In november 2008 i replaced 2 conventional fluorescent tubes by a LED version. Thinking they would last a long, long time was very, very wrong… In october 2009, not even a year after i started using them, the first tube started acting strange; one of the three rows of a total of 342 LEDs wasn’t burning anymore. Next day, the second row of 114 LED’s stopped burning. Guess what happened the day after that… a rough calculation tells me this tube has done its job for 360 x 5 = 1800 hours. Multiplying by 10 doesn’t even come close to what is advertised!
So i called the supplier for replacement tubes.
He promised me he would send me 2 new tubes, although he warned me in advance that it could take some time.. OK, i wasn’t in a hurry for replacement cause one tube was still working. But in the 2nd week of January i called again to ask why it took so long for my LED tubes to arrive? The result was a very interesting conversation and i was given a bit of insight on how the LED market is working nowadays.
For example, i was told that the supplier had experienced a huge amount of failing LED light products being returned, especially during the hot summer of 2009. Bad design led to massive overheating of LED tubes and other LED products, causing lots and lots of malfunctions..
Another thing the supplier told me, is that they had stopped selling most of the brands and had now limited their product range to only the high end segment; only those (with an equally high price tag) products could possibly live up to the life expectations that are so strongly advertised. Between the lines, you could read that his business had been seriously threatened by all the problems they faced with LED products in 2009. Quite a story for a normal ‘consumer’ like me who likes to try out new products, technologies and gather experiences with those products.
In my opinion, LED is hugely overrated in specifications, lifetime expectation and savings. I’ve bought at least 10 LED bulbs in the past year of which 3 stopped working in their first days. That’s 25-30%! within a week. Needless to say i have very big doubts about the quality of the current LED technology.
And what will happen when my newly placed LED tubes stop working again in, say, 6 years? Will those tubes be replaced again, at no charge? Guess not.
No, for me LED is a nice product for the manufacturers, who don’t fully control the process of producing a good LED product yet but don’t mind making big money with it already, letting the customers pay 80 Euro for a single LED tube and delivering garbage.
And for politicians, who are encouraging the use of LED to show off how ‘green’ they are, while believing the LED producers on their blue eyes regarding to the quality of LED products. I wonder how much of them are actually using LED products themselves.
Me? I’ve learned my lesson and will not buy any LED product until my box of spare energy saving lamps is completely empty.