LED experience

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by sprinkler guy, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. sprinkler guy

    sprinkler guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223

    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.
  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,535

    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"?
  3. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    because its aluminum Gregg!! Keep us posted on the results Sean. Pics would be awesome!!
  4. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,209

    This will be a great thread as we all venture further into the depths of LED!!
  5. sprinkler guy

    sprinkler guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223

    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:
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    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.
  7. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    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?
  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    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.
  9. NiteTymeIlluminations

    NiteTymeIlluminations LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 367

    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.
  10. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 805

    What two leds do you like?

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