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LED - the road so far
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Author:  SilverRay88 [ Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:42 pm ]
Post subject:  LED - the road so far

Ok, as with most lighting functions LED has become the industry standard. With streetlighting its become so ubiquitous in recent years that discharge lamps will soon only be found on those dead end roads in industrial estates. Weve seen big changes before, but nothing as permanent on the landscape as this. I thought id start this thread to start a review on the topic and gain the opinion and knowledge of those with much more technical knowledge and experience than I. Firstly I need help with some simple questions about the advent of LED streetlighting.

What was the first LED street light to hit the UK market and when?

What was the first installation you saw and when?

In the area I live LED lanterns have been installed in small quantities over the last ten years, but in the last year or so been rolled out massively to replace all existing types.

My summary is below (please comment)

Pros -

energy use
white light
reduced maintainance
increased lifespan
reduced lantern size
dimming ability.

Cons -

Glare is a massive problem due to the tiny area that the light is emmited from. As someone that does 20000 miles a year, I have noticed this massively. It can be uncomfortable.

Light distribution - due to the lack of optical control is visibly poorer, often due to insistence on post top application.

Aesthetic design - design of some lanterns has passed functional and heading to 'downright ugly',

Obviously the biggest driver will always be the electric bill so I understand the motives, but can it be done better?

Would love to hear your thoughts

Author:  deadendwaterfall [ Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: LED - the road so far

The first LEDs I saw on any road in my home town of Scunthorpe was in 2012 on Queensway, prior to this, the road had mostly SOX lighting, some of which was starting to show signs of end of life, then suddenly, when travelling down Queensway one evening, I find something looks strange, then I was surprised to see white lights instead of the then still usual yellow lights, the LEDs being Philips Lumas.

Author:  sotonsteve [ Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LED - the road so far

The first LED installation down my way was in Rockstone Lane in Southampton. In 2008, they retrofitted the existing cast iron columns with new post-top heritage lanterns containing the Philips Fortimo LED system. It was kind of a circular LED downlight that shone through a refractor ring. The LED fittings were rated at 45W, but the light output was shockingly bad. The lighting was by far the dimmest in the city, or anywhere really for that matter. Compared with the 42W PL-T and 45W CosmoPolis fittings being installed in the city at the time, they were significantly dimmer. At the time, I suggested that the LED was less efficient at producing light than mercury lighting. This installation was replaced only after a few years with a CosmoPolis installation as part of the PFI.

Another early installation was a trial of the Innolumis Lumis LED in Plymouth. In Plymouth, they used the 24W EcoWhite version on 5m columns on a footpath. These used a mixture of red and green LEDs. The theory was that green LED produced light at a point in the spectrum that was more in tune with the sensitivity of the human eye, so producing light in this colour enabled the most efficient output. By mixing in some red, a small degree of colour rendering was introduced. Blue light was considered to be inefficient, which was why they used green and sometimes red to generate light. I think the Plymouth installation was in 2009. I saw it with Phosco152, and compared with 24W PL-L, it was a lot dimmer.

There were a few experimental installations of LED in the late noughties, of which some used some unusual products that never caught on. The first LED fitting that went mainstream was the WRTL Stela, which was launched in 2008. I first saw these in the flesh in January 2010 in a trial installation in Bournemouth. This particular installation was 26W but the light output seemed comparable with 36W PL-L at the time, so you can see that literally over the space of about a year LED street lighting improved massively. Stelas were being updated and improved at regular frequencies, and the Bournemouth ones were considerably improved compared with those released at launch. This same year in 2010, LED started being trialled on main roads, and a year later in 2011 first appeared on the motorway network, with the Philips SpeedStar being one of the early choices.

To quote Urbis Saturn Land on the 18th June 2011, "I certainly do think that by 2021 (Twenty-Twenty One) that LED will be rather popular. SON well that will hopefully be obliterated, SOX banished, MBF gone but what's left is in private collections thoughout Britain. There may be pockets of MBF, SOX and SON but at least 90% of settlements (towns, villages) will have LED." This kind of feeling was mirrored by others once we started to see the improvements they were making to the technology.

As I said, 10 years ago LED street lighting technology was really in its infancy, and it was pretty rubbish. Oh how things have changed. We are now at the position where you cannot imagine anywhere with common sense installing anything but LED now. Mercury and SOX were on the way out anyway. SON has really fallen from grace and is no longer in favour. Compact fluorescent street lighting provided efficient white light, but has fallen out of favour on maintenance grounds. Ceramic metal halide is only about because of the use of SON lanterns. CosmoPolis now looks a bit idiotic, as it was a premium product that is no longer at the forefront of technology.

LED really has had perhaps the most dramatic impact since the introduction of the tungsten filament electric lamp. The thing is, it's not just street lighting; it's pretty much every application in which light is required.

Author:  LincolnshireLighting [ Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LED - the road so far

Hello, prior to the Lincolnshire Street lighting project which was 2015-2017, the lanterns at start were Schneider Axia 1 Lanterns, then CU Phosco Lanterns (P852) on residential roads.

Then when they started changing most main roads they started using TRT Lighting Ltd which in my honest opinion they ain’t that bad. The B1394 though my village had Philips SGS203s, Iridiums, MA60s if Im correct (135 Watt), GEC 135 Watt lanterns and mainly black Urbis ZX2s 150W SON-T.

