If a grower decides to invest in LED lights, he’ll want to keep them working as long as possible. British company INDO Lighting recently introduced a new LED grow light to the horticulture industry, which operates reliably over long periods in high temperatures; offering growers a product lifetime of over 100,000 hours.
No LED driver
It all started twelve years ago, within the street lighting business, where municipalities were having to budget and plan for the replacement of LED drivers after 5-7 years. This was adding millions of pounds onto the lifetime cost of installations. “We designed a technology with a much longer lifetime, because it’s engineered without the need for an LED driver”, explains technical director Lawrence Baynham.
The INDO team at Greentech: Lawrence Baynham, Tom Baynham and Toby Penter
“A traditional LED driver converts mains AC power to DC power for the LEDs, and it often marks the lifetime of the light. LED drivers contain wet electrolytic capacitors that comprise a liquid electrolyte which will naturally evaporate over time. This evaporation happens at a quicker rate in higher temperatures, so when used in horticulture the driver gets heavily affected by the heat in the greenhouse, the sun and by the heat generated from the LEDs. This is explained by the Arrhenius equation which shows for every 10 degrees that is added to the temperature, the product life reduces to half.”
“This type of component is a wear-out part, which means that some of its life is consumed each time the product is used. Compare it with the tires of a car that have to be replaced because they wear out each time you drive – and the more miles you drive per day; the sooner your tires need to be replaced. Thinking of a way to replace that element, we came up with Direct Drive technology, which uses advanced control circuitry to power LEDs instead of wear-out components. The technology eliminates the need for bulky, failure-prone drivers and enables the LED current to be carefully regulated, directly from mains voltage.”
“The inrush current of our Direct Drive circuit is significantly lower than competitor products. The ELEMENT has an inrush of less than 1A peak at 150W, compared to typical values of more than 100A per luminaire for grow lights using a 150W LED driver. High inrush current from the LED driver can cause additional difficulties and expense when it comes to the electrical installation design, including the position and rating of safety MCBs, so this is an important consideration for commercial growers.”
Dimming can be helpful to growers to achieve their requirements for DLI and photoperiod. Unlike traditional LED grow lights, which can typically be dimmed to around 50% before having problems with power factor, our lights are dimmable to 10% output, giving growers ultimate flexibility for their growing schedule.”
1-for-1 replacement for HPS armatures
"The INDO ELEMENT, which is a 1-for-1 top lighting replacement for HPS armatures, is lightweight, quick and easy to install. Direct Drive technology was granted a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the innovation category in 2017. It’s just one of a number of unique product features that commercial growers will no doubt be keen to evaluate."