Consumers today are faced with an unprecedented availability of Led Lighting products. While the concept of Led lighting has been around for nearly 100 years it is only the last 10 years that technology has made great strides to push LED lighting to the forefront of output and efficiency. Recently Cree, a global company with facilities worldwide, produce an LED chip that was able to sustain a whopping 250 Lumens per watt. While this of course was in a lab setting, the leap forward to brighter and more efficient products is creating an opportunity to produce products at lower prices. The off-road industry has seen the use of LED Lighting increase exponentially as more and more companies are diving into the world of off-road lighting.
Currently the two most popular brands of Led chips seen on the market are the Chips from both Cree and Epistar.
Today we will focus on CREE
Cree has been making led chips now for nearly 30 years and is the industry leader in development and production. While Cree started as an American Company, recent years have lent to outsourcing and development of global operations. The largest facilities are operated out of China.
The most common Led Chips used in Off-Road Lighting products are the standard CXP XP-C XP-G XP-E and XM-L lines.
While most simply advertise the use of a CREE led chip, it is good to understand the differences and or what specific led chips is in use. CXP line is the entry line and is relatively low cost and the lumens per watt rating is much lower than the XML or XPG line. The CXP line is also an array and or COB style chip in that it incorporates a larger number of smaller elements that act as one. This chip is common to many pod and or work style lights designed to use a single chip and or light up a wide area.
The XP-C Line is the most widely used chip as it is the cheapest chip while producing a decent output. On average typical users can see roughly 85 lumens per watt in lighting products that utilize the XP-C Line. This led chips is much smaller than most and is extremely efficient. This chip is a fragile chip and is not durable to moisture and other function disabling elements.
The XP-G Line is very similar to the XP-C line however it offers a higher average output of roughly 93 lumens per watt.
The XP-E and the XML line are where we start to see a divide in output and efficiency.
Both chips have evolved and have reached the ability to achieve up to 150 Lumens per watt. While the ability to use more lumens per watt is attractive, proper thermal control and power distribution is the key to optimum efficiency. Higher rated chips need a thermal distribution system that removes as much heat as possible as fast as possible. Larger chips also need power conditioning and stability to provide not only enough power but an adequate amount. Using superior circuitry and components are key to utilizing the most potential possible.
Cree chips are a fantastic option for Offroad Led Lighting products and have become the “go to” brand for most consumers. While CREE does not actually produce final products there elements can be seen across the globe in many companies’ products. Buying Cree does not mean you are buying a “Made in USA” product nor does it mean you are buying the highest quality. In the end a CREE chip is only as good as the PCB it is placed on!
Next time we will talk about Epistar!