Penang, 2nd October 2012
There are times when you need to be pro-active to make sure you stay on top of things. Today I spent the day in Penang, Malaysia, with one of the leading ODM LED manufacturers in this region, perhaps the world. Some major brands have their LED lamps Originally Designed and Manufactured here. The advantage of this kind of set up is that the team gets to experience technology inputs from various big company R&D departments and at the same time get to test and compare various brands, technologies and solutions. This a bit different from what is commonly known as OEM, where the company is the Original Equipment Manufacturing plant only. Why am I here? I am really getting frustrated with all the issues (dimming specifically) that we encounter with LED lamps, most of all the retrofit LED types and ones that use a transformer. I am still learning…the times that we were just dealing with simple incandescent and fluorescent lamps is long gone…LED technology requires a whole set of new skills and knowledge and while I am an old school lighting designer I have to keep up with the times and understand the technology and its implications. What is more, I find that many of the lighting suppliers and sales people (the LED cowboys) pretend to know a lot about their product but in reality know “shit” about the real issues that we face with LED lighting, hence my “study” trip today.
I have come to understand issues like power factors and how it affects the actual power consumption (do any “green” consultants take this into account?), junction temperatures and their impact on the quality and lifespan of LED and most of all got to look at real test figures from various brands. What it showed me is that not all manufacturers are truthful about their technical data. Many manipulate the figures to make it look more attractive. It also appears that some may have had the original lamp design tested and CE certified, but subsequent upgrade versions have not gone through the testing cycle again meaning that they actually do not comply anymore with EMC (Electro Magnetic Compliance) requirements, electrical safety and the like. It appears for instance that one of the transformers that was recommended by the manufacturer to be used in a project in combination with the LED lamps shows surge spikes way over the standard specifications. You can only imagine how that affects the LED lamp and vice versa…no wonder we have all that flickering and early failure happening.
Light Watch 3-149: Some pics of the visit:
-Getting dressed up for the tour
-Lamp testing (spot colour differences?)
-Different chips and layouts
-Appreciating the “True Colour” qualities