At the present stage, LED lamps are considered one of the most economical light sources. Due to the fact that the scope of their application is very wide, such lamps can be used everywhere: at home, on the street, in industrial enterprises.. After the purchase, they will very soon justify themselves, because the energy savings increase many times over.. In this regard, LEDs significantly “outperform” even luminescent light sources, which, as you know, have replaced conventional incandescent lamps. In order to understand which LEDs should be purchased and what to focus on, you need to understand the basic principles of their operation and those indicators that will help ensure the best degree of illumination in a particular room..
Advantages and disadvantages of using
All LED light sources are energy-saving and, as already mentioned, save much more energy than using incandescent lamps or fluorescent analogs. LEDs are much better and higher than other bulbs in terms of light output, moreover, they have a much quieter glow, which does not dazzle or tire the eyes for a long time, even if we are talking about sufficiently powerful lamps or floodlights used in industrial enterprises.
Unlike fluorescent and incandescent lamps, there are no dangers or problems with LEDs if they are disposed of: they do not contain such a dangerous chemical element as mercury, and therefore they can be safely thrown away without any special procedures, of course, observing safety precautions when handling glass.
As you can see, the advantages of LED lamps are very significant, but along with them, it is worth noting the disadvantages, which also have a place and must be taken into account if the buyer decides to purchase economical, but specific LEDs of their kind. Undoubtedly, in cost, they are several times higher than even luminescent counterparts: in stores it is rare to find a light bulb, the price of which would be less than 300 rubles. If the products are of high quality, their cost is often much higher than this figure..
LED lamps have the function of working with a dimmer – a regulator of the intensity of the light flux. However, you should be aware that choosing a suitable dimmer can be difficult, and if you need one, you will have to spend a certain amount of time choosing the right one for the lamp to work as correctly as possible. You also need to keep in mind that LEDs are very sensitive to voltage drops in the network..
And of course, practice shows that in many places low quality lamps are offered, which fail very quickly..
However, given the indisputable advantages, most of these “disadvantages” should still be perceived not as disadvantages of LED lamps, but as their features that will have to be taken into account when purchasing. If you approach the issue effectively, most of these technical issues can be solved, and the lamps themselves will serve for a long time and with tremendous energy savings..
At the mention of LED lamps, an unknowing person may wonder how they look and what they are. Newbie consumer will surely be surprised, but most of these structures are not much different visually from the usual household sources of electric light:
- For example, tubular led light were manufactured to replace similar types of fluorescent light sources and are now widely used to illuminate industrial premises, offices and hypermarkets. Long narrow flasks are both opaque and transparent, and now they are made not of ordinary glass, but of polymeric materials of increased strength.
- Spot lamps are also very widespread. They are used for the so-called “point” illumination of stretch ceilings in any room. They are the best option, because they do not heat the materials from which the ceiling is made, and they perform not only the lighting, but also the absolutely safe aesthetic function of the backlight. Spot lighting with LEDs is also found in the design of all kinds of creative spaces and photo studios..
- For street spotlights the use of LEDs has become a kind of salvation due to the fact that such a floodlight consumes much less energy, and the luminous flux required for street lighting becomes much higher.
If the LEDs in the floodlight are located in a dotted manner (there are several of them in the design), if the system fails, you can easily replace any LED, and the floodlight will be fully restored..
LED lamps have different types of caps. Plinths E27 and E14 connected with threads in the usual classical way, which makes these lamps similar to the most standard ones. The presence of a number in the name of the base indicates the dimensions of the diameter in millimeters. GU10 – a plinth with a two-pin connector extending closer to the ends of both pins, the distance between which is 10 mm. Such a base is considered the safest and is designed for a voltage of 22 volts in the mains..
GU 5.3 – also a pin model of the base, only of a more modern modification. This type of base was previously used in the design of halogen lamps, but now it is successfully installed in LED lamps. This type is very convenient for installation on plasterboard surfaces.. G13 it is used in lamps of the linear type, in the form of long tubes with two noticeable pins at one end, the distance between which is, respectively, 13 mm.
The power of LED lamps is an important indicator. This is the amount of energy consumed by the lamp for a certain unit of time. In other words, if the lamp has an inscription of 12 watts, then this means that it consumes 12 watts per hour. If you draw up a power table and compare its indicators, for example, with a fluorescent lamp, the difference will be obvious.
