White LEDs as Light Sources - Opinions?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by ~Shard~, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #1
    I've been doing some research on the Internet on white LEDs, and how people are now using them as an alternative to light bulbs, etc., due to their many advantages. I am continuing my research, but thought I would ask my fellow MacRumors members for any input they may have on this subject as well.

    I am specifically curious to know how these LED light sources stack up compared to conventional bulbs in certain areas - those being:

    - power output (looks like many have about 9000 millicandela, is that adequate?)
    - power consumption (do these bastards suck more power than light bulbs, increasing my power bill? I seriously doubt it, being LEDs and all...)
    - cost (more costly, yes, but...)
    - longevity (...if they last for 50,000 hours or so, it's well worth it!)

    And where are good places are to order them/good manufacturers? That would be good to know too. :)

    So, any feedback, opinions on these suckers? They're pretty cool, and I was thinking of trying some out. :cool:
     
  2. Laser47 macrumors 6502a

    Laser47

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    #2
    Leds are really good for lighting, they last for a very long time, use less energy, and produce way more light than the similar wattage of a similar incandescent bulb.
    The only thing i dont like about leds is the color of the bulbs, they seam to have a blueish tint. I prefer the warm glow of incandescent. Also you can also save energy by using the flourescent type bulbs, they are more energy than incandescent aswell.
     
  3. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #3
    Yeah, I've heard the same thing about the tint, but some of these white LEDs seem to be pretty pure when it comes to their color. Thanks for the input though, it's appreciated. :)
     
  4. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #4
     
  5. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #5
    Starting to notice them being used a lot in London for pedestrian crossing lights and similar, and also for advertising displays on the sides of double-decker buses.

    The ones they use these days seem far brighter than the older ones of 10-15 years ago.
     
  6. Chaszmyr macrumors 601

    Chaszmyr

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    #6
    I'm very interested in the potential of white LEDs, if anyone has any input on viable ways to make use of them for every day light I'd love to hear.
     
  7. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #7
    They are expensive

    I just saw a show "I want that" on HGTV, they had LED floodlights (in multiple colors) and they were very cool. I looked them up online and they were nearly $100 each! They said you would save money in the long run, but it would be hard to convince myself to spend $500 on a set of lightbulbs. :eek:

    As for the color tint, they say they come in "warm" "neutral" and "cool"

    http://www.enluxled.com/

    Here are some indoor ones also featured on that show;
    http://www.windturbine-1.com/LED/LEDmain.html
    (which are not that expensive)
     
  8. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #8
    Cool, thanks for the input guys. One site I just came across is this one as well... I'll continue my research! :cool:
     
  9. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #9
    They are now used very commonly in the boating and marine industry due to their very low power consumption relative to output.

    I had some LED bulbs on my last boat and I thought they were very dim....

    Just my two cents.
     
  10. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #10

    Thanks iGary. Sounds like you definitely need a lot of them to make it practical. Or, as iMeowbot eluded to, restrict usage to things such as desk lamps, etc.
     
  11. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #11
    Yep, very true.

    We used to sell an anchor light (most sailboaters hated to have to run an anchor light all night long, draining precious battery power) that was LED, and it actually got yanked form the market for a while because it wasn't bright enough and there were liability concerns.

    Great for cars, busses, trucks, street lights etc., or the odd occasional desk light.

    Which reminds me, I need one badly, the night lighing in my office is for crap. :rolleyes:
     
  12. BlackDan macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Lifetime for a Hi-power LED is approx. 100000hrs, which is about 11.4 years non-stop :cool:
     
  13. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #13
    Yeah, from my research I found ones that would last for 50,000 hours, and at 8 hours a day of continuous use it worked out to 20 years I believe, so your figures sound about right. :cool:

    Definitely a cool alternative, at least in the right situations. Now to find a place where I don't have to spend an arm and a leg to buy some... or, just dig out my old Electronics Systems Engineering texts from university and figure out how to build one for cheaper... ;) :cool:
     
  14. mdavey macrumors 6502a

    mdavey

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    #14
    Manufacturers are starting to use them. One comapny I know of is Aurora, which make a range of luminaires (fittings) and lamps (bulbs to the layman) - both more traditional and low energy.

    In Europe, GU10 and the similar GZ10 are a very popular mains-voltage Halogen bulb for use in spotlights including downlights. Several manufacturers make a compact fluorescent in a GU10 cap, but a few also make an LED version using 15 (or sometimes 9, 18 or 21) LEDs.

    I am going to talk about the Aurora GU10 LED bulb as that is the one with which I am familiar.

    [​IMG]

    - power output approx. equivilent to 20W incandescent or 24 candela.
    - cost around £6 GBP each
    - power consumption 1.8W total at 230V
    - longevity 50,000 hours (before something in the lamp fails - could be just one LED if you are lucky but more likely to be the control gear)

    The Aurora does use the older blue-white LEDs which is a stark light, great for a modern, industrial look but probably not suitable for traditional homes or for creating a comfy atmosphere such as in a living room.

    On cost: replacing 20W halogens would save money on the bulbs alone before even taking into account electricity savings. However, attempting to replace 50W halogens would leave you out of pocket (because you would need additional luminares, placing them closer together to get the same level of average room illumination as with the 50W halogens).

    The slightly newer LEDs than used in these lamps give a pure white light which is great for task lighting and other applications where you need to do faithful colour matching.

    The very newest white LEDs actually have a slighty yellowish tinge to them - close to the warm white of domestic fluorescent lamps you might use in your kitchen. They are currently significantly more expensive than the blue-white LEDs.

