PAR and R series LED lamps have progressed in four major areas over the past five years. The heat sink does a much better job at extracting and moving heat away from the junction point of the diodes, the optics allows precision lighting and standardized light distribution, the diodes rapidly change both in efficacy and quality of light and the drivers continue to improve in both compatibility and performance. In all four areas, LED lighting technology is improving.
LED PAR Lamp: Heat Sink Evolution
Heat sinks are the first thing people notice on most LED PAR lamps. Initially, production from the Far East had very little heat sinking, which meant all the heat from the diodes remained trapped inside the light bulb. This heat often did damage both to the drivers and the heat sink, which remain susceptible to heat. The first LED lamps were pretty low power and false claims. Retail stores offered 3 packs at low prices, but probably only all three combined equaled one 40 watt halogen in light output. The poor heat sinking was an attempt to keep production costs low, but ultimately left many customers with a bad taste in their mouth. The lights weren’t bright and didn’t last as claimed. It seemed like a recycled CFL curly cube light that didn’t meet expectations.
The heat sink has a single goal, extract heat from the junction point of the diodes. Using conductive adhesive further optimized performance. Some began to dabble in liquid, copper, and thermoplastics, but aluminum remains the most common and cost effective solution. The overall shape of PAR lamps provides natural room for a heat sink. While initially a little bulky, aluminum ultimately caught on and became mainstream with LED lighting.
Most recently, Green Lighting LED offers an aluminum cast heat sink for all of our PAR LED lamps. The new cast design allows for faster production, lower costs, and slightly improved heat sinking performance. By lowering the temperature of the diodes, the heat sink remains the unsung hero of our LED lighting product lines.
LED PAR & R Lamps: Precision Optics
Our first Par LED lamp used DIP diodes mimicking a reflector style halogen lamp. This technology was short lived as the diodes were replaced by less expensive and, because they became mass produced, better performing SMD diodes. SMDs, or surface mounted diodes, are easily mounted on a PC board mechanically, which eliminated the need to hand solder each individual diode onto the light bulb.
Supply and demand caused SMD development to increase while DIP diodes soon became a rarity. The SMDs did lack on one area – the beam angle, which came typically 90-120 degrees standard. The need to focus light to floods and narrow floods for PAR lamps, while smoothing the light for R series lamps, was critical in importance.
Initially, each diode was given its own optic lens, but Energy Star standards caused another shift to single lens units. Energy Star continues to provide more standardization to the lighting industry. To learn more about Energy Star, click here, or to see Green Lighting LED’s Energy Star product line, click here.
LED Evolution: Light Emitting Diodes
LEDs started out as tiny indicator lights in your radio. Eventually, Nichea patented a technology allowing a blue chip to be covered in a phosphor creating a white light. This revolutionized the industry as LEDs became bright enough for general illumination.
Every six months, we see turnovers in the industry. First, the chip manufacturers develop new, expensive state of the art diodes while other diodes become mass produced at lower costs. Slowly, what once was newly developed becomes the item mass produces, while new ideas stem cutting edge diodes at higher efficacies.
Naturally, our bulbs don’t have the same diodes today as 5 years ago. In reality, every few months we update to a better performing and better priced series of diodes. This provides our customers with a better product at a better price. We constantly evaluate our LED lighting products to make sure we provide a state of the art product.
LED Drivers: Engines for Energy Efficiency
LED drivers provide a constant current to the diodes. This is the ultimate unsung hero in LED lighting. Customers look at a light bulb to see how bright it is or its color, and compare that to their current products. Truly, quality gets determined under the hood.
Poorly designed drivers cost much less, but won’t last 10,000 hours, let alone 50,000+ hours. Early on, LED drivers weren’t dimmable and some still aren’t, but continued progression in this side of the industry continues to improve LED performance and longevity.
LED lighting will continue to improve and evolve over time. We look forward to serving you now and into the future with LED lighting solutions from Green Lighting LED.