The Tasca test mule turned 2 years in continual illuminated state this May. That’s 8,760 continuous operating hours in the cold, hot, and messy environment of the shop in which it lives. It gets abused as well, from tossing greasy rags over it to see what happens when airflow over the heat sink is cut off, to blowing coolant on it until it freezes. There have been several lessons learned in this time. For example, lumen depreciation, captured by measuring the fixture’s output, has been negligable. Losses have been less than 1.2% so far, which means the White Optics reflector and anti-reflective glass are doing their job, as is the Bridgelux ES Array LED. Temperature readings taken over this time have not changed anywhere, which indicates the internal construction attaching the thermal slug to the heat sink is durable and reliable.
While the Mule will remain in service without changes, the product line itself has been updated using lessons learned and incorporating the latest LEDs. The original product consumed just over 15W, delivering 620 lumens, for an efficacy of 41 lm/W when it won the PIA award in 2012. This has improved significantly in 2013, with the latest Bridgelux array, adjustments to the reflector design and updated driver from Recom. The current version now delivers 801 lumens using only 12.3W, for an efficacy of 65 lm/W. This is an increase in light output of 29%, while reducing energy consumption by 17%. In addition to these improvements, a new driver circuit board incorporates screw terminals, making it an easy to replace module should their be a need for maintenance. In fact, the entire product is modular. The head is easily removed from its arm for replacement or repair. The driver is now fully modular and field replaceable. The LED is pre-wired and now uses a GrafTech thermal interface pad, which improves thermal performance, and allows the LED to be serviced (replaced) without messy greases. The power supply – the most likely component to fail in any LED system, is a separate wall plug device connected with in-line DC connector, making replacement simple and fast.
Based on the test results and ongoing experience with the product, Tasca now comes with a 7 year warranty. This is not just for the normal “materials and workmanship” most offer. I am warranting that under normal operating conditions, the product will maintain 70% of its initial light output for a period of 36,000 hours, or 7 years (whichever occurs first). Between this warranty, tough construction, and the modular components, the Tasca work light is perhaps the first and only true long life LED product on the market. There is no reason this product cannot remain in service for decades.
I am an enthusiast for old machine shop equipment built in an era when durability and maintained longevity pre-dated today’s throw-away planned obsolescence. My specific goal with Tasca was to follow the traditional approach to engineering – built in toughness and long useful service life. I don’t follow or support the idea that a product should be discarded when the light inside becomes unusable. I believe in products built to last, testing to verify assumptions are correct, and backing what I make with a warranty that reflects the intended use of the product. Tasca Uno, the work light represented by the mule, is Tasca’s flagship, reflecting three years of continuous improvement and over two years testing.
Anyone interested in having one of these lights in their work space can find them on-line at Tasca where more detail can be found and links are provided for on-line purchasing.
The coming of spring demands a great deal of concentration when you live in an area that is frozen half the year. For April and May this has meant new projects progressing, outside interests fighting for attention, and the progression of older projects resulting in resolution of old issues. Unfortunately, due to the fact that there are those who feel it is their right to knock off ideas they find from others without attribution or recognition, I am struggling with how to proceed with this effort going forward. I enjoy exploring new ideas and sharing discoveries. I despise finding the results integrated into others offerings without so much as a nod to its source.
That said, for this installment of the 12 in 12 project, I focused on making progress in development of portable light originally introduced in the 52 in 52 project in 2010, and a spring project that is personal and fun.
The Battery Project
In week 4 of the 52 in 52 project, I presented this combination table torch/flashlight. At the time, I relied on lead acid emergency light batteries in an effort to create a reliable light for emergency use, using readily available components. Unfortunately, since then, I have found the approach flawed. The batteries were not reliable when connected in series to generate 12VDC, the charging components were not able to keep the batteries conditioned, and the discharge characteristic of the batteries produced an unacceptably short on-time when removed from the stand. Further, the batteries were far too heavy to be practical, and were expensive. (more…)
In the process of building Tasca, there has been numerous iterations, prototypes in metal and plastic, tests to failure, drop and impact tests, electrical and electronic tests, and lighting application tests. As we found what worked, and what didn’t, and collected tooling for components, like the heat sink, I build the first functional products, using production level components. The first one made was what we affectionately call the Mule. It has been lighted 24/7 for one year as of the end of March, or a total of 8,841 logged hours to date. In that time it has been tested under operating conditions, attached to the side of a milling machine head, sprayed with lubricating and cleaning fluids, dropped, dunked, draped with rags under high ambient conditions, and frozen. As shown in the images here, this head has had a few hoods and shields attached to test effectiveness, and the mounting adapter has been changed a couple of times as I’ve experimented with the machined attachment hardware. This head has a thermocouple lead installed, so at any time I can plug it in to see what the temperature of the LED is, while there has been numerous output tests to check lumen depreciation, which has been less than 1% to date, right on track with the LM80 data for the LED (Bridgelux ES array).
