How can a consumer get the right LED luminaire data?

- Oct 24, 2018-

How can a consumer get the right LED luminaire data?

It is important for consumers to get hold of LED product datasheets to understand the products better, to compare the products with other products in the market, and to buy the products as per their requirements. However, manufacturers are still not very efficient in sharing all the data that a consumer requires. Here are some of the challenges that the consumers face:

Confusing websites

James wanted to buy some LED lights for his office, so he decided to find some essential information about some of the LED lighting companies from their websites. After some time he found that instead of his queries being answered, he was highly confused as the websites were very complicated. He found thousands of products with hundreds of variations. Moreover, the product range changes every few months.

James believes the LED manufacturers need to keep their websites very simple and consumer friendly, which should be easily searchable. Secondly, James found that many of the information are so technical, indicating that the manufacturers take the consumer for granted thinking that all of them will know about the technology and its technicalities. Instead, these websites should use word/terms that are understandable by any common person, with big, friendly buttons.

After searching for quite some time, James found the datasheet, so he wanted to check the color rendering index (CRI) of the product he chose. He was surprised to see that such an important metric about the product is missing.

Missing metrics

When important metric like CRI, CCT, output, efficacy, life or wattage is missing in a datasheet, the product can be doubted for its efficiency. If the color temperature is not found, it is sure to be higher than what you are expecting, or may be not too good to be displayed.

Sometimes if you find the metric you are looking for, you will not understand the vague way of explaining such important metrics. If they have used words like ?up to?, ?>80? or something vague, it is understandable that the metrics are less that what the company claims. Sometimes even figures are lumped together for a whole range of products, and the manufacturer discloses only the specs of the best performing product in the product range.

Then if you find one product?s data, you are unable to find other companies? data, hence you are unable to compare the product or may have disclosed vague numbers.

The most annoying fact is the claim the manufacturers do about the lifespan of a product.

In order to prove that their products are of high quality, they claim their products to have 50,000 hours or 100,000 hours lifetime. What is the proof that it will last that long? How long an LED will lasts depends mainly on the luminaire it is built into, the electronics it has used, and other such features. So, instead of just claiming a vague number, the manufacturers should disclose these features clearly and honestly.

And even if the manufacturer discloses the lifetime metric honestly, the reality is that nobody knows the accurate lifespan of an LED product till it fails because this metric is often extrapolated from test data taken over just 2,000-6,000 hours.

So, a user should look for the luminaire as a unit, and other well defined metrics like L70, which indicates how long it will take for the output of the luminaire to fall to 70%of what it was at the start.

Again, many manufacturers do not disclose the energy that gets wasted by a driver when they give the efficacy numbers for their LED luminaire. So, the user should definitely know luminaire lumens per circuit watt, or lumens per watt, that is, lm/Wcct. This will tell you how many lumens are emitted by the LED chip; how many watts are used by the fitting; how many are used in the entire circuit, including the driver, etc.