How long do LEDs really last? A look behind the scenes..

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When it comes to saving by investing in Led or Power Led sources, we have noticed how much initial distrust there is in taking such a step. We are not talking about replacing the light bulb with a LED one in the living room, but we are referring to environments in the commercial, industrial and public sectors: warehouses, restaurants, shops, processing departments, offices, halls, receptions. Environments where, in addition to design, quality and the final result, a certain reliability and a return on investment are expected. We remind you that LED is not always the best solution, in many industrial and warehouse cases neon sources are still very competitive. A case-by-case study should always be done. So the question we are very often asked is the following: ” but who tells me that after all I spend on LED lamps, these don’t last me less than the previous ones? Who can guarantee me that the investment will pay for itself over time and will actually save me money? Isn’t it that underneath is the catch?“.

Good question. We too asked ourselves about it right away, when the first LED lamps were still something futuristic and very expensive. We initially bought a few samples. We know our customers, so we have chosen LED lamps that have the right shade of light for the processing departments they have in their companies, offices, some exhibitions. We documented ourselves, we tested them and the ones we installed ourselves are still working after 7 years, just come and visit us. We have to say that despite this effort, things have not gone quite so well for some customers. In two cases, of installation in an industrial environment, there were technical difficulties which led to premature wear of the lamps, but replaced under warranty we solved it, thanks also to a good supplier who understood what the problem was with his product. All this has taken some time and hassle for customers, but it is a risk that we have taken together when we believe in innovation, which leads to a series of measurable benefits.

The life of LED lamps depends on various factors, the main ones are summarized in the following figure.

This means that the breaking of a lamp it is not attributable only to the LEDs, but to any other component that is part of the chain. Traditional lamps after a certain period of life (let’s say end of life) reduce their luminous flux by about 20%, but often some component breaks before we realize it. This does not happen with LED lamps, it may happen that there is a reduction in the luminous flux but that it continues to work: this means that you are paying for a consumption for something that does not pay its due, this is the end of life of the LED lamp. Manufacturers cannot carry out 100,000-hour tests in order to sell their lamps, the technology would already be obsolete before entering the market, we are talking about more than eleven years of 24h service. For this reason, to provide the guarantee, they carry out tests according to standardized procedures and derive the duration through calculations on a statistical basis, usually on 1000 and 6000 hours. But these tests are done at specific ambient temperatures, e.g. 25°C and more, without disturbances on the supply voltage.

Then tests are carried out on a starting sample of lamps, and the average life of a LED lamp is defined as the number of operating hours before the luminous flux decays by more than 70% compared to the starting flux, on 50% of the tested products : it means that after a certain number of hours declared (e.g. 50,000), the lamp guarantees a luminous flux of at least 70% (30% loss) compared to new with a 50% probability.

There is no standard that prescribes this 70%, but it is considered as a value in which the human eye perceives a significant reduction of light in the environment. These values ​​just explained are written as L70 B50 or L70 B50.

To summarize the concept just exposed, let’s see an example from a catalog from a well-known and famous manufacturer of LED equipment. In the technical data we find:

Lifetime ≥100.000h L80 B10 Ta25°C

It means that at an average ambient temperature of 25°C, the lamp will guarantee a luminous flux after 100,000 hours which will lose at most 20% (L80) with a probability of 90% (B10). This data is more demanding than L70 B50, so with these characteristics the product is more reliable.

The other factors depend on the installation site

When you find a product that is suitable in terms of performance and reliability, it didn’t end there. It is necessary to consider whether there may be disturbances in the power supply of the lamps due to machinery such as welding, spot welding, induction furnaces, inverters, large motors, magnetic plates, which can generate distortions that impact on the power supplies on the lamp in the case of insertions discontinuous. Finally the temperature expected average. This factor and often underrated but an increase in ambient temperature of 15°C compared to those tested by the manufacturer can mean reducing the average life of the lamp by 10%.

So in summary a LED investment can give you considerable advantages, but the preliminary study, the analysis of the installation site and the precautions to be taken are dictated by the experience, competence and common sense of the designer and installer, as well naturally to the quality of the product and the seriousness of the manufacturer.

#commercial #industry #maintenance #lighting #taxdeductions

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