Posts Tagged ‘HALO’

Interesting LEDs from Cooper Lighting and Commercial Electric

November 1, 2011

There are a couple of interesting LED recessed (or sort of recessed!) lighting fixtures that we’ve tested recently that are worth sharing.  I wouldn’t consider either one the CREE-killer (the CREE CR6 is still my head & shoulders above the rest favorite residential LED fixture).  But each might be a workable option in some situations.

First is Cooper Lighting’s ALL-PRO LED.  This product provides another options for “wet” locations, and at a lower price point than the HALO fixture previously reviewed here.  The dimming seems to work.

Cooper Lighting All-Pro LED Fixture

A couple things I don’t like are the 3000K rating which means it’s in the very white (some say blue) color range.  For comparison the CREE CR6 is a much warmer looking 2700K.  The other big downside for me is the 81 “color rendition index” compared to the CREE 90.  A higher number means things look truer to their natural color to the human eye.   At a rated 14.6 watts, it’s very efficient, but not as good as the CREE.

Price wise, this is comparable to the CREE and cheaper than the HALO.  If you need a wet-rated fixture, this is a worthy choice.

Next up is the Commercial Electric Light Disk.  The light quality is similar to the above product at 3000K and a CRI of 80.  OK, but not on par with the CREE CR6.  However, it does have two big advantages going for it.  It is brighter that either the CREE or the Cooper products.  Not hugely so, but brighter.  Commercial Electric  LED Disk Light

And the big feature in it’s flexibility is the ability to fix in either 5″ or 6″ cans or, uniquely surface mounted right on a 4″ junction box–a surface mounted fixture with a recessed light look.  There might be some very useful applications for this, from closets to simple retrofits would you want a sleeker modern look to replace a clunky looking surface fixture. 

We’ll keep evaluating and reviewing as the technology evolves, and we’ll keep you posted on anything interesting.

Cheers,
Mike

Good looking lighting?

October 31, 2011

I have to say I’m a sucker for good design.  Something that catches my eye is sure to draw me in, but more important is whether or not it works.   Like a book jacket that promises an exciting story, I want it to actually read that way.  A wise man in my family once said, “life is too short to read bad books.”  I have to add, especially with bad lighting.

 How about LED lighting?  You heard Mike rave about some of the CREE and Halo products.  Not coincidentally, both are ceiling recessed lights and this is where the directional nature of LEDs shine.  (Sorry, Bad pun).  And as far as good looking design, when it’s off, we don’t see recessed lighting, it is recessed after all.

I’m still waiting for that perfect regular ol’ light bulb replacement, and a good looking one.   More important may be another drawback to LED lighting which is the brightness “ceiling”.  As incandescent bulbs are phased out and my eyes get worse, I’d like to see more bright LED lights come to the market.  And the directional nature of LEDs means there are design challenges trying to get them to throw light in every direction.

I have found some bulbs which are pretty cool looking but just like the dust jacket of a book, what is inside?  I hope to not be looking at the bulb when it’s on because it’s shedding some good light!  What catches my eye is the promise of better light so far, the bulbs out there brighter than the 60w comparison look funny or they are big and clunky and well as pricy!

Exciting to me are the ones that promise the same light as a 75w or 100w incandescent like the Switch, and they don’t look like a prop from Star Trek.   If it looks good and works, count me in!  They are due out this coming year, and I look forward to trying them out, good book in hand.

Efficiency guru Amory Lovins once said all people want is “a cold beer and a hot shower” I say” a good book and good light” too!

Lutron C-L Series: A good dimmer choice for dimmable CFLs and LEDs

February 23, 2011
Lutron Diva C-L Dimmer

Lutron Diva C-L

Lutron Lumea C-L Dimmer

Lutron Lumea C-L

Regular readers have seen me rave about the CREE CR6 LED light.  (And if you haven’t—now’s the time to read more!)  I’ve had good success using standard dimmers, with the Lutron Diva working well.  However, Lutron has a new series of “C-L Dimmers” designed specifically for dimmable CFL and LED.  I’ve tried the Diva C-L, the Skylark C-L, and the Lumea C-L.  I like them.  And this line of dimmers does help alleviate some of the dimming problems one encounters with most so-called dimmable CFLs and LEDs. 

While CFLs have been around for a long time, they haven’t worked well with standard dimmers.  Frankly, I’m LESS than impressed with CFL that are claimed to be dimmable.  I found a too-small dimmable range, flicker, and shorter than expected life from the dimmable CFLs that I’ve tried.  And LEDs, I’m not ready to recommend most (the CREE and the HALO are two stand-out exceptions). 

But what if you’ve just invested in the lower quality—but still dimmable—options?  You may be experiencing some of the frequent problems with these bulbs using standard dimmers.  Things like the reduced dimming range I mentioned, sudden drop out as you dim the bulbs low without intending to shut them off, lights not coming on when the switch is in a dimmed position, or annoying flicker.

The Lutron C-L series features a "behind the plate" adjustment dial that helps optimize the dimmer for the bulbs you're using.

The Lutron C-L dimmers do a good job reducing these problems and the list is opposite the problems cited above.  Lights stay on as they’re dimmed.  Lights turn on regardless of whether they when dimmed when shut off or not.  Flicker is reduced.  Lutron handles this with some black box electronic that I’m not privy to—and with an adjustment dial that helps tailor the dimmer to the performance your bulbs can handle.  These dimmers don’t make inferior bulbs better.  But they do improve the experience of using the bulbs.

[And they're great with those CREE CR6s!]

