A Comparison of Troffer and Recessed Fixture (Can Lights) to “Flush Mount LED Array Wide Area Dispersion Fixtures” for General Area Indoor illumination

It is important to remember that most lighting fixture designs resulted from trying to protect and hide ugly and fragile bulbs. Bulbs were necessary because the lifetime of the light emitting source was so much less than the fixture itself. An easy method of removal and replacement had to be devised. Thus, separate bulb and fixture manufacturers evolved with the fixture manufacturers using standard types of bulbs to design their fixtures. This methodology remained the driving force in lighting design until the commercialization of the integrated LED lighting fixture.

An integrated LED lighting fixture is possible because the light emitting source (the LED array chip) is as reliable as the fixture itself if the thermal management of the chip is adequate. The LED array chip is also not bulky and fragile. These advantages of LED array chips opened up the possibility of integrated designs that improve fixture appearance, size, ease of installation and maintenance, and of course performance.

Most early attempts at commercialization of LED’s have centered around the production of bulbs that utilize the existing bulb/fixture relationship. Trying to force the LED into the form factor of incandescent and fluorescent bulb/fixture systems is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It serves no purpose other than using existing lighting fixture and building electrical infrastructure. This can be useful in existing low lumen-low utilization applications, but is counterproductive in new construction or high lumen-high utilization applications. The reason this is counterproductive is that the existing fixtures do not account for the thermal management requirements of the LED light source, not do they complement the low profile planer light generation profile of the LED light source. Furthermore, much of the existing fixture infrastructure is designed to hide and protect the fragile bulb, often sacrificing more than half the light produced by the bulb to accommodate this purpose. These existing types of fixture designs lead to unnecessary energy inefficiencies, if forced onto the LED fixture design.

For example, a troffer light is recessed into the ceiling to hide and protect the fragile tubes. It is then covered with a diffuser surface to improve appearance and light distribution. It is a low glare light source in the sense that when you look at the ceiling glare is minimized. However, as much as 50 percent or even more of the bulb light produced never leaves the fixture and enters the room. In addition, in low ceiling height applications, light distribution is poor throughout the room varying by as much as a factor of 2 or more. This is less prevalent in ceiling heights above 12 feet and in locations using multiple small output fixtures (2 ft x2 ft . 3 and 4 tube troffer fixtures. In conclusion, a troffer fixture is a poor form factor for an LED light.

A recessed or “can light” was developed to protect and hide and protect a fragile, bright, and ugly incandescent bulb. This fixture will kill an LED bulb. This is because the thermal management of the LED light is poorly accomplished in a can light. Heat rises and so does not escape the can. The LED bulb heats up in this mini-oven and performance and reliability are degraded, especially for high lumen output applications. This form factor is not generally conducive to LED bulbs.

All that said, Silescent Lighting has Recessed Can Light Conversion Kits that will fit your needs.

Posted in LED Lighting Articles.