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LED LIGHTING, AN EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO INCANDESCENT,

FLUORESCENT AND DISCHARGE LAMPS A SUSTAINABLE ADOPTION


TECHNIQUE
By
Engr. B. C. Agwah, Okwaraoka Chinedu P.A., Udechukwu Uzoma J.
all of Elect/Elect Engineering Dept. Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri.
ABSTRACT
The conventional incandescent and fluorescent lights used in Nigeria today are inefficient in
power consumption and maintenance cost, while also environmentally unfriendly. This work
investigated the viability of high brightness Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) as an alternative in
indoor and outdoor lighting applications, with its performance and maintenance x-rayed, to find
economically sustainable methods of switching from the predominantly used fluorescent and
incandescent bulbs to LEDs. The LED lighting fittings used were assembled from locally
sourced materials in combination with imported but cheap discrete electronic components
including LED chips. The average unit cost of locally assembling the LED lighting fittings was
found to be relatively cheaper than the unit cost of the imported ready-made equivalents, all with
the same performance comparatively in terms of illumination, longevity and durability.

Keywords: Light Emitting Diode-LED, Performance, Illumination, Sustainable, Consumption.

Introduction
Over the years researchers had continually sort for an efficient, durable and friendly source of
light for environment illumination and/or embellishment. Following the invention by Thomas
Edison of electric incandescent light bulb (An electric light which produces light with a wire filament
heated to a high temperature by an electric current passing through it, until it glows).[1]

Many versions of

electric lighting lamps like Gas-discharge lamp, Arc lamp, were developed in search of an
efficient lighting source, but incandescent light bulbs has persisted, as a result of its low cost and
high availability.
The power inefficient nature of incandescent bulbs warranted the ban of its use in some
countries, while others are still considering following suit. According to Wikipedia, Some
jurisdictions, such as the European Union, China, Canada and United States, are in the process
of phasing out the use of incandescent light bulbs while others, including Colombia, Mexico,
Cuba, Argentina, Brazil or Australia, have prohibited them already. The figure below shows
how incandescent light bulbs work.

Fig 1. (a) Incandescent light illustration [2]

Fluorescent lights.
Fluorescent lights are next to the best thing for efficient artificial lighting. They have come of
age, are generally recommended whenever efficient lighting is discussed. Today, fluorescent
lights are commonly available in forms known as Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL), which is an
electronically

ignited

fluorescent tube (or

bulb) designed to directly

replace

an

incandescent bulb without

addition fittings.

In a journal, Lokendra Pal

Singh et al said this of

fluorescent light, On comparing with incandescent bulbs, CFLs are approximately four times
as efficient i.e. a 25 Watt CFL will have the same light

Fig 1. (b) Compact Fluorescent


Light (CFL)

output as a 100 Watt incandescent bulb. They also


possess high longevity i.e. 10 times longer, meaning that the life of a standard CFL is
comparable to 10 incandescent bulbs. [3].
The above quoted statement only hold sway for CFL bulbs from original manufacturers, but not
for the varied low quality products that floods Nigerian market, which has discouraged majority
of Nigerians from adopting CFL, even in the face falling prices of CFL bulbs with all its
promoted advantages.
The efficiency of any electrical light source is a measure of how much electrical energy it
converts to visible light relative to the energy radiated as heat. This directly imply that any
energy consumed in a radiation from a lighting appliance that is invisible to human eye is
counted as wasted energy (except where such radiation from the lighting fitting is so desired, like
in the use of incandescent bulbs to heat up an enclosure). Efficiency and longevity are the major
marketing strategy of CFL. Figure 2 shows a typical 11 watts CFL packaging with emphasis on
these two features, but a simple survey off the streets shows that the general perception of CFL

in Nigeria is that it is expensive and does not last, (a standpoint most people in this venue will
attest to)

(a)
(b)
Figure 2: An 11 watts CFL bulb from TORCH advertising 6 years life span and 5x more
efficient than incandescent bulb
In comparing CFL and incandescent bulb, manufacturers typically quote fluorescent lights as
being up to or more than five times (5x) more efficient than incandescent light, as shown in
figure 2(b) above.
Light Emitting Diode Bulb
Light emitting diode bulbs (LED bulbs) are comparatively new to the arena of artificial lighting.
They are solid state direct current devices, and had been around for some time mostly in
applications where they serve as indication lights and pointers. In the past few years, LEDs has
metamorphosed into a new and promising lighting technology, due to advancements in
manufacturing techniques that made high brightness LED devices a possibility.
LEDs bulbs are made up of LED chip(s) fitted with a heat sink and powered with internal ACDC converter, just like CFLs come with electronics ballast circuits. Different sizes are
manufactured to sooth various applications ranging from street lighting to indoor lighting
applications, and accent lights to football arena flood lights, (see pictures in Figure 4 below).
Diffusers are used on LED bulbs to reduce glare and improve dispersion of light, since LED
lights are highly directional. This is especially so in indoor and automotive LED lighting.

