Systematic thermal approaches enhance modular and retrofit LED lighting (MAGAZINE)

Thermal issues are particularly thorny in space-constrained retrofit lamps, and also in systems with replaceable modules, says MAURY WRIGHT.

Apr 25th, 2010

It’s well known that thermal mitigation is required in LED-based solid-statelighting (SSL) applications to remove heat from the LED junction. Operation at elevated temperatures reduces LED light output and life time, and may even cause catastrophic failure. Developing a robust thermal design is particularly difficult in the small mechanical space inherent in replacement bulbs, and in modular systems where heat and electrical conductivity relies on a connector of some type.

A systematic approach to thermal design, including cooling both the LEDs and the driver electronics, can deliver reliable products. Luminaire designers working on luminaires that directly integrate LEDs have substantial flexibility when it comes to thermal design. Such a design can accommodate large heat sinks or even use active cooling technology such as the Nuventix SynJet (see www.ledsmagazine.com/features/6/4/8 for an earlier LEDs Magazine article on such thermal approaches).

The replacement lamp market, however, has more growth potential in the near term compared to luminaires with integrated LEDs. At the Strategies in Light conference, Robert Steele of Strategies Unlimited stated, “Replacement lamps will be a major growth area, serving the retrofit market until the luminaire market is more firmly established.”

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This article was published in the April 2010 issue of LEDs Magazine. To read the full version of this article, please visit our magazine page, where you can download FREE electronic PDF versions of all issues of LEDs Magazine. You can also request a print copy of LEDs Magazine (available by paid subscription) and sign up for our free weekly email newsletter.

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