Category Archives: The Facts of Light

NEW PR25 Slim Baffle LED Recessed Lights

We’re pleased to introduce you to the new PR25 Slim Baffle LED Recessed Light collection – available now at!

This collection offers the installation-friendly low profile and smooth, diffuse light output that our customers love about the PR15 Ultra Thin series – combined with a baffle trim that sets the LEDs farther up in your ceiling. The effect is an even softer, more discreet overhead ambient light source.

BR25-Slim-Baffle-LED-Recessed-LightsThe PR25 Slim Baffle LED Recessed Light lasts twenty times longer and uses ~88% less energy than the halogen bulbs typically used in baffle trim ceiling light fixtures. For large quantity pricing or a detailed lighting schematic for the PR25 or any other LED Waves product, call us at 1(800)986-0169.

Owl Pack Outdoor LED Flood Outshines in Product Teardown

The Owl Pack Outdoor LED Flood Light collection‘s high quality construction and best in class components are a source of pride for us at LED Waves, so it is gratifying to know that these features do not go unnoticed by tech-savvy consumers.

This was the case in an in-depth product teardown performed by Bowfishing Country community member tjones96761. The Oklahoma-based reviewer purchased the 50 Watt Owl Pack along with several other LED lights for boats – and found that our flood performed head and shoulders above the rest.

With each step of the investigation, the reviewer was as impressed by the Owl Pack as we were by his evident passion and deep understanding of LED lighting. He details our assembly in words (edited for clarity) and pictures:

On Construction
Made of “…HDPE plastic to save weight. Weighing in at a scant 5.4lbs, it’s about 35% lighter than (the competitor) at 8.5lbs. 5.4lbs is considerably lighter than any of the Chinese lights I’ve come across… All the fasteners are secondary backup holders. All the pieces snap/hook together. The glass snaps into the plastic holder(s) in the housing, then the outside frame snaps to the housing… Everything is a very close fit and very tight. VERY nice setup.”

image by tjones96761 via Photobucket
image by tjones96761 via Photobucket

On the LED
“The emitter is a real live Bridgelux chip, not a B-Lux, or Bridgelux-like from China, but the real deal. Bridgelux has a quick connect terminals that doesn’t require solder, very cool. Also extremely small, US quarter… for size reference. FYI, all the Vero series chips have the square scan code thingy for ID on them. Don’t know if this was done on previous older chips or not, but anyone claiming to be using Vero chips will have this scan tag if they’re real.”

image by tjones96761 via Photobucket
image by tjones96761 via Photobucket

On Thermal Management
“You can see the copper heat transfer tubes… This is meant to pull heat to the far edges and utilize the whole heat sink. I think it’s working. The unit is running at 115°F after 1hr, the lowest of any light I’ve seen… (T)he heat sink is sealed to the plastic housing around the chip. In addition to the sink being snap/locked in place, it is also epoxy glued in place and sealed.”

image by tjones96761 via Photobucket
image by tjones96761 via Photobucket

On Value
“(T)he price is spot on. It’s smaller, lighter, and brighter, with the Bridgelux Vero chip – the chip that all others on the market strive to be… If you’re gonna go big, then BY GOD GO BIG. Don’t go shopping for a Porsche and come home with a Camaro. If you want a Camaro, that’s cool; just don’t pretend it’s a Porsche. This is a Porsche, gents, no doubt.”

We’ll take that.

Read the full post for more pictures and details on other components, plus a glimpse of the reviewer’s cheeky green pedicure – the result of a prank gone a bit too far.

While the Owl Pack’s 5 year warranty advises against disassembly, we are proud that it stood up to such scrutiny. And, of course, we are delighted that another LED Waves customer is pleased with his purchase!

Dimming LED Lights with an Incandescent Dimmer

Check out our new article in our Help > FAQ section on what manufacturers mean when we say that our LED lights are dimmable with an incandescent dimmer.

Incandescent technology may sound at odds with new LED lighting, and adding to the confusion are several other names by which this particular dimming method may be called. These names include TRIAC, Leading Edge, and Forward Phase Control; and we attempt to explain how all of them relate to the phenomenon of a dimming light.

LED-Waves-dimming-diagramThis article came about from many questions from our customers and site visitors shopping for items like our dimmable recessed light kits and cable/track lighting systems. We hope you find this helpful, and that you keep the questions coming!



An Ounce of Prevention for Facility Managers

FM inspectionsRecently, LinkedIn’s Facility Managers Group swapped workplace horror stories in an illuminating  discussion titled, “Stories of Neglect: What have you seen as a Facilities Manager that has been a result of poor maintenance or complete lack(there)of?” We noticed that a recurring theme in the responses was mass shortages of lighting due to failing fixtures that went unreported. These shortages can pose a huge danger for litigation and human life in general.

