The Cow With The Largest Udder Produces Most Milk, Right?
You visit a trade show and a salesman shines a light into your eyes while your pupil frantically tries to shrink! Or maybe your electrician recommends new light that his distributor recommends and offers him good margins. A sales rep pulls up to your barn and offers you a test fixture to hang. Then you can marvel at the super bright spot, and wonder if you can sun tan under the fixture! Great fixture for your barn right? Does the cow with the largest udder in the barn produce the most milk? Is she your best cow?
Are All LED Lights the Same?
Are all LED lights the same? Does it matter which LED light we choose? Did you know that at the recent world lighting show there was over 17,000 exhibitors? That doesn’t provide much comfort. Today much of the LED lights on the market are very poor quality. Additionally, most electrical wholesalers and electricians are new to LED lighting. Over the recent years the LED market has rapidly advanced. However, it can also be said that many have entered the market to capitalize on the next fad. At iBarn our history of LED in barns goes back to 2009 – at a time when wholesalers didn’t carry LED and electricians said it was nuts!
High-Bay Chip LED
A newer and more common form of LED lighting is in a High Bay Chip LED. The fixtures appear much like a typical metal halide fixture that we are familiar with seeing in our barns. The particular challenge with Mega Chip LED fixtures is that they are designed for high-bay applications (defined as ceiling heights of 25′ and higher) and are very directional with reduced beam spread. Only some barns reach 25’+ height in the centre of the barn. Thus most Mega Chip LED fixtures installed in barns are not appropriate. This means your consistency of light dispersion is very poor and your livestock are moving from stage spotlights to dusk lighting as they move around the barn. This is hard on the eye.
Linear Tube LED
Linear Tube LED is likely the most common form of LED fixture in the market place for use in barns. We too started with Linear Tube LED in 2009 and this type of LED works well for retrofitting fluorescent fixtures. We are all accepting of the Linear LED because we are familiar with the typical fluorescent fixture. The Linear Tube LED appears like a typical fluorescent lamp, but inside this tube are rows of diodes and a driver. Some problems have been noted, as we too experienced 4 to 5 years ago when utilizing:
- High heat: In an integrated LED tube, all electronics are housed within. As a result of the restrictive space inside the tube, excess heat is generated with nowhere to go. The high temperatures reduce the performance of the electronics compact within and ultimately lead to early failure.
- Poor lifetime of the LED driver: For all electronic components to fit inside the confines of the LED tube, smaller and inferior components are used. In addition, the high temperatures reduce the lifespan.
- Inadequate controlled dimming support/inferior dimming: Many retrofit LED tubes are non-dimmable. It is also difficult to find adequate controlled dimming support.
- Inferior lumen output: Department of Energy (DoE) CALiPER testing reports indicate that LED T8 replacements do not provide a similar level of lumen output when compared to their fluorescent counterparts. Lumen depreciation is also a problem.
- Certification for rebates: There are very few DLC rated Linear Tube LED’s. This rating is required for most rebate programs. While some claim they offer rebates, be sure to request the DLC approved certification number.
We too have seen first hand some of the above challenges. The typical response we hear from proponents of Linear LED is that they are easy to replace and they are offered with good warranties. Indeed, we have found that out first hand too! Our experience is that it still is no fun to attain warranty lamps, go into barns, and change them out. Who pays for that time? At least they are easy to replace right!
Our research and experience has led us to believe that Panel LEDs are the best product on the market at this time. They offer good light dispersion and work well for low-bay environments which encompasses most barns. Additionally, the fixtures design allows for quality low wattage diodes, to be well spread out on a panel, providing much better heat sync. The manufacturers we work with are located in North America and have the depth of engineering expertise to design an awesome light and top quality standards in production. This provides iBarn comfort that we are offering the best product in the marketplace today.