Chinese LED lamps have had a bad name in the industry for some years. Poor output, terrible luminous efficacy and disappointing colour quality have meant that many users are once bitten, twice shy. The GU10 lamp in particular has become synonymous with a Chinese industry more interested in piling ‘em high and selling ‘em cheap.
But that’s not the whole story. After all, the big lamp manufacturers are all both manufacturing in China or Taiwan and sourcing lamps and components from there. So there is expertise there – and quality components.
It is the latter that has been harnessed by British lighting engineer Morris Robinson of Far Eastern Manufacturing. He has been keen to develop a quality lamp using the best components, and has teamed up with a major manufacturer of LED components in China. ‘They’ve been making components for both lighting companies and the mobile phone industry,’ says Robinson. ‘We got together and set up a joint venture to develop a final lamp using the very best components and techniques. They’re made in a fully automated process to ensure the best reliability.’
The first source is a LED reflector lamp with a GU10 twist-and-lock base, the most popular format. But is it any good? We got our mitts on a sample and put it through the rigorous Lux magazine benchtest at the 42 Partners laboratories in Wolverhampton.
The power factor – about 0.5 – was roughly what we expected (not many manufacturers have decent power factors from LED lamps, but that’s a whole other story) but what really impressed us was the lumen output of 240 lumens. We measured the input power at 3.7W giving us a stonking efficacy of 65 lumens per watt.
The best LED GU10s on the market achieve about 45 lumens per watt, even in the cooler colour temperatures where the LEDs are more efficient. So for this lamp to deliver 44 per cent more light – in strict test conditions – is really impressive.
Of course, we haven’t tested for life, and it’s possible to compromise output for life as every light source engineer knows, but this is an exceptional quality lamp and gives an indication of the strides that are being made to improve performance by Chinese manufacturers.