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What is LED Lighting?

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are solid-state semiconductor diodes that emit light when an electrical current flows through them. One or more LEDs may be assembled into conventional lamp housing together with other electronic circuitry to provide a durable replacement light source. No fragile or easily damaged components in comparison to traditional lamps.

What are the Advantages of changing to LED Lighting?

  • Reduction in Energy Consumption and therefore reduced lighting costs.
  • Hugely increased product lifespan and durability.
  • Dramatically reduced CO2 emissions.
  • Flicker free instant illumination even at cold temperatures.

What savings can I make from LED?

On average our customers will save 86% by switching their existing halogen or incandescent lamps to our LED Lighting products. When it comes to replacing CFLs with LEDs, the savings are about 50%.

What makes a quality LED bulb?

To properly evaluate if an LED is a quality product or not you need to assess:

  • The efficacy of the LED Chip.
  • The efficiency of the heat dissipation system.
  • The quality of the internal components (power supply).
  • The experience of the manufacturer to confirm build quality.
  • Determine the point the product loses 30% of initial luminance.

Do LEDs fit straight into my existing fittings?

For the vast majority of LED products the answer to this is yes, but there can be exceptions to this, specifically with some existing halogen spotlights fittings; there is an easy check. Confirm with the company you are buying from and if you have any concerns make sure they have a money back period in case of issues that cannot be resolved.

Do LEDs really last as long as the claims?

Our years of testing LED lamps here in the UK suggest that some of the claimed lifespan figures are misleading to say the least. As a general guide, a quality LED lamp currently will have an effective lifespan of 25,000 hours.

Anything claiming to have a lifespan of 40,000 to 50,000 hours is either an exceptional product or is one based on figures extrapolated from a few thousand hours of operation. The price tag should indicate the product category, but this is not always the case.

How is an LEDs lifespan determined?

Nearly every LED lamp retailer in the UK simply uses the information supplied by the lamp manufacturer and they generally take the figures from the LED manufacturer; we believe this leads to inaccurate information as the LED is only one component of many in the lamp itself. The power supply uses many more components and if one were to fail the entire lamp would be useless even with a perfectly functional LED. We test all LED products here in the UK both practically and by independent optometric labs using an algorithm which, after 6,000 hours of testing, projects the number of hours remaining before the LED deteriorates 30% from the original luminance output.

Are there any Infrared or Ultra Violet emissions using LED’s?

Our LEDs produce virtually no light in the IR or UV spectrum.

Can LED’s be used in damp/wet areas such as bathrooms?

Yes they can but they should be fitted into an appropriately rated IP fitting for the particular conditions. Some LED packages are totally waterproof, the electrical connections are not. Remember water and electricity do not mix.

Can you use LEDs in enclosed fittings?

Yes you can, but you need to be careful which product to choose; take advice if you have concerns. All LED lamps have heat dissipation systems but there are different types and some are more effective in these conditions. All LEDs become warm in operation, some become hot. If the heat generated in the normal operation of the lamp cannot be effectively removed and the lamp operates at a higher temperature than specified it will impact on the expected lifespan of the lamp.

What is CRI?

CRI stands for Colour Rendering Index and in simple terms, based on a figure from 0 to 100; it is the measurement of the ability of light sources to accurately reproduce colours in comparison to a standard reference source. The higher the CRI rating the better the light source is at accurately reproducing every colour of the spectrum. There should be no excessive excess or loss of any colour generated from the lamp in order that illuminated objects appear naturally. With LED lighting, look for an absolute minimum CRI figure of 80 but to recreate the quality of light achieved by a halogen or incandescent lamp you need CRI levels of, at the very least, 90 but 95 is preferable.

Can LEDs interfere with DAB/FM Radio Signals?

Generally no but it may happen under certain circumstances for a combination of reasons and can usually be alleviated; some LED types are more prone, exacerbated by local conditions and installation.  All electrical products generate unwanted signals and must meet defined standards that must not be exceeded in order to display the CE mark. Conversely radios must be immune to defined levels of unwanted signals in order to display a CE mark. If for instance a radio is operating in a low signal strength area with a telescopic aerial, it is possible that a combination of LEDs, power supplies and wiring layout can cause issues; different combinations will perform differently. The product supplier should be able to offer remedial advice and assistance if issues arise.

What Colour LEDs should I buy?