In these cases, those responsible for facility-wide inspections were often contractors who were unfamiliar with lighting terminology and standards – cleaning professionals, for example. Since many of the LED lights supplied by LED Waves are designed specifically for commercial and industrial buildings, this was of particular interest to us. How can lighting be effectively monitored by untrained personnel?

With filament-based lighting technology – halogen/incandescent – failure is pretty straightforward; the bulb suddenly burns out after a few thousand hours and stays dark until a maintenance worker gets around to replacing it. With gas-based, ballasted lighting technologies, however, failure can be trickier to diagnose.

LED vs MH vs HPS L70By industry standards, a luminaire is considered failed once it produces less than 70% of its initial output (thus the “L70” references you may see on lighting literature). The ballasted lighting technologies most commonly seen in large buildings – fluorescent, HID, sodium, metal halide – decrease in lumen output exponentially shortly after being installed. (Fluorescent lights are especially bad, strobing and changing color noticeably as they near the end of their useful lives.)

Like the above lighting technologies, LED lights decrease their lumen output over time. Unlike the above, however, they don’t hit the dreaded 70% mark for 30,000 to 50,000 hours of operation – so inspections by qualified personnel, using proper equipment, can be scheduled fewer and farther between.

As LED lighting and controls get smarter, these inspections may fall out of human jurisdiction altogether in our lifetime – freeing up time for facility managers to prevent other stories of neglect.

LED Wall Packs Ahead of Lighting Standards

Some individuals interested in the Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack family have asked us if any of the units are qualified by Energy Star or the DesignLights Consortium. (Energy Star applies to green products typically for the home and for retail and hospitality settings, while the DLC covers the remaining larger, more industrial lighting projects.) It is with heavy hearts that we answer no, simply because these programs currently do not offer a category for outdoor bracket-mounted wall packs.

Why is this the case? Traditional wall packs using metal halide, HID or sodium vapor were associated with lots of uplight – which is wasteful, creates light pollution, and can contribute to unsafe nighttime lighting conditions.

The directionality of solid state technology makes our own LED wall packs emit NO uplight. Check out all the zeroes across the board in the “U” (for Uplight) section of the B.U.G. reports for the 10, 30, 50, 70, 100 and 200 Watt Owl Packs. Each also meets the DLC’s high end specifications for related outdoor LED lighting categories – measuring brightness, efficiency, color rendering and more:

Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack vs. DLCUntil Energy Star or the DLC recognize LED wall packs as viable nighttime floodlighting, it’s up to local utilities and building contracts with Buy American provisions to offer incentives for the high performance and energy savings of the USA-made Owl Pack. The technology is there already; we’re just waiting for the “green light” from the rest of the green lighting community.

A More Halogen-Like Dimmable LED Light Bulb?

A recent LEDs Magazine story uncovered some new design processes for dimmable halogen replacement bulbs. These processes require a lot of refinement (and solutions to new problems), with the end-goal of making LED bulbs appear to dim the same way as halogen/incandescent bulbs.

We emphasize appear, because the two lighting technologies handle dimming very differently. A halogen dimmer changes the amount of current running through the bulb. When you lower the current, filament burns less intensely. In addition to dimming the light (reducing its output), this also changes the light color to a warmer Kelvin temperature.

The phosphor layer on a lighting class LED changes its natural blue light into a different color. Though phosphors can be mixed to create pretty much any color temperature, by nature they inhibit some of the light output.

Increasing the density of materials in an LED package (as in the diagram above) also raises the operating temperature, which overworks the electronics. Therefore, an LED designed to replicate halogen dimming must have a dedicated thermal management solution, and may come with an overall energy efficiency trade-off.

In all the years LED Waves has manufactured and sold dimmable LED light bulbs and systems, we’ve always considered their consistent light quality as an improvement on halogen technology. No customer has ever approached us asking for a bulb that changes color temperature when it dims.

We’re always open to new technology, however, so this conversation intrigues us. What do you think? Would you sacrifice energy efficiency or lifespan for more halogen-like dimming? How else might an LED bulb better replicate traditional lighting technology?

via LEDs Magazine

LEDs, BUGs, and the Fight Against Stranger Danger

When browsing literature to specify lighting, you may come across something called a BUG rating. (These are part of the Outdoor Photometric Test Reports like the ones for each Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack.) This three-number score does not assess whether your lights brings all the bugs to the yard – though LEDs, with their particular UV-free spectrum, do cut down on insect visitors. Instead, this rating measures Backlight, Uplight, and Glare.

backlight-uplight-forward.lightAs these are all undesirable features, the BUG scale is one in which you actually want low scores. By nature, our wall-mounted LED floods reduce backwards and upwards light waste due to their directionality. This explains the low numbers for the B-U portion of the Owl Pack’s BUG ratings – these figures are more important for free standing street lights, as illustrated at right.

