LED lessons learned
Perth, 1st July 2014
As we move quietly into July already, the issues with LED keep creeping up. Last night we went out to do some further reviewing of a light box that has linear RGB LED lights integrated. We had done some sample testing in a factory warehouse previously, but at the time we were more focused in attaining a good lighting distribution rather than looking at the colour mixing quality. Somehow we assumed that part was ok. The testing was also meant to determine spacing and installation details. Lesson learned; always test with the actual product, not a sample that is supposedly “the same” because the actual product is not in stock and look at ALL lighting issues that need to be right in the end result! This means light distribution, interaction with the materials, lighting intensities, colour and balance of brightness. In this case we did not really have a glare issue but the visual comfort part should always be part of the assessment.
Now, with the real thing built, we discovered that the material quality is not as good as it is supposed to be, it is much more transparent and also the inner support structure turned out to be much more bulky and industrial than expected reading the drawings…perhaps due to some budget issues? Definitely different from the mock up we tested! The result is obvious, we had already increased the distance between the stretched fabric and the light, but still the lights are very visible and the inner structure creates many shadows. Aiming and light distribution is still an issue so that will need to be corrected. Together with lenses that are still to be added that will soften the brightness spots considerably.
What bothered me most was the colour striation caused by the RGBW chips. During testing this had not really come out but in the actual structure the poor colour mixing really came out with the initial lighting effect disappointing. We will be able to improve it but what bugs me most is how much could I have anticipated? It is my responsibility to understand how the light works and how it will interact with its environment. Lesson learned…never assume anything regardless how much experience you have! In LED land appearances can be deceptive…take your time, test and re-test!
Light watch 5-106: I leave you with some close up images without comments…I am sure you can see our issues