LED strips & modules – which are better?
LED strips verses modules. Which is better? By now, I’m going to assume that you are already familiar with the concept of using LEDs in preference to traditional Fluorescent light, or globes. If not- click here for LEDs 101.
LEDs have come down in price significantly over the last decade and install costs have dropped considerably now as no electrician is required. Running costs are significantly lower and the life span is significantly improved. Most LEDs now provide between 35,000 and 50,000 hrs of operation before being considered tired. So, lets have a look at the difference between modules and strip lighting:
Both have their place in the market
They both employ the same LED chips. The most common sizes being 3528, 5050, 2835, and 5630, although others are finding their way into mainstream Signage lighting products.
Chips used in both LED strips & modules vary in quality. Even the best known brand names grade their chips, and its not usually the chips that fail. In fact, I don’t think we’ve ever had a chip fail, but then we use only Grade 1 chips from the likes of Epistar, Samsung and Cree, but there are literally hundreds of cheap chip manufactures. Its usually solder points short circuiting, poor quality PCB or the assembly that fails on cheaper product.
LED chips both use the same Power supply, and provide the same light output when compared like for like in a strip, or module.
Here are a few of the things you should consider prior to purchasing:
- Most suppliers will provide a longer warranty for modules than flexible strip lighting. Why? Because the structure is more robust, has better heat dissipation, insulation and the PCB is much stronger. They are, by nature at least weatherproof.
- How much do you want to pay? Are ours really better than what you can purchase online? LED strips verses modules? We discuss specification requirements before pricing- directly with our suppliers. Not brokers, merchants, shipping companies, or third parties on Ebay, Amazon, or one of the other outlets, who all sell on price. We deal directly with the primary producer and we deal with the same person, year on year. That relationship means we can talk technical. With 10 year long business relationships with a small number of quality manufacturers, we can and do absolutely believe what we sell is good. Its very good. And the support and advice that we get and can pass on is good too. Is it worth paying a little more for peace of mind. For a genuine warranty? For a back stop? You bet it is.
Which is best- LED strips verses modules for our Primary product, Edge-lit signage – Edge-lit signage lends itself to strip lighting, as we punch the light into the edge of both acrylic and glass. Our Edge-lighting units have consumed literally 10s of kms of strip lighting, so we know the strengths and weaknesses of this product. To this day, we only use Rigid Strips. Why? Because they have the same inherent strengths over flexible strips.
How tight / small is the area you want to light.
Most flexible strip lighting can only bend up or down. Not sideways, so cant be successfully twisted around corners. Yes, there are now even strips that do – the ‘S’ strip, which we sell, however, Modules have a flexible wire between them, which means they can be used around corners. In my experience, far better than ‘S’ type flexible strip. We have a module that’s just 38 X 7mm in size, and is ideal for small channel letters. Its our mini module, and punches out 24 lumens of clean white 6000k light.
How far away from the surface that you want to light, can you install your LEDs.–
All LED chips have a beam angle, like a torch beam. You usually wont get this detail when buying online, but its important- Extremely important. When placed in a line (as in strip lighting) the light in very intense along the line, but drops off rather quickly to each side. This means that when you are populating a large area, (like a light box), the LED strips need to be close enough that the beams cross over. The angle of that beam means that the closer to the lit surface, the closer the strips need to be. Now that introduces a secondary problem. By placing too many strips close together to avoid dark spots you create too much light along the strip- a hot spot. Hence the box needs depth.
But even this rule is now becoming defunct, as we have recently introduced a special LED strip, that has a beam angle of 170+ degrees, and can be used as close as 4cm from the surface without hot or cold spots. Seeing is believing! Sadly, this strip is not waterproof, but for internal use, they really are sensational. BUT- Never fear- we have modules that can do amazing things too. So, in summary, there are a number of reasons for buying from us.
We know our product-
- Don’t purchase from disposal outlets like ebay and Amazon, where factory seconds are dumped by brokers and traders with no physical presence.
- Specify the beam angles, so we can provide the correct number of units for complete and consistent cover of the surface
- Know that your chips are powered correctly – The same chip can be manufactured brighter simply by using a different resistor – or over powering it. Ours are all set for longevity and reliability over straight Lumens output.
- Know the reliability – tested with true long life sales experience.
- Set the colours, and ALL our white chips are 6000K +-500, so that your signage presents as white and above 90 percent CRI.
- Have an extensive range of LED strips & modules, so will guide you on which product is best suited to your application- Not flog what we stock.
- Are an Australian business, since 1991 so our warranty is solid.
To keep up to date with Product launches click to follow us on FB