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White LEDs | All White Is Not The Same - This Is Why

White LEDs | All White Is Not The Same - This Is Why

White is white, right?  

Not when it comes to LEDs or paint at Lowes or wedding dresses.  My expertise doesn't come anywhere near the realm of wedding dresses, and as far as painting goes, more ends up on my clothes than on any other surface, so I'll focus on LEDs.

Within the last ten years, we as a design community have moved quickly into utilizing LED technology as the baseline for architectural lighting design. No longer is the spec written around T8 lamps or tungsten halogen track heads or even 2 x 2's with U-Bend bulbs. To see any of those lamp types on a fixture schedule would certainly be a bit nostalgic.

But what of general illumination and the white light we expect in an office or classroom or even a living room? With the constant improvements of LED efficiency and electronics, along with the creative minds of scientists and engineers, the choices for white LEDs are varied to say the least.

 

 

Adjustable White, Dynamic White, Warm Dim, Tunable White – these are all related terms for white LEDs that are arranged in a way that they can be controlled to be perceived in a manner that mimics either incandescent sources or color-changing sources.

 

Static White LEDs most closely mimic the previous iterations of illumination sources. We think of warm lobbies with soft tableside lamps or bright, efficient hospitals with cool crisp corridors and want to keep the tone similar.  A bright classroom might have a single zone of illumination comprised of fluorescent fixtures that were previously written out in a spec as F32T8/SPX35/ECO now to be replaced with any number of 3500K LED fixtures. A tungsten halogen A19 light bulb might now be specified with "warm" or 2700K LED or even 2400K if the desired effect is to get closer to the color of a filament source.

 

Static White LEDs are correlated to a temperature scale on the CIE chart and reference the black body curve: a range of white from cool to warm or daylight to candlelight. These are all perceptions of white, but none are the same color.

Dynamic White takes those correlated color temperatures (CCTs) and manipulates them in a way that can either change color along the CCT range as it is controlled or mimic the dimming of an incandescent source where the white light warms as it fades out. Dynamic, as opposed to Static, simply indicates that the white color can be changed. When dimmed, an incandescent bulb ranges in color temperature from its initial 2700 or 3000 kelvin down to an amber hue in the 2200K range because the electrical current applied to the tungsten filament is changing.  At the low end of the dimming range, the warmer colors are a clear indicator of the dimming curve and fade. LEDs do not dim in the same way since there are no tungsten filaments reacting with gas-filled envelopes producing light. Dimming an LED simply diminishes its brightness or lumens and does not impact the perceived color. By adding different colored LED chips to an LED strip or fixture and manipulating the current or voltage, LEDs can appear to change and move away from a static condition to a dynamic one.

 

 

Adjustable White, Dynamic White, Warm Dim, Tunable White – these are all related terms for white LEDs that are arranged in a way that they can be controlled to be perceived in a manner that mimics either incandescent sources or color-changing sources.  The many opportunities for use lie with each individual project's priorities and its design team and Q-Tran is proud to offer products to help create whatever version of white your project is looking for. As long as it's not a wedding dress. We don't have any of those.

 


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