamps to our LED lamp replacements to our industry changing 24v system which reduces VD, increases wire capacity, and increases transformer and energy efficiency. Unique is ready for the next generation of landscape Lighting!

We are developing and testing new means of energy efficient lighting design and fixture application techniques that incorporate Dark Sky because we believe being green isn't just reducing materials and conserving energy. It means being concious of how we are utilizing these materials in our designs.

While some sit back and think of ways to discredit 24v lighting systems and others try to focus solely on LED as the end all solution Unique is developing Design, System, and Lamp solutions that will surely change the way we approach landscape lighting without abandoning all that the industry has gone through over the years to get us to where we are today!

We are at it again folks, be prepared for the Unique Lighting Green Light Philosophy!!!!! :weightlifter:

I agree, however, the biggest problem with direct replacements lie in the ability of the replacement "bulb" to disipate heat. A finned heat sink can only work so well when it is inside an enclosed fixture. Where is the heat supposed to go? That's why new LED fixures make more sense; the heat sink is integrated into the fixture. How many installers would want to have to thermally epoxy the replacement "bulbs" in the old fixtures.

I have a background in engineering and I'm currently working on some new fixtures and a completely different system. Right now I'm working on a 28v system. The 250watt transformers are about $20. :) Right now I'm working with 3500K Cree P4s and looking into some of the new cree XPEs. The Luxeon K2 w/TFFC aren't bad either. Cree XPGs are coming soon with an efficiency of 132 lumens/W and are extremely small (you could probably fit 5 on a penny).

The reason I decided to build these myself is 1) Most companies are using older inefficent LEDs with less than desirable Color Temperatures. 2) 12v system is not the way to go. 3) They are using cheap drivers. 4) I can do some crazy stuff, like use something like this...
http://www.cutter.com.au/proddetail.php?prod=cut901
...and hook it up to a controller and have the fixture ouput white or any color of the rainbow I wish.

If anyone knows where I can find some good cheap "empty" finned fixtures, let me know! Thanks

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-02-2009, 03:31 PM
There are some other ways to deal with the heat. I have developed a new lamp that develops only 31 deg. Celsius at the chip! This is probably the coolest running 230Lumen output LED MR16 in the world right now. Cree XR-E chips at 3000K. give it the same output, colour, etc as a GE MR16.

The new Cree XPGs were released this week, but I dont think they are putting out 132 Lm/w. Perhaps they powered them down a bit for the market? I will be trying these out soon and hope they provide us with a FMW (35w) replacement.

Working on a 28V system sounds novel, but ultimately you will need to seek the appropriate approvals and listings for the application. That could be a hiccup you want to investigate before you get too far in.

Watch your colour temperatures... not much call out there for light cooler than 3000K, at least not in residential applications.

Regards.

JoeyD
10-06-2009, 02:35 PM
I agree, however, the biggest problem with direct replacements lie in the ability of the replacement "bulb" to disipate heat. A finned heat sink can only work so well when it is inside an enclosed fixture. Where is the heat supposed to go? That's why new LED fixures make more sense; the heat sink is integrated into the fixture. How many installers would want to have to thermally epoxy the replacement "bulbs" in the old fixtures.

I have a background in engineering and I'm currently working on some new fixtures and a completely different system. Right now I'm working on a 28v system. The 250watt transformers are about $20. :) Right now I'm working with 3500K Cree P4s and looking into some of the new cree XPEs. The Luxeon K2 w/TFFC aren't bad either. Cree XPGs are coming soon with an efficiency of 132 lumens/W and are extremely small (you could probably fit 5 on a penny).

The reason I decided to build these myself is 1) Most companies are using older inefficent LEDs with less than desirable Color Temperatures. 2) 12v system is not the way to go. 3) They are using cheap drivers. 4) I can do some crazy stuff, like use something like this...
http://www.cutter.com.au/proddetail.php?prod=cut901
...and hook it up to a controller and have the fixture ouput white or any color of the rainbow I wish.

If anyone knows where I can find some good cheap "empty" finned fixtures, let me know! Thanks

You are spot on. We are finding the operating temps of most LED's are way to hot to last, thus we too are working for ways to trasfer the heat to our copper and brass bodies and we feel we can do this in a retrofit application. DOE/Caliper reports are not favorable towards the majority of the 5mm chips being usued in most LED's. We are also finding the electronics are poorly designed and do not work as efficiently as they should and could.