LED lighting is more efficient than discharge lighting devices like CFL and have none of its
environmental adverse attribute when it comes to disposal.

(a)

(b)

(c)

Figure 4: (a) and (b) are for indoor use, (a) having a diffuser attached, (c) is a an LED street light
bulkhead.

(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
Figure 5: (a) 0.5 watts SMD LED, (b) 1 to 3watts SMD fitted with a lens, (c) 10watts LED chip
and (d) 30 to 200watts LED chip

Interestingly, LED Chips (See picture in Figure 5 above) are also sold as individual electronics
component, encouraging Do-It-Yourself (DIY), a practice in which technically inclined persons
use available technology to solve engineering problems, which in most cases produce unique
solutions.

Cost Issues
Initial Cost

The initial cost of installing LED lighting systems is higher than that of CFL and
incandescent lighting. A typical 10 watts LED Lamp cost between N800 - N1500,
comparatively higher than an equivalent CFL at N150 - N350 for indoor application. In
outdoor lighting applications, LED systems cost N4,500 N20,000 per fitting, depending
on power rating and manufacturer. This is in contrast to a maximum of N7500 (Fitting &
Lamp) for a 100watts street lighting CFL application.
Running Cost
The running cost of LEDs on the other hand is very low, since it has a typical lifespan of
50,000 hours of continuous operation (at a safe temperature). As can be seen from figure
2 (b) a high quality CFL bulb has an average lifespan of 8000 hours. This implies that
LEDs last more than 6 times as long as a typical CFL, hence CFL has a higher running
cost than LEDs.
Further to savings on the longevity of LED, energy savings is obtained from lower power
consumption of LED, its high efficacy (lumen/watt) allows a typical 10watts LED to
compete with a 30-40watts CFL and 100watts incandescent bulb. Hence the amount of
energy consumed in lighting reduces with application of LED.
Disposability Issue;
A CFL light contain environmentally hazardous constituent - mercury vapour, this is harmless
inside the glass tube, hence proper disposal process is advised, recycle (although this is not the
case in Nigeria).
LEDs are solid state devices that has no glass cover or hazardous materials. Being a product
from silicon wafers, it is completely ecofriendly and require no special arrangement for disposal.
Lifespan/Temperature Issues;

An incandescent bulb has a life span of about 1000 hours, a typical CFL bulb has a lifespan of
8000-10,000 hours while an LED light bulb operated under the same condition has a lifespan of
25,000-50,000 hours. According to a 2015 white paper published by Philips Lighting, at 50,000
hours of operation of a LED lamp the efficacy (lumen per watt light output) drops to about 80%
[4]. Philips Lighting obtained result from sampling a batch of LEDs at a temperature of 25 oC
operated 12hrs a day.
Temperature is a major factor to the lifespan of LEDs. As the running temperature increases, the
LED lamp efficiency reduces along with its lifespan. Hence the promoted longevity of LED
bulbs is dependent on among other thing how cool the LED is while operating, (or how
efficiently the heat generated by the LED is managed).
To manage the heat, LEDs are mounted on a heat sink to safely radiate generated heat and
prevent overheating of the LED. (see Figure 6 below)

Figure 6: and LED mounted on a BRIDGELUX LED heat sink with cooling fan attached

LED Drivers
LEDs require regulated direct current power supply to operate, hence a power converter (ACDC) converter is required to drive them. The higher the current driven through a LED, the
higher the light output and heat generation.

Manufacturers usually rate LED products parameters in a way that does not compromise the
longevity and light output from the device. A typical single LED chip is usually rated 350mA at
3.5volts and Operating Temperature of -35 to +65oC.
A suitable LED driver must limit the current through the LED and protect it from power surge.
Fitting issues
LED lighting needed to fit into existing household and industrial lighting fittings at tolerable
cost, for it to become acceptable to consumers. This forced manufacturers to design LED bulbs
into existing standard lighting bulbs. (see figure 7 below).

(a)
(b)
Figure 7: (a) an assorted collection LED bulbs designed to replace screw type bulbs, (b) a LED
torch light bulb with an incandescent bulb it is meant to replace.
As LED lights are accepted and adopted, and LED chips sold off the shelve, new lighting fittings
are starting to emerge, designed solely for LED lighting.
Users and countries that do not manufacture LEDs (like Nigeria) can also leverage the existence
of cheap LED chips to design and locally manufacture their own indigenous fittings, or convert
existing ones to accept LED.

Methodology
As enormous amount of data exists on the acclaimed superiority of LED over other lighting
sources, this work did not repeat same research on verification of LED lamp, rather we utilized

existing research results and investigated the options available to us (Nigerians) in the process of
adopting LED lighting.
Some of the peculiarities considered are that;

Nigeria does not yet manufacture LEDs

Power Supply in Nigeria is not commensurate with the demand

Every electronic component used in Nigeria is imported

Finished products cost more that the raw materials used in making them, hence
importation of individual components for making LED lights will be cheaper.

A massive lighting fixtures are already in use, and can be easily converted to LED
fixtures.