This fixture has also been used as a baseline for testing the finished product as it has evolved. For example, we found that black anodizing og the heat sink lowered the LED temperature under identical operating conditions by as much as 10°C. We have also evolved the use of spring washers in the hinge, made small adjustments in the use of fasteners, and added the disconnect power connection to replace the Heyco cord entry – all found from actively working with the product and improving every detail. (more…)
What you see here is an invention of my own creation designed to provide the operator an idea of whether the lighting system he/she is operating under is producing flicker within the perception of the human visual system. While there is always the wagging finger test, this does not fully expose the subtleties of flicker from room lighting. Here’s how it works:
No Flicker Condition: When you spin the wheel under daylight or a non-flickering lighting system or source, the Red-Green-Blue bars will blend together to create a dull grey appearance to the spinning wheel. As the wheel is spun faster, this will become smoother, with no color apparent at all. If you see any color at all, you are experiencing flicker of some level. Only with a total lack of flicker will the wheel appear to be uniformly gray in color. The best place to see this is under direct sunlight, as this will present no flicker at all.
Noticeable Flicker: When you spin the wheel under a flickering light source, there is a whole kaleidoscopic of effects that appear. The most notable is the appearance of a rainbow color wheel effect, as the R-G-B regions are blended in strobe effect, that will be very wide at high speed (including the appearance of secondary colors Yellow, Magenta, and Cyan that are not on the wheel at all), to very narrow at low speeds. You will also notice that the radial patterns change in direction from clockwise to counter clockwise as the wheel speed changes. Further, at intermittent speeds, the color regions will turn gray with black wagon spokes, then change back to color at higher. In other words, you will be exploring the world of flicker effects in strobing both light and color, as the wheel is changes in speed. This effect will change both with time and wheel speed. At low frequencies (60Hz for example), the color bars will be very wide, as will the wagon spokes. As the frequency goes up, the width of the bars will be narrower for the same wheel speed.
Intermediate Phases: Sources with very deep modulation depth (on-off contrast) create the greatest strobe effect, and will generate the strongest color bands and effects. Some will produce vibrant changes that move around and shift in color dramatically, creating intense rainbows. However, even if a source does flicker, the difference between its highs and lows may not be as pronounced, or the frequency of the flicker may be higher. This reduced modulation depth or increased frequency will create more subtle color effects, narrower bands, and blurrier wagon wheel movements from the dark bands. This can range from very subtle, to more intense. Some will generate a gray tone similar to a non-flickering source, but with a very very subtle rainbow effect just visible in the pattern area, to very slim edges visible at the margins of the dark wagon spokes. In other words, the less distinct the patterns are, and the less intense the colors are, the lower the visible flicker is. This is often the case in spaces with mixed sources, like daylight and flickering fluorescent sources. If you detect this, you can walk around the space and test individual sources until you find the one producing the flicker, and those that are not contributing. (more…)
When LEDs first emerged, I was one of the many who expressed the opinion that a lighting system that could dim to a warmer CCT, imitating incandescent lamps, would be desirable. I want to take this opportunity to retract that original opinion and thought. I’ve played with it, seen the products available that do it, and have experimented with the approach… and can say unequivocally that I really don’t like it at all.
One of the problems with incandescent dimming has always been the patchwork of CCTs one gets through a space from different dimmer settings for the various products in a room. This has never been a good thing. Further, the change in CCT of an old school incandescent lamp is significantly different than halogen lamps, as it the character of the color. I for one have fallen out of love with the old incandescent lamp long ago. Over the last 20 some-odd years, I have come to use halogen sources over all incandescent forms, preferring the cleaner white color over that yellowy dinginess of the incandescent lamp. Incandescent lamps (non-halogen) produce a decidedly ugly color that I personally feel is misrepresented by their high CRI rating. The fact that the CRI formula will show a dimmed incandescent lamp with the same high CRI number, even when it very noticeably distorts color in a space, is a condemnation of our poor color performance metrics, not an indication of this lamps superior color performance. (more…)
I thought a lot about what to focus on in 2012 for this series, and decided that I had plenty to share from regular activities of Lumenique, LLC and Tasca. So, the plan is to select something completed in each of the 12 months of 2012 and feature them here. This will generally be products or projects completed for customers, but may also include a report on research work in process, when it adds value.
