The service life of LED lamps: realities and methods of extension


By hqt


One reason for this expansion is the longevity of LEDs: according to manufacturers, LED bulbs have a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. However, reality often calls such generosity into question. A purchased lamp sometimes works for a year or two and burns out, starts flashing or goes out.

What the manufacturer promises and actual service life

The packaging of LED lamps has a very interesting lifespan. They are 50,000 hours. A simple calculation gives an interesting result: if the device is operated 8 hours a day, the total service life will be about 17 years. However, there are strange inaccuracies here as well.

The manufacturing technology of LEDs is almost the same all over the world. The design and principle of operation of the device do not allow deviations from the basic methodology. This means that the finished product should have approximately equal parameters. However, in practice this is not the case. On one package, a period of 25 thousand hours is written, on the other – all 50 thousand. It is impossible to explain such a discrepancy by design features or a difference in operating conditions, since the light sources are almost the same.

Unscrupulous lighting manufacturers often overestimate the performance of fixtures. There are two reasons for this:

  • difference in operating conditions and control tests.
  • stupid marketing ploy. The user is more likely to buy a high-performance LED lamp, so it is tempting to embellish the real situation a bit;

If everything is clear with the first reason, then you need to deal with the second. Factory tests are carried out under optimal laboratory conditions for the operation of lighting fixtures. The user buys a luminaire for a home or other space where working conditions are far from ideal. Therefore, the discrepancy between the declared and actual values of the lamp life can always be explained by non-compliance with the operating rules.

LED lamps require a low voltage power supply: each crystal emitted by them consumes about 3-4 V of electricity. The driver is installed inside (sometimes outside) of each device. This is a power supply that converts the 220 VAC input voltage to the DC current required to operate the crystal. Therefore, voltage drops in the network for LEDs are not too dangerous, the converted value will still correspond to the specified values.

For LED lamps, overheating is much more dangerous. It has a key influence on the state of the emitting crystal. If the lamp is in an unfavorable temperature condition, it will quickly fail. The only way to prolong its service life is to use good heat dissipation or change the operating conditions.

Burnout Features

Ordinary incandescent bulbs burn out immediately. They simply and irreversibly cease to glow due to the destruction of the tungsten filament. LEDs are very different from alternative types of fixtures in this respect. At the beginning of operation, they demonstrate maximum parameters, but gradually wear out during operation. Experts call this the process of degradation. The longer the service life, the more the LED degrades, loses brightness and other characteristics.

First of all, you need to know that their duration is estimated in two ways:

  • business suit. This is the lifetime of the lamp.
  • effective. This is the period of time during which the luminous flux of the lamp has maximum parameters. This period ends when all values decrease by 30%;

Of course, unscrupulous manufacturers do not waste time on trifles and indicate the full shelf life. Current standards require the actual life to be reported only when all lamp parameters are within the rated values.

What determines the service life

The lifetime of an LED is limited by the overall characteristics of the luminaire. However, the main factor in increasing or decreasing the duration of work is the operating conditions. In this regard, the main condition is high-quality heat removal. Many lamps have their own heatsinks that take heat energy from the crystals and dissipate it into the surrounding space.

There are many ways to extend the life of LED bulbs. All of them improve heat dissipation. Several methods are used here:

  • for LED strips, it is recommended to use an aluminum profile that excludes heating.
  • periodic cleaning of lamps with a vacuum cleaner (only without detergents);
  • installation of heating radiators;

There are specialized companies that install lighting and create optimal conditions for LEDs. If you cannot solve the problem on your own, it is recommended to contact a specialist.

How to distinguish high-quality products from low-quality

Outwardly, it is impossible to distinguish a fake from the original. This is used by unscrupulous manufacturers. Many unknown companies produce LED lamps under the brand name of well-known brands. It is clear that their characteristics do not match the characteristics of the original.

If you have any doubts about the authenticity of LED lamps, you must ask the seller for a certificate of conformity. The products of well-known companies always have it, and sellers present it without objection. However, if you are having difficulty and there is no certificate, you should look elsewhere. Today there is no shortage of outlets and no need to take risks by buying dubious goods.

How to extend the life of the LED lamp

There are two ways to extend the life of LED lamps:

  • creation of optimal working conditions, use of heating radiators, periodic cleaning of dust and dirt. This method is less effective, but available to everyone.
  • a slight decrease in the supply voltage supplied to the radiating crystals. In most devices, the operating current is too high. This is done to increase the brightness of the fixtures or simply to save on components: the same drivers are installed on all LEDs, although they require different voltages. To change the power settings, you will need to install additional items in the driver, such as opening the lamp housing. The method is effective, but only trained people can do it, so it is rarely used;

Important! LED lamp manufacturers are well aware of the buying process. The customer asks for a demo. How the lamp turns on. The seller turns it into a special cartridge, the lamp flashes brightly, and the decision is made. To achieve this effect, a current-limiting resistor of less power than necessary is installed. The lamp burns brighter, but decomposes faster. If you reduce the supply voltage a little, the service life is significantly increased.

Cooling lamps allows you to create the most favorable operating conditions for them. This does not increase the life of the LEDs, but allows it to be as long as possible.

Main conclusions

The service life of LED lamps almost never corresponds to the period declared by the manufacturer. Typically, the lamp will last about 3 years. There are ways to increase this period:

  • high-quality organization of heat dissipation, periodic cleaning and maintenance of lamps. The beneficial effect is not so obvious, but any user can perform these actions.
  • lower the supply voltage on the emitting crystal. This is an option that allows you to achieve good results, but is available only to specialists;

In addition, it is necessary to purchase products from reputable and well-known companies.