15 Feb Halogen or LED?
by Mike Gambino
It’s getting harder to tell. Albeit this tree is not the most challenging specimen to light effectively as it has been pruned and laced to be open form.
As I continue my quest to find the holy grail of retrofit MR-16 LED lamps I am becoming more and more impressed with the color and output of the latest samples which I have purchased. These samples in action in the photo above have come from the same manufacturer as the experiment I did a few weeks ago and documented on a previous blog on the subject of LED lighting.
The tree in the photo above is located in my front yard and is illuminated with what was sent to me as 6 watt warm white LED’s. However my amp probe tells me that they are actually 3.25 watt LED’s according to my own calculations using ohm’s law Volts X Amps= Watts.
These LED’s are being powered with 12 volts at the fixture and there is a .27 amp lamp load so if you multiple them together you get 3.24 watts each which adds up to less than a 10 watt draw to nicely illuminate this open form camphor tree. To get the same effect with halogen you are looking at a 60 watts of power consumption for it to look very similar to what you see here. Very impressive indeed.
I am so impressed with this manufacturers product that I will be purchasing these LED’s from this source and offering them to my clients on a limited basis. We are in talks now to work out the details and logistics regarding warranty of these LED’s.
The initial cost is significantly higher than halogen lamps but the energy cost savings and extended lamp life should pay off very nicely over time.
Question-Mike, thank you for posting your article on LED versus MR16’s. I purchased a home in the Sacramento area 2 years ago & there were already landscape lighting present. I had the landscaping redone & added a couple of up lights. I am certain that this is not the most effective system but the lights look great. I currently have a 900 watt transformer & there are 3 long runs each connecting directly to the transformer. There is no hub or multi tap system being used. I think you lighting specialists refer to this as dandelion… or something like that. My question is, if I change my bulbs to more energy efficient LED’s, that will drastically reduce the wattage being used, will I need to decrease the transformer that is being used. I think there is roughly 500 watts (13 x 35 watts & 4 x 10 watts) currently running on the total system. If I were to change the bulbs & the wattage was reduced to less than 100, would that cause performance problems? Thank you, Ryan
Answer-Hello Ryan, Thanks for stopping by the blog . As long as your LED’s are designed to run on AC (alternating current) power then what you want to do should be fine. If in fact you are powering that kind of halogen load (460 watts) with a straight 12 volt output transformer and 3 long runs then what you are currently experiencing is very low performance as the lamps are grossly under voltage. You didn’t mention the specific LED’s you’d be using but you will be reducing the load significantly while you will increase the voltage to the fixtures . So in essence even though your 35 watt halogens (when properly voltaged) will produce more lumens then your LED’s you are not experiencing them anyway with your current system engineering. Therefore you will not experience a downgrade in performance, in fact it may be an improvement. Best of luck.
Regards, Mike G