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How long is the service life of your LED?
What are the maintainability capabilities of retrofit products?
When do luminaires need to be replaced?

Service life is a very unfortunate term, as many manufacturers provide an idealistically high value of up to 100,000h, without explaining what this entails. This figure almost always specifies the L70 value (duration in hours in which the luminous flux of the light-emitting diodes drops to 70% of the initial value), and therefore does not directly relate to the potential service life of the product. The light-emitting diodes themselves can achieve up to 6-digit L70 values at low temperatures (25°C) or with excellent cooling. In real operating conditions the temperatures at the light-emitting diodes – more precisely, at the LED semiconductor crystal – are higher, which reduces the L70 value. Realistically, L70 values for light-emitting diodes are in the range of 30,000-60,000 hours. Furthermore, the driver electronics are far more critical when it comes to components that impact on the product's probability of failure. Should this component fail due to normal ageing, the entire luminaire stops functioning. It is not impossible that the power supply may require to be replaced once or twice within the L70 value is not impossible. More frequent failures, however, are a sign of poor thermal management or ill-considered, poor design of the electronics.

The retrofit range of Helecta GmbH has a modular design, enabling power supplies to be replaced in a quick, uncomplicated and cost-effective manner. The actual failure rate of our retrofit lamps since their introduction to the market at the end of 2010 up until mid 2015 is around < 1%.

Is it possible to replace the lamps without removing the HQL electronic ballast?

That depends on the manufacturer. With Helecta lamps, a purely inductive ballast can be left in the circuit. But we do not recommend that. Firstly, the electronic ballast continues to use unnecessary energy, as it is no longer required for operation of the LED lamp. Secondly, this is an additional component that may fail. An ignition unit, as used in HQI lamps for example, must be removed or bridged.

Can any luminaire be converted to Helecta LED retrofits?

As a rule, any luminaire with an E27 or E40 base can be converted with our LED retrofit lamps. The only exception are linear luminaires, as these can only be fitted with tubes due to their design. With other luminaire types, a check is merely required to see whether the LED lamp fits into the luminaire in terms of dimensions. In the case of luminaires with ring reflectors, the internal diameter must be greater than the external diameter of the lamp. All mushroom-shaped luminaires of manufacturers known to us can accommodate our LED retrofit replacements.

Where can we buy your products?

You can order directly from us or one of our sales partners. Please contact us concerning the conditions.

What guarantee do you provide for your lamps?
Is it possible to claim for defective luminaires?

We currently offer a 4-year guarantee on our retrofit lamps as well as 5 years on our Economy2 products. Our lamps are maintainable, i.e. the driver electronics – the component with the highest probability of failure – and the LED module can be replaced in case of damage. This can increase the effective service life.

Our municipality is still not sure about retrofitting. Are there any references in our vicinity?

It is highly likely that we have already performed a conversion for a municipality near you. Please contact us directly for further information.

Can a 250W HQL be converted with a retrofit?

There is currently no solution for replacing and matching a 250W metal halide lamp with a retrofit lamp. Approximately 60-80W LED power would be required for an output of 250W. This power is not feasible for a reasonably sized retrofit lamp, for thermal reasons; the driver electronics or light-emitting diodes either get too hot, which drastically reduces the lifespan, or the dimensions would have to be far too large. Even though imported retrofit products with outputs of more than 100W are on offer, we consider these to be extremely questionable from a technical point of view, as all components are operated at their upper specification limits or beyond. A few of our customers do, however, use our 30W retrofit lamps as replacements for 250W, and sometimes even for 400W metal halide lamps, for illuminating uncritical areas, at the expense of lower illuminance

Why does Helecta not offer retrofit products with more than 30 watts?

Outputs in excess of 30W are not feasible in retrofits for thermal reasons. The driver electronics and light-emitting diodes would overheat, which would lead to a drastically reduced service life. Were we to increase the cooling surfaces to dimensions that could accommodate such outputs, the lamps would no longer fit into most luminaires.

Do the luminaires comply with all standards and regulations?

