The LED Lighting Dilemma: Long lasting Lighting?

Lumileds claims extrapolated 1,000,000 Hours at L70 for LED. It is good news from technology perspective. The Lumileds’ claim is for the LED die.

At system level, there are electronic components; thus, lowering the overall product life time by an order of magnitude. It has been proven that LED lighting is long lasting and more reliable than other light sources. Most LED lightings are specified at about 50,000 hours and more manufacturers are claiming 100,000 hours product releases.

The latest Philips LEDtube is only rated at 15,000 hours.

This is worst than some industrial grade fluorescent tubes rated at 20,000 hours.

Philips Ecofit

Fig. 1 Low Cost Tube Specifications

Why some systems using the same base technology could survive 100,000 hours and another at only 15,000 hours?

Many would argue that the 15,000 hours is due to the less reliable electronics. As with any electronics, there are many grades of electronics. The military or industrial grade are designed for reliability beyond 15,000 hours.

After reading the product information, one could only surmise that it is all about marketing. It is all about demand and supply. It is about recurring business!

Replacement market is a big business. Looks like it is more beneficial to design a shorter lifetime product and sell them cheap so that consumer could replace them more regularly.

It is easier to sell. It is a recurring business.  

Unless mandated, manufacturers will deliver products that can sell. The reliability may be compromised so that there is a replacement market for manufacturers, retailers and installers.

For building owners, the operating cost is an expense that one has to pay the utility company to operate the lamp. The initial cost of the lamp is important; however, the running cost is many times more important.

Consumers demand for lowest cost product. Manufacturers and businesses prefer recurring business with short lifetime. The solution is to deliver a lower cost option with mediocre lifetime.