The Types and Definitions of LED Light Sources and Their Differences from Luminaires

Here, we introduce the types of LED light sources and the differences between LED light sources and luminaires, which are essentially their definitions. There are many types of LED light sources, symbolizing the LED lighting industry. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode, made from compounds such as gallium, arsenic, phosphorus, and nitrogen (Ga, As, P, N). An LED light source is distributed based on LED, serving as a luminescent energy source known as the LED light source.


Introduction to the Types of LED Light Sources and Their Definitions

There are numerous types of LED light sources, representative of the LED lighting industry. LEDs are composed of light-emitting diodes, created from compounds like gallium, arsenic, phosphorus, and nitrogen (Ga, As, P, N). An LED light source emerges from the basis of LED, functioning as a radiant energy source termed as the LED light source.

The type of LED light source in the LED lighting industry distribution. Common LED light sources include LED home lighting, LED Commercial lighting, LED architectural lighting, LED advertising lighting, LED industrial lighting, LED traffic lighting, LED device lighting, LED electronic lighting, etc. All these categories collectively fall under LED light sources, a broad term that also encompasses the energy of LED illumination.

Let's get more specific,
LED commercial lighting light source, which includes LED high bay light source,

LED shop light source, LED working light source and other three categories.
LED home lighting includes home use lighting and LED home beautification lighting.
The LED lighting class is actually the city night scene we see at night. Includes the building's LED wall washing lights, exterior light sources, LED buried lights and other lighting equipment.
LED industrial light source for industrial equipment lighting.
LED Spotlights include stage lights, spotlights, exhibition lights, etc., usually used in entertainment, cultural and artistic scenes, with dimmable GU10.
LED traffic light source includes automotive lighting, street lights, signal lights and other lighting.
LED electronic light source includes LED backlight.

LED light source and LED lamps are two concepts.
To the average person, LED light sources and LED luminaires might seem identical, but to professionals, these two concepts are distinctly different. From a professional standpoint, there's a clear distinction between LED light sources and LED luminaires. This article aims to compare and explain these differences in various aspects, inviting interested readers to delve deeper.

LED light sources and luminaires are defined differently.

An LED light source is a component provided by an LED lamp or module, while an LED luminaire is designed to utilize LED light sources.

A luminaire is defined as an apparatus that distributes, reflects, or transforms the light emitted by one or more lamps. It includes all necessary parts to support, secure, and protect the lamp (excluding the lamp itself), circuit aids, and devices connecting them to a power source. The misconception of LED as an LED light source arises because the light source in traditional luminaires is almost always replaceable. With the advent of LED, most luminaires using LED modules are non-replaceable, suggesting an integration trend and blurring the boundary between LED light sources and LED luminaires.

Is a whole luminaire considered a light source?

According to the "note" in the luminaire's definition, a luminaire using an integral non-replaceable light source is regarded as a lamp, and a luminaire using an LED module is precisely an example of a lamp. The light source is characterized by its use in different luminaires. If one compares the light source to source water, then the luminaire can be likened to spring water. An LED light source can be used in both downlights and road lamps. Understanding "LED street light" or "LED tunnel light" as a "light source" would make it unusable by other luminaires, contradicting the concept of "luminaires" utilizing a "light source." There are differences in the protective shell ratings; as a light source, there's no specific requirement for shell protection level, or it should reach IP20.

Furthermore, other performance indicators of the light source include color rendering index, color coordinates, color temperature life, etc. For luminaires using traditional light sources, the light output of the luminaire, i.e., the ability of the luminaire to convert the luminous flux of the light source, is a classic performance indicator. Since the performance parameters of LED light sources have not yet been standardized, and many luminaires use non-replaceable LED light sources, the concept of light efficiency has been misapplied to LED luminaire products.

The concept of LED light source luminous efficacy and LED luminaire efficiency is defined as the ratio of the luminous flux emitted by the light source to the electrical power it consumes, measured in lm/W, excluding the loss of electrical accessories. Luminaire efficacy,on the other hand, includes the loss of electrical accessories, indicating the initial total luminous flux emitted by the luminaire relative to the power consumed under claimed conditions, in lm/W.

"Luminous efficacy" evaluates the LED light source, while "efficiency" evaluates LED luminaires. Both terms denote the conversion efficiency of electrical energy into light energy, serving as indicators of the energy-saving characteristics of lighting products, yet they hold different connotations.

The luminous flux in the LED light source efficacy refers to the flux emitted by the bare light source (before being installed in a luminaire). The luminous flux in the LED luminaire efficacy expression refers to the flux emitted by the luminaire after the light source is installed and the required LED control device or power supply is used.

LED control devices or power supplies can be integral, built-in, or independent. Luminaires using LED light sources may employ reflectors, diffusers, or lenses. The light source installed in the luminaire may be a single source or a collection of multiple sources. However, due to efficiency losses from thermal and electrical energy interactions and the efficiency of the luminaire's optical system, the luminous flux of the LED luminaire is not equal to the luminous flux of the LED light source or its simple addition. The luminous flux in the LED light source efficacy is measured in a pulse state, whereas in the luminaire's efficiency, it is measured in a steady operational state.

The light in the LED light source efficacy is non-directional, recognizing all directions as long as light is emitted. In contrast, the light in the LED luminaire's performance is directional, needing to be directed to useful areas. Using the same LED light source, the luminous flux of the LED luminaire is less than that of the LED light source. The denominators in the efficacy table for LED light sources of different input powers and the efficiency of LED luminaires are not the same. For example, for non-integrated LED modules, the electrical power consumed by the LED light source refers only to the power consumed by the LED module, excluding the power consumed by the LED control device.

The electrical power consumed in the performance of LED luminaires refers to the luminaire's input power, including not only the LED light source but also the power consumed by the LED control device. The electrical power consumed by LED luminaires is greater than that consumed by LED light sources. Due to the different ranges of luminous flux and electrical power involved, the luminous efficacy of the LED light source differs from that of the LED luminaire, with the source efficacy being significantly higher than the luminaire's. First, after the LED enters the luminaire, the junction temperature rises, reducing light output (heat loss); second, there's a system loss after the light source enters the luminaire and uses the LED control device or its power supply; third, there's a loss of light after passing through the luminaire's optical system, i.e., the luminaire's efficiency (light loss).

Luminaire efficiency = Light source efficacy × (1 - heat loss of luminous flux after entering the luminaire) × (1 - loss of electrical accessory system) × (1 - light loss after entering the luminaire's optical system) (%). From this analysis, it's evident that light source efficacy and luminaire efficiency are completely different and should not be confused. It's clear that LED luminaires and LED light sources have notable differences in luminous flux, input power, and protection level. Hence, the conceptual difference between luminaires and light sources remains significant. Before delving into LED-related knowledge, it's beneficial to spend some time reading this article to understand the distinction between luminaires and light sources.




Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published