OT: LED lighting fires

Page 1 of 2  
Out on a large job yesterday I ran into a lighting specialist for a well known company here. He was discussing the merits of different lighting solutions, LED being one on the table. The man was an encyclopedia of information.
I will pass this on to you guys and you can do as you will with the info. Apparently there have been hundreds of fires started by LED bulbs that were of inferior quality or were improperly vented, many sold through Home Depot, Lowes and other improvement centers. The rep showed me picture after picture of local incidents where the bulbs themselves either melted or caught fire.
http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/12795
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/LED-Light-Bulbs-Recalled-by-Lighting-Science-Group
There are other manufacturers and articles easily found by DAGS.
According to him, this is the tip of the iceberg as the market has been flooded with all manner of LED lights of different styles and configurations. I know this to be true as I have seen more different kinds of light over the last year that my clients have dug up than I knew ever existed. Since a couple of them have picked out their own lighting and a lot of my clients have changed over to LED on a rebate program from our local power company I know there are a ton of these bulbs out there.
As much as I read, someway I missed this issue. Thinking others may have as well, I thought I would pass along. According to the lighting rep, the only safe bulbs are the ones with the UL testing cert on the package.
And here I was thinking how nice those low voltage LED strips look under cabinets or over bookcases... certain types fall in that same danger category.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/24/2013 11:04 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/LED-Light-Bulbs-Recalled-by-Lighting-Science-Group

even get warm. I see your examples point towards the lamp assembly which would include the transformer/electronics that power the LED. I would have to think that the LED itself is not the problem rather the other elements involved in powering the actual LED.
I have had my eye on the LED ribbons that Lee Valley sells I'll have to look into seeing if they carry the UL label.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/24/2013 12:17 PM, Leon wrote:

I would suspect that any LED light that screw into an normal socket would have some way of reducing the voltage from 120 alternating to low voltage direct current.
So any of the screw into the 120 volt sockets could over heat and cause fires, if the voltage reduction circuits were not adequate.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

While certainly not absolutely fireproof, they are 12v, so that should meliorate some of your aprehensions.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/24/2013 4:50 PM, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

But they use a 110 volt transformer and I would be willing to bet that the electronics are the problem with the units causing fires.
And having been in the automotive business I can assure 12 volts is as likely to cause a fire as 110. Its the amperage available that affords the opportunity.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 24 Apr 2013 15:50:21 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote

I've used many feet of the LED ribbon in woodworking projects as embedded lighting for glass artwork. You can find them far cheaper on ebay and amazon (about $0.70/foot) than most anywhere else. All the components are passive and not prone to fire, basically it is a series of three LED's with a small current limiting resistor repeated along the length. Power is 12 volts, which I usually supply by a wall-wort or surplus laptop power supply when more current is needed.
The 120V LED bulbs have the ac-dc conversion and current regulation in their base and this is where cheap components can cause fire issues. As stated before, it is not the LED itself that poses the hazard, it is the power supply and finding UL rated power supplies is easy.
-Bruce
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/24/2013 12:17 PM, Leon wrote:

Just a heads up, I was in a Lee Valley store last week, they had a notice up that they are in short supply of many parts for those, and out on others. High demand was cited.
--
Froz...


The system will be down for 10 days for preventive maintenance.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/24/2013 5:40 PM, FrozenNorth wrote:

HD sells the same brand on line. But thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message
...

Interesting... LEDs seem like such innocuous devices but having been burned by my LED Surefire flashlight heat is clearly an issue even with good quality LED devices. From this posting we can safely assume there are poor quality LED devices out there that present additional risks. I wonder how we, as consumers, can tell the difference between good ones and those of poor quality?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/24/2013 11:40 AM, John Grossbohlin wrote:

I have to ask, what part of your LED flash light burned you???
From this posting we can safely assume there are poor

Look for the UL label.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Leon" wrote in message
On 4/24/2013 11:40 AM, John Grossbohlin wrote:

The lens. Surefire warns about heat and I know LEOs and armed guards whom have had similar things happen...

Are there UL labels on bulbs or just the devices? I ask because I never noticed them on bulbs.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/24/2013 12:13 PM, John Grossbohlin wrote:

Wow I would never have thought that possible. We have 2, 5 LED dimable lamps over our headboard for reading. They can stay on all day long and the lenses don't even get warm.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Leon" wrote in message

It probably has a lot to do the intensity of the bulbs... on the high setting it puts out 160 lumen which is likely significantly more than a reading light. I can read by the lowest setting which is 5 lumen. I should note too that I had been using the flashlight on it's highest setting for quite some time in summer conditions so it had a chance to get hot. Most of the time the duration of use is short and I seldom need more than the 5 or 50 lumen settings so heat isn't usually an issue. In comparison, a AA LED Mini-Maglite is pretty much cold!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I have lamps with 4 3 watt Crees that never get more than just slightly uncomfortably warm after 4 or 5 hours.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 4/24/2013 11:04 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/LED-Light-Bulbs-Recalled-by-Lighting-Science-Group

approved per the manufacturers response to this question.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

