Tag Archives: LED

Dim-to-Warm – COB LED that dims like halogen

Dim-to-warm

Dim-to-Warm is COB LED which works like halogen lamp when dimmed. Its specialty is that when you dim it the color temperature gets warmer. Usually dimming does not affect the color temperature of the LED. Dim-to-Warm LED imitates the effect of the halogen lamp which gets warmer by dimming. With full power you can get color temperature 3100K and at lowest 1850K.

Dim-to-Warm LED suits especially highly for decorative luminaries, for example used in restaurants, hotels, cruise cabins and home interiors. It’s perfect for space where you want to have dimmed and warm toned atmospheric lighting.

LED has great advantage compared to an incandescent lamp. Its power consumption is less than 10% of the incandescent lamp’s power consumption.

The color temperature of candlelight, incandescent and halogen lamp.

The color temperature of candlelight, incandescent and halogen lamp.

 

There are seven different packages from 900 to 3000 lumens. You can download more information about the product here.

Where and how to use?

Dim-to-Warm LED is great for places where you want the light that dims like halogen or incandescent lamp. You can use it for example for restaurants, hotels, cruise cabins and decorative luminaires where you have been using halogens before.

It’s easy to use. You can use Dim-to-Warm LED for all the luminaires where you have been using COB LED or you can use it to replace led modules. All optics, lenses and reflectors that are compatible with COB LED, suit also for Dim-to-Warm LED. LES area is CLC20-series for 9,8 mm and at CLC30-series for 15,2 mm.

How Dim-to-Warm works?

As we know, usually LEDs don’t change the color when you dim them. They always retain approximately the same color temperature when the brightness is reduced. LED’s brightness depends on the current; reducing the current the brightness reduces.

Dim-to-Warm LED is made from cold and warm LED areas. It has an internal control circuit which dims the cooler area first and later starts to control current of the warm one.  The color temperature gets warmer when dimmed.  This way the dimming works similarly in incandescent or halogen lamp.

The diagram below shows how the color temperature gets warmer when led is dimmed down and the current and brightness reduces (black color). You can also compare it to halogen lamp (grey color).

 

Dim-to-Warm is a COB LED, so you don’t need any complicated special features from the driver, like two-channeling or programming features. Ordinary triac dimmable driver is enough. We have tested ELT’s DLC-drivers with it, and they have good compatibility.

Click the button below to download the datasheets and material. You can find more information and our product codes from the presentation. If you have any questions about Dim-to-Warm, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Download Here

Why Heat Pipe is Better than Traditional Heat Sink?

You will need a heat sink when you use a COB led for your luminaire. The traditional way of transferring the heat away from the light source is to use passive aluminum heat sink. In this post, I introduce another solution for cooling the led: Heat pipe.

Traditional heat sinks are based on the fact that aluminum transfers heat away from the light source. The higher the power of the led is, the more you need aluminum.

This grows the luminaire’s size and makes it more expensive. The bigger size of the luminaire makes logistics costs go up and increases the price for end user even more.

There is another solution for the high power leds without the need for noisy fans etc: Heat pipe.

Heat pipe technology is traditionally being used in computers and for example in satellites. But now it is available in lighting.

Furukawa Heat Pipes (HYC Series)

Furukawa HYC Series uses heat pipe technology to transfer the heat and makes heat sinks more efficient in cooling the LED.

how heat pipe works

How Heat Pipe Works

Heat Pipe’s thermal conductivity is almost 200 times better compared to copper. This allows the heat sink to be a lot smaller than we are used to.

Smaller heat sink reduces the weight of the luminaire dramatically. This reduces the transportation costs as well as the amount of other materials needed.

The heat pipes effectively transfer heat from the heat source throughout the whole heat sink cooling the heat source faster than ever.

Unlike many Chinese manufacturers, Furukawa uses oxyzen-free copper in its heat pipes, which means that their lifetime is over 20 years.

Heat Pipe vs. No Heat Pipe

Heat Pipe vs. No Heat Pipe

Save money and environment with our product

aLED Engine

aLED Light Engine (Furukawa heat pipe + Citizen COB + optics + aLED Driver)

Now I want to introduce you our own aLED Light engine that uses Furukawa heat pipe with Citizen COB. aLED Light Engine produces over 40.000 lm and weights only 1 kg (without driver and optics). And only 3.6kg with optics and driver.

By combining Citizen COB and heat pipe technology, you can build luminaires that:

  • Produce a lot of light
  • Are light in weight and small in size
  • Save environment
  • Are completely recyclable

Heat pipe is very lightweight. You can get a lot of light with a smaller luminaire.

Furukawa heat pipes are compatible with Citizen CLU04x and CLU05x COB leds.

