we would like to focus your attention on some important issues that help to better understand the difference in meaning of the term “bulb life” depending on whether it is used in “common jargon” or in the text of the legal regulations applicable to commonly used LED bulbs, also referred to as “LED Retrofit”.
In this way you will be able to better outline your expectations as consumers and in some way limit the reasons for a “disappointment” in the face of an interruption in operation generically attributed to a manufacturing defect but which, in fact, is very often linked to the achieved product performance limits.
The duration (eg 15,000 hours) of a light bulb, which is commonly reported on the packaging, is therefore not indicative exclusively of the lighting period that you will enjoy.
There are other operating parameters, established by the regulations which, crossing with the “pure duration” of the light emission, can actually determine an additional limit to the possibility of using a light bulb, or rather shorten its “life”.
For example: the number of ignition cycles allowed before the occurrence of a possible fault can strongly affect this result.
In other words, a light bulb subjected to a number of starts and stops higher than that foreseen in the project (and by EU standards), would have all the rights to cease its operation, even if the part emitting the light, that is the actual LED, had not yet reached its end of life.
Experimental tests, supported by investigations on the household habits of all of us, confirm, for example, that the “kitchen” is the most “visited” room and therefore, LED lighting equipment, as well as fluorescent and halogen , are subjected to a very high number of cycles, which very often crosses the pure duration of the light source, resulting in its incomplete exploitation on a practical level.
The most recent reference regulations take into consideration, for example, the:
Maximum acceptable rate of “premature” failures:
- not more than 10.0% after 3,000 hours of operation and 1,200 on / off cycles;
This means that up to 10% of the bulbs produced / belonging to the group under test, could – legitimately – not exceed 3,000 hours of operation.
Definition of “bulb life”
The legislation establishes that “the life of the light bulb” is represented by:
- the number of hours between the start of use of and the moment, when for 50% of the population of light sources, the light output has gradually decreased to a value of less than 70% of the initial luminous flux.
- Lamp survival factor at 3,000 hours: ≥ 0.90
- Luminous flux maintenance:
– at 3 000 hours: ≥ 0.70
– at 15,000 hours: ≥ 0.93
– at 20,000 hours: ≥ 0.95
– at 30,000 hours: ≥ 0.96
This means that:
a quantity (up to 10%) of the bulbs produced / belonging to the group under test may not exceed 3,000 hours of use, and that after 3,000 hours of use, a quantity (up to 30%) of bulbs produced may no longer emit “light” in the quantity originally envisaged. In other words, while continuing to function, it could emit less than the “nominal” amount of light.
The limits established for these parameters, crossing each other, thus determine the effective possibility of using the light bulb.
Therefore, all these requirements, although they may sometimes appear contradictory, nevertheless represent the overall level of performance on average available on the market.
Ultimately, the Legislator intended to establish a threshold of minimum results that would constitute a first level of certainty in favor of the consumer, providing that free competition would then push producers to offer improved performance that exceeded the minimum performance limits established by the regulations.
Now you have a clearer idea of what to “expect” from a “LED Retrofit” bulb
Our designers, together with the production plants, have been guided by design and execution limits that exceed the requirements of the regulations and therefore, very often, the actual possibility of enjoying the use of our LED bulbs is governed by the life of the source. luminous (which according to the regulations is the one that offers the longest and most favorable terms to the consumer).
All of the above shows us that the “duration” of the product expressed in terms of hours is, therefore, only one of the parameters that describes the usability performance of a “LED Retrofit” bulb.
Finally, it should be borne in mind that any industrial product – like all human artifacts – still has a “defect rate”.
However, this rate is present regardless of the efforts that producers make to contain it as much as possible.
Moreover, in the case of LED Retrofit bulbs, since world production involves a few billion pieces annually, it is clear to everyone that the “reasons for mathematics” foresee that some bulbs still show manufacturing defects and that, despite countless checks, some of these, however, are able to reach the user.
In these cases, there is room for intervention under warranty against manufacturing defects.
The packaging of our products contains the most important information dealt with up to now.
Your choices can therefore be better guided by the knowledge of all these elements.
Finally, please take into consideration that, until proven otherwise, it is never possible to exclude a priori that the origin of a malfunction is due to a cause external to the product and only a “particularly exasperated” technical analysis on the product that has stopped working, can confirm the real reason for the malfunction.
In this regard, we highlight that LEDs, which form the basis of modern Retrofit bulbs, are, due to their design and construction nature, highly sensitive to voltage fluctuations and electrostatic discharges, conditions that can also lead to irreparable failures.
The problem linked to isolation and transient electrical phenomena is strongly felt and is the subject of much discussion, since modern electronic equipment, which now fill our lives, is exposed to the possibility of not resisting it.
For example, everyone knows that the uninterruptible power supplies, connected to most of our computers, perform not only the “buffer battery” function, but also the no less important one of protecting “the equipment” from these phenomena.
One of the most effective solutions is to use “surge arresters”, placed upstream of the installation and with adequate grounding of the system.
Let’s not forget that all the performances obtained during the certifications, and ultimately offered by the series production, are established, verified and obtained in environments with constant, controlled temperature, and with the use of power supplies with stabilized voltages and well-defined characteristics. , all conditions not always found in common life.
All these phenomena are well known to us and push us to participate in your expectations and your desire not to run into any of these unfortunate events.
Events that, although allowed by the regulations, can annoy and create discomfort as they limit the performance expectations of the chosen product.
Interventions under warranty involve everyone in an attempt to limit the inevitable annoyances that the end user has to bear in managing a case of malfunction due to a supposed manufacturing defect.
These interventions thus contribute, together with the continuous work of the designers and the production, to the constant improvement of our product.