Naturally our lamps meet all standards applicable to our products for compliance with the Low Voltage Directive and EMC Directive. We achieve additional safety by using high-quality power supplies from well-known manufacturer Meanwell, which themselves are TÜV and ENEC-certified. All our EMC certifications have been issued by an accredited laboratory in Germany.

Can Helecta retrofits be dimmed?

Our retrofit lamps are not dimmable. On the one hand for technical reasons, and on the other, because it makes no economic sense to invest in the necessary infrastructure for such low connected loads and because the potential savings are in no proportion to the loss of safety.

What about glare, when the retrofits are used in mushroom and bell-shaped luminaires with a clear glass cover?

For retrofits, we use a large number of light-emitting diodes with low wattage (0.2W) and low luminous flux. The glare is therefore significantly lower than is the case for 1 or 2W-type LEDs, which produce a lot of light on a very small area. In case of doubt, we could test the glare in particular cases; there is no reason, however, for it to be greater than for LED lamp heads

Is there actually any point in using retrofits in luminaires with opal glass?

Many of our customers use luminaires with opal glass. The light turbulence and the associated losses are higher than with clear glass. Using LED retrofits still makes sense though, as you can also save approx. 75% energy in this instance, with the same lighting quality.

Is the use of retrofits recommended for mast luminaires with reflector?

Most certainly. Our retrofits use the existing reflector in the same way as mercury and sodium lamps, because of their similar size.

How high is the heat flux? Can this heat flux become a problem for the lamp in certain luminaire types?

HQL and NAV lamps reach temperatures of up to more than 300°C. Our LED retrofit replacement lamps reach a max. of 45°C on the circuit board in unfavourable installation positions. Temperature will therefore never be a problem for the luminaire. However, the probability of failure of the driver electronics and the LEDs increases as the ambient temperature rises. In extremely small luminaires with excellent insulation against external influences, the probability of failure can increase. In the last 5 years we have, however, not been able to establish any differences in the failure rate of our retrofit lamps – which are meanwhile installed in just about all luminaire types – based on different luminaire types.

Is it worthwhile supplying street lights via solar panels to make them self-sufficient?

That depends on the light duration requirements. In Germany, sunlight and the length of the days are subject to great fluctuations depending on the seasons. If you dimension the solar system for long nights and low sunlight in winter, the system will be grossly overdimensioned in summer, with a huge solar panel. If you dimension the system for requirements in summer, the panel and battery capacity will only suffice for very short light durations in winter. Where lighting is only required temporarily, self-sufficient solar lighting can also be useful here in Germany. We will gladly assist with the dimensioning.

What is so special about the 210° retrofit, and where can you use this luminaire?

This is a version of our tried and tested HE-ST-20 with asymmetric beam characteristic. The LED circuit board is designed in such a way that the lamp no longer emits its light over the entire circumference of 360°, but only over 210°. This beam characteristic is suitable for mushroom and bell-shaped luminaires for park and path illumination, especially in residential streets.

Is it also possible to lease retrofits?

Helecta also offers a hire purchase or lease option. Contact us directly for a quotation.

How risky is vandalism for retrofit lamps?

Vandalism can never be excluded. Compared to products from other manufacturers, our retrofits are significantly lighter, which means that it is more difficult to remove them from the socket using blunt force. The risk is thus lower, but definitely exists. In the few cases known to us, the damage was limited to the base, which we can replace quickly and extremely cost-efficiently. Valuable components, such as the LED circuit board, generally remain intact in case of vandalism.

What happens when lightning strikes?

Our retrofit lamps are protected up to 3KV. As long as the lightning discharge is sufficiently far away, there is no need to worry about destruction of the lamp. Even the best protection is not sufficient when direct lightning strikes the pole or distributor, however.

How susceptible are Helecta retrofit lamps to condensation water?

We use fully encapsulated power supplies for our LED retrofit lamps, and these provide effective protection against malfunctioning caused by moisture. Even in aggressive environments with salty air, such as the Baltic coast and North Sea coast, the retrofits have been functioning flawlessly for years.

About Helecta

Helecta GmbH specialises in development, production, consultation and distribution of innovative and sustainable LED products of the latest generation for public street lighting, industrial lighting and office and business illumination.