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Jumping on the LED bandwagon

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by irrig8r, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    Got notice of this today.


    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?
  2. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,186

    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.
  3. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

  4. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    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:
  5. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    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.
  6. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    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.
  7. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    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.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2009
  8. lilmarvin4064

    lilmarvin4064 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    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...
    ...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
  9. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    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.

  10. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    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.

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