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LED Floods from Action Lighting


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Well I got my LED Floods from Action lighting last week.

I am really impreseed with the brightness and color. They are almost and really close to the brightness of a 100 watt flood. I bought Red and Green and it seems the Greens are about 20% brighter than the Red (The greens also cost more). When they are off, they both look exactly the same since the glass is clear and I even got a little confused which one was what when they were off.

I hooked them up to a LOR controller and did some testing. They turn instantly ON and OFF so there are no timing issues. Shimmer looks like a strobe light. There is a problem with fading though. They will fade a little bit but then instantly turn off. You can have the brightness in LOR set to 2% and it seems like the floods are at 50-60%. As soon as you go to 1% and 0%, they turn off.

Soo if you want clean smooth fades, these are not the lights for you. If you plan on just turning them ON and OFF, they should work great.

Here are some pictures.

led-flood-01.jpg

led-flood-02.jpg

led-flood-03.jpg

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Annalisa had a few of these at the Chicago Mini Plus, and you are right, the sudden turn off when it is fading was bothersome. She tried it at different intensity, and it still did the same thing. The colors are great, and just for the dependability and energy savings they are well worth the few extra $'s.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have tried all kinds of methods to dim these LED floods and they react the same everytime. I also tried putting one of these LEDs onto a manual dimmer in my home and it does the exact same thing. You will have it almost all the way off and the brightness will be over 50% and then it just turns off.

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Ken W. Good wrote:

I ordered red, green and blue and received mine last week. I have not done any testing yet with my AL boxes. The colors are amazing. I agree that it is easy to get them confused since they all look a like until you give them power.

Ken

Just wanted to follow up on this..

I just received blue, green, yellow, and white. I tested all of the lights and one of the green ones was defective. Be sure to test them soon so you have to to get a replacement.

Other items of note:

-The yellow looks much closer to orange. Pity as I was hoping for a nice gold!

- I was disappointed in the brightness. I'm glad I have 6 of each color to cover the front of the house.

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Wayne Kremer wrote:

These are cool and I would like some, but NOT 6 of each color. Any vendor that will just sell 1 or 2 of each color (red, green, blue)? Thanks guys and gals!

It took a few minutes of searching, but I found some using froogle and ebay. I needed some red since Action was out and found them this way.

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I purchased a set of these white 15 degree LED floods (50 LEDs) medium base:

http://www.actionlighting.com/item-detail.asp?ID=1842&MainCategory=L.E.D.&Sub=LED%20Par%2030%20Lamp

They're about what I expected as far as brightness and color temperature. The only odd thing is what my Kill-A-Watt is saying about them. I've got three of them hooked up and the readings it is giving are a little unusual...

LINE:

119.5vac [normal]

59.9hz [normal]

LOAD:

6 watts [actual]

31 volt/amps

.25 amps

.20 power factor

This has the lowest power factor I've seen out of anything I've ever measured. LED christmas light sets aren't this low. Are these things using a switching power supply? It averages out to 0.083 amps per bulb. But the box (and the website) advertise them as 0.025 amps each. The Kill-A-Watt is supposed to give true RMS power, and I'm more inclined to believe the instrument than a manufacturer's specs from China. Thoughts?

On the plus side, they did help me identify a wiring issue. It seems the lights over the dining room table aren't entirely turning off.

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Here's a non-Christmas light review that I wrote for my other forum, which had some people who are interested in them. NOTE: THIS IS FROM A REGULAR HOUSEHOLD USE PERSPECTIVE, AND NOT A CHRISTMAS PERSPECTIVE. I think these have more value as Christmas lights.

ITEM: http://www.actionlighting.com/item-detail.asp?ID=1842&MainCategory=L.E.D.&Sub=LED%20Par%2030%20Lamp

SPECS: 120vac medium base (regular light bulb socket) 50 LEDs in a 15 degree spotlight

Someone else brought this up in discuss a week or two ago (but for the life of me, I can't use the search function to find the discussion). I mentioned that I actually purchased some of these lights. Well, they've arrived.

There is one place in my house that I don't use compact fluorescents, and that is the dining room table. I've got three 40 watt bulbs and a dimmer switch. I replaced those bulbs (120 watts total) with three of these LED spotlight bulbs (30 watts total). It seemed like a good place for them, since the lights will shine right down onto the dining room table.

Right off, you can see that there is a very noticeable reduction in light. I would compare these $16 spotlight LED bulbs to producing somewhere around the same brightness as a 10 watt bulb. Very sad.

The white light appears to be similar to a fluorescent or compact fluorescent that is a neutral to cool white. (They don't have a yellowish tint like a normal light bulb or a 'warm' compact fluorescent.) Some people may not like this color, insisting that it is sickly and wrong. Personally, I'm okay with it, but I gravitate towards using warm colored compact fluorescents throughout the house.

I'm speculating that these bulbs have a switching power supply built in. And that is for two reasons. First, my Kill-A-Watt meter indicates that these things are polluting the line. They have a .2 power factor. Probably the worst number I have ever seen. But then again, I pay for my electricity by the kilowatt, and not KVA, so the electric company is not going to care as long as I don't fill my home up with these.

Second reason why I believe they have a switching power supply is that they don't dim well. As you increase the voltage, it pops on at about 25% brightness and holds at that intensity. Then, as the voltage continues to increase, it'll jump to about 80% brightness and slowly fade up to the remaining 100%.

So it fades pretty poorly, but it beats out my compact fluorescents that get flickery when you try to fade them. Of course, these LED based light bulbs are so dim to begin with, I don't know that I'd ever want to fade them in the first place.

