This article really only applies to situations where you are considering using the flexible LED strip in a battery-driven system such as in a boat, Caravan or Motorhome. We’re going to recommend that you consider using a separate voltage regulator in these situations. If, however, you are going to use the strip at home powered by a suitable LED Driver (transformer) then you need read no further!
Flexible LED strip is designed to operate from a specific voltage supply, usually 12 or 24 volts DC but when your boat or vehicle is on hook-up, shore power or the battery is being charged through your engine or a separate generator, you will be having more than 12 or 24 volts running through the system.
I’ll illustrate what I mean with reference to a 12 volt system but the principal applies equally to the 24 volt situation – just double the numbers!
When the 12 volt battery is being charged you will find 14.4 volts running through all your 12 volt circuits. All of our other LED bulbs and your other 12 volt appliances on board (e.g. your telly, fridge etc) will have protective circuitry built in which protects the sensitive components from this “over-voltage”.
However, the LED strip DOES NOT have these protective circuitry built in so the strip will recieve a higher voltage than it is designed for and this can stress the strip and shorten the life span of the LEDs and in some cases cause some overheating (not enough to cause danger to the vehicle/boat but possibly to the strip).
Adding a suitable voltage regulator into the lighting circuit which the strip will be connected to will overcome this possibility and your strip will last as long as it is designed to.
Please contact us if you need to discuss your own situation or require some advice as to the most suitable voltage regulator for your lighting.
Here’s a link to one of the options available but do contact us if you’re not sure!
At JMG LED Lighting we often get asked about dimming existing LEDs either in a business or or in a home. This article discusses the key aspects of the process to be followed. You might think that dimming LEDs should be a simple exercise but it’s important that the LED lights are compatible with the dimming technology to be used.
The ideal scenario is to start afresh, buying both the lights and the dimmers from a well known Company who have experience with the technology. If we try to add a dimmer into an existing system or adding dimmable LED bulbs to a dimming circuit designed for halogen bulbs the likelyhood of failure is high. There are some excellent flexible dimming switched out there…….so ask first!
Some months ago, Lux Review opened this discussion with Dimming LED lamps: the dos and don’ts. Here we delve further into the issue and look at what it means once the decision’s taken to go ahead with a dimmable LED installation.
When you are looking for LED lighting for your home or office Collingwood are really at the top of the market and their products are used in many high specification properties but pricing still keeps their lighting attractive for more modest projects:
So whether you are refurbishing an hotel or updating your kitchen at home contact us to discuss your requirements.
Let There Be (LED) Light!
We’ve been working with 12 and 24 volt LED lighting for 10 years and having just completed our fourth Southampton Boat Show we thought this might be a good opportunity to review some of the commonly asked questions about replacing conventional lighting with LED alternatives.
What Wattage LEDs bulbs should I be looking for?
You can expect an LED to use approximately 10% of the power of an equivalent output conventional bulb, so if you have a 10 watt incandescent bulb, the equivalent LED would use 1 watt, a 20 watt halogen would be replaced by a 2 watt LED etc. Replacing the 20 watt halogen would save you 1.5 amps per hour on a 12 volt system!
How do I replace a halogen bulb?
This is usually fairly straightforward once you know what wattage of halogen bulb you have. In most circumstances a flat disc LED with appropriately positioned pins will give you the best results although there will usually be a suitable alternative if a disc is not appropriate for your particular fitting. Do check whether the bulb fits into the rear or the side of the light fitting otherwise Royal Mail will do well when you return the incorrect one to the supplier!
Changing halogen MR11 and MR16 bulbs is simply a case of changing to an LED with the equivalent light output. How do I replace a “Car Bulb” type bayonet bulb?
You can buy LED “tower” or cylinder bulbs with a bayonet fitting already attached to a bayonet connector and they will do an acceptable job in some circumstances. However, in most instances, starting with an adaptor which has a bayonet fitting on one and a G4 fitting at the opposite end gives you a lot more control over the light output, directionality and light colour than the fixed bayonet option.
Whether you have a single pole or a double pole bulb, whether your bulb fits into the rear or the side of your fitting, whether you need directional light from a spotlight or all round light for a bulkhead light, starting with an adaptor gives you a wide range of choices.
One important thought – don’t assume that because you have double pole bulbs in the main saloon that you won’t have single pole bulbs elsewhere on board! We regularly receive phone calls following Southampton Boat Show with requests to swap the adaptors! Can we change festoon bulbs to LED?
Once again, the answer is yes but do check the length of the festoon (typically 37mm or 42mm) and the wattage.
Warm White or Cool White?
Most people find that Warm White LED is the preferred alternative as it is the closest colour of light to that of conventional lighting. Cool White LEDs will give you a brighter light but you may find the blue tones rather harsh although that’s very much a matter of personal taste.
To dim or not to dim?
An LED bulb has to be designed to dim so always seek advice before purchasing LEDs to be fitted into a situation where a dimmer is installed. Individually designed dimming systems can now be produced but we would need to know specific details about your set-up. This is mainly applicable to replacement LED bulbs as many new LED fixtures have the dimming capability as part of the unit.
What else should I look out for?
