Coloured LED reviews

Here I’ll be reviewing coloured LED lamps.

* 1.1W Osram Lunetta Colormix LED night-light

Info: Plugs right into the electric socket and has a little button at the bulb base: each new click gives light blue, hot pink, cool green, soft orange, bright blue,alternating and no light. Also has a light sensor and turns itself off in the daytime or when ambient light is bright enough. Rather sophisticated for being the size of a golf-ball and will probably last ‘forever’. Price about 15€.

Impression: Love this one! LED technology used for what it does best: produce coloured decorative/lead light at extremely low wattage and heat loss. Is hardly even warm when you touch it. Great for kids!

Update: The electronics inside seem a bit sensitive to power spikes as nearby lightning fried it promptly after only a year. But as it’s meant to last for a lot longer than that, the shop gave me a new one. :)

 

* 3W unknown brand RGB E27 LED

Info: Remote-controlled LED retrofit lamp that can replace a standard bulb. Light output 140 lumen. Price about 36€ (incl shipping).

Impression: I wanted to know a) if I could get a more natural looking warm-white by tuning it myself and b) if I’d be able to create any shade imaginable. The answer to both is “no”. a) The white is nowhere near white, but a visible mix of different colours. b) The 16 colours are pre-set and cannot be adjusted manually as I had mistakenly assumed. A home spectral test with a DVD shows the blue-green part of the spectrum very clearly, then a dip in the yellow-orange area, then a nice bright red and no magenta. Lighting food and clothes with it made red bell peppers and a blue robe look almost fluorescent.

But what did I think of it otherwise? Well, the truth is that I love it anyway! What is probably an unintentional design flaw – that in mixed colours it shows the mixing colours separated into concentric rings instead of being displayed as a smooth blend – actually makes its light beam uniquely special, intriguing and pretty, as long as one does not need a white light to see well in. It’s purely decorative, but very much so!

This is what its beam looks like on my pebble-patterned desk:


* 7W Philips Living Colors RGB LED


Info: Remote-controlled indirect floodlight that puts colour on a white wall. It does what I thought the simple RGB lamp would do: with the remote control it is possible to choose any hue by scrolling on the colour circle, and fine-tune both colour saturation (from deep to pastel) and light intensity (from bright to dim) to the desired shade. Price about 150€. Also comes in a mini-model for around 100€.

Impression: I’m fairly impressed with this one. Very cool futuristic design: a decorative object in itself. Almost the size of a soccer-ball (though more resembling a small gold-fish bowl with a goth vase in it). Nicely designed and easy-to-use remote as well.

Great light for mood & decorative purposes. Not sure about the “16 million colours” – that’s probably more theoretical than practically achievable – but it seems to have enough versatility to let one create one’s favorite hue and shade fairly exactly. Except a good white, just various pastel tints (which are nice in themselves, though not perfectly white).

I’ll give it 4½ lightbulbs out of 5. One of the most fun and versatile lighting products I’ve ever seen! I especially like the possibility of creating pastels, as they make the room brighter and create a softer and more sophisticated lightscape. I’m finding that I can easily change it to match the dawn outside my window as it gets brighter and sunnier.

Example of how the beam looks on my (unfortunately not flat) white wall when I tune it from softest pink to brightest red:




YouTube has some videos of varying quality of how it looks while shifting colours:

Update 1 Aug: After using it as general lighting in my home office for a couple of days instead of my halogen two-way desk-light, I find that it has an odd side-effect on my vision. Directly after using it and turning it off, all natural light looks strange and ‘fluorescent-like’ for a while until my eyes have readjusted to normal lighting. I’ve noticed this with the other RGB LED as well. This does not happen even after a whole day staring at my CRT screen.

Update 4 Aug: I first thought the explanation might be the odd spectral distribution unique to LED in general, but it’s probably as simple as the light in the RGB LEDs being coloured and hyperstimulating the cones. After using the warm-white GU10 LED spotlight as desk lighting for a day, I do not get this effect.

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2 Comments

  1. Panta Rei said,

    August 25, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Yes, nice effects lighting!The flexible alteration of colours, and that no colours need be omitted or have spikes (as with CFLs) make LEDs interesting also more generally, in future…ironically, as I said sometime before, people like myself might well have "graduated" to LEDs, ban or no ban, for most general lighting, assuming the current drawbacks are overcome:At least there's more money in it now, so presumably someone will fix the directional problem and the brightness/affordability issues (long life or not).From researching round different sales sites,currently c.120 US dollars for 60W equiv, 50 dollars for 40W equiv, though with 50,000-80,000 hour or so lifespans.(http://www.ceolas.net/#li8xhttp://www.ceolas.net/#li8x )

  2. Halogenica said,

    September 7, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Yes, it's truly bizarre to force people to switch to lights they would have bought soon anyway. No one likes to waste energy if there is a decent alternative. In Japan LED prices are falling: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/business/news/20090905p2g00m0bu001000c.html


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