Believe it or not LED lighting is actually decades old. Lighting fanatics will probably be aware of the many issues it first went through in the early days of design. Most early models were plagued with being unreliable, with many hitting an array of technical issues. Overheating, deteriorating light quality and early burnout all made for a tough sell.
Reliability is something we all take for granted with lighting and electricity and now that energy efficient lighting is more reliable, consumers can reap the benefits of this ever improving technology.
Now the market has reliability sorted, it has moved onto offering more options for consumers. We can now buy more than just the standard LED bulb, we can choose strip lighting, ceiling lights, panel lighting and many more. We no longer have to put up with lack of choice within the energy efficient sector.
This is where we get technical. Over and above selecting the voltage and design we need to first and foremost be aware of the lighting application need we have. Is the lighting we want achievable using the LED option and what else is needed to ensure you can use the energy efficient option.
Since the EU regulations came into force and standard lightbulbs have slowly been phased out, naturally we have all looked for replacements; with options limited to the inefficient halogen light many consumers have turned to energy efficient lighting especially for lightbulbs.
Bulbs have many characteristics and no more is that true than in the energy efficient sector. Characteristics can range from Beam spread, optimal use, overall length, diameter and if you are able to use it indoors or outdoors. Consumers than have the option of colour spectrums; are you looking for white light, daylight or soft white effect?
For many consumers it’s a case of picking up the best value, but for designers and home owners with an interest in lighting, these are all considerations to be taken into account. With hundreds of options available selecting a light is no easy task.
If you are replacing old bulbs; such as halogen you will also need to think about the currents. For example halogen runs off AC (alternating current) whilst LED runs off DC (direct current) and in many cases a transformer is needed to convert the current into the correct version or mains current.
In instances you are using a 12V low voltage light, you will need to bring down the mains voltage to the correct value. Mains voltage is often 240V and if you have a 12V light you only need 12V to power them. Many MR16 halogen lightbulbs are now being replaced with 12V MR16 LED bulbs so the need for transformers has grown considerably.
There are two types of transformers available. Electronic transformers, which are useful of you are using high voltage lighting, they do not usually work well with low voltage products. Unless you can wire multiple low voltage lights together to create enough surge for the transformer to be effective. In the case of using MR16 bulbs this could be beneficial if choosing to replace more than one throughout.
Wire wound transformers are becoming more rare as manufacturers look to phase them out and replace them with the newer electronic versions.
The current recommendation for low voltage; such as the MR16 is to use LED drives, they are drives specifically created to handle LED power. They are the new buzzword in lighting as they can handle high voltage and voltage as low as 1w without any compromise on flickering, dimming or light quality.
Understanding the technical side of your project or lighting need can make a difference in lighting your space in the best way, with so many companies offering help and expertise in choosing lighting, consumers should be able to light their space in a cost effective way.