Download an example of different led + heat pipe combinations and datasheets for custom models with screwholes for Citizen COBs.

Download Here

Why Should You Choose the New aLED Module

We redesigned our aLED-modules based on customer and market feedback. Here is  a brief explanation on what is different compared to previous version. And why I think you should consider using aLED modules.

 

Figure 1. New aLED Modules with examples of different connector locations.

Better efficacy (159-191 lm/W)

We upgraded the SMD LEDs used in the modules to better suit our customers’ needs. aLED modules now have efficacy from 159 lm/W to 190 lm/W. Efficacy depends on the color temperature and you can see the efficacy by CCT here:

  • 2700K (174 lm/W)
  • 3000K (177 lm/W)
  • 4000K (185 lm/W)
  • 5000K (191 lm/W)

Better placement of LEDs

We have changed the design of our aLED module. LEDs are now placed on the center line of the module so the installation of optics is easier.

aLED modules dimensions have also changed. New modules are now either 279.2 mm or 558.4 mm in length and 20 mm or 40 mm in width. 

Different options for connectors

It is now possible to order aLED modules with connectors either on the frontside or on the backside. Traditionally the connectors have been on the frontside, but these new backside connectors allow you to hide the wires behind the module and inside the profile.

For longer luminaires, there is a possibility to use backline, so you won’t need long wires. Short wires to connect multiple modules together will be enough (figure 2).

Figure 2. a) How to connect modules without back line option. b) How to utilize the back line option of the aLED modules.

Long lifetime

Thanks to the upgraded LED, the lifetime of aLED modules has also increased. You can see the lifetime prediction below. But to be brief: at maximum TC temperature (85°C) the lifetime (L70B50) is over 100.000 hours (figure 3).

Fikure 3. The lifetime of aLED Module (L70B50)

Friendly to environment

On top of high efficacy and the possibility to save energy, aLED modules are also recyclable. You can recycle all parts of module, even the PCB.

In addition to all these changes aLED modules prices have also dropped to more competitive level.

You can find the technical details of 4000K modules from the table below. You can download the datasheets of these new modules by clicking here.

Product Code Color Temperature (CCT) Color Rendering (Ra) Luminous Flux (lm) Forward Current (mA) Voltage (V) Power (W) Efficacy (lm/W) Length (mm) Width (mm)
CALOSNU0405 4000 80 1182 600 11.6 7.0 170 279.2 20
CALOSNU0410 4000 80 1224 600 11.0 6.6 185 279.2 20
CALOLNU0805 4000 80 2363 600 23.2 13.9 170 558.4 20
CALOLNU0810 4000 80 2448 600 22.1 13.3 185 558.4 20
CALOLHU1610 4000 80 4895 600 44.1 26.5 185 558.4 40
CALOSND0405 4000 80 1182 600 11.6 7.0 170 279.2 20
CALOSND0410 4000 80 1224 600 11.0 6.6 185 279.2 20
CALOLND0805 4000 80 2363 600 23.2 13.9 170 558.4 20
CALOLND0810 4000 80 2448 600 22.1 13.3 185 558.4 20
CALOLHD1610 4000 80 4895 600 44.1 26.5 185 558.4 40

 

Download Datasheets

 

In addition to these new models, all our previous module models are also still available.

How to Connect LED Modules into AC Network

In my earlier post I went through the procedure of how to physically connect a single LED component into an AC network. The connection was made between COB LED and the LED driver. When connecting LED modules (LED diodes assembled on the PCB board) you do it pretty much the same way with slight differences.

Connecting an SMD LED module into the AC network

As with a COB LED component, you will need a suitable driver for your module (see: how to choose a constant current LED driver).  You connect the positive terminals and the negative terminals of the LED driver and the LED module together to create a closed electrical circuit.

The difference to connecting a single LED component is that you may have to connect several LED modules into the same LED driver. In such case, you have to use series connection. This means that you still have to create a closed electrical circuit formed by the LED driver and these LED modules on the secondary side. You arrange the primary side like you would with single LED components. On the secondary size you connect the positive terminal of the first LED module (leftmost module in Figure 1) into the positive terminal of the LED driver. Then you connect the negative terminal of the last module (rightmost module in Figure 1) to the negative terminal of the LED driver. See Figure 1 below that shows all connections between the components.

Figure 1. Connection of LED modules into AC network through the driver.

How do you make other connections? Series connection means that you always connect the negative terminal of the previous array to the positive terminal of the following array in the chain. See again Figure 1. The output voltage of your LED driver defines how many LED modules you can drive with one driver. In case of Figure 1, one LED driver drives three LED modules. If voltage over LED module is for example 12V, the output voltage of the LED driver should exceed 36V. In the real world, you have to take into account tolerances. So in this case, 40V can be used as target for the driver maximum output voltage.

