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Thread: LED vs incandescent considerations

  1. #1

    Default LED vs incandescent considerations

    It appears (and I may well be wrong, here) that LEDs are more efficient in turning watts into lumens... I've read that with LEDs heat is a byproduct of light while with incans, light is a byproduct of heat.

    Should I draw the conclusion from this that an LED of a given physical size is likely to be brighter than an incan of the same size?

    And while we're at it, let me ask about modifying LEDs and incans.... which are easier to modify and which offer the best results in response to available modifications?

    If anyone is kind enough to answer this, whether agreeing or disagreeing, could you give me one or more examples?

    Would I get the same or different answers from the incan forum..... should I post the same question there?

  2. #2
    Flashaholic jacktheclipper's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED vs incandescent


  3. #3
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    Default Re: LED vs incandescent

    Quote Originally Posted by artec540 View Post
    It appears (and I may well be wrong, here) that LEDs are more efficient in turning watts into lumens... I've read that with LEDs heat is a byproduct of light while with incans, light is a byproduct of heat.

    Should I draw the conclusion from this that an LED of a given physical size is likely to be brighter than an incan of the same size?

    And while we're at it, let me ask about modifying LEDs and incans.... which are easier to modify and which offer the best results in response to available modifications?

    If anyone is kind enough to answer this, whether agreeing or disagreeing, could you give me one or more examples?

    Would I get the same or different answers from the incan forum..... should I post the same question there?
    For the same amount of power you give to an LED or Incan, an LED will always produce more light, as they are more efficient.

    That doesn't mean that for the same size, an LED will be brighter. LEDs generally have a maximum amperage you can give them, and for flashlight purposes, the best example of that would be the SST-90 which has a maximum of ~9Amps. And because LEDs are very sensitive to heat, they require sufficient heatsinking or they may be damaged.

    There are halogen bulbs which can be driven much harder than that, so assuming you can fit a high-power source into a given flashlight, you can drive them very hard.

    An example of this may be an SST-90 Maglight2D sized light producing ~2000 lumens, while you could fit an Osram 64623 bulb into the same Mag2D producing ~4000 lumens. (Although perhaps a triple SST-90......)

    But as mentioned earlier, the power consumption of the incan will always be higher, and this will result in very short runtime (normally on the order of minutes in the previous example)

    And so, if you're limiting yourself to say, a 1x16340 size light, then your power source is limited, and you'll probably get a brighter LED than an incan for that size.

    Modding is both the same - there are easy mods for incans, and easy mods for LEDs, and difficult ones for both. I would say that incans are generally easier to mod at the beginner level as they're easy to Direct Drive (which IS possible for LEDs, just normally a bit more complicated) and you dont' have to worry much about heatsinking. If you go into regulated drivers, both have their challenges which others can probably attest to better than I can.

    Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

    You may get biased views in either forums, but I personally like both LEDs and Incans and that's my view.
    Last edited by hoongern; 09-29-2010 at 01:42 PM.
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    Moderator Kestrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: LED vs incandescent

    Quote Originally Posted by artec540 View Post
    Would I get the same or different answers from the incan forum..... should I post the same question there?
    artec540, I think you will be better served by having this thread in the
    General Flashlight Discussion subforum, where you will get input from both 'camps', so I am moving it there.

    Also, I have taken the liberty of adding the word "considerations" to your thread title, as the past history of this classic CPF debate has been known to torpedo constructive discussions on this topic. Running the 'CPF search' for your thread title would yield a number of threads on this, with some of them subsequently requiring closure by CPF moderators.

    Good luck,
    K
    Last edited by Kestrel; 09-29-2010 at 03:05 PM.
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    Default Re: LED vs incandescent considerations

    Another consequence of the incandescent lamp's love for heat is that the heat has to go somewhere. Unlike the LED where one simply cannot have all that much heat lest one shorten the lifespan of the LED the incandescent bulb thrives the more heat it produces.

    Ever try touching an incandescent spotlight fixture? Yeah, you're not doing that twice.. Reports from those dudes running the most extreme incandescent configurations are that the limited battery life doesn't matter because the light becomes impossible to hold long before the batteries run out of juice.

    I guess maybe a rundown as far as I, the noob, has gathered, would be okay?

    LED

    + More illumination per watt -> more battery life.
    + Less heat produced -> smaller, brighter lights
    + Long life - won't burn out in quite a while unless you're Doing It Wrong

    - Limited wavelengths - a 'white' LED is really a blue LED shining through yellow phosphor, unlike an incandescent lamp that irradiates light in all visible wavelengths (and IR for that matter). A consequence is..
    - ..colors look grey, dull and nasty. Warm LEDs just make them less painful to look at, but still not particularly vibrant. I have yet to try a true high CRI LED.
    - For extreme configurations, heat is your enemy, like a computer processor the LED needs cooling or it will die.

    Incandescent

    + Irradiates all wavelengths of visible light and IR - color filters are more useful, IR filters are useful.
    + As a consequence it renders colors properly the way natural light sources do.
    + Loves heat, great for those extreme configurations.

    - Bulbs have relatively short lifespan compared to LEDs
    - Very few incandescent flashlights are regulated out of the box. There are some regulators available for lights like the SF M6 and 6P.
    - Shorter battery life

    How is that, is that reasonable or am I being a silly noob?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: LED vs incandescent considerations

    Good summary jellydonut. One thing about LED vs. incan for me is that LEDs direct heat toward the user and incans focus the heat away from the user. Of course this is only an advantage in the early parts of usage as heat is conducted to the rest of the body of the flashlight eventually. Another thing to point out is that a well focused incan naturally out-throws most LEDs unless you use an aspheric setup for the LED.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: LED vs incandescent considerations

    Quote Originally Posted by flashfiend View Post
    Good summary jellydonut. One thing about LED vs. incan for me is that LEDs direct heat toward the user and incans focus the heat away from the user. Of course this is only an advantage in the early parts of usage as heat is conducted to the rest of the body of the flashlight eventually. Another thing to point out is that a well focused incan naturally out-throws most LEDs unless you use an aspheric setup for the LED.
    I don't agree with your wording.

    An incan usually has higher surface brightness, which can be used for good throw. But this is a silly comparison, because throw isn't the only thing. P60 lamps aren't made for throw at all. You don't buy a P60 to throw light..
    Last edited by Sailboat; 09-29-2010 at 05:48 PM.

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    Default Re: LED vs incandescent considerations

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
    I don't agree with your wording.

    An incan usually has higher surface brightness, which can be used for good throw. But this is a silly comparison, because throw isn't the only thing. P60 lamps aren't made for throw at all. You don't buy a P60 to throw light..
    It's just been my experience. Even the P60 lamp challenged a lumens factory XR-E R2 LED module I had for throw. Sure the hot spot has a weird shape but the throw was still impressive. In fact a nearly disregarded P60's throw got me started on my journey through incans. When I first bought my 6P defender, I thought the P60 was a joke. I only bought the 6PD to immediately house a regulated nailbender sst-50 module. The module did not impress and so in between selling the regulated module and acquiring a direct drive module, I decided to try the P60. Not impressively bright and I didn't like the orange-amber tint but I thought it had some surprising throw. Then with more research I moved on to a FM Sunlight module housing a WA1111 bulb. A little less throw than the P60 by my eyes, but much better tint and a heck of a lot brighter.
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