incandescents. LEDs typically have a working voltage of 3.3 v DC, at about 30 mA (for an individual LED). I would be willing to bet that these units that are overheating have defective power supplies. You can only get so cheap before safety is affected.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Leon, you are on your game. The lights in question are failing because of the associated electronics as well as plain poor design. The associated voltage steppers that go with the 12 volt system are for the most part just junk, and inside the box they look like a ballast for a florescent fixture. No complicated electronics or circuit boards, heat sinks or anything else. So the 12V systems fail at the transformer/voltage reducer according to the lighting engineer I met.
The larger bulbs are failing NOT from electronic failure, not from any voltage problems, or anything of that nature. Bright, room lighting LEDs are not flashlight bulbs or low voltage stuff that you put in your china cabinet. They generate a fair amount of heat, and they must be put in a fixture that dissipates heat or has a proper heat sink. These bulbs however are being used in living room lamps, track lighting, room lighting, etc. and those fixtures probably don't allow the heat to disperse. Certainly, the big box stores provide no warnings on proper usage, and that is where the problem starts. Unless they are extremely low lumen, those types of bulbs should not be put into fixtures designed for incandescent bulbs. The additional problems with the bulbs are that they are usually bigger than the incandescent bulbs, and they block air flow even more.
Until about a year ago when I put in my first set of LEDs and was educated by my electrician, I thought I could cover up the ceiling cans for better attic efficiency. I was warned then about the heat, but I thought it was only on dedicated fixtures (in this case kitchen ceiling recessed cans). No insulation on or within 2" of the cans.
Adding to the problem is the lack of quality that many of the LEDs exhibit. The overwhelming bulk are made in China, and that has led to all kinds of quality variances. Most large companies make bulbs there, but many are certified as 900X factory manufacturers, so that helps with manufacturing, but then it doesn't do anything for a poor design. Crap is still crap, it is just well made crap.
According to the lighting engineer, by the time the recalls are over, there should be about million bulbs being recalled voluntarily or involuntarily, and at this point he said the count is at about a half million. I can see that. He was pulling out almost 3000 of these types of bulbs on a shopping center that were put in by a competitor. His competitor simply changed the bulbs... not enough air flow around the bulb (and according to him a very crappy bulb to begin with) and the were literally melting parts of the bulb and fixtures.
While on topic, he also affirmed what I had read about manufacturer's changing their claims of LEDs lasting an average of 50,000 service hours. One of the trade publications I had come across said that a more reasonable figure for quality LEDs should be pegged at 25K, not 50K of service hours. The engineer said their newest packaging is coming in with that on the boxes, so something else to think about.
While the service hours won't affect any of us, he does malls, parking lots, parks, warehouses, factories, car dealerships, etc., so he is always keen on all aspects of lighting from a lamp to a factory floor. It was good for me to get it all straight from an expert.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote in message
Leon, you are on your game. The lights in question are failing because of the associated electronics as well as plain poor design. The associated voltage steppers that go with the 12 volt system are for the most part just junk, and inside the box they look like a ballast for a florescent fixture. No complicated electronics or circuit boards, heat sinks or anything else. So the 12V systems fail at the transformer/voltage reducer according to the lighting engineer I met.
The larger bulbs are failing NOT from electronic failure, not from any voltage problems, or anything of that nature. Bright, room lighting LEDs are not flashlight bulbs or low voltage stuff that you put in your china cabinet. They generate a fair amount of heat, and they must be put in a fixture that dissipates heat or has a proper heat sink. These bulbs however are being used in living room lamps, track lighting, room lighting, etc. and those fixtures probably don't allow the heat to disperse. Certainly, the big box stores provide no warnings on proper usage, and that is where the problem starts. Unless they are extremely low lumen, those types of bulbs should not be put into fixtures designed for incandescent bulbs. The additional problems with the bulbs are that they are usually bigger than the incandescent bulbs, and they block air flow even more.
Until about a year ago when I put in my first set of LEDs and was educated by my electrician, I thought I could cover up the ceiling cans for better attic efficiency. I was warned then about the heat, but I thought it was only on dedicated fixtures (in this case kitchen ceiling recessed cans). No insulation on or within 2" of the cans.
Adding to the problem is the lack of quality that many of the LEDs exhibit. The overwhelming bulk are made in China, and that has led to all kinds of quality variances. Most large companies make bulbs there, but many are certified as 900X factory manufacturers, so that helps with manufacturing, but then it doesn't do anything for a poor design. Crap is still crap, it is just well made crap. ================================================================================================= I assume you mean ISO 9000, not 900X. ISO 9000 has nothing to do with quality. All they do is make sure that you are fallowing the procedures that you said you would. If your procedures are screwed up, ISO will make sure they stay that way.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

"X" is actually a common expression used not only in mathematics, but also in different sectors of science and by some like me when expressing themselves in writing. In all cases, the "X" denotes and unknown factor, in this case a digit. Since there are ISO 9000 designations and sub designations, I did not want to confuse the issue by putting the wrong standard in my post fearing I might confuse someone and lead them off track to the subject at hand,as I apparently did. So to be clear "X" marks an unknown, exact digit (by me) in this case.

Again, I didn't think I was being obtuse, but apparently I was. I stated that while the ISO certification helps with manufacturing (after all, it is a management protocol quality certification) I thought I was clear about it not helping poor design when I said "it doesn't do anything for a poor design". Good or bad procedures will not fix a poor design.
It seemed clear, but then I tried to reinforce the statement with "Crap is still crap, it is just well made crap." Crap is often used as slang for something worthless or without value, and in some cases commonly used in American vernacular as a referral to feces. What I was intending with that statement was that the procedures used in an ISO certified factory will not fix a poor design, the intention on my part when making that statement being to drive the point home.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.