This is a refitting of a Dazor table lamp, applying the TASCA lighting head, and adding an extension stand to convert a desk lamp to a floor lamp. The product was commissioned by a customer who provided the table lamp, purchased used. From the GSA and other government markings present on the original, it was obviously from a government facility. The table lamp made by Dazor has been around since the late 1930′s, where the fluorescent lamp version graced the GE display at the Worlds Fair.
For more details on this project, check out the summary and full technical specs at Lumenique 12 in 12 for 2012 – January.
For additional details on how you might procure a similar product from one of your own favorites, visit TASCA.
Also, as an update, the Lumenique Product Center now accepts all major credit cards, making your purchase experience easy and secure.
Stay tuned for additional news and updates on the 12 n 12 for 2012 review, and other interesting SSL information.
In an effort to create the highest possible performance in a portable lighting product, assembling the right combination of components is essential. Obviously the process begins with an efficient LED suited to the lighting effect desired. The LED must then be matched with an efficient driver. Finally, the driver must be fed power from an efficient power supply that converts incoming AC line voltage to clean DC power. Efficiency is generally found in matching the load of the LED to a driver designed for that load with no necessary over-capacity. Then, mating the driver to an efficient power supply matched in size to the driver’s operating load is necessary to produce the highest combined efficiency. (more…)
So, you have this great new LED, generated a wonderful 130 lumens per watt. Life is good. Is this representative of real energy savings? What about Power Factor and its impact on the demand it places on the energy grid? What’s up with THD and what does it mean? Do either of these detract from the energy savings of new technologies using electronic power supplies? (more…)
ArchLED’11 will be marked as the official coming out for Tasca, my work lighting product offering. We presented examples of the base Uno line, as well as several Renovar and one Accent light. If you are wondering what these are, and are curious to learn more, you can visit the Tasca web site now. The sitre is fully populated with pictures and a specification download at:
We have also put several products up on the Lumenique Product Center for direct purcahse. These are semi-pre-configured products with popular options. You can choose one or dozens, we don’t mind.
While I do not intend to make this blog a commercial site promoting products and pitching our offerings, I do need to make a living, so there will be occasional updates to share where we are and what we are doing in this regard. This is how we pay for the fun side of being in the business, and afford the time to invest and share with others information on solid-state lighting.
A Little More on Tasca
Tasca is primarily focused on the work environment. Whether this is a machine operation, an assembly work station, an inspection station, or administration workplace, my intent is to offer the most effective light for enhancing visual performance with a durable product. I’ve invested decades experimenting with task lighting. My personal approach has been to lower ambient surrounding light levels to the minimum required to support the low acuity activities in the space, supplemented by localized task lighting to enhance visual performance in critical work areas. I have applied this in lighting designs over the last 30 years to reduce energy consumption, and live under it on a daily basis. In other words, I am passionate about this approach and believe it is a superior approach to achieve high visual performance. I strongly believe we are over-lighting our work spaces to some compromised light level, which is too high for ambient requirements and too low for effective task performance.
Over the last few years, the idea of creating a work light for hard service environments, bringing the advantages of SSL technology to work spaces that require high visual performance to support safe, accurate, and efficient work tasks. For over a year now I have been investing considerable time building a product I feel satisfies the demands of work environments, with an efficient product that will survive harsh environments. Tasca is the product of this effort, and just the beginning of a larger effort to produce desirable performance SSL lighting products for niche work space demands. We’ve already provided customized versions of Tasca for UV curing applications, and will be releasing specialty products, such as a 98CRI sourced heads for color critical inspection (like printing presses, millwork, textile and paint inspection), as well as a unique welding light that will bring welders vision of their welding field that has never been possible before.
