LED is Great, but Not Necessarily Best

LED is Great, but not Necessarily BestLED lighting systems make sense for many good reasons. Energy efficiency and lamp longevity were the primary drivers early on. With today’s product offerings, design flexibility is increasingly the reason to choose an LED system over any other technology. An LED system can free you from the design constraints that other technologies impose.

Even though it provides exciting new possibilities, LED is not always the best choice for a given application. As with any technology, it has its drawbacks. To understand where LED is appropriate and where it’s not, you need to know some basics about the technology.

First, understand that it’s an electronic system. Instead of 277V lighting distribution, you’ve got AC-supplied power supplies producing a DC voltage (typically 5V, same as the USB standard) for the LED lamps. LED lighting products provide power usually one of two ways:

  • Incorporated into the fixture, similar to the way the ballast is often part of the assembly for HID or other types of traditional lighting.
  • In brick form, similar to the power supply for a laptop. Typically, this is the approach for 120V flexible lighting strips.

(We’re disregarding the direct screw-in LED lamps since “installing” one is hardly electrical work).

While the lamps themselves are cool to the touch, an important concern with the power supplies is the heat they produce. This has implications for such things as recessed lighting cans in a ceiling. Their cooling needs also present limitations.

Source: Mark Lamendola | Mindconnection

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