It's Time for the LED industry to Tackle Compatibility

Article by Jan Kemeling – Ledzworld Chief Sales & Marketing Officer (CMO)

The story behind LED development—only the 4th lighting technology developed in human history—is remarkable. The potential ahead of LED lighting to deliver real and measurable advantages—to save energy, last years longer, significantly lower bottom-line costs—is limitless.  But for it to be the next great defining feature of the lighting landscape, LED lighting needs to work.

Yes, work. That’s precisely the question LED end-users, specifiers, designers, utilities and regulatory agencies ask themselves before adopting LED options for their stores and retail fronts, offices and homes. Will these alternative lighting offerings achieve what they promise?

And the simple, scary truth facing the LED industry today is often, there’s no guarantee they will.

Today, legacy infrastructure—the transformers, fixtures, and control devices already incorporated into built environments—creates unique and challenging compatibility interferences with widespread LED adoption.  

What we’ve seen to date in our current, ongoing preliminary phase of LED adoption is “plug and play” applications--a customer simply installs an LED bulb into an existing fixture. Sometimes that fixture works with the LED bulb’s mechanical, electric, and thermal requirements; sometimes it doesn’t; and sometimes there are mixed results. The effect? Consumer uncertainty.  

Any new technology only has a small window to prove its value. Second chances with first impressions do not exist—which is why in any market; it’s essential to capitalize on the moment of market introduction. It’s an opportunity—and a test—to gain the trust of the consumer on the first try.  

The LED industry, peers, partners, and competitors, must work together to ensure full compatibility with the millions of lamps, dimmers, transformers, and fixtures on the market.

When looking at the compatibility problem, there are three separate issues to address: 1. Electrical compatibility; 2. Mechanical compatibility; and 3. Thermal compatibility.  

Electric Compatibility. Common voltages in lighting systems are significantly higher than LED requirements. As a result, the transformer and dimmers often don’t operate consistently, or properly.  Frequently this causes the LED to flicker and dim erratically, one lamp powering off before another, or the LED not even powering on at all.

Mechanical Compatibility. Problems arise when LEDs do not match the size and dimensions of traditional lamps.  It’s simply a matter of fitting a square into a round hole—the LED does not fix the legacy fixture’s width or height.

Thermal Compatibility. Traditional light sources and LEDs operate at dramatically different temperatures.  While some halogen lamps operate at 200 degrees Celsius, LED lamps must operate between a specific thermal temperature to ensure long life and safety standards.  In much of the legacy fixture infrastructure, there’s no means to dissipate heat in the bulb design.  

Let me be clear. Compatibility is the number one compelling problem facing the entire LED industry today. No end-user, designer, specifier will–or should—care what promises and potential LED technology holds in the future, if it doesn’t meet their needs in the present.

So while others keep the issue in the dark, Ledzworld works to guarantee our technology fits legacy lighting infrastructure. How? By proofing every one of our LED solutions against hundreds of the most commonly used dimmer, transformer and fixture applications.  It’s painstaking work, but it’s this behind-the-scenes effort that gives our customers the peace of mind they need, and deserve.

We’re also innovating LED drivers that guarantee our lamps are hassle-free, and work seamlessly on a wide range of magnetic and electric transformers and in combination with commonplace dimmers.

Recently, the company launched a breakthrough MR16 LED lamp with our patented Chameleon driver.  The Chameleon driver self adjusts to its environment by first detecting the transformer type, then analyzing its waveform, and finally adjusting itself to make a perfect electrical fit with that particular transformer. This innovative driver makes the company's MR16 LED retrofit lamps truly "plug and play" devices that can be used in a wide variety of transformer and dimmer combinations.  Anywhere, every time.

What’s more, the CTR functionality implemented in Ledzworld's Chameleon driver design also provides an intelligent temperature control monitoring system. The temperature control system acts as a watchdog by continuously measuring the ambient temperature inside the driver compartment by utilizing a built-in thermal sensor embedded into the Chameleon driver chipset.

Bottom-line, our lamps work on the spectrum of magnetic transformers, in combination with most commonly used leading edge dimmers, and with a large variety of electronic transformers paired with commonly used trailing edge dimmers.

Ledzworld set out to revolutionize the lighting industry with one unshakable commitment: to develop, design, and manufacture LED lighting that meets—and exceeds—all LED technology expectations. But that starts with ensuring that our technologically progressive, best-in-class lamps work as well with older infrastructure as they do with the new.  

So that a few bad actors don’t spoil LEDs reputation, it’s time for the entire LED industry to tackle compatibility, together.  

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