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LED Integrated Fixture Specifications - Where's the beef??

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I am preparing a presentation on LED light sources for use in outdoor lighting systems for an upcoming symposium. So I want to include information about various LED integrated fixtures as well as lamps. In reviewing a few major manufacturers web sites I am blown away by how little information they provide about their products. How can a lighting designer/contractor begin to do their job when all the information they are provided regarding a LED fixture is that it is based on a "1.9W LED chip". Yep that is it! No lumen output, no CCT, no CRI, no L70 rating, not even a subjective statement as to incandescent equivalency.

    This is just one example of what I am talking about. I am not trying to single them out.

    This amazes me. Are you just supposed to trust them because of their name? Buy a few thousand dollars worth of products and hope for the best?

    Without the technical specifications, how do you guys who use these fixture lines know what you are getting into?
  2. RLDesign

    RLDesign LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145


    You know I feel the proof is in the pudding. This fixture is one that I would specifically like to see field tested. Does anyone have the specs on this fixture? I am sure Mike Southard or Ron Carter would gladly put some info in your hands on this fixture. I am not on or off board with LED retro-fit lamps OR LED specific fixtures, but I would love to see some information from any company I have been researching. More and more companies and educated contractors are driving the amount of provided info... and many designers do not care about the info!!! I care and really need to know how it relates to what I am used to with regards to those ingredients in the pudding.

    Talk soon.

    Reynolds Lighting
  3. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    What would you like to know about the fixture?

    It works and yes there is a name behind it. Kichler lighting.

    And unlike other companys going chap.11 and almost closing they are not.

    And if they have a problem it gets resolved no questions asked. James I could careless about the tech specs. They have a team of testers who care about that stuff. My main concern is that it works...... Which it does
  4. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Wow, S&MLL, your response astounds me. So just because some company put's their name on a product, that is good enough for you to specify it, purchase it and install it? You are not worried about how much light it produces? What CCT that light is? What that light is going to look like reflecting of of surfaces? How long the fixture will last?

    I cannot imagine that you have purchased many LED fixtures from different manufacturers if you take this stand, because if you did, and if you have installed them... well your systems must look like a dogs breakfast. Just matching CCT between fixtures from the same manufacturers can be a real hassle.

    Do you not care about the technical specifications of transformers, lamps, connectors, etc either?

    Do you buy all products with this same attitude? Trucks? Boats? Vacations? Electronics? Tools? You must be a very trusting type of guy.
  5. jshimmin

    jshimmin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    Figures lie and liars figure...

    I have yet to see ANY manufacturers numbers that are an actuality in the field. The only way I'll use the product is if I can personally see it matched up side by side with the so called halogen equivalent.
    I've used the Kichler LED's with good success, but only in a location that the fixture can not be seen (they look awful).

    Does not matter what the manufacture claims about the product, I have to test drive it myself. If the manufacturer will not give me the units to test, they have no faith in it themselves.
  6. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    You mention that the manufacturers "give" you test models. Do they do this sort of thing? I don't imagine to anyone who asks but for those of us out there doing demonstrations and presentations, it just seems to me that this would be good sense. FX has given me a fixture before but everything else is out of my pocket. Just curious?
  7. jshimmin

    jshimmin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 99

    Usually just have to ask. They either give them out right or loan them for a period to test with. Sometimes it's the local rep or the manu themselves.
  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    [QUOTEDoes not matter what the manufacture claims about the product, I have to test drive it myself. If the manufacturer will not give me the units to test, they have no faith in it themselves.[/QUOTE]

    I am specficically referring to LED fixtures (and lamps for that matter). When they 'give' you all of these test fixtures, do they also include their performance specifications?

    Have you not ever read or used incandescent lamp charts or do you just go by your own eye?

    How about photometric performance data? Ever used that (provided by the fixture manufacturer) to plan and design a lighting system?

    My talk at this symposium will focus around the necessary data that must be supplied to a designer/contractor before they can make educated decisions on using LED fixtures or lamps in their system. With LED, there are a number of metrics that much be understood and they all come into play with each other. I am at the point where, given the proper specifications and data, I can tell in advance is an LED light source will be appropriate for various applications.

    More often than not, I have found that companies are releasing incomplete data, or no data at all. Those who do provide ample and accurate data are also those who are producing quality units and standing behind them... it also follows that those with full performance data have the most accurate output. It is to the point now that if only one metric is missing from a spec sheet, I am suspicious of the unit's performance.
  9. Alan B

    Alan B Sponsor
    Male, from tampa, fl
    Messages: 446

    I see both sides. For starters, Kichler is one of the few LED products that has a decent lumen output and no doubt they do as good as any or better job of standing behind their LED products, which is important when there is such little info on a new/changing technology. I give them credit for taking on such risk.

    James is correct, that there is essentially little to no information on light specs for most LEDs so its impossible to tell "how much light" "what color light" most LED fixtures output. Accordingly you can't tell if they are near halogen equivalents unless you buy and try. Kichler should have the specs, but in the meantime, they have produced a product that their market deems acceptable which is good enough for many.

    The reason there are not specs in general for most LED products is because:
    -often manu's don't want you to see them, because they tend to be worse than halogen.
    -they are changing so quickly that by the time you do the testing in a lab, make the nice charts and post the data, 3-6 months later its outdated.
    -the LED market is dominated by small start-ups buying their own chips, using ubiquitous chinese made bodies, getting their drivers form small niche manu's, and having them assembled/imported and reselling. Accordingly they don't have the funds, data, time to produce the info.
    -lastly LED lamps are different than incandescent regarding testing. The performance can vary depending on which fixture it is put into. An incandescent will out put the same lumen, color and have the same lifespan regardless of the fixture. The LED depends partially on the heat sinking/design of the fixture.

    In the end, if you don't know the product, you do need the info James mentioned in order to determine what its real output is like. Right now LED is like the wild, wild west, with little to know specs, and the ones that are published often have to be taken with a large grain of salt. No one knows what it will really look like in 10 years as the data is extrapolated for those longer periods--no one has actually tested them for that long.

    James is right on (although maybe it could have been worded differently :)), it is shocking how little data there is on the things that actually mater (lumens, color, etc). Instead LED sellers publish "watts' which is absolutely meaningless.
  10. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    James, your concerns are valid, although it mostly specifiers and certified lighting designers who are concerned with this level of detail (primarily for commercial projects). Still, there are a growing number of LL designers/installers who use this data. And, with LED's there are new criteria to consider.

    Here's a good example of the sort of spec sheet that an LED mfg should provide: http://www.creelighting.com/downloads/LR6 ss.pdf

    Also note that IES files (currently offered by spec-minded mfgs.) should include extra fields for CRI, CCT, and L70. These files are essential for designers using light rendering software such as AGI32. IES files (obtained by independant testing laboratories) are considered to be third-party verification of a fixture's performance. Most mfg., however, use their own testing for L70 determination since that test is very expensive - this is cause for suspicion.

    Also note that there is a growing need to provide information relevent to LEED, Energy Star, and other energy-saving incentive programs. I often get the question, "Does [this fixture] comply with LEED standards?" The answer is complicated. If you can clarify and simplify how lighting contributes to LEED credits, you will be doing your attendees a big favor.

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