The Secret Life Of Led Lights

Whereas the market for colored (Red, Green, Blue) RGB LEDs is well established, the marketplace for white LEDs is still growing. Why? When you think of industries that still depend on white, non-LED lighting, such as televisions, automotive manufacturers, computer monitors, notebook computers, LCD backlights, etc., it is possible to understand the push to end up being the leader in white LED manufacturing.

Many people are surprised a business would avoid a revenue generating opportunity that converting a house or business to LED would create. However, just because replacement white LED bulbs and retrofits are finally available to buy, does not mean that they should be on your immediate grocery list. In very simple terms, the marketplace for colored and color-changing LEDs is mature. While engineers are still finding ways to make them brighter and much more efficient, the ultimate goal of the LED industry is in developing volume production of high-efficiency, high-brightness white LEDs.

It may be easier to think about colored LEDs (RGB) and white LEDs with regard to another industry: Automotive. RGB LEDs are just like the internal combustion engine: Reliable, abundant, easy to use and manufacture, and fairly well toned with regards to the potential for new or breakthrough technologies. There are lots on manufacturers and each has their own group of patents and “tricks of the trade” to help give themselves some marketing leverage over the competition. White LEDs are just like the alternative energy industry for transportation: Quite varied, still relatively “new”, still having to be market proven, more costly, more challenging to control.

There are various manufacturers, each utilizing a different technology or combination of technologies to attain what they believe is the “another big thing.” Third , analogy, RGB LEDs are mature enough to compete on cost alone and the drop in costs is what fuels new applications for colored LEDs that had not been thought of previously. White LEDs, alternatively are still developing technically and really should not be shopped based on cost alone. The need for quality and longevity is what fuels the further research and development into white LEDs.


Because there are so many variables that need to be considered, making a quick and easy recommendation about transitioning to white LEDs is not possible. To obtain a jump start on the future, consider every lighting source in each room and establish what it’s primary purpose is. After you have done this, review the following items to help determine where on the priority purchase-list each replacement ought to be. Below are a few general ideas to help you determine if an LED upgrade is the right choice for you personally:

1.) May be the lighting located in a home where the primary resident is older or has mobility issues?

If the LED replacement produces adequate light levels, LED alternatives are ideal for used in homes where safety is a top priority. Knowing that an ill or older person will not have to change a burned-out light bulb again can offer peace-of-mind.

2.) Is initial cost a primary factor in determining if you’re going to upgrade?

The current nature of the white LED market means that prices remain relatively high, especially compared to traditional lighting. Being an early adopter means paying reduced; are you comfortable with knowing you could have paid less for the same technology in the event that you had waited?

3.) Is the light located in bright daytime sunlight or a location of high heat?

High degrees of heat will noticeably shorten the lifespan of any LED, especially white LEDs. When considering LEDs, try to make sure that both the fixture and the positioning allow for adequate passive cooling in order to avoid color-shift and longevity issues. This is the much bigger concern when considering retrofit bulbs versus considering a “total package” LED fixture and lamp.

4.) Are you needing to decrease the heat output from a traditional light source?

In bathrooms, laundry rooms and small spaces, conventional lighting can produce uncomfortable heat. LED lighting is great for these areas because they produce no heat and because affordably illuminating smaller areas with LEDs presents significantly less of a challenge.

5.) May be the lighting located in an area of rough service or environmental extremes?

Garage door openers, unheated/cooled utility rooms and outdoor workshops place extreme demands of lighting equipment. Vibrations that may break a lamp filament and cold temperatures that can result in a fluorescent tube to flicker are of no consequence to LED lighting, making these replacements a fairly easy decision.

6.) Is the brightness critical to the application form?

LEDs are directional by nature, so trying to meet a specific brightness expectation over a wide area is not the very best usage of LED lamps. The current crop of standard fluorescent tubes or high-bay lighting is going to be better for these applications.

7.) Are you attempting to retrofit a preexisting lighting fixture to accommodate an LED replacement?

Most current lighting fixtures are made to capture and reflect as much light as you possibly can from conventional light sources that produce light from all 360 degrees. Because LEDs emit very directional light, you can find often many compromises that must be made by manufacturers to make LEDs “work” for the best amount of retrofits. When possible, rather than retrofit bulbs consider a “total package” LED lighting fixture that has been designed from the bottom up to efficiently use LEDs.

8.) May be the light output and quality of the LED version acceptable in comparison to your existing lighting?

With all of the lighting technology available (incandescent, fluorescent, LED, etc.) the only way to get an accurate idea of how the lighting will perform would be to compare the light output or lumen and color temperature specifications instead of the wattage as is typical of most of us raised with traditional lighting in the home. THE UNITED STATES Department of Energy has devised a standardized “lighting facts” label similar in concept to the nutrition label entirely on foods, to greatly help consumers compare lighting.

9.) Are the bulbs you’re considering replacing difficult to gain access to or reach?

If they’re, LED replacements are great candidates because after they are changed, you’ll likely never have to change them again since LEDs usually do not “burn up” such as a conventional bulb.

10.) Are you currently replacing all the light bulbs in a particular area or just an individual bulb?

Unless you know the color temperature of all the lighting in the room, try to be consistent in whatever lighting technology you choose. For instance, if your room uses primarily halogen lighting, it is likely a warm color temperature and changing a single reading lamp to LED with a cooler lighting temperature can not only be noticeable, but can also be distracting.

11.) Does the power savings and/or profits on return (ROI) ensure it is worthwhile at this time?Prepare magnetic track light price using free web calculators to determine how much money you will put away on energy and what the potential profits on return is. Just enter your energy rates, the full total wattage of your conventional lighting and the full total wattage of the LED lighting that you are considering and the calculator will let you know exactly how much money each technology will cost you per year.

As you can plainly see, every lighting situation should be considered individually against the above checklist. Doing this will help you to determine LED upgrade plans that fit within both your budget and your expectations. Generally, LED lighting will continue to improve in both output and efficiency each year like the way the personal computer market has evolved. What could be considered a “middle of the street” LED lamp today, was more than likely considered reduced product per year or two ago. Prioritizing your LED lighting purchases so that the basics are covered first and delaying your more demanding lighting requirements because the technology improves will ensure a cushty transition to tomorrows lighting technology.