Alan B
10-07-2009, 08:45 AM
we too are working for ways to trasfer the heat to our copper and brass bodies and we feel we can do this in a retrofit application.

Joey-- exc solution, I wanted to give you an FYI that we have been working on the same thing (testing/design/dev for about 9 months), and I assume most other manus are as well.

Ours involves a molded heat transfer piece inside the fixture that connects the fins of the retrofit lamp to the fixture body for direct heat transfer from the lamp to the fixture. We have been holding off on release until retrofit LED's reach what we consider an acceptable value proposition (lumen's/color temp/longevity/price) for pro installers and to solidify our patent filings. With the good LED progress, we anticipate a late Spring 2010 release of fixtures made specifically for LED retrofit lamps, and that the color/lumen/longevity/price of LEDs will then be a reasonable value proposition.

We feel this will be the best of both of worlds-- quality fixture, retrofit LED lamps, but with proper heat dissipation by heat sinking the retrofit lamp to the fixture.

Sincerely,

Alan

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-07-2009, 09:25 AM
Question for Alan and Joey.... why not just adopt the use of the lowest operating temperature LED lamp on the market? One that has already beat the heat issue.

Alan B
10-07-2009, 09:31 AM
j-

Haven't seen one. I'd love to test them out, it may save us a lot of tooling. I'll make a deal with you. When we get our complete new line in of all solid brass fixtures across all fixture styles, I'll send you free samples to check out if you do the same with your LED line. And we can both post independant reviews. Sound like a good deal?

I'd love to long range test them (continually on at their max volt rating for the next 4 months and check their color temp/heat measurement, etc.).

Sincerely,

Alan

JoeyD
10-07-2009, 10:10 AM
Question for Alan and Joey.... why not just adopt the use of the lowest operating temperature LED lamp on the market? One that has already beat the heat issue.

That is option #1 in a perfect world but we always need to be prepared and explore all possibilities. We have been working with LED's for 4-5 years now and still have not had confidence in actively promoting them. We appear to be getting closer and closer.

irrig8r
10-14-2009, 03:10 PM
So I saw the new Nightscaping LEDs yesterday at Lane Irrigation, a local distributor in Campbell, CA....

Steve Atkinson, Nightscaping's National Sales Manager showed up on time, despite the raging storm.

I looked at his samples and I have to admit.... I didn't expect to be impressed, but I was...

He was a little cagey about their source. The base/ driver for the SCB LED is made in Salt Lake City. The chip/lamp by someone else.

If you look at the photo (on their website), all you see of the lamp is the tip.

http://www.nightscaping.com/ledfixtures/

It is very small and screws into the base. It overlaps the top of the base about 1/8" maybe with a reddish thin flexible/ rubbery gasket.

I have to say, as they claim, it does indeed look to be weather resistant.

That lamp is available in red, amber, green or blue as well as the warm white. The warm white is nice, but maybe a little less bright than a 93.

We looked at them in a totally darkened room, similar to the NS set up in Redlands...

We saw the SCB in a Footliter, on a 12 in stem, in a fake flower bed with plastic mums and bark chips on the edge of an astroturf lawn floor. I would think one would want to space fixtures something like 9 to 11 ft apart.

We compared the output of the MR-16 35 x 35 style in a blind test with a 10W and 20W BAB halogen. Lamps were placed overhead shining at a vertical wall about 15 feet away.

Also (later) overhead hanging from an arbor shining onto a bare redwood deck and from ground level uplighting an unfinished redwood lattice wall... truly a warm pleasing light.

Steve says these will probably work best for "small space lighting" and I think I'd have to agree.

He's asking whether the MR-16 can be done with 3 x 1.5 W chips in addition to the current 3 x 1 W.

I'm not sure yet about pricing, and I'd like to see more specs that might help better indicate the life of these things.

And of course I want to compare them to other offerings out there...


This is the Cree chip NS is using for the MR-16. Just confirmed it with Steve.

http://www.cree.com/products/pdf/XLampXR-E_lumen_maintenance.pdf

Pro-Scapes
10-14-2009, 04:27 PM
We have seen LED's that look good but I have not seen one that stays looking great. The DG is about as close as I have seen and that is based on the lamina atlas 2 chip. The ushio synergy looks promising but it does not fit in all housings. I think the fact Ushio delayed the release instead of rushing up to milk the cash cow says something about it too.