You might be able to find a specialized use for them, but it would be tough. Where in the house do you have that you could put spotlights, but you don't want to be very bright? The whole product just makes very little sense. Maybe some mass outdoor lighting under the eaves?

So, that's the end of my review. I wouldn't recommend these things unless you've planned ahead for where a low intesity spotlight is just the perfect thing for you. They cost too much and just don't deliver the lumens. But they could be extra long life (estimated 10x the life of compact fluorescents, 100x the life of regular bulbs). That is assuming that some other element (power supply) doesn't break before the individual LED elements.

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I would not say the product is poor. It is exactly what it is. A LED based flood light. I don't think they made them with the Animated Christmas Light person in mind who is going to be trying to dim them.

As far as the brightness goes, I admit that the Red is not as bright as a 100 watt flood lamp but the greens are pretty near (the green is brigther than the reds). The main reason why I went with LED based flood is because of the pure colors and also the response time. I am using 18 channels of LOR with LED floods to light up a line of trees, and the instant ON and OFF make it nicer when doing some fast chase sequences.

I am though disappointed that you can not fade these LED floods but they were never advertised as such. Right now I am wondering if I should go back to floods and get the advantage of fades or stick with the LEDs for their pure colors and instant OFF and ON.

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I think it is just a matter of what currently is on the market right now. With people actually buying these things, I'm hoping that our feedback will work our way back up the chain and get included into product revisions. Cost is important. More lumens is important. Some people want near-linear fading.

I'd bet it wouldn't be too tough for them to address the fading if they realized it was an issue. They probably powered the bulbs the way that they did to avoid flicker.

EDIT: In summary, I'd probably blame the manufacturers for what is currently out there. Their product needs to mature a bit more. And I think it will mature, now that it is starting to be exposed to something approaching the regular population.

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A few more things...

I was pleased that Action Lighting chose to correctly package well enough to meet the insurance standards of the delivery companies. This seems to be less and less common these days. It is even more important when shipping these fragile bulbs. Nicely done.

Flicker can really be annoying. I am glad that the floods appear to be flickerless. Nice. They should add that to the product description.

I think I would be more pleased with the LED Floods if I had ordered a colored light. It is too hard to please people with a white light. Although I think they should label the white by the temperature or the quality of the spectrum of light (there is a term for that which eludes me right now). But those types of labels seem to be optional.

They probably didn't know initially, but I think that Action Lighting should probably be more up front that these bulbs do not fade correctly. All other LEDs that I've been exposed to fade properly, so nobody is going to even think this could be a possibility unless they learn about it elsewhere (like here). If I would have spent a few hundred with the expectation that they'd behave like any other LED lights (full fades), I would have been highly disappointed.

I really do hope that they pass our concerns back to the manufacturer. It would be very nice to see this product evolve into something even better than it is today.

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These things can be dimmed... on the test bench and not with triacs anyway.

I've found that they are more efficient at 1kHz than at 60Hz (equal perceived brightness at only 20 volts supplied). If you vary the frequency from 1kHz (fully on) to 6.5kHz (nearly off) they will fade/dim.

I'm thinking about making a PIC based "triac-to-frequency converter" that will drive avery basicamplifier circuit (probably just an op-amp and power transistors) to light these, but I'm not sure I'll find the time to fit it in this season.Development time is long gone... it's time to be putting stuff up now.

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M-Class wrote:

These things can be dimmed... on the test bench and not with triacs anyway.

Are those types of dimmers used with any frequency? Of course, I also tried on a standard light dimmer wall switch and came up with the same results. :(

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Ok... here is the first draft schematic of a proposed Action flood dimmer interface. I haven't built this yet and the exact component selection may change before I do, but if anyone else wants to play with this (parallel develop), most of the parts should be available from Rat Shack.

action_dimmer%20copy.jpg

I opted for an analog approach instead of a microcontrolled approach since I really don't have time to do PIC programming right now. There is no doubt a microcontrollercould be programmed to give smoother fades than this circuit will.

Some Notes:

* V1 can be a wall wart, a computer power supply, a car battery, or a full blown power supply circuit... whatever wil get you a regulated 12VDC.

* I do not yet know the proper voltage for V2. I need to do some testing once I build the circuit to see what voltage will not overload the LEDs.

*J1 & J2 is where the Action Flood gets attached

*J3 & J4 is connected to the output of a D-Light or LOR board

* R7 will need to be rated for at least 1W. Alternately, two 200k 1/2W resistors can be used in parallel.

*Instinct tells me that a2222 is not a good transistor for Q5 but it has worked on paper so far. Something heftier might be in order though.

*This circuit should work with the action floods but will not work with anything else (nor should it be tried with anything else)

Circuit theory:

D1, R7, R8, Q5, R9, and C3 detect the duty cycle of the waveform output by the triac and convert it to a control voltage for the 555 timer. X1 is also in this part of the schematic as a load for the triac since the input impedance of this circuit is greater than 100k. At a full waveform pin 5 of U1 should be around 8V with some ripple current. At no waveform pin 5 of U1 will be near 1V.

U1, C1, and R1 are a 555 timer configured as a VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) which converts the control voltage into a new frequency and phase. With a control voltage of 8V this circuit should output a square wave near 1kHz and 50% duty cycle. At 1V the frequency will be in excess of 2.5kHz with a duty cycle less than 2%.

Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, and C2 are a very basic really low fidelity class A amplifier. Alternately you could drive a transformer with a single NPN power transistor, but I prefer this approach since transformers tend to be more expensive.

Like I said earlier, this is all unproven and subject to change when I actually try to build it. I welcome any comments from other electronics gurus out here.

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