Tasca is also founded on the concept of sustainability from durable products that are recycled either by dismantling, rebuilding, or re-purposing at the end of service life, not just thrown away. Unlike products that are filled with potting materials and irreversible assembly techniques that make recycling too expensive to be practical, Tasca fixtures are heavy duty assemblies designed to be reworked, rebuilt, or dismantled easily for recycling of materials content, separate of the electronics components that must go through a separate recycling channel. This includes the use of glass for the lens cover, which can survive decades of use, or be recycled easily through existing waste management channels economically. The Renovar and Accent line take all of this one step further by harvesting old task lights for their arms, refinishing the devices, recycling the old lighting heads, and converting them to Tasca lights by adapting our lighting heads, before a complete refinish and refurbishing.We will also refit your existing task lights, bringing old favorites back to life by bringing them up to date, or through Accent, create a custom design to suit your specific taste.
This is just the start of a great deal more to come. Sort of pulling the plug out of a dyke and letting things flow. This is an exciting niche opportunity for me, where I can add value through design integration assistance, and provide customization to suit unique customer needs. Unlike imports which must be marketed in large batches of off-shelf products to move production inventories – Tasca is made here in the USA, to order, to meet individual customer needs – even if that means building something completely new and unique that has a total customer market of one.
At ArchLED11, held in Chicago November 9-10, TASCA will be revealed publicly for the first time.
TASCA is a lighting professional based product focused on hard service task lighting. This is not the decorative foo-fah, designer pretty stuff that intends first to please the eye with elegant line and sexy physical execution of artistic design that just happens to put out a little light to justify their existence. Tasca focuses first on delivering high quality light on the task and work surface, of a color and level to improve visual performance. Unlike low power light emitting decorations, the smallest Tasca products delivers 210 Fc at a distance of 18″, lighting an area of 36″+ in a smooth light pattern free of harsh shadows. We deliver a unified single light source presence to eliminate the multi-dot dazzle and fun-house shadowing created by the typical multiple LED arrays found in lesser lighting products. Tasca optics control brightness to avoid discomfort glare, while delivering the efficiency, instant on, flicker free, low heat, high quality light of solid-state technology that no conventional light source can hope to compete with, in a hard service package designed to withstand hard use for decades. Tasca intends to participate in putting an end to the era of inefficient heat of halogen and slow starting flicker and poor intensity of CFL work lighting.
There will be three executions of Tasca presented at the show:
TASCA UNO is the core product line, offering flexible goose-neck arms in a wide range of lengths and mechanical arm mounting, as well as direct mount, magnetic base mount, stand and bracket mounts. Uno offers customization of configurations to suit the exact mounting configuration needed to satisfy application needs. We’ll do customs as small as one-of requests to complete facility systems. Tasca Uno is designed as a modular system of light head, mounting arm and mount, allowing the customer to put the light where they need it with precision, rather than force a standard fits-all solution.
TASCA RENOVAR is industrial recycling at its best. We capture used mounting arms from classic task lights, like those from Swivelier and Dazor; vintage industrial products from South Bend and others that have been used for decades with incandescent, halogen, or fluorescent heads; and cherished favorites brought to us by customers. We renovate the arms, refinish them, and refit them to include the Tasca lighting head. The finished products deliver the best of all worlds. Recycling of components rather than disposal by integration of the latest LED technology, to deliver significantly improved lighting performance. Tasca Renovar will produce more than twice the illuminance at less than 1/3 the energy of any conventional light source.
TASCA ACCENT is a blend of Tasca lighting heads with more decorative finishes and mounting details. These can be founded on recycled components, or they can be completely custom to suit a specific desire. Tasca Accent is for those installations where there is a need for a little more focus on aesthetics is desired, without compromising lighting performance.
Tasca products are made in the USA, built to customer order. We are not a warehouse operation focused on shoving inventories purchased overseas into the market in volume. Our strength is in our ability to build a product that is specifically tailored to the needs of the customer. Tasca products utilize Bridgelux LEDs, and nothing but the highest quality modular electronic components available. The modular construction allows any potential failed component to be replaced independently producing decades of useful service. Tasca products are also rebuildable by returning them to the factory for quick turn around of refitting and renovation. We can even re-purpose products by refitting mounting components should application needs change.
For those in need of application assistance, we are here to serve. We can help in laying out a lighting strategy, application of task as well as general ambient illumination, to the design and manufacturing of the mounting hardware required to execute a complete high productivity lighted environment. Our foundation is built on lighting design experience first, with a long history of interest in task level illumination. We are passionate about work lighting like none other in the solid-state lighting space.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for Tasca.
We will have 11 fixtures on display at ArchLED, booth #204. I will also be presenting a couple times and assisting with the show MC duties, so will not be hard to find.
Hope to see you there!