I think alot of factories can make a nice looking LED but look at the Kumho mess that Unique is having issues with. Its too soon to run and jump on the latest and greatest if you care about your longetivity in the field. a 1 yr test is not accurate enough for something electronic or even electrical that is supposed to last 5-10 yrs.

irrig8r
10-14-2009, 06:02 PM
Billy, look at the Cree link I posted above. It explains how the lamps are tested and how the useful life is projected.

jshimmin
10-14-2009, 06:14 PM
I have four of the 1 watt Cree chip sets in deck lights that died after 1 week. Now comes the fun of re-installing them in the wall they are on. Basically was told there are going to be some good batches and others...

irrig8r
10-14-2009, 06:23 PM
I have four of the 1 watt Cree chip sets in deck lights that died after 1 week. Now comes the fun of re-installing them in the wall they are on. Basically was told there are going to be some good batches and others...

The Nightscaping MR-16 LED uses Cree chips (3 actually x 1 W each) but is assembled for NS by someone else. In other words, Cree makes the chips, but doesn't make the MR-16 equivalents.

A lamp change with these would be simple. They are guaranteed for two years. Is that long enough for me to want to buy one? Not sure.

So, what happened with yours? Bad batch? Excessive temperature or moisture intrusion issues?

jshimmin
10-14-2009, 06:50 PM
Same set up here..
Someone else assembles the Cree components into their design.

I putting the new units in Friday and will have a better feel for what happened. There was no moisture inside the fixture and the test units run for days with no evident external heat. Heat on the LED driver is something I can not reliably measure though.

irrig8r
10-14-2009, 09:31 PM
Same set up here..
Someone else assembles the Cree components into their design.

I putting the new units in Friday and will have a better feel for what happened. There was no moisture inside the fixture and the test units run for days with no evident external heat. Heat on the LED driver is something I can not reliably measure though.

I recall James ..somewhere.. saying he thought that heat at the chip did potentially more damage than at the driver....

Let There Be Light
10-17-2009, 04:57 PM
Hi Guys, Sorry I've been "out of pocket" for a bit, then had signon issues with this site. Having been a longtime Nightscaping fan, glad to see there new retrofit LEDS. Their 35 degree has almost identical photometrics of a 2036 bab. This morning I went out on a maintenance call whereby just 9 months ago relamped 10 custom made stainless steel fixtures with Focus insides all working on 11.5 volts. Replaced them with Ushio 2036's with their 5000 hour lamp. 9 months ago, I said to the client "if any of these burn out within the year, I'll personally come out and replace them" well today I replaced two of them and my Ushio distributor will be getting these back for replacement. I offered this woman the Nightscaping LED Mr-16 and said she could now have a 2 year warranty. And reduce her energy by 85%. I plugged one in and it looked great, Sale made. Focus has an MR-16 LED, which I have also seen, very close to the Nightscaping, but at a whopping $150.00 street price. At that price, no wonder they can offer a 4 year warranty, going to be a tough sell even at a discount. Nightscaping has always been known for their quality and I'm glad to see them back in the game.

Steve
www.lettherebelightllc.com

JoeyD
10-19-2009, 12:37 PM
The nightscaping lamp is James Solecki's lamp I believe.........

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-19-2009, 04:24 PM
No, sorry, absolutely 100% NOT correct. Nightscaping is not purchasing the INTEGRA LED lamps from Led Lights Direct Inc.

They have source some other stuff from an unknown vendor and putting their name behind it. Details are sketchy as they dont seem to interested in providing any technical specifications on the products. From my experience in LED lamp I will say that I cannot see how either of the new NS LED lamps will come anywhere near to the performance of a 20W Halogen.

They are also being strange about pricing and will not issue a list price for the product. Instead they are privately providing their distributors with pricing and having them quote contractors directly. Why? I have no idea. I do know that the LED product that NS is offering is more expensive than the product that I build and sell.

Regards

JoeyD
10-19-2009, 04:46 PM
sorry james, my bad....they looked similar to the way your spec sheets look......

jshimmin
10-21-2009, 07:08 AM
I have four of the 1 watt Cree chip sets in deck lights that died after 1 week. Now comes the fun of re-installing them in the wall they are on. Basically was told there are going to be some good batches and others...


The fixtures were installed in a series (Daisy Chain) on a common run. The fourth fixture in the series had a failure in the rectifier circuitry. It smoked the entire inside of the fixture including the lens.

The three rectifiers in series between the failed unit and the transformer went out as well. I'm trying to get a schematic of the rectifier circuit so I can figure out how this could have happened.

Two fixtures past the failed unit at the end of the run were not effected.