In the same way, you can connect multiple COB LEDs in series. This may be the case when you need vast amount of light.

How to actually do it?

As for physical connections of SMD LED modules, there are four options:

  1. PCB terminal block connectors
  2. Soldering
  3. Wire-to-board connectors
  4. Board-to-board connectors

PCB terminal block connectors are quite popular. They are soldered on the PCB board in the reflow process (in reflow oven) after the assembly process. You push the wires into those PCB terminal blocks in the same way as you would push the wires into the push-in terminals of solderless connectors in the single COB case.

Figure 2. PCB terminal block connector (2-pole)

Soldering is an option, if there are separate soldering pads reserved on the PCB to solder the wire(s) with tin. Soldering is usually a more cost effective option.

The numbers 3 and 4 are the special cases when you wish to interconnect two modules with each other. I’ll skip them for now and save them for later post.

If you’re interested in aLED’s new, improved LED modules, read more over here.

Feel free to drop a comment if you have questions on this topic.

How to Connect a Single LED Component into AC Network

I have two blog posts for you focused on how you connect COB LED components into the electrical network. I mean, when you have either a single COB LED or an LED module based on SMD LED components assembled on a PCB board.

Compared to traditional lighting, connecting LEDs to the electrical network is a whole new world. LEDs need direct current (DC) to light them, alternating current (AC) will not work. There are also AC modules available but those are not covered here.

In this post I will concentrate on connecting single COB LEDs. In case you are interested in connecting LED modules, I will write about that in my next post.

LED driver

You will need an LED driver, which is actually an AC/DC converter. It converts the AC voltage/current of the electrical network into the suitable DC voltage/current needed by the LED component. You will find the requirements of the LED from a datasheet provided by the manufacturer. If you need help in choosing a driver, you can read our guide.

Figure 1. Example of an AC/DC converter, LED driver. This one is from ELT with dipswitches, which means that you can choose the driving current.

Connecting COB LED into the AC network

In case of COB, you will have to create a closed electrical circuit so that the electrical current can flow through the LED component. A COB LED is basically a diode in its electrical nature: the current can flow only in a forward mode. This means that you must connect the positive (+) solder pad of the COB LED into the positive terminal of the LED driver. In the same way, you connect the negative (-) solder pad of the COB LED into the negative terminal of the LED driver. See the Figure 2 below.

 

This way, you create the closed electrical circuit that is needed to feed current through the LED so that it gives light. This closed electrical circuit formed by the LED driver and the COB LED is called the secondary side of the LED driver. LED driver feeds the power and current into the closed electrical circuit, and thus through COB LED, on the secondary side.

 

Figure 2. COB-AC Network

 

On the primary side, the LED driver gets electrical power from electrical network, AC network. The terminals of the LED driver on the primary side are called line and neutral. They are connected into the line and neutral connections of the AC network. If you have an LED driver with cables, they are usually blue (neutral) and brown (line). Some drivers also have a ground terminal, which is usually connected to the luminaire body with grounding wire. However, the closed electrical circuit is needed also on the primary side; between the network and the driver.

Usually, you will need to use some kind of terminal block to connect the driver into the electrical network on the primary side.

Picture of a terminal block

Figure 3. The example of terminal block to connect the LED driver into the electrical network.

Two options

Finally, as for physically connecting a COB LED into the LED driver, you have two ways to do it:

  1. solder the wires on the solder pads of the COB
  2. use solderless connectors.

In the first method, you manually solder the wire by using soldering iron with high temperature that melts the soldering material such as tin. After cooling, there is a joint between the wire and the COB solder pad. You need two wires, one for plus and one for minus solder pad.

In the second method, you use a solderless connector.

Figure 4. The solderless connector.

The solderless connector does the same effect as the soldered wire. You need the electrical connection also in this method, but you won’t need to solder the wire by melting tin. You just push the wire into the push-in terminals of the connector. Again, positive to positive and negative to negative terminal. They are marked on the connector. Basically these push-in terminals work with a combination of metal plates and springs that then make the connection to the solder pad of the COB LED.

The difference between these methods is, that unlike with soldered joints, in the solderless connector method the springs may loosen a bit over time and loss of contact may occur. Solderless connectors are generally thought to be more expensive than manual soldering.  

In my next post I will go through the steps for connecting LED modules.

What We Are Presenting in Elfack?

Elfack exhibition will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden from 9th to 12th of May. As it has been with previous exhibitions, we will be releasing new products and presenting the latest technology at our stand.

This year we will introduce and present the following products at our stand F04:70.

aLED Engine

aLED Engine

aLED Light Engine

We designed aLED Engine for applications that require a lot of light. aLED Engine consists of Furukawa heat pipe and Citizen COB LED.