For example, a 2 W LED lamp is equal in all basic functions to a 20 W incandescent lamp, while it consumes 10 times less energy per hour. If we compare the power indicator with a similar fluorescent light source, the power of a fluorescent lamp will be less than that of a 6W incandescent lamp, but any LED will still come first due to the enormous savings in energy consumption..
Light output is the actual amount of light given off by the lamp. It is measured in lumens. For example, lamps from different manufacturers with the same power consumption can have completely different light output (850,900,950 lumens, etc.. ).
As an example, you can take simple comparative indicators of light output that different types of lamps can give. For example, a standard 15 W incandescent lamp produces 135 lumens. For comparison, a fluorescent lamp with a power of 5 watts already has a luminous efficiency of 145 lumens. This indicator is already much better, however, the LED lamp here is ahead of everyone in terms of energy saving and brightness: with a power of only 3 watts, its luminous flux is as much as 360 lumens.
The color of the luminous flux of an LED lamp can be different and have the ability to adjust the color spectrum. This is one of the main differences between LEDs and incandescent lamps, which always give a monochrome yellowish glow. Color temperature (or luminescence temperature) is measured in Kelvin. It is she who affects comfort and coziness. There are four European temperature standards: 3000 Kelvin is warm light, 4100 Kelvin is neutral, 5000 is cold, 6500 is industrial light. The latest color temperature is prohibited for use in domestic environments..
The color rendering index, as a rule, is always written on the outside of the cardboard packaging of light bulbs, or its readings can be found in the attached technical data sheet..
Incandescent lamps always emit light at the same angle. As for the LEDs, they can give a luminous flux at different angles, which should be taken into account when purchasing one or another type of lamp. The radiation angle may be small. In this case, we are talking about a narrowly directed stream of light, when a small area will be illuminated. (VNSP). FL – the flow is small, but wider than the previous indicator, and the combination of letters VWFL on the packaging or in the passport of the lamp indicates a wide angle of dispersion.
The energy efficiency of a lamp is the ratio of its light output to its power consumption. It is measured in lumens per watt. For example, the energy efficiency of a lamp “Sirius” with a light output of 960 lumens and a power consumption of 10 watts, it will be 96 lumens per watt. The higher the energy efficiency, the better the lamp shines.
Some people think that the higher the glowing temperature, the brighter the light bulb burns, but this is absolutely wrong. The amount of light is influenced by the light output of the lamp, and not at all by its light temperature..
Device and principle of operation
The LED lamp includes four main parts. This is a bulb with a diffuser, an LED board, a driver and a base case with a base.
Flasks with a diffuser are matte and transparent. They are made of glass or plastic. A plastic bulb with a matte diffuser is used in absolutely all types of lamps. Bulb with glass diffuser is used only in decorative lighting.
An LED board usually has an aluminum substrate on which the LEDs are applied. In lamps of household series, two types of LEDs are used. The first type is Deep with low luminous efficiency. Second – SMD, today it is more common in use.
The LED board is powered by a driver. It converts the alternating current of the 220 volt network into direct current, thanks to which the light bulb does not burn out when power surges occur in the network. At its core the driver is the heart of the whole product, which affects the level of quality and the amount of light, as well as the lamp life. The driver board includes a capacitor and a transformer. The capacitor “dampens” the ripple voltage, and the transformer converts it.
And the last element is the lamp housing, made of aluminum and high-quality plastic, which provides good heat dissipation and, as a result, increases the lamp life..
It will be important to note that in addition to the main four elements of the LED lamp design, it must also include a radiator, whose role is no less important. It deserves a separate description, since it is he who provides the level of heat dissipation in the lamp. There is a radiator in its case, and its device may differ depending on the level of quality of work performed by the manufacturer.
The location of the radiator is between the lamp body and its base. As you know, the diode itself with strong heating can lose its properties due to the destruction of its crystals: the faster it happens, the more the lamp’s light output falls and it becomes dimmer. In the worst case, the diode may simply burn out and it will have to be replaced, and in the worst case, if more capacious sections of the electrical circuit burn out and the impossibility of their restoration, the light bulb will have to be disposed of.
