LED Lighting

This is an update on LED lighting that is apparently about to enter the consumer market place.  I am unsure how acceptable they are as yet except LED has proven itself to be an evolution driven design platform that seems to win out at the end of the day.

So I am sure we will be seeing more of these in the near future.

In some sense, inventing superior lighting has been a serious technical challenge.  The opportunity was well understood decades ago.  Serious effort got underway at least twenty five years ago with the first energy crisis.  Present developments are children of that long ago initiative.  Folks have made a career out of this.

This tells us that recent encouraging lab work is unlikely to see the light of day for another generation.  So the LED solution is likely to find a market and hold market share for decades as it competitiveness improves.

Written by Hank Green on 07/04/10


Cree, one of the world leaders in LED-for-lighting technology, is bringing a new product to market that could help rapidly increase the adoption of LED lighting. LEDs are complicated, the drivers to control them, the optics to focus them, even the bodies to house them have to be specially designed for heat management. These are all things that the manufacturers of lighting fixtures are not used to thinking about. They just take the light, plug into into a power source, and it's supposed to work.

That's why Cree is going to be producing the LRM4 line of LED modules. Everything is included, so the folks designing and manufacturing the light fixtures don't have to be experts in semiconductors to make it work.

The LRM4 is also feature Cree's new "TrueWhite" lighting technology. By combining specially tuned red and yellow LEDs (you can actually see them in the image above) Cree is able to match the warm light from a 65 watt incandescent bulb quite well. Other advantages over fluorescent lights include longer lifespan (over 12 years before the bulb dims more than 70%) full dimming capability and even higher efficiency.

Of course, the disadvantage is likely to be the price, which Cree wouldn't disclose in a recent interview.

The lights are directional, so they're only suitable for directional lighting applications like in-ceiling lighting and desk lamps. The modules will be built into various designs by manufacturers and then those products will be available for sale "soon," likely first at specialty lighting stores.

Finally, I had to ask Cree about traditional bulb applications and whether this high-quality, high-brightness, surprisingly awesome technology might make it's way into multi-directional, Edison socket formats they replied, "Those are coming. You will see those come over the course of the next year to two years"
Written by Hank Green on 08/04/10

Just yesterday we brought you news of Cree's new module that will soon be working it's way into lighting fixtures. We asked when we'd see their technology taking the shape of high-brightness bulbs that could fit in for home use.

The answer was within the next year or two. But today GE announced that they'll have an LED bulb replacement using Cree's LEDs available by the end of 2010. Now, let's be clear, this joint project from Cree and GE isn't as bright or as technologically advanced as the module we discussed yesterday, but it is a huge step forward for LED technology and I can't wait to get my hands on one (or a dozen).

These bulbs will fit into any traditional bulb socket and will produce about as much light as a 40 watt bulb. It consumes just 9 watts and lasts up to 17 years. It doesn't contain any hazardous substances but will cost up to $50. 

Of course, over the life of the bulb, it will be cheaper than incandescents, but when you just want a new lightbulb, it's hard to choose the $50 one over the $0.50 one.

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