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Exposed! Top 5 industrial LED lighting problems!

LED lighting is the new buzz and it should be. But as with all technologies it is not perfect and has some shortcomings. This simple list will help you overcome these problems and ensure that you implement good, safe and reliable industrial LED lighting.

1. LEDs do not like running hot

LED’s generate a massive amount of heat. At the point of contact with the PCB the LED’s operating temperature can range from 120 to 150 degrees Celsius. To dissipate this amount of heat the LED needs to be mounted on an aluminium PCB that is mounted directly on an aluminium light fitting that has been designed as a large heatsink (like you see on these ridiculously large car audio amplifiers). Getting rid of all this heat is extremely important as the cooler the operating temperature of the LED the longer the lifespan of the LED.

You can tell a good quality LED flood light or high bay light from a bad quality one by how much it weighs. The heavier the light fitting the more aluminium there is to dissipate the heat. The more aluminium, the cooler the LED will run and the longer it will last.

2. LEDs do not like power surges

An LED’s lifespan is greatly reduced when exposed to power fluctuations, noisy power and power surges. For an LED to have a long lifespan it needs constant voltage at constant current. Ideally, each LED should have its own current driver.

Fortunately, LED’s work on DC power. This means that the light fitting will have a 220Volts AC mains power converter to DC voltage. Typically, these power converters (power supplies) have a relatively large operating window. Our Freakin Bright Light’s power supply can operate from 90Vac to 300Vac but if you have power fluctuations this large then the power supply will fail before the LEDs.

We recommend BFR Digital’s AC mains surge arresters be fitted to the DB board’s light circuit. Although this arrester will not keep the mains voltage constant it does attenuate AC mains noise and surges.

Should you look closely at a Freakin Bright Light you will notice that each LED has its own current driver, ensuring that the LED’s current is always constant. This is to maximise the lifespan of the LEDs in your Freakin Bright Light.

3. LED light degradation

As with all things LED’s have a limited lifespan. Even when you have good heat dissipation and the LED is provided with constant current, at the end of 5 years of continuous operation or 44000 hours the LED would have lost between 10 to 20% of its light output. This is simple component aging.

The only way to overcome this is by including a maintenance factor into the original lighting design. That means that if you have an area that requires 300lux you should fit lighting to provide about 380lux when new. Then at the end of the 5 year cycle you will have 300lux in that area. Note there is no point to adding a higher maintenance cycle as the LED’s will reach the end of their lifespan by the end of the 5 year period.

4. The environment and disposing of old light fittings

This is an unpleasant topic for most people that are driven by the “now” and short-term results.

For those who demand short-term results and would rather buy a more inexpensive light fitting please consider this. It is illegal to send a light fitting to the landfill. It is also illegal to send any mercury-based light bulb to the landfill and although you may be saving money on a light fitting that can’t be serviced, this fitting will cost you when you have to dispose of it as you will have to pay a recycling company to process the light fitting.

We at Freakin Bright Lights take a long term view on our products. We are respectful to the environment and because most of us have kids, we are respectful of the generations still to come. That is our philosophy and we integrate that into our products.

We know that our LED’s are going to fail and will have to be replaced in the 6th year of operation. Therefore, we have made our light fittings to be fully serviceable because we know that a heavy piece of aluminium has an indefinite lifespan (the light fitting). The power supply module and the LED PCBs are all modular and replaceable. We also know that most PCB recycling companies will take the aluminium PCBs for recycling at no cost.

5. Keeping your eyes safe

All LED’s produce blue light. A film of phosphor is added to make the light white and the thicker the phosphor layer the more yellow the light produced. But this means that there will be a certain amount of ultraviolet and blue light radiated from the LED. Prolonged exposure to this light radiation is hazardous to the human eye. This becomes a bigger problem with high powered LED high bay lights.

Ensure that your manufacturer provides a “photo biological safety test report” (IEC 62471) for their LEDs. This will ensure that the ultraviolet and blue light radiated from the LED is safe to the human eye.