There are two main types of radiators. Cheap light bulbs are fitted with lightweight plastic film-coated radiators. Such a primitive design is not able to dissipate heat well and keep the diodes in good condition. The most annoying thing is that when a person buys a light bulb, he cannot visually determine which radiator is installed inside her. Sometimes you can test a light bulb by gently tapping the outside of it with a small metal object..
The characteristic sound sometimes helps to understand what material the radiator is made of. But this method is not always effective and accurate, given the variety of product designs..
It is important to know that if the LED lamp is of good quality, then the radiator installed inside it will be made of durable aluminum or variants of its alloys. The fins of such a radiator always have the shape of a spiral and varying degrees of length, which, from the point of view of elementary laws of physics, ensures the most efficient and reliable heat removal from fragile diodes due to good circulation of the air flow inside.
If the method with tapping the light bulb turned out to be ineffective, the buyer can navigate by the price: the better the radiator, the higher the price of the product and the stronger its external structure looks. When buying cheap LED lamps, you should not rely on the fact that the radiator installed in them will properly perform its necessary functions..
How to connect?
The easiest way is to connect an ordinary LED strip with your own hands: it will never be superfluous in the room where an additional light source is required. Its connection diagram is very simple. The tape must be connected to the 220 V network through a room transformer (voltage converter) with a power of 15 W per 3 m of tape. The wiring from the tape is connected to the clamping terminals of the transformer with strict observance of polarity (plus to plus, minus to minus). The transformer also has a designation of places in order to correctly connect the “phase” and “zero”.
After assembling the entire electrical circuit, you can immediately connect the device to the network and check its operation.
Illumination standards for premises
When choosing the right lighting for a school-age child’s workplace, it is important to consider both natural and artificial light sources. It is necessary to consider where and how the table and the lamp itself will be located. The stream of light itself should be as soft as possible, without flicker. It is important to always combine any artificial lighting with natural – this is what will help to minimize eye fatigue and eye strain during work. It is important not only to correctly choose the parameters of the light bulb, but also to take into account the very design of the lighting device in which it is planned to be placed. Required condition – the cover must cover the light bulb to avoid direct light entering the eyes.
Normally, the lighting standard for a student’s workplace is 300 lux. Lux is a generally accepted unit for measuring luminous flux. It is generated by a flux equal to 1 lumen per 1 square meter of illuminated surface. A limit of 300 lux will provide optimal lighting performance: even, calm light with minimal eye strain and the complete absence of annoying flicker.
By the way, here it is worth noting another important plus of LED lamps: with the help of a special device – a dimmer, there is an excellent opportunity to adjust the brightness and intensity of light.
If the child gets tired and feels that the eyes are overstrained, he can independently learn to regulate the required amount of light flux..
Possible malfunctions and their elimination
If the LED bulbs burn out, do not rush to throw them away. They can be repaired and not difficult to do. A burned-out LED becomes immediately visible: it turns black or turns dark brown. The electrical circuit of the LED light bulb is arranged as follows: if one of them burns out, then the entire device ceases to burn, because all the LED elements in it are connected in series with each other.
One LED is the easiest to change. To do this, you need the same “donor bulb”, which contains whole elements. The donor bulb is neatly disassembled, and the LED is unsoldered from it. This is done with a hot air gun and a soldering iron. You can immediately unsolder several LEDs, one of them will most likely be working. The operation of the sealed diodes is checked by measuring their voltage with a multimeter set in the “dialing” mode.
In this case, it is important to observe the principle of polarity: the red probe of the multimeter should touch the diode on the left (positive pole), and with the black one – on the right (negative pole).
If the sealed off LED is operational and responds to the touch of the multimeter with combustion, you can proceed to soldering it in place of the burned out one. The light bulb is neatly disassembled (it should be borne in mind that the case is not always opened immediately, and sometimes you have to work hard when unscrewing it, the main thing is not to break anything). The LED board is removed. A non-working LED is sealed off with a preliminary application of a small amount of flux to the soldering site. After the soldering is finished, you need to check if the light bulb works without covering the wires. If everything works, the light bulb can be assembled and screwed into place..
