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01/17/17 Upgrading PAR38 Bulbs with LEDs

Article - January 17, 2016 By

250 Watt Temporary Construction String Light

Upgrading PAR38 Bulbs with LEDs

PAR38 bulbs are universal lighting units that come with numerous applications in commercial, industrial and residential settings. By definition, A PAR38 LED bulb is a Parabolic Aluminized Reflector (or Pressed-glass Aluminized Reflector) configured light bulb that supports LED features.

PAR38 LED Bulb Configuration

A PAR38 bulb is technically defined by the American National Standard Lighting Group (ANSLG) in document ANSI C79.1-2002 and in the IES Lighting Handbook. The number 38 represents the diameter of the unit, in one-eighth increments, with PAR38 measuring 4.75 inches. PAR38 units take on the shape of an upside down cone when installed in a fixture. They are capable of producing up to four times more light intensity, compared to A-Type bulbs (also known as general-purpose units found in mainstream residential and commercial spaces), such as A19.

PAR38 LED bulbs may support conventional E26 Edison screw base configurations. Inside the light bulb, one can find a metallic reflector that directs stray beams to the desired target area. The shiny surface cannot be adjusted and have already been specifically engineered to get the most out of the light beams. These features contribute to the bulb’s directional lighting capabilities. PAR light bulbs should not be confused with PAR cans, which are a special type of lamp housing typically found in theatrical settings and filming studios. Such lighting accessories are suitable for illuminating targets between 10 feet to 20 feet away.

Benefits of PAR38 LEDs

Traditionally, PAR38 bulbs support incandescent technology (among others). However, with recent advancements in light design and manufacturing, as well as an upswing in demand for more efficient luminaries, new PAR38 bulbs with LED features are gaining popularity. Because the units support compatibility with E26 bases, replacing a PAR38 incandescent bulb with a PAR38 LED can be done seamlessly by throwing the old one away and installing the desired PAR38 LED.

Some advantages of upgrading to LEDs include the following:

• Extended lifespan (up to 50,000+ hours)

• Solid-state design (sturdy build)

• Instant toggling (not prone to lengthy warm-up periods)

• No filaments (does not use harmful chemicals or compounds during output)

• Dimmable (depending on the model)

• Energy efficient (consumes up to 90 percent less power than incandescent bulbs)

• Generates very little heat

• Capable of producing 16.7 million color combinations (PAR38 RGB LEDs)

PAR38 LEDs may come in a wide range of configurations, such as wide spot (WSP), narrow flood (NFL) and wide-flood beam spread (WFL). Wattages for PAR38 units vary from 53 watts to 250 watts.

One should carefully note that there are no official standards that dictate specific beam angles for such configurations. As a guide, flood lamp configurations support nominal beam angles of 25 degrees or more, while spot lamps come with nominal beam angles of 20 degrees or less. Recommendations found in ANSI C78.379-2006 suggests that titles for such products should include the description and the beam angle (for example, FL40 indicates the unit is a flood lamp with a 40-degree beam angle) in order to streamline identification.

Factors to Consider

There are numerous factors to consider when choosing a PAR38 LED bulb for your lighting system. Below are some points to take into account during the decision-making process:

• Color Temperature: LEDs come in different color temperature ratings, ranging from warm, yellowish (2,500K) to daylight white (4,500K or higher). PAR38 units with low temperature ratings are suitable for locations that require dim lighting, such as walkways. While bulbs with high temperature ratings are ideal for locations that require bright lighting, such as high-traffic recreational venues.

• Proof-ratings: For use in locations that are prone to getting wet, including outdoor gardens, it is important to invest in PAR38 LED bulbs with proper IP waterproof ratings. If the area is prone to shock and explosions (volatile compounds are present in the location), one would need to install units with shock-proof and explosion-proof features.

• Dimming: Not all LED bulbs are dimmable. Because of this, it is crucial to check if the product offers dimmable options before purchasing. Dimmable LEDs can help provide flexibility when transitioning from sunset to nighttime conditions, as well as from nighttime to daytime conditions.

• Lumens: The lumen number associated with the PAR38 bulb indicates the brightness capabilities of the product. In most cases, the information can be found on the front of the packaging label.

• Colored Options: For an impressive display of colors, one should consider investing in PAR38 RGB LED bulbs. Such units allow operators to incorporate colors in their lighting system.

PAR38 LED Bulb Applications

PAR38 LEDs are versatile lighting components with a myriad of applications and uses. In residential settings, the bulbs can be utilized in outdoor environments to support security systems around perimeters, garages and porches. When combined with motion sensors, eave-mounted PAR38 LEDs provide instant illumination in dark, sketchy locations. For a hands-off, green approach, one could incorporate the lights with a solar energy system that generates clean power from the sun.

Contrary to popular belief, it is also possible to use PAR38 LEDs indoors. The lights are ideal for illuminating large spaces, such as theaters, warehouses and places of worship (churches). On a commercial level, the units are typically found in hotels, restaurants and supermarkets.

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