Understanding LED Fixture Symbols and Protection Degrees
The Importance of Deciphering LED Symbols
Understanding LED symbols is vital for several reasons:
Safety: Certain symbols indicate whether the LED fixture is safe for specific environments, such as wet or hazardous locations.
Energy Efficiency: Symbols can convey information about the fixture's energy efficiency and whether it meets specific standards for reduced power consumption.
Durability: Symbols often denote the fixture's durability and resistance to environmental factors, such as dust and water.
Compatibility: Symbols can help you determine whether the fixture is compatible with dimmer switches or smart lighting systems.
Common LED Symbols and Their Meanings
The IP (Ingress Protection) rating is a common symbol found on LED fixtures. It consists of two digits, such as "IP65." The first digit represents protection against solid objects (dust and debris), while the second digit indicates protection against liquids (water). For example, an IP65-rated fixture is dust-tight and resistant to low-pressure water jets.
The CE mark signifies that the LED fixture complies with European Union (EU) safety and environmental standards. It ensures that the product meets minimum requirements for safety and performance.
The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark is the United Kingdom's equivalent of the CE mark, signifying compliance with UK safety and environmental standards, ensuring that products meet minimum requirements for safety and performance within the UK market. Manufacturers and suppliers use the UKCA mark to demonstrate their products' adherence to UK regulations.
Energy Efficiency Labels
Energy efficiency labels, often accompanied by an energy rating, indicate how efficiently the LED fixture uses electricity. Higher ratings, such as A+ or A++, denote greater energy efficiency, resulting in lower electricity bills.
LED fixtures may have temperature-related symbols to convey their operating temperature range. For instance, "Ta 25°C" signifies that the fixture can operate safely at temperatures up to 25 degrees Celsius.
If you're looking for LED fixtures that are compatible with dimmer switches, keep an eye out for the dimmable symbol. It ensures you can adjust the light intensity to suit your preferences.
Hazardous Location Certification
In industrial or potentially hazardous environments, you may encounter symbols denoting certifications like "ATEX" or "Ex." These indicate that the LED fixture is safe for use in areas where explosive gases or dust may be present.
Understanding LED Fixture Symbols and Protection Degrees
In the world of LED lighting, symbols and protection degrees on fixtures can be quite confusing. This article aims to decode these symbols and shed light on protection degrees in LED lamps. Understanding these symbols is crucial as they dictate where an LED lamp can be safely used, impacting both its longevity and your safety.
IK Rating - Protecting LED Lamps from Mechanical Damage
Using LED lamps outdoors poses risks of mechanical damage, whether from vandalism or sports activities. To safeguard your LED lamps, you need to consider their IK rating, which determines their resistance to mechanical impacts. The IK rating follows an 11-level scale, as specified by European standard EN 62262 and international standard IEC 62262:2002:
|IK Rating||Protection Against Damage|
Additionally, the material used in LED fixtures plays a vital role. Polycarbonate and glass fibre-reinforced polycarbonate are preferred for their durability, while aluminium and ABS plastic offer slightly less resistance.
LED fixtures with a high IK rating are suitable for various outdoor spaces, including parking lots, sports fields, and industrial settings. They are commonly found in industrial LED fixtures, floodlights, and field lighting.
IP Rating - Ensuring LED Fixtures for Bathrooms
The IP rating, which encompasses protection against access, solid objects, and water ingress, is essential for choosing LED fixtures suitable for bathrooms. The IP rating consists of two digits, and here's how to interpret it:
First Digit (Protection Against Access):
|1||Protection against access to hazardous parts by the back of the hand and against solid foreign objects with a diameter of 50 mm or more|
|2||Protection against access to hazardous parts with a finger and against solid foreign objects with a diameter of 12.5 mm or more|
|3||Protection against access to hazardous parts with a tool and against solid foreign objects with a diameter of 2.5 mm or more|
|4||Protection against access to hazardous parts with a wire and against solid foreign objects with a diameter of 1 mm or more|
|5||Protection against access to hazardous parts with a wire and dust protection|
|6||Protection against access to hazardous parts with a wire and dust-tight protection|
Second Digit (Protection Against Water):
|1||Protection against vertically falling water droplets|
|2||Protection against vertically falling water droplets when the enclosure is tilted up to 15° from the vertical in any direction|
|3||Protection against spraying water at an angle of up to 60° from the vertical in any direction|
|4||Protection against splashing water from any direction|
|5||Protection against water jets (12.5 l/min) directed at the enclosure from any direction|
|6||Protection against powerful water jets (100 l/min) directed at the enclosure from any direction|
|7||Protection against the effects of temporary immersion in water|
|8||Protection against the effects of continuous immersion in water|
|9||Protection against flooding with high-pressure water jets|
With this understanding, you can choose LED fixtures suitable for bathrooms based on their IP rating.
