Smart LED bulbs differ by wireless control and light color

The TCP connect system is white-only and can produce 800 lm.

Several new smart bulbs are scheduled to be introduced in June at Light Fair 2104 in Las Vegas. So while we wait, here’s a look at the smart bulb currently available. (See Table 1 below.) I’m defining a smart bulb as any light bulb that can be controlled by your phone, using some form of […]

World’s tiniest tear-down: Inside a Cree XB-G LED package

The Cree XB-G phosphor/lens with a tooth pick for scale.

While trying to get inside one of the Cree LED light bulbs, I came to bear quite a bit of pressure on the inner metal column that houses the Cree XB-G LEDs. Apparently the small pry-bar I was using pushed on the LED packages at an angle. (I’m not sure because I only noticed the damage […]

Inside the Cree LED bulb family – and what may be next

Cree LED bulbs SW TW

Cree’s consistency in using the same platform for all of its LED light bulbs allows us a unique peek inside of its engineering design process. We can see how its design has matured over time, and even make some guesses about what’s next. I took apart the first Cree LED light bulb, an 800-lm, 60W-replacement bulb, […]

Light quality comparisons for Philips, Cree 100W-equivalent LED bulbs

Spectral power distrubtion including R values for the Cree 1600lm LED bulb

Cree announced last week its new 100W-equivalent 1600 lm incandescent-replacement LED bulb. The bulb requires just 18W to produce what used to require 100W in an incandescent bulb. 1600 lm is a lot of light – it’s twice as much as you’ll get from the standard 60W-equivalent. This is a bulb that you might want […]

On-off switch dimming: Possible solution for LED bulb design?

On-Off light switch

Dimmer circuits are the bane of existence for LED bulbs. Dimmable bulbs must accommodate the installed base of hundreds of different versions of phase-cut dimming switches.  These legacy dimmers are left over from the time of incandescent lights, whose purely resistive load played well with the solid-state dimmers that work by chopping the ac line […]

LED bulb tear-downs: Q & A follow-up

Example of a muffin-top LED. This one happens to have a secondary phosphor; not all muffin-tops do.

Last Thursday, February 14, I was invited by Maury Wright, editor of LEDs magazine, to give a webinar on some of the interesting things I’ve learned tearing apart A19 LED 60W-equivalent incandescent replacement bulbs. At the end of my talk, Maury opened it up to questions from the audience, but we were only able to […]

Cree enters lighting controls business with wireless SmartCast Technology

SmartCast components

With its new SmartCast Technology lighting control system, Cree has jumped into the lighting control business. Its approach is to go after the low-hanging fruit, the basic lighting control that handles on/off and dimming based on room occupancy, and daylight harvesting. [Update: I originally wrote this post with the following background/opinion paragraphs at the bottom of […]

Luxera jumps into LED lighting, smart switches

Luxera Smartswitch PAR 30 LEDs

The instant you try to go beyond a simple on-off circuit in your home and bring in a solid-state legacy dimmer switch, you bring in a world of hurt for LED lights. Yes, the mainstays of LED lighting, Philips and Cree bulbs, play well with dimmer switches, but not infallibly, and not with 100% of […]

Measuring light quality for Philips and Cree LED bulbs with the MK350 spectrometer

UPRtek MK350 handheld spectrometer

So now we’ve looked at the  dimming performance of the Philips SlimStyle bulb, and even peeled back the plastic cover to look at the LEDs and driver circuit. (And I’m not being editorially coy in using “we” – I appreciate the information and corrections!) What about the actual light the bulb produces, and how does […]

A closer look at the Philips SlimStyle LED light bulb driver

Output of switching FET drives LEDs

In which an important lesson is learned: The presence of a large transformer-like component does not necessarily mean an LED  bulb is isolated. I was so charmed at the clever heat-dissipating pc board design in the new Philips SlimStyle LED bulb that I breezed right over the electronic circuit used in the driver design. My first look […]