In addition you can also choose a suitable optics and LED driver for the light engine from our selection. Suitable drivers are available as on/off, 1-10V dimming and DALI dimming.

aLED Engine is also compatible with Merrytek sensors, which allow you to control the lighting as you wish.

The 300W engine produces 36.000 lm at 4.000K and weighs only 3,6 kg with a driver installed.

aLED Engine will be at our stand in Elfack. There you can see the engine in action and try it with a daylight sensor.

Download More Information

Furukawa HYC Series

Furukawa HYC Series uses heat pipe technology to transfer the heat and makes heat sinks more efficient in cooling the LED.

how heat pipe works

How Heat Pipe Works

Heat Pipe’s thermal conductivity is almost 200 times better compared to copper. This allows the heat sink to be a lot smaller than we are used to.

Smaller heat sink reduces the weight of the luminaire dramatically.

The heat pipes effectively transfer heat from the heat source throughout the whole heat sink cooling the heat source faster than ever.

Heat Pipe vs. No Heat Pipe

Heat Pipe vs. No Heat Pipe

Furukawa heat pipes are compatible with Citizen COBs.

Furukawa heat pipes will be at our stand so you can see and try how light they are.

Read more about Furukawa heatpipe from here.

aLED & Letaron Drivers

aLED Driver

aLED Driver

aLED and Letaron offer a versatile range of both constant current and constant voltage drivers from low to high power (from 1 W up to 600 W).

Ouw own aLED drivers are best suited for high power applications. They are all available in IP68 and can be ordered as on/off, 1-10V dimming or DALI dimming.

Letaron drivers are best suited for low power applications, although they are available up to 52W.

Letaron offers a variety of designs to suit your needs including round, rectangular and slim models.

The Letaron low power drivers are also compatible with OLED light sources.

aLED and Letaron drivers will be on at our stand so you can see and try them yourself.

Merrytek

Merrytek sensors

Merrytek offers a wide range of different sensors. Some sensors come with LED driver and some are independent and can be connected to LED driver.

Merreytek has products particularly designed for eg. homes, schools, stairways, warehouses, offices, parking garages and outdoor use.

Merrytek’s intelligent lighting control products include:

  • Microwave motion and daylight sensors
  • Dimmable LED drivers
  • LED drivers with intergrated sensors

There will be Merrytek products on display at our stand. We will have an aLED engine wiht Merrytek’s daylight sensor on our stand, so you can see how it functions.

Citizen Gen 6, AC COB &Vivid Series

Citizen released Gen 6 COB and AC COB earlier this year with improvements compared to the previous versions.

Thermal Resistance

Thanks to better heat resistance, you can use much smaller heat sink. Gen 4 on the left, Gen 5 on the middle and Gen 6 on the right.

For the new Vivid series we’ve prepared a demo wall at Elfack for you to examine the possibilities of color quality control in LED lighting.

Seminar about color quality

We will organize a seminar about color quality on the first day of the exhibition.

Color comparison Vivid COBColor Comparison Regular COB 3000K Ra80 vs. Vivid Brilliant

The seminar will take place on Tuesday 9th of May.
Time: 16:00-19:00
Place: Hotel Gothia Towers, Tower 1, meeting room R22-23

The program:

  • Doors open at 16:00
  • Coffee
  • Welcome / Arrant Light Oy by Janne Mäkinen, Managing Director / Arrant-Light Oy
  • Color Quality with CITIZEN by Kosuke Tsuchiya, Field Application Engineer / Citizen Electronics Co.
  • Demonstration and open discussion
  • Refreshments and snacks
  • Close at 19:00

Please sign up for the seminar as soon as possible or latest by April 30th. We have limited seats and there is room for the first 20 persons only.

Sign Up for Our Seminar

Welcome to visit our stand F04.70 at Elfack.

All datasheets and other material will be available from our website soon. If you wish to download material about these new products before the exhibition. You can do that here.

Vivid LEDs: Special Color Rendering With Spectrum Tuning

When we talk about color rendering, traditionally that conversation has been filled with CRIs and Ra-indexes. These traditional ways of telling how well certain light source represents sunlight have been criticised because they may not tell the whole truth.

In recent years, LED manufacturers have been trying to answer this criticism by creating different products. Terms like “premium white”, “crispy white”, “pearl white” and “vivid white” have come to LED markets.

Despite the different terms, they are all meant for the same purpose: To represent certain colors and make the lighting look better. I will be using term “Vivid” as it is the term Citizen Electronics uses. And to be honest, it describes the purpose of these LEDs quite well.