    One final consideration: most of the LED lamps don't have diffusers - LEDs are very directional so the actual ambient light distribution is very different.

    I know you are not in the UK, but for those that are, Aurora products are available from TLC Direct (my favourite electrical wholesaler) http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/ and Screwfix http://screwfix.com/ among others. I just tried a quick Google search, but couldn't find their website.
     
  15. iDM macrumors 6502a

    iDM

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    #15
    Hey Shard in relation to white LEDs i have had some use with them during camping. I have been camping since I was 10 as a Boyscout and later when I went away to college. Anyway to my experience, the old headlamps were usually a bulb that was relatively bright(at the time) but it required alot of batteries and therefore increased the weight in your pack and on your head. Now within the last 5 years i am assuming *most* head lamp companies have gone to LEDs. The reasons I believe they have evolved to LED headlamps is because of how much better they are. *This may not apply to all applications* These lights however are extremely bright, the bulbs virtually last forever so no need to replace like the old ones, they use alot less battery power, and they are lighter and smaller then the old yellow bulb headlamps. I used one set of AAA batteries for 2 weeks while in Alaska using all three LED's at full power for 3 to 4+ every night during those 2 weeks.

    I am a believer in LED technology cause i think they are cheaper, more efficient and therefore more environmentally friendly by creating less trash (Old Bulbs, Old Batteries), lighter, and brighter......Maybe I am an LED fanboy.......what applications have you all seen for the home? Are they making light fixtures that utilize them?

    http://www.petzl.com/petzl/LampesAccueil?Langue=en&Connexion=ADSL&QuickSearch=Quick+search
     
  16. steve_hill4 macrumors 68000

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    #16
    Well they seem to be used more in compact torches and cycle lamps, due to their high effeciency and light output.

    So a 100W bulb gives off approx. 120 candola, which should be the same in an energy effecient bulb of about 20W, (I believe I am using an 11W bulb, which replaces a 60W). Going by mdavey's figures, that would require 5 of those LED arrays to produce the same output, which equates to about 9W of power. That would be about half of the equivalent energy saver and less than 10% of the direct equivalent incandescent bulb.

    As an electrical and electronic engineer, I know there is still masses of room for improvement too. It took years to get to white and blue LEDs, now they need to work their way through natural effeciency cycles. I can expect to see these same figures down to maybe a single watt in the future and so, by the above example, take it down to 5% power consumption. Costs drop dramtically as demand increases too remember. Remember those energy effecient bulbs? I recall buying them 10 years ago for around £10, now they are typically about £1 each and last a lot longer than the equivalent £0.25 "traditional" bulbs.
     
  17. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #17
    Wow, thanks for that mdavey I appreciate it - this is the kind of information I'm looking for. It definitely helps out a lot. :cool:
     
  18. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #18
    You read my mind actually. ;) Being an Electronics Systems Engineer as well, I know what you're talking about, which is why part of me is thinking I should just go with Halogen bulbs for now, and wait for the costs to decrease, technology to improve, etc. with regards to white LED lighting solutions. I'm still going to look into it some more, and am still considering perhaps at least outiftting a desk lamp or something with them, just to see how I like it, but I'll probably be holding off refitting my entire house with LEDs for a while yet. ;)

    And of course, as I am sure is the case with you as well, being a geeky Engnieer I do like playing around with cool, new technoogies like this... it's in my blood... ;)
     
  19. aloofman macrumors 68020

    aloofman

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    #19
    They are starting to make progress on LED light banks for movie and TV lighting. So far they are still expensive, but the lights I've seen at tradeshows were impressive: very bright, little heat, and silent. It does take a lot of LEDs to put out a decent amount of light, but if the price gets low enough it could replace a lot of the flourescent lights that professionals use.
     
  20. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Find me one that can be dimmed and I'll happily fill up my shopping basket.

    *dims lights, puts on soft music, slips into something comfortable, fixes drink* :cool: :D
     
  21. ~Shard~ thread starter macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #21
    Haha - good point! There is something to be said for that I suppose... ;) :)
     
  22. steve_hill4 macrumors 68000

    steve_hill4

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    #22
    I like reading about new technologies and researching into them, but am less inclined to playing around with them these days. I ideally want to move into technical journalism in the next few years, as I enjoy researching and writing, about anything really.

    It took them long enough with blue LEDs and lasers though, and they are improving quite fast now, but to get white and blue LEDs cheap enough for widescale use, especially as household lighting sources, it could be several more years. Sure there are disadvantages for some new technologies, but if you can switch over to them wherever possible, not only do you save on costs, but waste less energy and that can only be a good thing.
     
  23. joecool85 macrumors 65816

    joecool85

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    #23
    I love LEDs, I have a couple LED flashlights and they are brighter than any other flashlight I've used before. And one of them (my favorite) is about the size of a AA, just 50% longer.
     
  24. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #24
    Candela can be a very misleading measure of light strength.

    Total light emission of a light bulb is measured in Lumen. Candela is the light emission measured over some angle. If I have two flashlights, both emitting the same amount of light, but the first one concentrating the light on a quarter of the area, then the first one has the same Lumen, but four times the Candela of the second one. That's how people can build flashlights of a million candela, by concentrating all the light output into a tiny spot. It is just a big number, nothing useful.

    Most LED lights just specify "equivalent to xxx watt light bulb".
     
  25. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #25
    There is one market where LED lights are the obvious best choice: Lighting where the light source ends up in an inaccesible place. For example, underwater lights for swimming pools. If one of those lights breaks, you can't fix it at reasonable cost, so you better build something that lasts, even if it is more expensive.
     

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