Digital Systems Blog

Extend the Life of LED Luminaires with Preventive Maintenance

GettyImages-802775024We’ve all heard about the key attributes of LED luminaires over traditional incandescent, fluorescent and halogen fixtures: greater energy efficiency, resistance to breakage, less heat emitted, and a longer lifespan. These benefits are easy to see or measure and are responsible for the widespread adoption of this technology across the commercial real estate industry. In addition, because SSL fixtures are digital in nature, important data about the location and health of a specific fixture or fixtures across a facility can be captured and leveraged by facilities teams.

Gone are the days of walking through a facility and checking each luminaire visually, or waiting for the service call ’my lights are out’. LEDs depreciate over time, but the signs that an LED luminaire or driver is not running optimally is often invisible to the eye. How do you make sure that your LED luminaires reach their published expected lifespan and also maintain acceptable lumen output (light level) across that lifespan? How do you make sure your LED luminaires meet the operating requirements spelled out in their warranty?

Preventive maintenance is required.

What are the key technologies that enable a preventive maintenance program?

Use Quality LED Drivers

Quality LED fixtures publish an expected lifespan of 30,000-50,000 hours or more, depending on the quality of the LED and the LED driver used. This is significantly more than a typical incandescent (1,000 hours) or a fluorescent (8,000-10,000 hours). However, the LED fixture will start to go through lumen depreciation over time affecting its performance and longevity. In addition, a luminaire may withstand a number of electrical transients or strikes that can affect performance and longevity.

The LED driver is the primary component in the fixture that determines the dimming capabilities of the fixture and significantly affects the performance, reliability and lifetime of a luminaire. Unless it is a quality fixture leveraging a quality LED driver, the overall performance in light output and reliability could drop considerably resulting in an unpleasant experience or safety concern for the occupant. Quality LED drivers can produce a steady state of measured light output across the entire lifetime of the fixture compensating for LED depreciation. We covered the importance of quality LED drivers such as OPTOTRONIC LED drivers in a previous blog post.

LED driver data can tell you a lot the performance level of each luminaire as well as how much ‘life’ remains in the luminaire. Early detection can mean simpler and less costly repairs. For example, adjusting the current as the LED begins to fade effectively maintains 100% light output over life. In addition, a high temperature profile can indicate the fixture is being pushed beyond its thermal capabilities and this will affect the life expectancy of the electronics (the driver and/or the LED module).  

Integrated Controls and Communications Technologies

Each luminaire can become a smart node on a lighting network, collecting data for the Light Management Systems (LMS) about the health of the luminaire including early failure detection and end-of-life indicators. This requires the controls and communications technologies to be integrated into the luminaire (in addition to a quality LED driver) during the design and manufacturing process.

An integrated controls capability in every LED luminaire makes each an individually-addressable node on a LMS network. The Connected Lighting Module (CLM) by Osram is a fixture-integrated controls module that enables the luminaire to be part of the LMS.

How do you communicate data between the LED driver and the controls module so that it can be sent to the LMS? DEXAL (Data Exchange for Advanced Lighting) Technology is a non-proprietary, intra-luminaire interface that enables power and bi-directional communications between the driver and the fixture-integrated controls module. DEXAL Technology must reside on both the LED driver side and the controls module side. The OPTOTRONICS LED driver with DEXAL Technology extracts data from the driver and communicates it to the CLM with DEXAL Technology. The CLM with DEXAL Technology, in turn, provides the driver data to the LMS for analysis as well as adjustments, if required.  

DEXAL Technology is compatible with the ENCELIUM® EXTEND Networked LMS as well as a growing list of third-party light management systems including Current powered by GE, Enlighted Inc., Lutron, Magnum Energy Solutions and NEDAP.

Preventive Maintenance

Given the often invisible-to-the-eye signs that an LED luminaire is not running optimally and the investment required in an LED lighting system, preventive maintenance is essential. The technology needed for a preventive maintenance program requires that each luminaire become a smart node on the lighting network. Once this is done, the LMS can view and track the performance levels of the luminaire.

There are several integrated technologies that need to be specified as part of the luminaire design and manufacturing process. In addition to a quality LED driver, each luminaire requires an individually-addressable controls capability as well as the technology to communicate information between the driver and the LMS. The combination of these technologies will enable a predictive maintenance program that will keep your LED luminaires running at their optimum working condition and prevent unplanned maintenance including replacements.

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Topics: Lighting Controls, LED Drivers, Connected Lighting & IoT, Smart Building App