LED Light Engine Guide
When people hear the term LED light engine, they often conjure up images of an extremely large and complex illumination machine. While LED light engines are relatively complex from a technological standpoint, they are not large or difficult to install. At least, they don’t need to be. In fact, the vast majority of LED light engines are quite small and easy to add to existing light fixtures to make them LED-ready.
So, what exactly is a LED light engine? How does it work? How long does a LED light engine last? Finally, what are some of the benefits of acquiring one? In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at some of the basic facts about LED light engines and what they do!
What Is A LED Light Engine?
A LED light engine is essentially a small circuit board with an LED chip mounted somewhere on the device. Much like other light-producing devices, a LED light engine is necessary to make a LED light function or even convert an existing non-LED light into a LED light source. Many LED light engines are designed to fit in a wide array of fixtures, allowing you to easily convert the lighting in your home or workplace.
LED light engines are unique insofar as they have both electrical and mechanical parts. This allows them to be connected to luminaires and existing fixtures with ease. The electrical circuit board is connected via wires to actually produce light, while the mechanical aspects are used to mount the LED light engine to the desired position.
From a technical standpoint, a LED light engine is little more than a LED driver combined with one or more LED modules, though there are varied models based on the exact lighting needs and specifications. In some cases, the driver is integrated into the modules. However, many LED light engines feature separate drivers and modules. While there are dozens of different manufacturers and designs, LED light engines have helped standardize the LED industry to make it easier for both companies and consumers to have products that can easily work with their existing lighting systems.
How Does A LED Light Engine Work?
LED light engines work much like traditional light bulbs. As previously mentioned, LED light engines typically include LED modules. In any case, LED light engines can function on their own as integrated assemblies that can be made up of at least one LED diode, as well as multiple modules and arrays. These work in tandem with optical, mechanical, electrical, and thermal components to create the appropriate light, attach or mount to a specific fixture, and prevent the light engine from overheating. Most LED light engines only need input voltage to function, as they are usually equipped with an integrated driver. Without an integrated driver, the LED light engine will need an external driver for power.
How Long Do LED Light Engines Last?
This is a difficult question to answer, as the exact lifespan will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Manufacturer - Some manufacturers develop LED light engines for the cheapest possible price without much regard for quality. This can lead to shorter lifespans and LED light engines that need to be replaced once every few years. Alternatively, a reputable manufacturer will likely have processes and procedures to ensure that LED light engines can last for upwards of 10 years.
- Quality of Parts - The quality of parts is often a reflection of the quality of the manufacturer. However, even when reputable manufacturers order or design parts, they cannot always be sure that they will not burn out after a short time. For this reason, the quality of the parts, from drivers to modules and LED chips, can play an important role in the lifespan of a LED light engine. Like most circuit board systems, if one part fails, the entire system is likely to fail. This will either require early repair or replacement.
- Environment - LED light engines can be used in both indoor and outdoor environments. However, if a LED light engine is frequently exposed to severe weather or extreme temperatures, it could reduce its lifespan. Additionally, physical damage to the engine can cause the lighting system to falter or stop working entirely.
- Usage - Like the light bulbs that they can replace, LED light engines have a lifespan that directly correlates with the amount of time they are used. This is usually measured by the number of hours that the LED light is turned “on.”
Even considering all of the factors above, most LED light engines last somewhere between 40,000 to 60,000 hours before needing to be replaced. This means that, if you were to keep your LED light engine running constantly without any breaks, it would last for roughly 4 to 6 years. In some cases, they can last even longer. Assuming that the engine is not in use 24/7, you could use the same LED light engine for more than a decade without needing to consider a replacement.
Benefits Of Retrofitting Light Fixtures To LED
One of the primary uses of LED light engines is retrofitting non-LED light fixtures. There are many reasons that you might want to convert your lighting to LED, but here are a few of the main benefits:
- Brighter Light - LED technology is a huge step up from traditional lighting insofar as it is able to create brighter and more even lighting. Even if you do not want to have brighter lights, it is also easy to install retrofitted fixtures with light dimmers to control exactly how much light your LED light engine produces.
- Lower Energy Consumption - LED lights can consume up to 75% less energy than alternative options. Not only is this better for the environment, but it is also better for your wallet. By retrofitting your primary light fixtures to LED, you can end up saving hundreds or perhaps even thousands of dollars per year on electricity costs alone.
- Increased Safety - LED light engines are designed to produce less heat than standard light bulbs. This means that they are far safer to use without the risk of fire. Additionally, LED lights are typically cool to the touch, ensuring that you do not burn yourself if you need to install or deinstall your LED light engine.
- Increased Productivity & Lifespan - Above all else, LED retrofits can turn your incandescent light fixtures into long-lasting, productive, energy-efficient light sources. This means that your lights can last for years and years without needing to be repaired or replaced. This is yet another way that LED light engines can save you money over the long term.
The Bottom Line
The LED light engine may seem complex on the surface, but it is actually one of the simplest ways to improve your lighting system. Even if you choose to hire a professional for the installation, a LED light engine can save you a lot of time and energy. In short, LED light engines can help improve and modernize your lighting system with ease!
Are you interested in learning more about LED light engines? Are you ready to purchase high-quality LED bulbs and engines at affordable prices? If so, be sure to check out the products available at Bulb Center today!