Thanks,
Mike

CREE CR6 Review–A bright spot in efficient lighting!

December 31, 2010

The long-awaited full review!  And let me cut to the chase:  When it comes to LED recessed lighting, right now CREE is the top choice, and the new CREE CR6 stands strong alongside its LR6 sibling.  The CREE CR6 is a winner!  I’ve tested a dozen different makes over the last month, and the CR6 and LR6 beat all the competition hands down.  (I’ll provide a review of the others over time—but I won’t tease you waiting for the answer about which is best–CREE wins.)

Unlike some of the energy-efficient lighting involving significant performance compromise, the Cree CR6 holds its own against the 65-watt incandescent recessed bulb it is intended to replace.  In fact, I like it better!

Available in a “warm” (2700K, for you technical types), it looks great.  Its high CRI of 92, objects it lights look like you’d expect and don’t take on a ghastly pallor. 

CREE CR6Performance-wise, it came on instantly just like an incandescent.  That sets it in stark contrast from most others we’ve tested. It also seems to dim almost as well as an incandescent and better than even the best dimmable CFLs we’ve tested. In terms of brightness, it’s rated at 575 lumens, however perhaps because of better efficacy (how much light leaves the fixture v. how much gets trapped) this seemed brighter than its CFL competitors.   (Note:  the LR6 has a higher lumen rating at the same 10.5 watts.)  The CR6 has great dimmability when matched with a Lutron Diva dimmer.  Unlike most of the LED competing products, the individual LED diodes are not visible—instead we see a warm, very uniformly glowing surface.  It’s a beautiful light that I like better than the incandescent it replaces!  When energy-efficiency comes with better performance, it’s a no-brainer!

The unit is rated at 35,000 hours—something I obviously haven’t had the ability to test yet!  I can report that the CREE LR6’s are still performing great after almost two years of daily use.  The long life span makes them an excellent choice in harder to reach ceiling fixtures.

The CR6 was very easy to install, and it worked great in the three different 6” housings that I tried it with.  Both the CR6 and the LR6 (and the LR4—which I also like!) come with an integrated trim.  The only downside of this is that if you have an existing trim you really like, you can’t use it with the CR6.  The CR6 trim looks great, though, better than most of the trim kits it replaces, and I would gladly remove existing trims to use this.

The price may shock some.  It’s going to be in the $50 to $65 range.  I purchased mine for $49 at a Home Depot in New York, where NYSERDA subsidizes the cost.  But at 10.5 watts, it should save you an estimated $200 or more over its life, depending on your electric rates. 

I’ve had trouble locating the CR6 locally.  And it’s still hard to find.  But it is available through Amazon.  I got mine at a Home Depot under what appears to be their Ecosmart house brand.  (They also sell other LED products under that branding—so make sure you get the right one “powered by CREE”).

As mentioned previously, the CR6 and LR6 are not yet rated for wet locations—although I’m told those products are on the way.  If you have a wet location application (like a shower), the Halo LED Module product is a good, albeit more expensive, choice.

I heartily recommend the CR6 (and the LR6), and I’ve installed it in my own home!

What do others think?

[See more commentary on the CREE CR6.]

Thanks,
Mike

CREE CR6 is on the streets–and it looks like a winner!

December 19, 2010

[Note--see longer review posted on Dec 31, 2010.]

I finally got my hands on a the LED CREE CR6 for recessed lighting applications and gave it a quick test run.  It looks and works great.  I’ll post a more complete review soon, with pictures.  Meanwhile, I’m giving it a big thumbs up.  It and the CREE LR6 stand at the top of the heap, with HALO’s LED fixture not far behind (and ahead in a few applications).  Here’s a product that in many respects beats all comers in its class–incandescent, halogen, and flourescent (and other LED) lighting.

Thanks,
Mike

STILL waiting on CREE’s CR6

September 12, 2010

[Note--see review posted on Dec 31, 2010.]

I know I said I’d be reviewing the CREE CR6.  And I will…if I can even get some.  My local suppliers keep saying another month, another month, the story they’re getting from CREE.  A lot of folks have contacted us looking for more info.   As soon as I can get my hands on the product, I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, do check out the posts on the CREE LR6 and HALO LEDs, ready-for-prime-time products.

Thanks,
Mike

HALO LED lighting

November 6, 2009
HALO LED recessed lighting

HALO LED Recessed Lighting

Halo lighting has some  recessed LED lighting available.  It’s good stuff, and I wouldn’t hesitate to install it (in fact, I have installed it my own home).  Right now, I do like the CREE product better, but part of that is personal preference.  Some quick observations:

  • The HALO product is available in a 3000K temperature with a CRI in the low 80s.  The light isn’t quite as “warm” looking at the CREEs (the 2700K product), and the color rendition doesn’t seem quite as good to my eye.  And, personal preference, I prefer the warmer look in a residential setting.
  • The HALO LED isn’t quite instant on.  I experience a slight delay after flipping the switch before the light turns on.  It’s not a big deal, but again, the CREE product holds on advantage.
  • One important HALO advantage:  it is currently available with a “wet location” rating that you’d need in shower enclosures, for example.  CREE does not yet have product for this application.
  • The HALO products does offer a broader range of trim options than CREE.  If you need a particular style, HALO may be the way you need to go.
  • The HALO product–with trim purchased separately–was much more expensive the the CREE at local suppliers, as much as $60-90 more than the LR6.

My bottom line:  I like the CREE product better, and would chose it in most instances.  However, I wouldn’t hesitate to use the HALO–and it’s got to be HALO in wet locations right now.  I like either of them better than similar compact flourescent products.


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