Domestic homes – Warm White, based on the traditional incandescent lamp, is by far the most popular choice. Please be careful though as ’warm white’ can vary greatly with different LED models; all models in the same range should be indistinguishable. Also don’t discount Natural White versions too quickly, it can be a superb colour if you prefer a brighter, less warm light for reading or working.

Commercial Properties – Natural White is the colour that we would recommend for nearly all commercial applications.
Warm White              –           Around 2700k
Natural White            –           Around 4000k
Cool White                 –           Around 5000k

Can you get dimmable LED’s?

Yes, you can get dimmable LED’s, they will be slightly more expensive than non dimmable versions and you may need to be careful when using them with existing dimmers as older dimmers generally don’t tend to work as expected with LEDs

The supplying company should be able to offer advice.

Will I need special transformers when fitting MR16 (GX5.3) LED Spotlights?

It’s likely you may need to purchase specialist LED transformers for use with the low voltage MR16 (GX5.3) LED Spotlights due to their low power requirement in comparison with the original transformer designed for a high power halogen lamp. Please contact the supplying company for further advice.

What is the difference between the downlight and spotlight?

Downlight. A complete unit where the LED, control circuit and housing/fitting form an integrated enclosed unit. Available in mains 240v and low voltage versions.

Spotlight. A replacement lamp unit in a style to suit existing light fittings. Typically GU10, Gx5.3, PAR envelope styles and others.

What type of LED chips are there?

LED devices have been commonly produced since the 2 wire pin indicator devices of the 60s. Packaging types continue to progress to suit applications and requirements.

DIP (Dual In-line package)  Large 2-pin wire devices where the wire pins go through the circuit board and make electrical contact on the reverse side of the mounting. Typically used in on/off indicator circuits. Multiple devices packaged on board gives a relatively very low lumens per watt.

SMD (surface mounted device) Smaller devices, contact at both ends of package. Mount and electrical connections on the same side of the mounting board permits compact packaging of multiple devices. Gives better 50-80 lumens per watt efficacy.

COB (Chips on board) Even smaller multi SMD style chips manufactured as one integrated very compact package.  With a comparatively larger cooling area, better thermal resistance provides higher lighting efficacy.

What Lumens and Beam Angle do I need to replace a 50w Halogen

You need a minimum of around 350 warm white lumens (warm white = 2700k), a beam angle of 38-60 degrees and CRI of at least 95 to properly replace a 50w Halogen.

Expect to pay around £12 for a dimmable LED Spot.

What Lumens do I need to replace a 60w Incandescent?

You need a minimum of 800 warm white lumens (2700k) with CRI of at least 95

Expect to pay around £13 for dimmable Lamp.

What Lumens do I need to replace a 40w incandescent?

You need a minimum of 470 warm white lumens (2700k) with CRI of at least 95

Expect to pay £11 for dimmable lamp.

What Lumens do I need to replace a 25w incandescent candle?

You need a minimum of 250 warm white lumens (2700k) with CRI of at least 95

Expect to pay around £9 for dimmable lamp.

Can I use non-dimmable LEDs on their own or with dimmable LEDs in an electrical circuit controlled by a dimmer unit?

No. Non-dimmable LEDs have internal power supplies intended to work over a voltage range indicated on the carton/product in order to work in various countries with a different national electrical voltage. The internal power supplies are intended to maintain a constant output illumination level from the LED irrespective of the input voltage. In simple terms varying the input voltage to the LED (via the dimmer) will result in the internal power supply within the LED trying to maintain a constant output. In practice it is more complicated as the dimmer unit produces a non standard voltage that the internal power supply of the LED is not intended to operate with resulting in flickering, flashing and audible noises. Operation will result in damage to the LED lamp, the dimmer or possibly the electrical circuit and should NOT be continued.

Can I use non-dimmable LEDs on their own or with dimmable LEDs in an electrical circuit controlled by a dimmer unit even if the dimmer is turned to maximum and never dimmed?

No. The dimmer unit produces a non standard electrical waveform, even at full on setting, that is incompatible with the non-dimmable power supply within the LED. Operation can result in damage to LED lamps sometimes in a matter of seconds. Even if the LED lamp apparently appears to function do not continue to use in this fashion. Power supplies within dimmable LEDs are intended to work with dimmer units, non-dimmable LED power supplies are not intended to work with dimmer units. Note that some combinations of dimmable LED and dimmer units are NOT 100% compatible and do not work as expected and whilst they are safe to use, the limited dimming range, flickering etc is not acceptable for normal use and continued operation is not recommended.