INSIDER’S GUIDE TO BUYING LEDS FROM ASIA – SIX INDUSTRY SECRETS REVEALED

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As the international standards for LED lighting are still being developed it is important that buyers have the right information before making a purchasing decision, especially when purchasing LED products manufactured by Asian manufactures.

The following information comes from sources within the LED strip manufacturing industry in China.

If you are buying LED strips/products manufactured by Asian manufactures (90+% of LED lighting products are made overseas). You must be aware of the following before making your next purchase.

Secret #1– Overdrive the LED strip for a higher short-term brightness

To make your LED strips run brighter, many LED manufacturers in China will design the strips to run very close to the maximum possible current. This leaves little or no room for a rise in current which happens during normal use or at higher temperatures, putting your LED strip at risk of irreversible damage. Once the maximum current and or heat level is reached, brightness will drop significantly.

IMPORTANT: If the lifetime and brightness of the strip is important, purchase strips that are designed to run at more realistic and sustainable current levels which allows for a rise in current without damaging the LEDs, ensuring minimal brightness loss and a longer lifetime. We ‘design in’ reliability and lifetime. Never compare two products based on their spec sheets alone.

Secret #2 – Keep costs down by using lower-grade LED chips

The most important component in your LED strip is the LED chip itself. Even the best name-brand LED chips have different grades of LED chip. We have tested with different types of LED chips and found that the lower grade LED chips have a higher loss of brightness and a lower color consistency. Some manufacturers will even use factory seconds. We have also found that since it is near impossible for end users to determine what chip is actually being used some manufacturers will tell you anything to get the sale.

IMPORTANT: Be aware of what LED chip is being used in your LED lighting product. There are significant differences even between chips of the same chip company such as Epistarand – put simply, the cheaper your LED strip, the higher the chance you are being sold inferior product. Test reports should be available upon request.

Secret #3 – Keep costs down by using a second-rate LED chip packaging company

The LED chip packaging process is one of the most important in production and will largely determine the lifetime of the LED chip brightness as well as the consistency of the color temperature. Initially the end user cannot tell the difference between a strip that has used a poor quality chip packaging process and a high quality one, however in time the difference becomes apparent. As this process is a specialized field, a top-four chip packaging company should be used in production.

IMPORTANT: Ask for the chip packaging company details and the manufacturer should be proud to tell you all about them.

Secret #4– Keep costs down by using counterfeit 3M adhesive tape

No doubt you have heard of counterfeit products coming out of China. Unfortunately the LED manufacturing industry is also plagued with counterfeit products and some LED strip manufacturers will sell you product with counterfeit 3M adhesive tape on the back which does not stick the way it should.

IMPORTANT: Test the quality of the adhesive and ensure you are buying genuine product.

Secret #5– Keep costs down by using inferior soldering tin

Perhaps one of the most common shortcuts is the use of cheap, inferior soldering tin on each of the LEDs. The cost difference is marginal but the difference in the strength of the inferior solder and the quality solder is striking. Aside from poor strength the inferior solder does a poor job of heat dissipation which results in degraded lifetime and brightness of the LED.

IMPORTANT: You do not want LED chips falling off from your strip during installation, so go with product that uses strong bonding soldering tin. Ours is primarily used in Japan and is Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) recommended.

Secret #6– Promise a 3 year warranty and avoid liability

Beware of promises from manufacturers for warranties that seem too good to be true. Due to the over-supply of cheap LED products, in a bid to remain competitive manufacturers here simply started offering longer warranties overnight. The longer warranty does not reflect a higher quality product and breach of warranties whereby sellers will refuse to honor the warranty will start to become more commonplace. Typically the reason given will be that the strip was not installed according to the manufacturer’s directions or that the environment in which the strip was installed was beyond the control of the manufacturer.

IMPORTANT:  Rely on the quality of the product, not on false warranties.

SUMMARY

If you are buying LED strips (products) for projects that require a reliable, consistent and long lasting light then all of the above should be considered before making any purchase.

Prism is proud to include the following with all of our products:

1. Well-designed strips that allow for increases in current to preserve the life of the LED

2. Genuine Top-Tier Epistar/Cree/Samsung/Philips Luxeon LED chips

3. LED Chip packaging outsourced to one of China’s most reputable and high-quality chip packaging companies; renown for consistency and brightness lifetime.

4. High standard 3M tape that is guaranteed to stick the way it should.

5. Premium solder to ensure the LEDs remain attached and provide for better heat dissipation.

6. We are in business for the long-term. Prism manufactures products for long-term use. We will not avoid liability on warranty claims that are within reason as we value our client relationships that we work hard to build.