What is an acceptable failure rate for LED?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Lite4, May 30, 2014.

  1. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Hey Guys,

    Well, it's been a busy service week here in Indy. It seems I have been replacing a lot of dead LEDs this week. I replaced 7 today that have only been in for about a year. What percentage of loss do you all find to be normal/ acceptable when it comes to LEDs? I don't have one particular brand that has been the culprit. I have had failures from Brilliance, Unique, Illumicare and Volt. (I would probably have some from kichler too, but I don't install that brand). Is anyone installing surge protection with your lighting? I started to do that but I couldn't find a very good surge block that would fit inside a transformer very well. I am thinking I may just install whole home surge protection on every job to protect from transients, surges and inductive loads from lightning strikes. What have you all been experiencing in the field with LEDs in your area?
  2. Raven2510

    Raven2510 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    Well we strictly install Kichler lighting. We do about 15-20 installs a year. I bet over the coarse of the last 3 years, I have replaced maybe 10 fixtures due to warranty. We really never have issues with the lights. Most of the replacement come from plow damage in the winter.
  3. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Oh I could write a book about LED lamp failures! :) It all depends on what type of failures you are experiencing. Are these catastrophic (burned up drivers), premature lumen depreciation (fade), failed chips (1-3 out of 3 going black), colour shifting (usually caused by cheap phosphors that cannot handle the heat) or out of the box failures?

    I have seen them all, and endured many, many thousands of dollars of costs associated with returning to site to change out failed lamps under warranty to the client. It is no fun. Thankfully the brand I am using now seems to be very stable and I am having very few failures with them (Since moving to Vista LED MR16 lamps in June of 2013, I have only seen 8 units fail, out of about 700 installed) Before that, was a long string of many hundreds of LED MR16 lamps installed that had a 95% failure rate! I kid you not. (Last year was VERY expensive year for warranty replacements)

    I ALWAYS recommend that a whole panel surge arrest unit be installed with every new outdoor lighting system. If the client is adamant that they do not want this, then I install a small TrippLite Block Surge Arrest inside the transformer. Surge arrest is a good idea no matter what type or brand of lighting you install.

    Light On!
  4. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    James, with the Triplite- when it fails, does it fail closed "lights still function- but no protection" or does it completely break the circuit "no lights at all" Open circuit? Most I have seen fail closed so you would never know that the unit was tripped without physically checking in the transformer to visually inspect it.

    I think whole home surge protection is a must and cheap insurance for all of their electronic devices in the home anyway.

    Failures, Lets see- out of the box, failed chips, catastrophic (these are the primary ones I encounter)
    Are Vista's LEDs the ones with the cool poly construction? black in color? What color temp are they? 8 out of 700 is pretty dang good- I would take that.
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    The one Triplite unit that I know of that took a surge failed to open state. It was all disfigured and melted too... So it did it's job nicely. None of the LED lamps it was protecting failed.

    Yes, Vista only sells one type of LED MR16 lamp... They are a very cool to the touch PIM material. They are the coolest running, high output, LED lamps I have ever encountered. The optics are very nice and they come in a good array of beam spreads. I have only used the 3000K lamps, but I am pretty sure they have a 4000K version too. http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs186/1101462576054/archive/1112712674993.html#LETTER.BLOCK7
  6. jana

    jana LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    Zero failure rate with Vista's. Not more than 1k installed since they were released in 3/13. Have been on the Vista train since day one. Love them!
    Have had 2 Illumicare wedge 3000k and 1 mr16 4500k fail with under 300 installed.

    Vista only has the 3000k or if you must per the box, 2950k, right now but cooler is coming! I can also tell you that any hour there will be a new bi-pin
    released and its a real beauty!
  7. eclairagepaysager

    eclairagepaysager LawnSite Member
    Messages: 62

    I will definitely check the Vista LED.

    James, you were right, the Soraa lamp is really exceptional. I saw them in a few places indoor and was quite impressed. Anybody used them outdoor? Failure?
  8. Irrigation Contractor

    Irrigation Contractor LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 423

    Well over 500 Kichler fixtures installed and 2-3 failures that I can recall.

    About 100 FX fixtures installed with somewhere between 6-8 failures, plus 7 LX-300 transformers.

    I always love when the reps try to sell us on how FX is more money, but the quality is worth it? Not from our experience.
  9. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    I have many 1000's of integrated and drop in lamps out in the field. I have some failures, about 1 in 2500 fixtures. Never had a problem with warranty.

    I have used many different drop in manu's with mixed results, most failures happen in the first year. Dropped all other lines and now only use Kichler drop ins with no failures so far. I like the fact they are constant current so when we are retrofitting a not so well installed system by others, it helps with voltage drop by always being the same brightness. My systems don't have that problem, but we have to deal with some lower budget jobs from time to time.

    I use both integrated and drop in lamps. I prefer drop in lamps for down lighting because I have more control of glare, lens, etc.
  10. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    I definitely need to pursue surge protection as well.

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