- IP00: Enclose electronic boards containing electronics, often used in LED profiles or aluminium LED fixtures.
- IP20: Suitable for indoor use where there's no contact with water, covering most products.
- IP44: Ideal for splash-proof LED fixtures like LED ceiling fixtures and electrical outlets in bathrooms and basements.
- IP66/67: Protects against heavy water jets or brief immersion in water, commonly used in industrial settings.
- IP68: Found in LED pool lights, underwater LED modules, aquariums, swimming pools, and water features where constant LED light immersion is required.
Fire Resistance Rating for LED Installations
Fire resistance is a crucial consideration for LED fixtures, particularly in the event of a fire. LED fixtures are subject to fire classifications that dictate their behaviour in fire-related situations. In accordance with UK regulations, these classifications encompass three main categories:
- Reaction to Fire: The classes include A1, A2, B, C, D, E, and F, and they define a product's response to fire and the time it takes to ignite.
How to Enhance LED Installation Safety in Case of Fire - Check the Fire Resistance Rating
Contrary to appearances, LED fixtures are not entirely fireproof. They possess a fire classification that determines their behaviour in case of such a threat. Fire classification can apply to building products, product kits, or end components, including fire-resistant LED fixtures. In UK regulations, three fundamental fire classifications are found:
Reaction to Fire - The reaction to fire class pertains to building products or product kits. The classes range from highest to lowest as A1, A2, B, C, D, E, F, determining the time it takes for the product to ignite and the amount and speed of heat release.
Fire Spread - Definitions regarding the degree of fire spread relate to surface elements (e.g., walls or roof coverings), linear elements (e.g., insulation of installations), and exceptionally, individual products like sandwich panels.
Fire Resistance - What interests us the most is fire resistance expressed with the parameter REI. Each of these letters has its own designation and is followed by a number. It specifies the time during which the described properties must be maintained. Fire-resistant LED fixtures have this value in their technical specifications.
Fire Resistance Rating Table REI
- Name: Load-bearing capacity
- Description: Ability of a structural element to withstand the impact of fire under specified mechanical influences, on one or more surfaces, for a specified time, without losing structural stability/load-bearing properties.
- Name: Fire tightness
- Description: The ability of a separating structural element to withstand the impact of fire from only one side, without transferring fire to the unexposed side due to flame penetration or hot gases. They may cause ignition of the unheated surface or adjacent flammable materials.
- Name: Fire insulation
- Description: The ability of a structural element to withstand the impact of fire from only one side, without transferring fire due to significant heat flow from the heated side to the unheated side.
So, where should you use fire-resistant LED fixtures? Certainly in places prone to fire ignition, such as bakeries or industrial factories. They also serve as emergency lighting. Moreover, in newly constructed buildings, the use of such fire resistance is often required. These types of lamps usually appear as industrial lighting or recessed downlight fixtures.
Protect Your Eyes - How to Shield Your Eyes from Glare
Let's start with defining what we mean by glare. Glare is a condition that limits cognitive abilities and causes momentary discomfort. Everyone has probably experienced this effect when looking at car headlights, for instance. In such cases, it's a highly dangerous phenomenon, but what about long-term glare? Unfortunately, current times mean that we spend more and more time in enclosed spaces, beginning our day with tasks in offices or schools, and if that's not enough, we bring work home. This means we're exposed to unnatural light sources.
