More LED Issues

Found some interesting LED articles at the Swedish National Electrical Safety Board’s website. Not all new, but still worth considering. (Quoting whole articles here, with some corrections to goole’s translation to English. Emphases added.)

LED tubes can be dangerous

May 20, 2010

To save energy, many industries, municipalities and other large consumers of traditional fluorescent lamps are switching to LED lamps. Tests show that LED tubes can compromise the security of the person replacing the lamp.

LED lampsThe new LED tubes are supplied with 230 V voltage to the luminaire lamp holder for the lamp ends. The risk is getting an electric shock when the lamp is replaced because it is easy to touch the shiny connectors at one end of the tube, while the other end is attached to the light fixture.

Can be mounted in standard fluorescent fixtures

The National Electrical Safety Board has been tested a number of LED tubes in the Swedish market. All products can be installed in conventional fluorescent fixtures. The results of the tests show such serious faults that the agency has decided to withdraw the products from end users. Importers are required to advertise alerts to reach all end users.

– The current LED tubes are sold primarily via the Internet and can be found both among consumers as that of bulk consumers, says Martin Gustafsson at the Safety Board. Those who have purchased the product should contact the place of purchase for warranty.

Safety Board has no data on how many of those LED lamps on the market, but there may be a thousand.

The corresponding study in Finland

The Finnish equivalent of the National Electrical Safety Board, Safety Tukes, has been tested a number of led tube. Test results have shown that the tested products did not comply with safety regulations, and there was a risk of electric shock when replacing the tubes. According Tukes there are in Finland several thousand LED tubes that can be dangerous. The Safety Board has contacted the LED tube suppliers in Sweden who have received the Finnish counterpart sales ban in Finland and asked them to take voluntary measures in accordance with the measures Tukes has demanded. The LED tubes tested by the Swedish Safeby board have not been tested in Finland.

LED-lysrör kan vara farliga

So, be careful out there! Turn the power off before mounting LED tubes. And don’t be sure they’ll fit your old fixtures:

LED lamps and fluorescent tube adaptors

July 14, 2009

One way to save energy is to replace existing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which are normally without problems.

But even for the traditional fluorescent tubes pops up options on the market. On the one hand, new types of fluorescent tubes that operate at higher frequencies, and also LED tubes. The idea is that you should be able to reuse existing light fittings and just replace the traditional fluorescent tube with one of these new alternative light sources. For this to work, usually you make changes to the original fixture, which can change the properties and affect the electrical safety and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

What does the regulatory framework say

A trader who places a product on the market is obliged to take responsibility for this product. A sign of this is that the product is CE marked. If a trader puts together two CE-marked products, he or she is considered the producer of a new third product that he or she is responsible for and which in turn must be CE marked. This reasoning also applies when replacing the lamp in an existing fluorescent light fixture with an option for which the fixture was not originally designed.

A fluorescent light fixture for so-called T8 fluorescent lamps are optimized for this type of light source and have quite different characteristics when mounting an alternate light source. Often you have to modify the existing fixture, remove or replace the starter or other components to work together with the new light source. When doing this, the original CE marking is no longer valid and you are considered the responsible producer of the new product consisting of the modified fixture with the new alternate light source. This applies to each new type of combination of fitting the new light sources.

CE marking and EC Insurance

If the new product meets all the essential requirements for electrical safety and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), it should again be submitted for CE marking and draw up an EG declaration and technical documentation. Read more in Elsäkerhetsverkets regulation ELSÄK-FS 2000:1 which is available at the website. For safety of the new product, one needs to ask a few questions:

first: If the thermal properties of the original fixture was negatively affected?

second: Is there a risk that the new light sources weighs so much that the lamp holders in the original fixture overload?

third: What characteristics of EMC, the new combination of original fixtures and new light bulbs? Will the new product requirements of the EMC Directive?

