Are LED's more energy efficient?
No. On viewing light source efficiency factors such as the watts/amps consumed by the driver, the amount of light output in lumens per meter and the driver loss on the LED driver unit need to be taken into consideration. Comparison needs to be made between the lumens produced and the amount of power used. Cold cathode is a superior light source on a lumens/watt of power used basis when comparing many LED products especially for use with colours other than white.
I need a narrow beam can cold cathode do this?
No. Only through a fitting and this does not give good beam angle. LED is available with a number of lenses that can give a beam angle of 6 – 150 degree. These can also shape the light as in oval or pillar box lenses.
Is cold cathode warmer in colour?
Yes. Cold cathode is available in 1900 kelvin and LED is available in 2400. More importantly cold cathode has a drift of +/- 50 and LED has a rating of +/- 200, giving cold cathode the edge on performance.
Can I use remote transformers for LED?
Yes you can in some cases with the transformer being up to 20M away, with cold cathode we recommend you put the control gear within 1M of the lamp. This is of course excluding remote magnetic gear which is used only when there is no space for gear. Also because LED mainly runs at 12 or 24V the cable route is also has less issues.
Do LEDs last longer?
No. LED tubes can offer between 35,000-50,000 lighting hours in comparison with the average life expectancy for a cold cathode tube being in the region of 45,000 to 70,000 hours. It is recognised that with LED the higher the output the quicker the lumen depreciation curve. The above ratio is for a like for like based product.
Is cold cathode outdated?
This can be a frustrating topic of debate. Some reports from so called ‘experts’ describe cold cathode as outdated and inefficient but none of these columnists/experts have visited the Kemps factory. We can, therefore, only guess as to where they sourced their information. It should be remembered that the technology may be old but cold cathode is every bit as new as the LED, which incidentally is also an old technology. Kemps have been developed everything they use within the last ten years and their new products and manufacturing processes are a constant innovation.
Is LED cheaper to run than cold cathode lighting?
Cold cathode is largely inexpensive to run. Traditionally cold cathode lamps were high voltage light, requiring a fireman’s switch. Once the technology changed to low voltage and incorporated the use of magnetic transformers energy efficiency was added to the list of advantages for use of cold cathode. With the onset of the Part L regulations today’s cold cathode is highly efficient and in comparative lpw terms is cheaper to run than LED.
Is LED more durable than cold cathode lighting?
There are pros and cons with both LED and cold cathode lighting. LEDs have solid technology but have struggled in the heat of the Middle East. By comparison cold cathode struggles in the much colder temperatures. Cold cathode is already a proven technology whereas LED has some way to go to prove its longevity in the market. Clients are now demanding that whole systems are life maintained even though many LED applications have become out of date before the expiry of the warranty.
Does cold cathode offer the same colour range?
Cold cathode offers a far wider fixed range of colours, which in deep colours offers a greater contrast than LEDs. Red is a difficult colour to achieve in any form because it has a low wavelength and LEDs tend to create a less rich result on deep colours. Both cold cathode and LED offer a colour change – with an incredible range of up to 16 million different colours.
Do you import cheap LED from China?
No, it is true there is a wide range of products in the LED market. It is hard to defend specifications against Far East copies. Most reputable companies will use quality LED sources with well engineered heat syncs and work to a quality that is of a certain standard. It is true the copies are getting better but they are a long way from being the standard expected of the professional lighting industry.
Has LED killed off cold cathode?
Of course, as the new kids on the block LEDs have impacted on the cold cathode market and for a while the cold cathode option appeared to have been superseded by that of the LED. The neon sign industry was decimated and some big names in the business are no longer in play. However, as always, common sense has prevailed, the LED boom period is over, the market has settled down and we have seen a big increase in cold cathode.
Many buildings have LED on them but cold cathode is still a cost effective alternative, which has seen an increase over the last ten years of at least 100%.
“Positive points that put the value of cathode linear lighting head and shoulders above LEDs include instant on (no flicker, no noise and no starters); flexibility (made to order, any shape or size); long lamp life (up to 100,000 functional hours); shadowless cove lighting without dark ends or hot spots; energy efficiency; and high light output (105 to 125 lumens per watt)”. [Robert S. Costa Cathode Systems of America Carnegie, PA, extract from The Free Library]
What about maintenance?
In their drive for innovation many of the larger companies have produced new products before they have finished launching their existing product. We have seen LEDs being replaced just two years after original installation only to result in the same lighting effect as the original install. This is another big advantage to the use of cold cathode.
Does LED need a bigger trough to avoid a cut off of light?
Difficult question. On a like for like format the trough sizes are the same but with the smaller LED bars and the architect’s need for smaller details it is easier for a small LED bar to fit behind a lip or bar detail although it must be noted that the light output and its quality are very much compromised.
Cold cathode has 360 degree light output giving a natural wash to the halo or floating ceiling effect, the wash gradually fading to the centre of the feature. LED has a beam angle usually of 120 degrees, which has sharp cut off edges and does not allow for smoothness of an architectural detail. This is also where the difference of CRI is realised at over 90 with cold cathode and generally 80 with LED offering a clear distinction between the two systems.
Will cold cathode be available in 10 years?
10 years ago a leading professional in the industry said cold cathode will disappear in 10 years. LED is a fantastic addition to the lighting industry you only have to look at project like Solna. This could not have been done in cold cathode, but cold cathode offers that touch of class that you cannot imitate from a point source. They are both great products and both are here to stay.
How would you summarise LED lights?
LEDs have had a major impact on the world and like all things the honeymoon period is now over. Manufacturers are listening more to designer’s needs and are manufacturing products that meet an exact task rather than just pumping out strips of light. However, it is wonderful to have the options of and accessibility to the manufacture of both systems, whichever is the most suitable to your needs. This means our opinion is a truly unbiased one. Cold cathode has stood the test of time and with the introduction of LED cold cathode was forced to modernise. It is a highly efficient form of lighting with a proven track record and there is a place for this product in the market.
Whatever the advice you receive from our engineers you can be assured that it will meet the needs of the designer and it will be the best product whether LED or cold cathode, backed by the Kemps promise.