Light Emitting Diodes (or LEDs) are negative impedance devices. This means that unless controlled, the supply of current it receives would continue to increase, causing the lamp to fail almost instantly after starting. To prevent this, a driver, which is a device that limits current, must be used with every LED lamp. The driver serves three functions:
- It provides the proper starting voltage to establish the correct light up protocol
- It supplies the proper voltage to operate the LEDs
- It limits the operating LED current and voltage to a pre-programmed level prescribed by the lamp manufacturer for the optimal operation of the lamp
As a result it is very important that the driver used always be matched to the particular lamp type, wattage and line voltage it is made from. If the incorrect driver is used, the incorrect voltage and current will be supplied to the LED chips, which will instantly destroy the device.
A traditional LED driver consists of a combination of resistors, capacitors and diodes that work collectively in circuit to power a series of LEDs. Approximately 150 components make up a low wattage driver. When the LED is powered on, all of these components carry electric charge instantaneously, which generates a large amount of heat.
The LEDs are made of silicon-based material that is highly sensitive to heat. As a result, the introduction of heat directly impacts the performance of the chips (regardless of quality of LEDs) in ways such as:
- Loss of lumens/watt
- High depreciation
- Discoloration of the chips over time
- Flickering of the lamp
- Reduced lifespan
As a result, most LED tubes in the market today have a relatively low efficacy (around 100-120 lumens/watt) and a lifespan of 50,000 hours. This makes it challenging to find an LED tube that directly replaces a fluorescent with the same brightness and significant savings.
Some manufactures have managed to achieve higher lumens per watt by separating the driver from the LED tube (external driver). This installation however, is time consuming and expensive as it involves removing the fluorescent ballast from the fixture and replacing it with the LED driver for a nominal increase in lumens per watt. Furthermore, the use of external LED driver solution always stand the possibility of not fitting into the fluorescent fixtures.
At ThinkLite, we are committed to long-term success and to the highest level of quality in our products. Over the past years, we have worked closely with industry leaders to develop, design, manufacture and patent a solution to the driver issue.
Combining expertise with our research partners in Germany and the developmental laboratories at Samsung Inc. in Seoul, Korea, ThinkLite has developed an LED driverless technology that replaces the 150 piece driver with a 4 piece microchip, that we call the T1.
ThinkLite is the first and only company in the world that has been able to design, perfect and bring to market this technology of entirely eliminating the driver unit in a linear tube. The T1 chip does the same job the driver does of directing electrical current while producing 90% LESS heat than a driver. Here are some of the compelling benefits:
- Provides the highest efficacy in the market today (180 lumens/watt)
- Causes a negligible depreciation of lumens (5% over life)
- Eliminates flickering of the LED lamp
- Increases lifespan to 70,000 hours (20,000 longer than other tubes)
- Generates Sufficient light to create unique LED products such as the TL LED T5 tube made to replace a high output T5 HO fluorescent and the TL LED Dual Shine, offering 360 degrees of illumination.
The T1 microchip is located at the end of the PCB board on which the LEDs are mounted. As a result, this frees up the space the driver typically takes up in the back of the tube/fixture. Since the need for a hollow back is now eliminated, it allows for a more efficient heat sink system. With ThinkLite’s optimized heat dissipation system, the heat generated from the tube is dissipated 3X more efficiently than before. This helps enable a high lumen output in any type of environment and climate.
Due to the greatly reduced number of components and resistance within the T1 AIC microchip, the heating effect of operation within the lamp is significantly reduced by 90% than any other driver-based LED system. This allows our LED system to operate at lower temperatures, and thus:
- Provides the highest efficacy in the marketplace today (180 lumens per watt)
- Negligible depreciation of lumens over the life of the LED (<5% over 70,000 hours)
- Elimination of flickering of the LED lamp
- Increased lifespan of 70,000 hours
- Increased surface area for an enhanced thermal management system for the LED T8
- Creation of unique LED products that have been previously not possible, including:
- TL LED T5 Tube to specifically replace T5 Fluorescent High Output (HO) tubes
- TL LED Dual Shine™ Tube for indirect fixtures
- All this while meeting all UL, CE, FCC and ROHS certification and safety requirements
TL LED T5 HO 4′ tube directly replaces a T5 HO 54W 4′ fluorescent tube
TL LED Dual Shine™ tube directly replaces indirect fluorescent fixtures
Typically hollow heat sink design to accommodate driver
Enhanced heat sink with advanced thermal management capabilities enables higher efficacy at 180 LPW
Traditional LED Driver, acting as a ballast to the LEDs
The traditional LED driver consists of about 150 different components working together in a circuit, of which most of them are tiny resistors.
The introduction of every component in the design increases the chances of the circuit to break off; and thus, causing the lamp to fail.
The large number of components creates more heat, which:
- Limits the light that can be produced
- Increases lumen depreciation
- Reduces the lifespan of the system
- Operating temperature: -22°F to +100°F
The introduction of every component in the circuit presents an increased opportunity for the circuit to break off; and thus, causing the lamp to fail.
ThinkLite AIC Chip and PCB
board now “drives” the LEDs
ThinkLite has reduced the number of components in the circuit to a total of four, compressed into a single microchip, called the AIC.
As a result of this technology, less heat is now created in the system, allowing for:
- Significantly more light per watt
- Negligible Lumen Depreciation
- Highest lifespan and reliability in the industry
- Ability to withstand higher surrounding temperatures: -30°F to +160°F, the highest temperature rating in the industry today
- Ability to create more variations and styles of products, such as the T5 LED tube and Dual Shine™ LED tube
And this design is quicker, easier and less expensive to produce, while being more efficient.