How About a Little Color!

Posted: December 2, 2008 in Reviewed - Good Performers
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For screw-based retrofit applications, this lamp and remote make color changing painless.

For screw-based retrofit applications, this lamp and remote make color changing painless.

This is a solid-state product that delivers color changing modes, fixed color modes, remote control and acceptable brightness in a simple screw-in package. The lamp contains the logic and costs about $60, while the remote is less than $20. The remote can control several lamps, so their is only a need for one per application. We selected the narrow 30 degree beam pattern for a test application. A wider 60 degree beam pattern is available.

The size of the lamp unit is compact, roughly the scale of a PAR20 halogen lamp. At 5 watts power consumption, and relatively low light output, this is less about energy than it is about fun and adding some color using existing luminaires.

The colors produced are rich and visible, and the optical distribution good for surfaces or objects within 6 feet of the source.

When using the remote, we found that direct line of site is necessary to get the lamps to respond simultaneously. However, if the remote is used to program each lamp individually, they will all start from the same “start point” when switched on. This means that if they are out of synch when turned off, they will all be in synch the next time they are turned on. Further, a few sequences and settings are accessible by simply flipping the light switch on-off, cycling through the available programmed modes.

The color effects are clearly visible and vibrant. In this application, the lamps are used to accent the video wall.

The color effects are clearly visible and vibrant. In this application, the lamps are used to accent the video wall.

The test application shown here has been in use for over a year now, with no measurable loss of light output or color fidelity. The color fades are smooth and continuous. Synchronization of the two accent lights is accomplished each time the lights are turned on. The remote is used only occasionally.

The remote allows control of color mode, fade rates, and includes a dimming control. There is also a white light mode that produces a warm white light at various states of dim. The controller is simplistic, and does not allow finite control beyond preset modes. What can anyone expect for $15?

Recommendation rating = 8 of 10. This is a fun product that can provide an interesting accent in a space. The only drawback is the cost. However, with no need to rewire, or install controllers, there is nothing else on the market quite like this.

Actual product performance against manufacturer claims = 10 of 10. These lamps do exactly what the manufacturer claims.

More here: LED Neonlight

2/05/10 Update:

The landscape images below were sent by Michael Deo, who offered his comments below as well. His experience was  in line with my own, including the issue of white color production. In his case, using several units together created a greater issue of white balance and matching than my 2 lamp installation. Thanks for the contribution!

In color, the little lamps look great

In white mode, there is significant difference between lamps

  1. Ken Reynar says:

    The Tri-Star units are a lot of fun. I’ve specified them in a childrens playroom on a recent project.

  2. Mike Deo says:

    I installed 12 of the MR bi-pin Color Star changers with the same remote in an outdoor setting. We uplit a white cedar pergola, poolside. In color combinations, it was fantastic fun… in white it was atrocious. In hindsight, I would have ordered with a 25% “scrap factor”. With four extra units on hand, I might have been able to match 12 for this application. There was an incredible amount of variation in at least one of the emitters, either the R, the G, or the B! I’d be happy to post a couple of photos. Shall I email them to you, Kevin?

    • kwillmorth says:

      Please send images, I will post them as an update here. Thanks for the contribution. You can get my email and contact information from the Lumenique web site.

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