So, how can you avoid the unpleasant effects of glare? As a nature enthusiast, I'd suggest the obvious solution - simply go outside to our natural environment. However, it's clear that this is not always possible. In such cases, LED fixtures with an appropriate Unified Glare Rating (UGR) may prove to be the solution.
What Is the UGR Rating?
UGR is responsible for glare and directly affects eye protection. The higher the UGR rating, the greater the glare and discomfort experienced. Prolonged exposure in such an environment can eventually impact our health, causing headaches, migraines, or eye problems. Therefore, it's essential to ensure that our environment includes LED fixtures with a low UGR rating. However, it's worth mentioning that this value is arbitrary since each LED fixture may deviate from it depending on the room in which it's located. Below is a general table illustrating how a given UGR value affects us and where it's used.
|UGR Value||Glare Effect||Application|
|28||Very high glare||None|
|25||Glare between 28 and 25|
|22||Glare causing discomfort||General use|
|19||Glare between 22 and 16||Suitable for offices, schools|
|16||Glare without causing discomfort|
|13||Glare between 16 and 10|
|10||Barely noticeable glare||Surgical rooms|
What About the Flicker-Free Parameter?
Now, let's take a closer look at another parameter when it comes to the safety and well-being of our eyes: flicker-free. This parameter also affects our eye health, although we might not notice it as immediately as glare. However, it can result in eye fatigue, dryness, eye discomfort, heavy eyelids, and even vision disturbances. But what exactly is flicker-free?
Flicker, as the name suggests, refers to rapid changes in light intensity, and when we add "free" to it, we get the absence of flickering. Below, I'll explain this phenomenon with a simple example. Although a photo won't capture it perfectly, you can try this with your smartphone. Just place your camera near an LED light source, and you'll notice a distinctive flickering. So, how can you eliminate this issue? Various LED bulbs use CCD converters, and LED strips utilize PWM frequency-changing LED drivers. But what about regular LED fixtures? As you might guess, they are labelled as "flicker-free."
What Is the Flicker-Free Effect?
So, what exactly is the flicker-free effect? It refers to LED lighting that doesn't produce noticeable flickering, ensuring a stable and consistent light output. This eliminates the rapid changes in light intensity that can strain our eyes.
Where Should You Use LED Lighting to Guard Against Glare and Flicker?
Primarily, you should use such lighting in places where your eyes are exposed to artificial light for extended periods. This includes offices, clinics, schools, and any environments where you carry out daily tasks. If you're prone to eye fatigue caused by prolonged exposure to artificial light, you might also consider installing this type of lighting in your home. Flicker-free LED lighting can often be found in products like LED panels and linear LED fixtures.
Is Warranty Always Valid? A Few Words on General Warranty Principles.
The Warranty Period as an Additional Layer of Protection
The warranty period adds another layer of protection when it comes to safeguarding your investment in a lighting product. It's essential to mention warranty as a form of protection, and in this context, we're referring to the duration of warranty coverage for LED fixtures.
The First Reason - General Protection
Firstly, warranty coverage serves as a general safeguard, ensuring that your investment in an LED fixture is protected for a specified period. The number displayed on the packaging corresponds to the warranty period for the LED fixture. Manufacturers who offer extended warranties are confident in the quality and durability of their products, and they willingly provide this additional protection to consumers. Therefore, a more extended warranty can safeguard your finances and time against potentially faulty LED lighting.
The Second Reason - Warranty Conditions and Proper Use
The second reason to consider warranty coverage is that not all warranty claims are accepted. The acceptance of a warranty claim depends on how the LED fixture is used. Therefore, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the General Terms and Conditions of Use (GT&Cs) because improper use of an LED lamp can lead to the warranty being voided. The protective measures mentioned earlier can help you avoid such situations.
Understanding LED fixture symbols and protection degrees is essential for making informed choices in lighting installations. Whether you need to protect against mechanical damage, ensure safety in bathrooms, or consider fire resistance, these factors play a vital role in the longevity and safety of LED lighting. Make sure to match the protection degrees with your specific lighting needs for optimal results.