• Sam Helme

LED Lighting Guide

With so many options now available with LED technology progressing so rapidly - we've written this quick guide to help clear up some of the mysteries and issues generally found when buying LED fittings.

So what are LED's?

LED's (or Light Emitting Diode) in simple terms emits light when an electrical current is passed through the microchip. They are up to 90% more efficient than old style halogen fittings and available in a much wider range of applications.

3 LED keywords

  • Kelvin: The color temperature of a LED bulb is measured in Kelvin. The higher the number means a cooler white colour. A laboratory will generally have lighting with a kelvin of 4200-5500. A lower number would result in a softer and warmer light. For example a candle has a kelvin of around 1900.

  • Lumen: The output of the LED light bulbs are measured in lumen and not watts as is sometimes thought. Usually there is a comparison wattage on the front of the packaging, for example the lumen output of a 5w LED bulb is equivalent to a 50w Incandescent version.

  • CRI (Ra): CRI stands for Colour rendering index and describes how well a light renders color, compared to a reference light source. They are measured against a light source (generally the sun), if the light rendering is the same as the reference source, the CRI would be 100. Ideally you want the CRI to be as close as possible to this. The best LED light sources have figures in the high 90's while some of the cheaper fittings on the market come in around the 50-70 CRI level. This will make colours appear bland and washed out.

Applications of LED's

LED's have progressed from their invention in 1962 when they were first used in practical components, such as remote controls where they only emitted red light at low intensity. Since then they have progressed to almost every lighting application. Due to their many advantages over incandescent lights, including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching

One of the most popular forms of LED use is in linear applications. Due to LED's ability to have surface mounted lighting-emitting diodes fitted onto a flexible circuit board; it gives easy, cost effective ways to simply and easily run long lengths of LED.

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