Color rendering

Color rendering means simply how well a white light source can show, or render, the true colors of different physical objects compared to sunlight. You know the effect when you buy a jacket in the clothes shop and it looks completely different in sunlight.

Colors are divided into 15 indexes (R1-R15). A general color rendering index (CRI or Ra-index) is defined as an average of the sum of first eight indexes (R1..R8). However, these first 8 indexes are rather less saturated colors, while indexes R9-R12 represent highly saturated colors (red, yellow, green, blue).

CRI 100 = Sunlight

For example, in grocery stores, a shopkeeper may want to highlight red color of meat or colors of vegetables. This means that the general color rendering index doesn’t really tell anything about the rendering capabilites of the light. In this case, high rendering index of some of R9-R12 indexes is necessary. It doesn’t matter how high the CRI is, R9-R12 can be anything.

CRI 83 (look at R9)

CRI 83 (look at R9)

The above image shows the index values of R1-R15. The CRI is 83, but look at the R9 value. Not very good.

So basically, the LED itself can have the CRI of 97 and you still have no idea how does it render red or green for example.

Vivid via Spectrum tuning

Vivid LEDs are made using spectrum tuning. In short, this means that the phosphorus of the LED has been modified. How it is modified, depends on the LED and the intended application. Note that spectrum tuning can be made also by using RGB-LEDs.

For example, Vivid White LED’s spectrum has been tuned so that it represents white and bright colors as well as possible. The colors are more saturated than under typical normal LED light.

Test report on Vivid White aLED Module

Test report on Vivid White aLED Module. Click the image to open it in new tab for better view.

These LEDs work very well for example, in clothing stores, where you have a lot of different colors that need to look good.

Here are two good principals when choosing LED:

  1. Think about your application, what colors do you want to highlight?
  2. Don’t stare at the CRI (unless you get a full report), it might not tell everything

Conclusion

Traditional way of thinking color rendering solely through the CRI should be updated. More importantly, you should know what you want to highlight and ask for a LED suited for your application.

Download More Information About Vivid

 

How to use Citizen LED simulator

Datasheets are essential part when you compare how different light sources work in your solution. Usually it can be time taking and exhausting to glance at datasheet and find values you are looking for. This gets even harder if you have multiple LEDs or different LED packages, which would mean that you have look at multiple datasheets to get different values.

This is the reason why Citizen has created a Citizen LED simulator. The simulator is very easy to use and makes comparing different LED packages a lot easier. If you haven’t yet tried it or you don’t have the simulator, you can download it for free from our website.

Citizen LED simulator basic view

Citizen LED simulator basic view.

The steps

Follow these steps to use the simulator.

You can choose desired CCT and Ra and selection simulator shows packages and product codes of existing products.

You can choose desired CCT and Ra and selection simulator shows packages and product codes of existing products.

  1. Select the CCT and Ra

First you need to select desired CCT and Ra from condition input field.

You can choose desired CCT and Ra and the selection simulator shows packages and product codes of existing products.

  1. Choose whether you want to search based on the desired lumen amount or driving current

After you have selected color temperature and CRI value, you can choose between driving current (forward current in simulator) or desired luminous flux.

  1. Input the Tc-temperature

Then you can input Tc-temperature. If you have no idea how much Tc is or would be in your solution, values around 60 degrees are realistic to use as many light sources reach temperatures close to that while being used.

Example

In this example, I have chosen that I want my LED to be 4000K, Ra80 Min. And I want to see what options we have to get around 3000 lumens out from luminaire. Luminaire optics etc. will drain around 300-400 lumens in my solution. So I have determined that I need 3400 warm lumens from LED and estimated that Tc-temperature is 60 degrees.

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I can see that I have ten different LED packages I can get the 3400 lumens from. In first column after product code you can see what current you should use to get these values. If you don’t have LED driver, in which you can choose output current, it is recommended to then select current value you have LED drivers available in. In this case, 700mA seems to be a good choice as many of the LED’s have driving current close to that.

So I change “forward current” instead of “luminous flux” from the condition input and insert 700mA.

LED packages which give you desired lumens with 700mA. We still have six options to choose from.

LED packages which give you desired lumens with 700mA. We still have six options to choose from.

This will give me a list of LEDs I can use with 700mA driver. And more importantly give me a good overview of LED packages that can give me my desired lumen amount. If you have problem that you can’t find driver with suitable current, you can contact me for help.

In this case, CLU028-1204 would suit my lumen need quite nicely and CLU048-1212, would probably be an overkill for this application. All the other options, might suit my solution although they give roughly 10% more lumens. Whether this is ok, depends really on my application and desired efficacy.

Other applications

Citizen LED simulator is also powerful tool to use when you want to see easily how much lumens you get when driving LED with different currents. Good example is that if you have LED driver which has different current options and flexible LED package, you can use only two components to realize many different lumen packages.

