Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Southern California
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Ok, so the topic of the day way dedicated(proprietary) vs. standardized housing for LED lights. We sell a lot of lighting, and getting parts down the road is typically difficult, especially now with LED and they have yet to come out with standardized/universal driver. So each manufacturer and even different models from same manufacturers use different drivers. It's not just a 12v transformer anymore, most are constant current in a many different ma ratings, and working at a range of voltages, matching these specs is rarely easy or possible other then ordering it straight from the OEM.
Standards like JA8 are now being set forth to guarantee a minimum set of performance requirements including dimming. This doesn't mean they need to do 1% dimming but they need to meet minimum guidelines to carry the rating and requirement in some areas.
The trend in manufacturing is to remove the driver all together. Diodes are available in higher voltages now so smaller arrays are required and they are getting better and cheaper.
Traditionally the dedicated model was the housing held a dedicated driver for the LED module, this made sense as first versions still required huge heat sinks. Later this model continued because the best dimming performance came from this model. Now we can get 5% or better from a universals or retrofit module if you are willing to pay for it, but still the prices are coming down and performance and color is better.
You have to remember LED coming to lighting was a huge flip in technology that hadn't been touched since Edison handed us the incandescent bulb. Sure we had fluorescent and HID, but this was more reserved to commercial applications until energy savings was more or less mandated and pushed the LED forward.
The current trend in LED is either a switch on the LED light to adjust the color temperature so you can decide later if you want 2700k, 3000k, 5000k, etc and not have to replace your lights. Additionally we are seeing LED that mimic incandescent by warming when you dim. This seems greats but opens up another set of problems in trying to control them. Yes they work on a LED dimmer, but getting multiple to sync and stay on track isn't 100% yet. For the most part I think people are getting use to lights that don't warm(color) as they dim. I don't think it's such a bad thing but a warm light is still more comfortable to relax under in my opinion.
Another one in the commercial spectrum is an LED that has 2 controls, one for dimming and another dimmer for color.
One more is integrated controls in the LED where as you could supply them from a single circuit and within an APP or special control you can address and group or zone each light. This is available now, but you could not use this with a dimmer or Radio Ra, you have to only switch and control from APP or Proprietary control.
So it was discussed a few thread back, but even though the high end lights are using the dedicated model, you can get great quality lights from a retrofit type product and standard housing keeping al the maintenance simply plug and play.