Tag Archives: LED Tape

LED: You’ve Got It Taped

LED flexible tape has rapidly become a staple in our lighting diet – ingenious, small, useful and simple to use. It’s ability to fit into any nook or cranny provides a wonderful tool to illuminate, highlight and embellish all spaces but especially traditional interiors. As more products enter the market it seems a good time to evaluate and understand the best way to apply this lighting category.

The decision making process often follows this pattern:

1. What do you want to achieve?
It is important to initially gauge the expectations of the specifier – is it a gentle glow we require or a strong output?
Flexible LED tape is generally manufactured in the following sizes:
30 LED chips per metre – running under 5W per metre
60 LED chips per metre (each chip with a size of 3.5mm x 2.8mm) – running at 5W per metre
120 LED chips per metre (each chip 3.5mm x 2.8mm) – running at 9.6W per metre
60 LED chips per metre high output (each chip 5mm x 5mm square) – running at 14.4W per metre

LED Tape as a picture frame

2. Colours of white

The available colour temperature of ‘white’ LED tape is broadening but some colours are at a premium price.
Commonly used colours of white are:
2700K – Very warm white – our most commonly used colour of white
3500K – warm white (but does feel like it’s quite brilliant white so watch out – depends on what it’s reflecting off)
4000K – white
6000K – very cold white
Even warmer colours of white such as 2500K and even 2300K are also available but are priced at a premium.
A word of warning – most manufacturers stock LED tape according to its level of demand, so a combination of a specific output and colour temperature may be regarded as a special request – with a price to suit.
If you want to achieve an extra warm rich colour of white but cannot afford the higher cost lower colour temperatures – reflect the light off a warm colour – such as a gold.

3. CRI – colour rendering index
Colour rendering – how true the illuminated object / environment will look, can be important – especially in retail. LED tape can have a very high CRI

4. Length of run
A long run of LED tape can be achieved but it will need to be subdivided into smaller runs, each powered by a remote driver.
Single colour LED tape we try to limit to a run of no more than 10m before adding another driver – it does depend on the specification of the tape. For example, one manufacturer advises no more than 7m.

5. Wiring
You need to find a location for each driver – bring mains power to it and then run a smaller gauge cable to the LED tape. The power enters the tape and can be brought out the other end and then into another length. The run terminates at the end of the tape – no cables to be brought back to the driver.

US-LR3528PW600-12

6. Dimming
Dimming LED tape can raise difficult issues. The new drivers that are recently arriving in the market, allow mains dimming of LED tape. However, a tried and tested reliable method is utilising a 1-10V protocol. Look out for PWM high frequency dimmable drivers that provide a very smooth level of dim.

7. Cutting tape to length
LED tape is either made to the specific length before despatch or sold on a reel of 5m. It is possible to cut tape down with a pair of scissors approximately every 50mm but it will need cables to be soldered back onto the tape for correct fixing. There are push fit connectors that can be used to join tape together but we recommend soldering every time.

8. Sticking into place
LED tape has a 3M adhesive reverse side to it, which sticks surprisingly well to most surfaces – but not dusty or oily ones!

9. Extrusions
An aluminium extrusion offers a smooth surface to stick the tape to, provides a frosted cover to diffuse the light and will act as a heat sink for higher output tapes. The tape doesn’t need to be placed in an extrusion but it is often a neat way of installing it budget allowing.

LED_Waterproof_Strip[2]

10. 12V or 24V?
LED tape divides into 2 categories of extra low voltage supply from the driver, 12V or 24V. 12V is most popular however 24V offers longer continuous runs.

The LED market is highly dynamic and new products are appearing on a daily basis. Call us at Orange Lighting and we can help you choose and use this adaptable light source.

LED Hotel

LED lighting has been with us long enough now to be on every Hotel managers agenda, whether it’s for a refurbishment or simply re-lamping using retrofit LED lights. There are huge opportunities to save overheads as well as improve and refresh the design of your establishment’s interior. Additionally the control of LED lighting promises to add further savings, simply by turning lights off or down automatically when not required. Essentially the benefits of adopting LED are very real, and will deliver a reduction in energy consumption by well over 50% – especially in Hotels where lighting is required in public areas 24 hrs a day.

But can the adoption of LED keep or improve the aesthetics of a luxury interior?

Horror stories from some of the early adopters of LED tell of the poor quality of LED and variations in colour and this concern remains valid in cases where LEDs are not tested and specified thoroughly. Most hoteliers will have tried LED in one form or another with mixed reactions. The good news is that I believe that there is now a quality LED solution to meet all budgets. In effect the LED lighting market has matured. I urge you to keep testing and trailing as the cost benefits are too significant to ignore.

Hotel-2

Here are some further thoughts to consider when approaching a LED conversion:

Embrace the opportunity to rejuvenate spaces by adopting this tiny solid state light. In effect LED technology has miniaturised light sources and allows the designer to illuminate every sculptural detail of an interior. For instance restoring grandeur by LED tape hidden in cornices, up-lighting original detailing. In my designs, contemporary restrained luxury can be delivered with bold features rather than over lighting and complicating schemes.

Of course as you survey the lights is your Hotel you will be struck by the range of light fittings, many of which include table lamps and other decorative fittings using conventional shades. Until recently LED lamps have resembled props from Star Trek – mostly due to a need for hi-tech heat-sink. More good news is the new LED ‘bulbs’ are progressing back to familiar shapes and sizes akin to the GLS lamp, so they are easily compatible with conventional lamp shades as in the case of the Integral LED Omni Lamp.

One of the unseen hitches when Hoteliers consider LED is the incorrect belief that existing dimmers and control system can be converted to LED simply by swapping the lights. For simplicity you can view old conventional systems as circuits that guzzle large outputs of power whilst the new LED lighting systems sip a fraction (typically 10%). Therefore conventional dimmer circuits are too insensitive to control the relatively tiny wattages needed for LED. So you must be careful to integrate new with old and I favour the use of dedicated drivers and controls.

Future proofing your Hotel is a real opportunity and one that will continue to deliver savings into the next decade and beyond. LED is a semiconductor technology so artificial intelligence is easily applied to enable automation. You must be open to the benefits of enhanced lighting controls that are increasingly becoming available. For instance, you can also use motion and ambient light sensors to decide whether the room needs to operate at its full potential. Another key application is in the bathroom. Often a guest will leave these lights on when no longer needed; this can now be automatically turned down to a warm inviting glow after a period of no motion. All of these applications can be controlled from a central location using software such as Crestron roomview which monitors the state of every room and the carbon footprint left by every suite.

When you are considering a LED conversion or including LED in a hotel, then call us at Orange Lighting for free and impartial advice on joining the energy saving revolution. We will also supply you with the lamps, fixtures and fittings that you will need to achieve major savings.