As an example I did this exercise with ELT 42W multicurrent LED-driver and Citizen CLU038-1205 LED package. This driver has option to select different driving currents with dipswitch. If we take Esko’s advice and look from driver datasheet, we can see that output voltage area is suitable from 500mA to 1000 mA.

Below you can see LED characteristics with different current. I have also added forward current column to make this table easier to read. Tc temperature is 60 degrees in all cases.

Table with CLU038-1205 4000K Ra80 LED from 500mA to 1000mA.

Table with CLU038-1205 4000K Ra80 LED from 500mA to 1000mA.

You can also use the LED simulator to estimate the amount of lumens lost due to your luminaire (optics etc.). If you measure LED Tc-point and input the driving current you use to simulator, you should have pretty good estimation that how much lumens you should get out from your luminaire.

If you find out that the loss is too big, the you can either change the LED to a different package or improve the optics of your luminaire.As you can see, you can use this driver & LED combo for a luminaire from ~2500lm to ~5000lm.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

You can download the latest simulator below.

Download COB Selection Simulator

 

Different Dimming Types for LED Lighting

You can use several different dimming options to dim LED Lighting. What are the possibilities and what dimming should you look from a LED driver? I’m going to answer these questions in this blog post by going through the different systems.

The goal is to give you the basic understanding of the dimming methods available at moment.

I am grouping the dimming methods in two main groups: analogue and digital.

When you want to control lighting, you have to know some basic issues of your lighting fixtures:

  • Are your fixtures dimmable? If yes, what is the dimming method which works together with your fixtures
  • If your fixtures are non-dimmable, then you can only have on/off – function.

Analogue

Analogue dimming covers all dimming systems that don’t transform the dimming signal into bits and controls the lighting in analogue manner.

Phase dimming

Phase dimming systems dim the lights by altering the supply voltage.

Leading & trailing edge dimming

Before LEDs, we used to dim halogen lamps with wall dimmers.  We can still use these kinds of dimmers.  But dimmer, driver and LED-module must be compatible with each other.

This type of control is accomplished without any need for an additional control wire. It involves connecting a dimmer in series between one of the mains wire and the equipment.

The dimmer cuts part of the mains voltage sinusoidal waveform to a greater or lesser extent in order to dim luminous flux even from 1% to 100%  (this value depends on dimmer and driver).

Depending on how the driver makes the mains voltage cut, it is possible to distinguish between two types of dimming:

Leading-edge dimming

Leading-edge dimming

Trailing edge dimming

Trailing edge dimming

Leading-edge dimming:

Dimming cut-off in the wave on its ascending side, from the beginning (phase cut-off at ignition). This is traditionally used in halogen lamps supplied through electromagnetic transformers.

Trailing-edge dimming:

Dimming by cut-off in the wave on its descending side, from the end cutting backwards (phase cut-off at switch off).  And this way of dimming causes less interferences than leading-edge dimming.

There are dimmers and equipment that support both types of dimming, and others that support only one type.

Leading & Trailing-edge dimming LC

Leading & Trailing-edge dimming LC

Leading-edge dimming L

Leading-edge dimming L

Trailing-edge dimming  C

Trailing-edge dimming  C

1-10V regulation

The 1-10V system enables dimming of the luminous flux from around 1…10% to 100%. This is done by sending an analogue signal to the equipment over an additional, two-wire control line. These control wires have positive and negative polarities respectively and that must be kept in mind when wiring up the system.

The analogue signal has a direct voltage value of 1V to 10V. 1V or short-circuiting the fixture’s input control gives the minimum light level. While 10V or leaving the input control circuit open gives out the maximum light level.

International standard, IEC 60929, defines the regulation curve. The regulation curve represents the relationship between the control line voltage and the luminous flux. It reflects a practically linear relationship in the range of 3V to 10V.

To get a response adapted to that of the human eye it is possible to use logarithmically controlled potentiometers.

Regulation curve by IEC 60929

Regulation curve by IEC 60929

These in light fixtures generate power control with 1-10V dimming.  Driver supplies a current to the controller through equipment control terminals. The controller current must be from 10µA to 2mA. The maximum control line current is obtained with a voltage of 1V and the minimum with a voltage of 10V.

This dimming system is unidirectional, i.e. the information flows in one direction, from the controller to the light fixture. The latter generates no feedback to control. This means that this system can’t be controlled by a software. Groups have to be created by wiring. This system can be integrated into building control systems.

The voltage drop in the control line wiring limits its length. Therefore, the maximum distance is limited by the number of control gears connected. The latter establishes the current per line and the cable diameter used.

