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The LED Lighting Sunday Lecture

Good morning all…

Benefit from my mistakes?.. in modernising our house lighting both here in the UK and over in Spain, we have totally gone over to LED lighting of one kind or another. Having been used to compact fluorescents, I kind of expect a couple of years at least, before lights give up.

LED lighting is currently a choice, it won’t be for long as supplies of older alternatives dry up.

The first thing I learned when fitting LED lighting is that manufacturer specs are rubbish, blindly copied from the actual LED design specs by the lamp manufacturers/sales people. The specs refer to LEDs running at reasonable (warm) temperatures. Typically, household lighting gets HOT due to poor ventilation. LEDs don’t like to run HOT so forget your 13 year life claims but 2-5 years should be do-able..

Right at the top of Google you will see “expectancy of 50,000 hours. If you use your lights for 10 hours a day, this should be 13.7 years”. The claim is from “Electronics Weekly” who should know better. This is utter and complete nonsense and even paying over-the-top B&Q pricing won’t help.

Next, unless you really like cold light (harsh white), avoid any light that doesn’t state something like “2700k” or “warm”. For example, lights that state “6400k” are “daylight” white and definitely not cosy. If you like cold lighting in kitchens or bathrooms you may disagree but better to be warned. I found Spanish stores more likely to stock “cold” lighting. General rule: the higher the number, the colder the light colour. Look also for LED elements with yellow or more orange-ish colouring, the latter tend to be “warmer” – but usually the “K” temperature is on the box along with “daylight” or “warm”.

More recently, I found bargain lighting at PoundStretcher in the UK – “Hyundai” LED bayonet lights. After blaming my Chinese suppliers for a boatload of short-lived LED lights (weeks to months) it turns out I was wrong – in every case the short-lived lights turned out to be the “Hyundai” lights from PoundStretcher. Avoid like the plague, they are all rubbish and WILL soon start to flash then fail.

To keep this in perspective I’ve had RGB (multi-colour) mains-powered LED external lighting lasting maybe 10 British winters before starting to fail, so intrinsically, LEDs CAN last a long time.

On the subject of garden solar lighting (again LED) the problem there is not LED failure as they are always running cool or cold. Water is the enemy. ALMOST to the last, water gets to the circuit board, LED, battery connections or the solar panel itself and rust forms, destroying the unit or at least discharging the battery. ALL cheap solar lights suffer from this – maybe a year or two, you may be lucky, maybe not. I once bought what seemed like expensive stainless + glass large solar lights from the now defunct MAPLIN which lasted many years and are still going over in Spain today… you get what you pay for. I have a couple of (Chinese) £25 solar spotlights which look like they are going to last.. I’ve had hundreds of £1 Pound-Land specials which didn’t. Resin is no good for outdoors, glass is good but check the seals.

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