They never replaced any columns during the change, just fitted TRT Aspect Lanterns with 8 LEDs on them and used SELC 8480 Photocells and none have failed so far! On side roads it’s either the old batch of NOS Philips XGS103s & 104s otherwise it’s TRT Aspect Ecos being used for replacement. On side roads with SOX in my area are still having re-lamps. In bigger places like Lincoln there using Philips Lumas on some roads, mainly TRT though for replacements and TRTs don’t fall like other cheap LED lanterns .

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Author:  ZQH [ Sun Aug 23, 2020 2:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LED - the road so far

LincolnshireLighting wrote:
Hello, prior to the Lincolnshire Street lighting project which was 2015-2017, the lanterns at start were Schneider Axia 1 Lanterns, then CU Phosco Lanterns (P852) on residential roads.


Schneider Axia ? - you mean a Schréder (no longer called Urbis in the UK) Axia.


I’m yet to find a LED lantern I actually like.  At the moment I live around loads of awful Orangetek lanterns like the Aria LED and IGNIS, very cheap, glary and aesthetically horrible.
If I were installing lanterns, I’d definitely choose WRTL Lumas, they perform much better and look so much nicer.  Although they are so heavy so have a tendency to fall off brackets.

Author:  LincolnshireLighting [ Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LED - the road so far

ZQH wrote:
LincolnshireLighting wrote:
Hello, prior to the Lincolnshire Street lighting project which was 2015-2017, the lanterns at start were Schneider Axia 1 Lanterns, then CU Phosco Lanterns (P852) on residential roads.


Schneider Axia ? - you mean a Schréder (no longer called Urbis in the UK) Axia.


I’m yet to find a LED lantern I actually like.  At the moment I live around loads of awful Orangetek lanterns like the Aria LED and IGNIS, very cheap, glary and aesthetically horrible.
If I were installing lanterns, I’d definitely choose WRTL Lumas, they perform much better and look so much nicer.  Although they are so heavy so have a tendency to fall off brackets.



Yes I mean Schréder. Ah there’s a handful of lumas in Lincolnshire but mainly getting replaced as they have mainly failed, and TRTs don’t suffer the tilt issue like other company’s LEDs do!

Author:  ZQH [ Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: LED - the road so far

I’ve seen so many failed Orangetek lanterns around me, I can think of one example nearby that has been installed for 3 years and has never even powered on yet !  Just yesterday I saw one on a main road that has started flickering quite violently.

Why is it that LED lanterns have such a short lifespan ?   Compared to, say REVO lanterns that are still going well after 60 years.

Author:  Phosco152 [ Wed Sep 02, 2020 4:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LED - the road so far

Not much to go wrong with a discharge lamp and a magnetic ballast, especially if its a leak type, just 2 parts.

A LED lantern by comparison has probably a hundred active parts if you include all the driver components. Electronics don't generally like extremes of temperature or damp. They can be designed to cope with that, but it comes at a cost, and that is higher than is acceptable for a average life of say 10 years over 100s of thousands of lanterns.

You may just by statistical chance have spotted several failures. If the failure rate were too high, local authorities wouldn't buy them.

10 year life - in that time electronics will have moved on as will the LEDs, so cheaper, more efficient etc, so it makes more sense to replace rather than design for 20 year life. Same approach is used for mobile phones, plus you want to sell you latest product which will have more profit, than your old lantern.

It didn't work like that back in the 1950s.

Author:  ZQH [ Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LED - the road so far

You are right, it may just simply be bad luck that I’ve happened to notice a lot of failures.  And yes, I guess there is so much more that could go wrong inside an LED lantern, which is why they don’t last as long.  Although they are advancing so fast than in 10 years they will all be replaced (hopefully with something less glary!).

Author:  the dark lord [ Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: LED - the road so far

In terms of lantern preference I don't mind the Holophane Factor Lantern.

Bolton Council have replaced all but a few stragglers with Holophane Factor and Vmax. The rational seemingly being Sox is replaced with various on of the Factor Lanterns. SON lanterns are replaced with VMAX in one or two chevron formats.

Factor lanterns are fitted with Mayflower CMS and VMAX fitted with the leafnut / lucy zodion CMS sytem recovered from the retrofit program to the previous SON stock. The Mayflower system is good and you see very few faults or dayburners. The Leafnut / Zodion system has hundreds of dayburners which if not reported manually go unrepaired.

Many of the Factor lanterns are coming up to 5 years old and a few failures have started to become apparent but they are very few and far between. Failure seems to be.

(most common)
1. Completely out
2. Very Dim as if at the lowest setting
3. Rapid Flashing (suggesting failed rectifier)


The Vmax have always had basline of lamps out, I cant say this has increased and would suggest this has more to do with the CMS than the lantern. Faults range from

1. Dayburning at 100%
2. Out
3. Dayburning 1 chevron, but then after lighting up time the second chevron comes on.
4. Flashers (rare)


The authority seems to remove failed lanterns and replace them with a repaired lantern that has clearly been used elsewhere. I would suggest they repair them on the bench and I'd like to think that Holophane would be able to supply replacement drivers and arrays for a product they still produce.

Bolton have a small number of STELA lanterns fitted around 2010 which going increasingly dim and lemony yellow.


Meanwhile over the border in Bury MBC. They have taken to repairing the SOX stock (35-135w  - cant think of any 180w) with LED retrofit lamps and replacing only where necessary with recovered SON lanterns. They have for the last 2 years only fitted a handful of new LED (hard to service locations). They do have an issue with column corrosion which they are replacing with new LED fitted columns on an as and when basis along with a small capital program replacing concrete columns - this is where the stock of recovered SON/SOX lanterns are coming from.

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