Always buy LED bulbs which have a wide voltage tolerance range (typically 10 – 30vDC) as this means that the bulb will be able to tolerate the variation in battery voltage output produced when the alternator kicks in or when you’re connected to shore power. This voltage will be more than sufficient for 12 volt systems and good quality bulbs will have sufficient extra capacity to accommodate the voltage variations produced in 24 volt systems.
The internet enables everybody to purchase directly from the manufacturers in China and this can appear to be a very attractive option. Do remember that most UK LED retailers have sampled products from many manufacturers before settling on their chosen supplier. If you’d like to gamble with your boat lighting then by all means buy direct from China and you may strike lucky!
Finally, if you want to upgrade or modernise your boat lighting there are some excellent new LED fixtures available to meet all requirements and budgets.
One last thought….with so many bulbs to choose from, if you’re unsure about anything, just ask!
Many businesses are not making the most of the opportunities available to them through the flexibility and controllability that LED lighting can offer.
Changing the lighting in businesses is a great start but a little creativity can make an enormous difference and really make a business stand out from the crowd.
We get into so many businesses and all the owners have done is changed the bulbs and this will undoubtedly make a significant difference to the electricity bill for the building.
Adding some lighting into specific areas such as over shelving units, over food display units or over a key area in your retail display can be a relatively inexpensive means of highlighting import areas of your shop and remove a “bland” overall lighting scheme.
This is a great article on why John Lewis is installing LED Lighting in more and more of their stores. It isn’t all about the cost saving but also about the quality and control of the lighting which LEDs now enable retailers to have. This can really have a major impact over the way retail shops appear to their customers.
Most people in the LED industry (ourselves included) compare the electricity savings from switching to LED Light Bulbs from the “Energy Saving” or CFL bulbs that were promoted so strongly a few years ago.
What if you have a house or hotel full of Energy Saving bulbs – is it worth making the change?
The answer is a definite “Yes” (You’ll be surprise to hear).
When the supermarket chain Sainsbury started investigating the potential benefits of changing their stores over to LEDs from fluorescent lighting, they decided that the overall “cost of ownership” of both lighting types was a key measure that would influence their decision. This measure included not only the reduction is electricity use (LEDs use half the electricity of fluorescent tubes and “energy saving” bulbs) but also the replacement costs of the two types of bulbs (LEDs last at least three times as long as “Energy Savers”).
Cost of ownership is just as relevant to householders.
The following link will take you to a page which illustrates a typical cost comparison that would apply to bulbs you might use at home:
Yes, LEDs cost a lot more than CFLs but they use half as much electricity and last at least three times as long so the over all cost of ownership is much less that the “Energy Saving” bulbs. It’s worth clicking the link to check how these figures were arrived at.
In early 2014, Which? magazine published a review of LED bulbs sourced from popular high street brands and the results were not impressive. We at JMG LED Lighting have been working with LED Lighting since 2005 so it was very disappointing to see a technology which should be being readily adopted by both domestic and business customers receiving such bad press.
So what’s the problem with LED Lighting?
Essentially there’s nothing wrong with LED lighting but we are dealing with quite complicated technology – the images below shows the interior of a typical LED bulb. Many people don’t realise just how much electronics are required in the design of a humble domestic LED bulb (and why should they – all the customer wants is light!), but it is this very technology that the cause of reported problems occur.
We are all looking for “Value for money” and the pressure on manufacturers to reduce the price of LED bulbs has been enormous. Many manufacturers respond in the only way they know by looking for cheap components and occasionally making dangerous shortcuts in the design.
It simply requires a manufacturer to purchase some cheap capacitors or cheap drivers (the transformers which drop the voltage from the 240v AC in the supply to the DC voltage required by the LEDs) and the entire bulb becomes at risk of failing in the short term. One of the manufacturers we buy from pay more for the drivers in their bulbs than they can buy entire bulbs from some sources!
So, what are we saying?
It’s the old story…..you get what you pay for. If you buy cheap LEDs, you’re running the risk of buying products which have been subject to the compromises described above. We use Crompton Lamps as one of our main suppliers of domestic LED bulbs and they have been manufacturing lighting for decades.
How easy is it to convert a traditional light fitting to use an LED bulb?
The answer, thankfully is that it’s very easy nowadays. The photograph below shows a very popular light fitting which ordinarily uses a 20 watt incandescent bayonet bulb but which has been converted to an LED equivalent which uses only 2.5 watts – a saving of 17.5 watts EACH HOUR!
All that’s been used is an adaptor which has a bayonet fitting on one end and a G4 fitting at the other end, into which you place an LED bulb.
Using these adaptors gives you complete control of the power of the LED bulb and whether you want Warm White or Cool White LEDs. This is the combination used in the fitting shown above but any of the bulbs shown on our site can be used:
The same principal applies if you have a light fitting where the bayonet bulb fits in sideways into the unit. In the following image, the same adaptor has been used and the end of the adaptor twisted around until the side fitting LED bulb pointed in the desired direction. (Make sure you take the bulb out before you twist the end of the adaptor…..or you’ll just pull the pins off the bulb!)
If you’re not sure about anything…give me a call on 07901 852950