More problems

Other issues to consider are how the new product changes light qualities. Both brightness and light distribution can be affected in a way that the requirements for illumination of such a task are no longer are met. There are also other EU directives that you need to consider: WEEE and RoHS are two examples relating to the environmental characteristics. If you are looking to manufacture or import of alternative light sources for T8 fluorescent lamps to resell, you should consider on the liability issue and inform your customers about the responsibility they assume when installing new types of light bulbs in existing fixtures.

LED-lysrör och lysrörsadaptrar

(Again, the mandatory mention of CFLs and their energy saving potential, in an article that has nothing to do with CFLs whatsoever.) Anyways, don’t try this at home.

Banned LED bulbs

Dec 14, 2011

With the new energy conservation requirements, incandescent bulbs be phased out, increasing interest in alternative lighting. The National Electrical Safety Board has recently given a variety of LED lamps sales ban.

The most common reason is electrical grid disturbances, but they also interfere with radio frequencies.The lamps which the Safety Board has looked at are the incandescent bulb replacement LED bulbs. They are based on modern LED technology and all the lamps tested contains a small power pack, situated in the lamp socket.

List of products which have so far received sales ban: Lamp 1Lamp 2Lamp 3Lamp 4Lamp 5Lamp 6Lamp 7. [3 more but links required login]

Result of market supervision

More than half of the LED lights purchased through the market and tested have received sales bans. This is a remarkably high figure, which may be because most of the lights checked had built-in dimming, i.e. that they are dimmable. Dimmable LED lamps contain control electronics that often require specific measures to achieve acceptable properties to make electrical devices work together, known as electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). This is sometimes overlooked by the lamp manufacturers. It is important to you as a manufacturer or importer to ensure that the LEDs have been tested properly with EMC.

How does the disturbance manifest?

LEDs produce disturbances in the distribution system which, among other things, can cause radio interference. Radio interference caused by the conducted noise radiating from the connected wires. This is because the lines, e.g. to the luminaire, act as transmitting antennas for conducted interference. The disturbance may affect other electrical products in the local area, even those that are not connected to an outlet. It can also affect communication such as wireless broadband and telephony.

What rules apply for manufacturers?

The Electrical Safety Authority on electromagnetic compatibility (ELSÄK-FS 2007:1) has to be followed. Regulations based on the EMC Directive (2004/108/EC EMCD).

Cooperation within the EU about LED lights

There is currently a campaign in the EU where LED lighting examined. The aim is to investigate if the new LED lights on the market comply with applicable EMC requirements.

Förbjudna LED-lampor

A few months later, EU authorities found similar problems:

Disruptive LEDs are examined in the EU

Feb 10, 2012

The National Electrical Safety Board has in 2011 looked into LED lights, half of which got sales bans. The reason for the bans is that the lights did not meet the applicable requirements for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).

Market of LED lamps 2011The lights disrupted other electrical products. Only one in five LED lamps passed the test without comment.

European survey

In parallel with the National Electrical Safety Board’s market surveillance of LED lights, the EU carried out an investigation. The EU surveillance is not strictly comparable to the Safety Boards’s market surveillance, but shows similar shortcomings. The results also show that manufacturers who use LED technology are very poor at complying with the Directive.

– The reason for this is that LED technology is so new and there have appeared many new manufacturers in the market that are simply not aware of the directive, said Ulf Johansson at the Safety Board.

Clearer rules

One of several measures aimed at improving the situation is that the European Commission gives the European Committee for Standardisation mandate to supplement and clarify standards in the field. The aim is to help traders in the market to more easily use the current rules.

Continued control

The National Electrical Safety Board will, in line with other market surveillance authorities in the EU, check the LEDs in 2012 as well. It also plans to follow up on last year’s surveillance with a campaign aimed at improving information about the LED lights.

Störande lampor granskas i EU

Final Report on the 4th Cross-Border EMC Market Surveillance Campaign – 2011 LED Lighting Products

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