Traditional incandescent, fluorescent and high intensity discharge (HID) lamp are comprised of a glass enclosure with a filament or electrodes inside, filled with gases and coated.
LED lamps are based on semiconductor technology. They are built of a little chip (commonly of a size of 1mm2) made of layers of semiconductor materials. LED lighting can contain just one or more chips. The chips are fixed to a material with heat-conducting qualities and encapsulated in a lens. The complete device can be used separately or in arrays.
As LED lamps are based on different technology from all other types of lighting, they have unique features and qualities.
Traditional lamps emit light in all directions. This results in some portion of the light being wasted. As LEDs are mounted on flat surfaces, they emit light hemispherically. They are perfect for directional applications and for task lightings as the light waste is significantly reduced.
LED lamps can be small size and low-profile. They are well-suited for under and in-cabinet lighting. They are much more compact than other lamps and unobtrusive.
Unlikely traditional lamps, LEDs do not have glass enclosures and filaments. This makes them very resistant to vibration. They find applications in trains and planes, elevators and escalators, in industrial facilities or in fan kits.
In traditional lamps, when a glass or quartz enclosure breaks, the life of the bulb is finished. This happen quite often during transport, storage, handling and installation.
LED lamps generally do not contain any glass components. They are recommended for places where the breakage is likely to happen, such as sports facilities or places exposed to vandalism. LEDs are suitable for places where a broken bulb may cause a hazard, such as nurseries, children playgrounds, assisted living facilities or food preparation areas.
Unlike fluorescent lamps, LEDs are increasing their performance in lower temperatures. They are a perfect fit for retail refrigerated and freezer cases and cold storage facilities.
Fluorescent and high discharge lamps (HID) do not provides a full brightness immediately after being turned on. The warming up process can take up to ten minutes for a sodium lamp. They also have a very long re-strike time – when turned off they must rest for up to ten minutes to cool down before switching on again. In contrast, LED lamps achieve the full brightness almost instantly. They can be turned on and off with no re-strike time.
In traditional light sources frequent turning on and off shorten the bulb’s life considerably. In incandescent lamps it causes weakening of a filament, in HID lamps it makes damage to the material covering the electrodes. Linear fluorescent lamps (as T8 or T12) are also vulnerable to frequent switching and their lifetime is even characterized by the frequency of on and off. LED lifespan and lumen efficacy is unaffected by rapid cycling. They are well-suited for use with daylight or motion sensors.
Incandescent and fluorescent lamps convert most of the power into heat. Excessive heat from lamps may cause burn hazard to people and materials.
HID lamps emit ultraviolet radiation and require special shielding to protect people from exposure. UV radiation can cause skin and eye burns if the shield gets damaged. UV is also damaging for artwork and fabrics.
In contrast, LED lamps do not emit infrared radiation of UV.
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