Archive for November, 2008


These are typical low end retrofit lamps using clusters of 5mm or similar LEDs, often accompanied by outrageous claims.

This is where we run into the same trouble that plagues the CFL market in the consumer segment.

There are so many of these on the market today that it’s impossible to review every one of them. These are the ubiquitous 5mm LED retrofit cluster lamps. Since they all have similar performance, this review is a generalized summary, and an expression of concern.

In each case, the claims made by manufacturers of products such as this are founded on the connected wattage of the devices and not on actual lumen-to-lumen, or photometric equivalency (more…)


This under-cabinet light sells for less than $20 in 16" length, is also available in 10" (shown).

This is an under-cabinet light offered through retail outlets, manufactured by GE Lighting. The 16″ product consumes 2 watts, consistent with manufacturer claims.

Available in either 10″ or 16″ lengths, the low profile, attached cord and plug, with integral rocker switch make these very easy to install and use. In the test application, the screws provided were substituted with Velcro strips.

The product light output is adequate only for low light conditions. (more…)


The LR6 downlight is the best performing LED downlight product on the market today, new or old construction.

This is the Cree LR6 downlight retrofit. Producing a white light color of 2700k (Incandescent white – also available in 3500k neutral white) at 92CRI, these inserts produce 650 lumens, consuming only 12 watts. This is an unprecedented 54 Lumens per Watt, exceeding even the best Compact Fluorescent downlight products on the market today. The product is expected to last 50,000 hours to 70% of its full light output.

The product inserts into virtually any 6″ recessed downlight housing. Installation takes less than 10 minutes.

In the test application of this product, 4 fixtures were installed in standard Halo H7 housings, with addition of optional brushed nickle trims to compliment the stainless steel trim, which snaps easily in place after the retrofit body is installed.

Comparing the illuminance calculated using the company provided photometric data and actual measurements in the applied space were within 7% of one another, with the actual application being slightly better than predicted. After 9 months, there has been no measurable light loss. (more…)

5mm LED

The 5mm LED was the first widely used LED source.

The 5mm LED has been around for a very long time. Containing a single LED die (chip) and no thermal management beyond the lead wires, these devices are low in cost and available in a range of colors, including white. Optical control is very limited. At very low power levels, these devices serve as instrument lamps, indicator lights, and are often clustered to create arrays for signage, effects, and signal lamps. These are the small LED “lamps” found in virtually all low quality and novelty LED products.

For general illumination, where demands for significant lumen output, long service life and consistent color and lumen output are necessary, the 5mm LED is simply inadequate to the task. (more…)

fireiceSome wonder why I am such an enthusiast for lighting in general. That’s easy – Lighting is COOL! As an artist at heart, lighting is appealing, as it shapes the visual experience of observers as much as an oil painting hung over a couch. Lighting is both ethereal (it exists, yet is untouchable), and mechanical (requires hardware to manipulate and generate illumination). There is nothing else in the universe of human endeavor that blends art and science in this way. If this were all just about illumination of space to enable and excite human vision, there is enough meat here for anyone to enjoy a lifelong pursuit of it. But, this no longer the case. (more…)

There is a great deal of consternation about the entry of LEDs and solid-state lighting into the mainstream lighting market. There are four resonate weaknesses cited often. Just how do these stand up to scrutiny? Let’s find out: (more…)

In the late 19th century, a new and seemingly magical science emerged in the form of distributed electrical energy. At the same moment, the automobile and airplabe were also entering the market. As the Civil War played itself out, the world changed in profound ways, for every person on the planet. The transformation changed our lighting from fuels sources to electric light. Horses stayed in the pasture as owners rode in new cars. The population of cities exploded, and farms blew away in dust storms. In this same period of time we suffered the Great Depression. Heading into World War One, everything had changed, everywhere. (more…)