Often you have to deal with such a problem in the operation of LED lamps as flickering. When the lamps flicker, it has a bad effect on vision and on the entire nervous system as a whole, therefore, this deficiency should be eliminated as soon as possible. In many cases, having identified the exact cause, you can do it yourself. The light bulb may blink due to the fact that it is simply incorrectly installed: in this case, all contacts of the electrical circuit are checked and, if weak contacts are detected, the circuit is fixed in the right place. Also one of the common causes of flickering is the power of the power supply does not match the lamp current. It is best to replace the adapter based on the wattage of the lamps used.
If the local network is constantly replete with voltage surges, despite the fact that the LEDs can be quite resistant to them, the driver may not be able to cope with it. In this case, you should look for problems in the local wiring, contacting specialists for help. There may also be a standard factory defect of a light bulb during production: in this situation, it is always possible to exchange a defective product for a new one. The exchange is usually carried out when the receipt is saved..
Recently, it has become very fashionable to use illuminated switches – it is both beautiful and can always be seen in the dark. However, one should not use such a tempting type of switch if the lamps are LED: their specificity is such that they “glare” in response to an open circuit. The fact is that the constantly working illumination of such a switch does not allow a complete opening of the circuit, which is necessary so that the LEDs do not show their sensitivity. Unfortunately, in this case, it is necessary to replace the illuminated switch with a regular one, and then the problem can be eliminated..
Also, the backlit switch can cause the LED lamp to not just blink or flicker, but even stays on when the light is off. The reason is the same: incomplete opening of the circuit, and the backlit switch simply closes it on itself. At the same time, the light itself is not very bright, and even dim, but this should not be either. The output is the same: replacement of a switch with a conventional one.
However, if you don’t want to part with a beautiful switch, you can buy more expensive LED lamps, in which capacitors with high capacitance values will be installed. Such lamps can be fully paired with a backlit switch without malfunction or interference..
Scope of application
In order to correctly identify the scope of application of a particular LED light bulb, you can just take a close look at the shape of its base.
To illuminate a house, apartment (any living space), lamps with plinths have been developed E27 and E14. Plinth type E27 can be seen in an ordinary incandescent lamp, which is screwed into chandeliers, floor lamps, table light sources. In addition, such an LED analog looks almost the same, no different from the usual bulbs. Plinth E14 was also developed a long time ago for mignon lamps intended for wall luminaires. Diode “minions” look very elegant and beautiful.
Marker lamps with base E40 are used to illuminate large rooms, for example, industrial warehouses, courtyards, streets. Two-pin base G13 can be seen on lamps in the form of a long tube – the same electrical sources of “daylight” used in large stores, offices, medical and industrial institutions. Plinth Gx53 designed for luminaires built into plasterboard stretch ceilings – it is this design that ensures the aesthetic appeal of such bulbs and their ease of installation.
Stores often find small LED bulbs that are designed to operate in some small battery-powered device, such as a household flashlight or a portable technical desk lamp. They look quite fragile and require very careful handling..
The most beautiful and unusual models of LED lamps can be found in the field of decorative design of gardens, parks, summer cottages. Colored floodlights of various shapes and sizes (from round to elongated rectangular models) are installed to create a fabulous decorative lighting for trees and shrubs. Such a small spotlight can be easily hidden in the foliage, and it itself will not be noticeable at all. In addition, there is also LED lighting for facades and roofs of buildings..
Especially often it can be found in large cities: theaters, museums, bridges, monuments are illuminated this way..
Any LED light source can be easily retrofitted. Several semi-antique lamps with a soft bluish color will perfectly fit into the atmosphere of an old country house. Such a color will be pleasing to the eye at any time of the day (not counting clear sunny days), and if you equip the ensemble of lanterns with the ability to regulate the light intensity – a dimmer, you will get both useful lighting and a wonderful spirit of antiquity at the same time.
Rating of the best manufacturers
Of course, LED lamps from well-known companies such as Philips and Gauss will always come first due to the impeccable quality of the goods, which has been tested by time. But the price for such lamps is usually very high, and not everyone can afford to purchase them. Therefore, you can pay attention to lamps made in Russia. They are cheaper, but in no way inferior in quality to foreign manufacturers.
Firm Wolta manufactures decent LED bulbs with a three-year warranty, which can be purchased from retail stores and ordered online. Another Russian company – “Era”, founded in 2004, is engaged in the supply and sale of all possible LED bulbs and lighting sources, from street spotlights to table lamps.
You can find out more about why LED lamps burn out..