Touch Control Push Button  (analogue but can be connected to digital systems)

Touch Control is a system that enables the simple and economic dimming of luminous flux. It uses the mains voltage as a control signal, applying it with a standard push button on a control line, without any need for specific controllers.
The Touch Control system enables you to carry out the basic functions of a regulation system with a power-free pushbutton. Depending on how long the button is pressed it is possible to switch the light on or off or dim it. Switching the light on or off is done by short, sharp pressing or “click”. If the button is pressed for a long time it is possible to dim the luminous flux between the maximum and minimum levels alternately.

Touch Dimming

Touch Dimming

This is a unidirectional interface, i.e. information flows in one direction. The equipment does not generate any type of feedback, so it can’t be controlled with a software. Groups have to be created by wiring. This system cannot be integrated into building control systems.

The length of the wiring and the number of equipment that can be connected, are theoretically unlimited. But in, asynchronism may occur during switching on and dimming, at distances longer than 25 meters, and with a larger number of fixtures connected.
Owing to its characteristics, the use of this dimming method is recommended for individual offices, small meeting rooms or bedrooms, landings and small spaces in general.

Digital

Digital dimming covers all dimming systems that transform the dimming signal into bits and controls the lighting in digital format.

DALI Regulation (digital)

As revealed by the meaning of its acronym, Digital Addressable Lighting Interface, DALI is a digital and addressable communication interface for lighting systems.

This is an international standard system in accordance with IEC 62386, which ensures compatibility and interchangeabil­ity between different manufacturers’ equipment marked with the following logo: DALI controller

DALI-logo

DALI-logo

It is a bi-directional dimming interface with a master-slave structure. The information flows from a controller, which operates as the master, to the control gears that only operate as slaves. The latter carries out the orders or responds to the information requests received.

Digital signals are transmitted over a bus or two-wire control wire. These control wires can be negatively and positively polarized, though the majority control gears are designed polarity free to make connection indifferent.

DALI Dimming

DALI Dimming

You don’t need especially shielded cables. It is possible to wire the power line and DALI bus together with a standard five-wire cable.

Unlike other systems, you don’t need to create wiring groups. Therefore all the pieces of fixtures are connected in parallel to the bus. Without bearing in mind the grouping of these, simply avoiding a closed ring or loop topology.

You don’t require mechanical relays to switch the lighting on or off, given that this is done orders sent along the control line. You don’t need are bus termination resistors either.

Consequently, the DALI interfaces offer wiring simplicity in addition to great flexibility when it comes to designing the lighting installation.

The maximum voltage drop along the control line must not exceed 2V with the maximum bus current of 250mA. Therefore, the maximum wiring distance allowed depends on the cable cross-section, but it must never exceed 300m in any case.

Configuring

After wiring, the DALI lighting system is configured with the software. You can create up to 16 different scenarios, addressing the equipment individually up to a maximum of 64 addresses.  This can be made with groups up to a maximum of 16, or simultaneously by means of a “broadcast” order. You can change the configuration at any time without any need for re-wiring.

The DALI system has a logarithmic regulation curve adjusted to human eye sensitivity, defined in the international standard, IEC 62386. The possible regulation range is set at from 0.1% to 100%. The driver manufacturer determines the minimum.

DALI Regulation Curve by IEC 62386

DALI Regulation Curve by IEC 62386

With the software, you can change the “fade rate”. “Fade rate”is the time needed to go from one light level to another(fade time) and the speed of the change.

The DALI system lies in the fringe between the complex and costly but powerful ones; control systems for buildings that offer total functionality and the most simple and econom­ic regulation systems, for example, the 1-10V one.

You can use this interface in simple applications indepen­dently, to control a luminaire or a small room. You can also use it in high-level applications such as being integrated by gateways into building smart control systems.

These are the most common systems you can use to dim LED. There are a lot of different dimming systems for different driver manufacturers. I can’t cover all of those in a single blog post. I will be writing a different post about wireless dimming options.

If you have anything you would like to know, you can always contact me.

Sources: ELT

FAQ: aLED Modules

Q:You have the driving current 700mA written in the datasheet of your LED module.  Can I use smaller driving current?

A:Yes, you can use smaller current. The current value 700mA mentioned in the module’s data sheet is so-called nominal/typical value that corresponds to the value Citizen announces for voltage and luminous flux (lumens) of the diode used in that LED module.

The minimum current is defined by the diode datasheet and in our 700mA modules the minimum current is 70mA. But you can also use the larger current. The maximum current is 1190mA. Please notice that you have to take care of cooling of the module in case that you use the maximum current. The warmer the module, the lower the lumen output and the shorter the lifetime.