The G portion is a bigger challenge for LEDs as well as any other outdoor lighting technology. Glare distorts the way the human eye naturally compensates for the darkness around a light source. This diptych illustrates the stranger danger posed by high glare lighting from an outdoor HID lamp.

the importance of low glare outdoor lighting

Low glare is important for improving nighttime safety, and why we took such care in the Owl Pack’s fixture design. Our G score is 0 for all the residential units, and 1 for the higher-powered industrial flood lights.

When sourcing any outdoor light, read the product’s Photometric Outdoor Test Report and BUG score to make sure it meets the safety requirements of your application. With impressive specs across the entire line of Owl Outdoor LED Wall Packs, we highly recommend these floods to make your building exteriors safe at night.

Who’s Who in the Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack: Bridgelux Edition

LED Waves subscribers and customers know that the Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack is one of the most exciting new developments from our line of LED lights made in the USA. With a wide range of power/light output options, from 1o to 200 Watt units, there’s an Owl Pack for virtually every outdoor lighting purpose to meet the needs of all residential, commercial and industrial building exteriors.

With Owl Pack customers representing so many different backgrounds and levels of lighting education, we thought we’d level the playing field by bringing you a closer look at the components and engineering concepts that go into each one. After all, as LED Waves CEO and head of our R&D department Joel Slavis says, “Hell, we’re doing all this stuff; they might as well know about it.” Indeed.

Thus begins our series of informational LED Waves blog posts: Who’s Who in the Owl Pack.

WhosWho Owl Pack vero

We’re kicking it off with a spotlight (or, more accurately, an LED floodlight) on the Bridgelux Vero, used by every single Owl Pack.

This cutaway comparison shows that the solder-free COB LED (at right) eliminates fracture points. Image via

This cutting edge technology from California’s Bridgelux features chip-on-board (COB) construction – eliminating soldering (and potential break points) and strengthening the design of the LED board. Made for high drive currents, the Vero performs with outstanding brightness and 20% higher efficacy over other COB LEDs in its class.

LM-80 data from Bridgelux indicates that each Vero offers more than 70% lumen maintenance over 50,000 hours of operation, even tested at more than 2x the normal drive current. Our UL LM-79 test reports show that each Owl Pack delivers over 90 lumens per Watt. Contact an LED Waves sales representative for supporting documentation for any particular unit.

On top of reducing energy and replacement costs, the Vero helps the Owl Pack outperform traditional outdoor lighting technology with better light quality.

Vero Owl PackTypical High Pressure Sodium and Mercury Vapor lamps have a Color Rendering Index (CRI) score of 30. The Owl Pack LEDs have a minimum CRI of 70 (average 72), improving nighttime visibility and safety.

Each Owl Pack employs one Vero chip to transmit a high concentration of light with crisp beam edges, and zero disorienting pixelation. No other outdoor LED flood delivers this outstanding quality of light.


LEDs Shine Light on Brain Functions

Thanks to some small LED lights, we’re making big strides in unlocking the mysteries of the brain. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have developed a method of manipulating neuron proteins using an LED. By observing the resulting activity in mouse brains, they can determine each protein’s function – and point to the analog for humans.

led light brain mouseProteins are composed of chains of amino acids through which molecules flow. A precisely calibrated LED light applied to a protein causes a light-sensitive amino acid – called a Cmn – to fall off the chain. This alters the flow of molecules through the amino acids, effectively activating or deactivating the protein.

Controlling the proteins in this manner reveals the brain activities with which each one is associated. This is significant in illuminating the most complicated and mysterious organ we have in our bodies. Now that’s bright!

Now Available: 50W Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack Test Results

LED Waves is pleased to announce the release of the UL Photometric Outdoor Test Report and IES files for the 50 Watt Owl Pack! These results are the first of many that will come in for this 10-200 Watt series of outdoor LED wall packs.

This is an exciting development, not just for those looking to specify this particular LED flood light for a home or business, but also for LED Waves’ R&D team. This the first report of its kind that we have gotten (as the Owl Packs are the first outdoor units from our line of exclusive LED lights made in the USA) and our expectations – based on the specs for the Bridgelux Vero-18 and LED driver we built in – were far surpassed in the UL test results.

At 4,581 lumens, the 50 Watt Owl Outdoor LED Wall Pack tested over 12% brighter, with 346 more initial lumens than we had projected. And our BUG rating (which measures Backlighting, Uplighting, and Glare) came out to B2-U0-G0, proving this flood suitable for minimizing light pollution and improving outdoor light quality.

50w owl outdoor led wall pack ul test results
Click to download the report.

More on understanding the Illuminating Engineering Society’s BUG system – and UL’s photometric outdoor testing – as the reports for the remaining Owl Packs fly in! In the mean time, check out the report for the 50 Watt unit, available for download now at