• LED tubes approach mainstream adoption despite complexitiesYour Place:HOme - Light news
  • Auhtor:    Time:4/30/2015   Hits:1941
  • Over the past five years, LED tubes intended as fluorescent replacements have improved dramatically. Indeed, efficiency, lumen output, and uniformity have improved while costs have decreased significantly. Still, there are many choices in LED tube types and the landscape has been constantly changing, leading many lighting professionals and buyers to take a wait-and-see approach. The range of technology, cost, and service options are at the root of the complexity. But a clear understanding of the options can lead to successful small- and large-scale deployments.
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    Much of the complexity behind tubes is related to heat. Heat is the enemy of the LEDs, and of the power supplies, commonly called drivers. Drivers and LEDs both generate heat. Moreover, the driver implementation in LED tubes is perhaps the key differentiating factor in products from different vendors. In this article, we will offer some perspective on the range of driver category choices to help define the right match for any given project or application scenario.

    Replaceable-driver system LED tubes afford a low total cost-of-ownership (TCO) for specific lighting-user scenarios.
    There are six primary options for driver implementation in LED tubes:
    1. Internal driver - Parallel driver
    2. Internal driver - Thermal isolation end-cap driver
    3. Internal driver - Thermal isolation and replaceable driver system
    4. Internal driver - Ballast-compatible driver
    5. External driver - Thermal isolation with driver direct power to pins
    6. External driver - Thermal isolation with driver direct power to tubes
    Internal LED driver integration
    Let's begin by discussing the four options for integration of the driver internal to the tube form factor. Typical good application matches for such tubes include single-shift commercial properties such as offices, retail, schools, etc.
    Internal driver - Parallel driver. The internal driver that is mounted in a parallel fashion along the length of the tube is the most common architecture. Advantages include familiarity in the market and the fact that the prices have come down dramatically.
    But there are disadvantages to the approach. Heat generated from the LED driver, which runs parallel behind the printed circuit board (PCB), will damage the LEDs in some cases. The result can be degraded color, efficiency, and/or longevity. Indeed, the product may not fail completely but in a way that is still unacceptable. In the areas over the driver, the heat generated from the parallel driver adversely impacts the phosphor coating on the LEDs. The change in color creates an inconsistent fixture and overall ceiling illumination aesthetic that has deterred many buyers to date.

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