Letter to the Editor: Lifetime limitations of LED products

Jan. 19, 2009
Claims made by LED lighting companies regarding the life of their products are not always matched by the warranty from the factory.
Dear Sir,

I am writing to find out if people are aware that most manufacturers always state that their LED lighting products have a 20,000-, 30,000- and even 100,000-hour warranty, yet when you enquire you will find that all factories only offer a 1-year warranty on their products.

I have had an interesting talk to one of the factories that manufacture LED fluorescent tube replacements. While they say they have a 30,000 hour warranty, this does not mean it will cover the lamp for 5 years use at 10 hours a day 365 days a year. They say that the capacitors and resistors will only have a life of 1 year or less.

With this being the case, it is not viable to change 36W standard fluorescent tubes with a 15W LED tube. It would be cheaper to buy a 4-dollar, 36W fluorescent tube, pay for the energy use and change it yearly.

I have done the calculations in the Table on one particular LED tube, against a regular 36W fluorescent tube:

This will show that a standard fluorescent tube that has a 1 year warranty against a LED tube with the same warranty does not have a payback period.

This shows that even though manufacturers are stating that their lights have a long life, this may be true for the LED only but not the controlling parts such as resistors, capacitors etc.

So when the factories say 30,000 hours this will never be the case and is false and misleading information. Has anyone else come across this when LED lights fail after 1 or 2 years?

Lindsay Pelser
IAQ Consulting Pty Ltd, Australia