Changing Existing Lighting to LED Lighting - What Stories and Opinions do you Have?

Postby ericmark » Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:55 am

I have in my house slowly moved from tungsten lights to start with to fluorescent and then to LED. First move to LED produced some surprises as I read the lumen output of the bulb which was lower than the CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) it replaced yet seemed brighter. The fluorescent lamp loses it's output gradual over the years and looking at the LED replacements I am now wondering if they also lose output gradually as my living room at first seemed very bright but today I need a spot light on to read a book.

So room one the living room started life with 2 x 100W tungsten lamps, this moved to 6 x 40W tungsten using three lamp fitting which gave a better spread of light, moving to CFL the 18W lamp did not really look good with folded tube so we moved to 5 lamp fittings using 10 x 8W bulbs to light the room, this was not really that good they soon started to fail we had done two rooms so replaced all bulbs in one room with a cheaper 8W globe slightly bigger using the bulbs removed as spares for other room. Soon down to 8 working and I bought 2 x 1.8W LED candle bulbs for table lamps so until I could get replacements I stuck these in the living room. The output was far better than expected so next time Lidi did the bulbs I got 8 x 3W bulbs and so one room all LED lighting.

So recap
2 x 100W = 3500 lumen (estimate using internet data)
6 x 40W = 3024 lumen (estimate using internet data)
6 x 18W = 4000 lumen (estimate using internet data)
10 x 8W = 3500 lumen (from product)
8 x 3W + 2 x 1.8W = 2200 lumen (from product)
Clearly the lumen is not too accurate, but I was sold on using LED. However they are expensive tried some Poundworld 0.58W GU10 and GU5.3 and really too dim to be any use, and the latter failed I think because fed with a toroidal transformer.

So next is the 2W and 5W GU10 from B&M Bargains. The 2W at 3 for £10 are cheap but what I wanted for bed side lamps as the tungsten could burn ones hands if you tried to adjust. The 5W I think was £4 still cheap and the pattern was very different from 2W version. 2W are spots and light even, but the 5W was centre weighted and the spread could upset person next to you so the 3W was better for bed side lamp. They compared well with the 35W quartz bulb.

I got some SES and ES spot lamps again 3W from Lidi for reading lamps and again very good the spread was greater than the GU10 lamp. Since the LED replacement is not a multi-faceted reflector even if they at 18/8ths of an inch across they are not MR16 lamps so to try to get the same spread of light is just not going to happen. So it's a bit of suck it and see as to spread of light one has to take the 60 deg with a pinch of salt.

The final LED package I tried was for kitchen. I had a 5 foot 65W fat tube fluorescent tube, I had tried 58W thin tubes but they only lasted 4 months. I had got a fat tube 60W from Wickes but when after 4 years it failed I could no get a replacement. So rather than have to replace the fitting thought I would try an LED replacement. Cost was £17.09 so not cheap standard fluorescent tube will cost around £3. I would not have replaced fitting with a wire wound ballast type it would have been a HF type so very much cheaper than replacing the fitting. Dropped from 60W to 24W output 2400 lumen. I would not consider replacement as cost effective had it not been could not get the fat tubes.

This however is very different to other LED lamps used. With a HF ballast it has to be rewired inside the fitting. With a wound ballast you can leave the ballast in and replace the starter for the dummy provided but then the ballast will still warm up wasting power. I selected to rewire as could never replace with fluorescent as can no longer get them. And I affixed the sticker to warn not to try replacing with a standard fluorescent lamp. The new tube is fed from one end only and the flat on the tube has to face the fitting. Only been in a day but first impressions are good. However not sure as to use in the home because of the problems should a standard tube be used to replace it.

Having read some of the reports on LED lights it would seem there are some dangerous units and some cons going on. The SMD 5050 LED chip uses 20 mA per LED and this should mean a strip of 5 meters should use 48W but the adverts state 72W it would seem to convert the chip from a current device to a voltage device they use a simple resistor since red has a lower voltage to blue and green so one can change colour they have used rather a lot of the power to convert from current dependent to voltage dependent. So although the LED its self is very economic some of the packages which use LED's are not.

There are many ways to convert from current to voltage, the efficient way is the switched mode regulator. If one compares lumen per watt the spots I bought just did not say lumen output so 1.8W candle = 55 lumen per watt, 3W candle = 83 lumen per watt and the replacement fluorescent tube = 100 lumen per watt. For 230 vac units some can run 150 ~ 250 volt other 220 ~ 230 volt the former clearly must have a switched mode driver. However that replacement fluorescent tube claimed 220 ~ 230 vac I think likely it would still work at 150 volt but it is not stated on the package. So it would seem there are some very good and some very bad LED products.

It would help me and I am sure many others if readers could give their account of moving to LED. In theroy current regulating devices are called drivers, but it seems manufacturers are calling anything used to power LED's a driver even if voltage regulated. They did the same with quartz lamps they called switch mode power supplies an "electronic transformer" although they had a transformer inside they were not simple transformers but used to replace transformers so they used same name. We also see extra low voltage called low voltage by lighting manufacturers.

So your stories please, how is your conversion to LED progressing.
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