CALC-0814 Absolute Maximum Ratings Found From the Datasheet

CALC-0814 Absolute Maximum Ratings Found From the Datasheet

Q: What is the IP classification of your aLED modules?

A: It is basically IP00, because if our LED arrays are not placed inside the luminaire, they are subject to dust and moisture. So if you need IP classification for your luminaire, please ensure that the luminaire casing has the desired IP classification.

Q: Ok, your aLED modules are classified as IP00, can they then be potted or protected from dust or moisture with some special coating?

A: Basically if you want to cover them with some coating or even pot them, you have to always contact the supplier of that coating or potting material to find out how it affects the LED components. Usually LED manufacturer gives some warranty for their products but this warranty applies only under certain pre-specified constraints or conditions.

Additionally, using coating may alter, and probably does so, optics of the LED components from the characteristics announced in the datasheet of the LED component manufacturer.

So basically you can use potting or special coating, but you should always check how the process affects the module.

Q: How the driving current affects the lifetime of LED module?

A: The lifetime estimations curves, lifetime hours versus temperature TC, are informed for the LED modules at their maximum rated current. That means that maximum condition is used and then lifetime hours are announced at different TC temperatures. The TC point is found in every LED module and is usually located near the soldering terminal, anode or cathode, of the LED diode located near the center of the module.

CALC-0814 Lifetime Estimation curves

CALC-0814 Lifetime Estimation curves

Higher current means higher Tc point temperature and therefore it means shorter lifetime. On the other hand, lower driving current means lower Tc point temperature and therefore longer lifetime.

Q: Are your modules MacAdam 3-step compliant?

A: Our aLED modules follow color consistency in MacAdam 3-step. This means that from production batch to production batch color coordinate values stay within the MacAdam 3-step ellipse. This means that our modules are MacAdam 3-step compliant.

Depending on the CCT, variation in Kelvins is different for MacAdam 3-step, being ±65K for 2700K and ±140K for 4000K.

For 5000K and 6500K our LED modules are only within ANSI binning, not within MacAdam 3-step.

Q: How many aLED modules  you can drive with one 50W/90W 700mA driver?

A: It depends on the module, of course. For the sake of an example lets look at CALC0814-M17W1.

First of all, as you can see from the module’s datasheet, the power is 700mAx24.16V = 16.9W. This is power when the module is driven with 700mA typical current. If you use one 90W driver, you can drive 5 module in series connection.

Let’s do still check calculation. As given by the module’s datasheet, the maximum voltage of the module is 26.4V if all LED diodes are at maximum value of voltage binning range. This is unlikely, but should be checked anyway. Total voltage of 5 modules in series is 5×26.4V = 132V. In our example case the LED driver’s maximum output voltage is 129V. However, the case that all 40 diodes in series connection would have 3.3V (maximum voltage of voltage binning range) is very unlikely. With typical rated value of 3.02V given in the diode’s datasheet, total voltage of 5 modules in series is 40×3.02V = 120.8V, which is within driver’s output voltage range.

So 4 modules is definitely ok. Probably you could drive five, but then we would need to check that they all are from the typical binning.

If you use 50W driver, you can safely drive only 2 arrays in series connection. In our example case the LED driver’s maximum output voltage is 72V. If you drive 3 arrays in series, even the typical voltage is 3×24.16V = 72.48V, which is too much for the driver.

Q: How do you calculate aLED module’s total voltage and total current.

A: We use the information of the diode and the information how many diodes there are in series and how many in parallel.

Circuit Schematics for CALC0814

Circuit Schematics for CALC0814

Let’s take CALC0814-M17W1 as an example. Numbers ‘08’ and ‘14’ refer to electrical configuration of the diodes in the module. First number, ‘08’, refers to how many LED diodes are in series between the + and – terminal of the array.  Second number, ‘14’, refers to how many LED diodes are parallel in one LED chain. In this example, there are 8 pcs of LED chains in series and 14 LED diodes connected in parallel in each LED chain.

Typical value for the diode is 50mA and therefore there is 700mA going through each chain (14x50mA). That gives the total current of the module. With this typical current of 50mA, the diode forward voltage is 3.02mA and there are 8 LED chain in series in this module. This means the typical total voltage of the module is 24.16V (8×3.02V).

Q: aLED modules have quick connectors. Can I use soldered wires instead of quick connectors?

A: Yes, you can. If there are no separate solder pads for soldering wires, you can use quick connector solder pads but in this case the connector is not assembled in the assembly process. In some aLED modules both options are possible simultaneously.

Please note, that with different connectors, the delivery time might be little longer.

If you have some other questions, that were not found in this list, please feel free to ask me. I will answer to you directly and add the general questions to this FAQ later.

Tero Nurmi
Product Manager
aLED Modules
tero.nurmi@light.fi