In other words we took existing lighting fittings and showed ways to save cost lighting the
environment utilizing LED chips. Then we showed other sustainable ways to adopt LED
lighting with reduced initial cost.
Test LED Lamps used
We carried out this work using 18 pole mounted street light bulk heads at Federal Polytechnic
Nekede Owerri, and 6 pole mounted street light bulk heads along upper Ekwema Crescent Street
Ikenegbu Layout Owerri. The third set of lamps where constructed from sheet metal and
deployed with a solar LED spot light.
The pole mounted LED lamps were realized from converting street lamp fixtures to house
10/20watts LED chips (and their power converters where necessary). Considering that the
overall aim is to produce a low cost, durable and efficient LED light fixture, we sources all
materials from commonly available components with the exception of the LED chips. The
pictures below shows the process of converting one of the spotlight bulkheads, and the
construction of the solar LED spot light.

Figure 8: A 250watts Halogen lamp fitting before and after stripping it for conversion.

Figure 9: Two sections of 40mm aluminum angle bars for heat sinking, with a 10watt LED to be
mounted on the bar after riveting them together.

Figure 10: Mounting of the LED on Aluminum heat sink using thermal paste, before fixing the
whole assembly into light fitting using a long aluminum bolt as standoff.

Figure 11: Construction of reflector from Aluminum sheet and foil to improve the overall
efficiency of the light fitting, and coupling a switch mode AC-DC converter to the unit to get a
finished product ready for testing.

Figure 12: 10watts DC version of the spotlight constructed for use with a solar spotlight stand.
Results Obtained
The results obtained from the above lamp is significant;
1.

The final cost of the AC version of the units was just under One Thousand Three hundred
naira (N1300.00), while the DC version costs less than Eight Hundred (N800.00).
including the cost of imported LED chips

2.

Perceived brightness (not measured with a light meter) is comparable to a 100watts CFL
spotlight.

3.

Temperature of the unit after one hour of operation was measure to be 48 oC using an
infrared non contact thermometer.

4.

None of the LED lamps failed during the one year period during which the lights were
monitored.

5.

The solar spot light units has operated for more than two years, and still gives about12
hours of light daily (from around 7.30pm till dawn).

6.

The entire 18 LED lamps at Federal Polytechnic Nekede consumed less than 170 watts of
energy (each lamp is rated at 10watts), while the 6 units at Upper Ekwema Crescent
Ikenegbu consumes about 100watts (each unit rated at 20watts).

It is important to note that the temperature (3) will increase if we made the lamps brighter. This is
because the lamps brightness increases with increase in current, but temperature also increases
with current. To achieve the best result, we had to reduce the Current to 700mA, lower than the
rated 1.04Amps (this LED has internal series/parallel strings of individual LEDs).

Figure 13: Internal series/parallel connection of LEDs that make up the 12volts LED chip
used in this work.
Notice the string of 4 LEDs in series and 5 sets of the series connection in given 20 individual
LEDs. Each individual LED is rated 0.5watts at 3volts and 350mA.

Figure 14: Circuit diagram of the LED lamps heads.

Problems encountered
The pole mounted lamps are AC powered from PHCN or the school generator, hence
totally depended on availability of power supply which was not constant. This means
that the lamps did not supply daily 12 hrs of light for the period under observation.

We eliminated manual switching of the lamps by constructing automatic switch to turn


off the lamps at down and on at dusk, but the relays used in this switch failed severally
during the period under observation.

About six months into the work, some institution commissioned contractors reverted
some of the LED lamps to CFL lamps, destroying 11 stands of the LED lamp in the
process.

Conclusions
LED lamps are really as efficient as claimed with commensurate longevity. Any artificial light
user who is serious about saving on energy should consider LED lamps. It is not necessary for
the existing light fixtures to be discarded (both indoors and outdoors), the fixtures can be cleanly
converted to LED lamp fixtures at a fraction of the cost of new ones.
Conversion of old fixtures reduces cost of initial LED deployment, increases efficiency of the
lighting and reduces running cost of incandescent and CFL lights. Federal Polytechnic Nekede
as well as many other institutions keeps installing and replacing very high power (in range of
1000watts) lights in search of better night time illumination. But with a handful of 30-50watts
LED lamps staggered around these compounds, better illumination can be achieved at very low
energy consumption.
Finally, Nigeria will save a lot on foreign exchange, should local production of this lamps be
encouraged in the place of finished products.

References
[1] "Electric Lighting." Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft
Corporation, 2008.
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incandescent_light_bulb -.
[3]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LED_lamp visited 10th October 2015

[4] Koninklijke Philips N.V, 2015 White Paper on Evaluating performance of LED based
luminaries, Pg6.
[5]

Lokendra Pal Singh1, Goldy Katal2, A Comparative Study on Design and Operation of
Fluorescent Lamps, CFLs and LEDs, Goldy Katal et al. Int. Journal of Engineering
Research and Applications www.ijera.com Vol. 3, Issue 5, Sep-Oct 2013, pp.401-407