As the requests for controls in lighting increase, particularly with LED, there have been numerous ways manufacturers have taken advantage of color tuning technology to meet the demands of the end user.
Customers often struggle with deciding what color temp lamp to purchase. What if you could easily change between 3000K-4000K-5000k with a simple switch? Or completely change the color emitted to blue, green or red? New technological advancements in LED have made this possible.
Primarily, there are three types of color-changing seen in LED currently: White color tuning, Warm-dimming and full color tuning.
White Color Tuning in LEDs
White color tuning is the ability to adjust the color temperature of a given fixture manually. Also known as LED Color Preference. Generally there is a dip switch on the fixture that when switched will change the color temperature from 2700K or 3000K all the way up to 5000K. This technology is controlled within by new, sophisticated LED drivers that allow for independent control of the color temperature as well as the light output.
White color tuning has been a huge benefit for both distributors/manufacturers as well as end users. Users who are unsure of what color temperature to get now do not have to worry as they can change it as they like after purchasing it. It has been a boon for manufacturers and distributors because they only have to manufacture/stock one SKU instead of 3 or 4. The added flexibility also helps limit time-consuming returns.
Warm Dimming LED Lamps
Warm-dim LED products were created to mimic the effects of incandescent dimming. This technology was highly sought after by restaurants, hospitality, multi-living centers, and other applications where the relaxed warm dimming environments created by incandescents were needed.
As an incandescent light source is turned on to full output, the filament of the lamp gradually glows whiter. The dimming process in incandescents naturally results in the filament cooling, moving it from white to yellow and then red. This alluring setting has been replicated by certain LED light sources that are capable of dimming down to a warmer color by lowering the CCT of the LED light engine throughout the dimming curve.
Full Color Tuning LED
Ironically, despite it’s efficiency LED was long considered to deliver boring, monotone light colors. No longer is that the case, as with the advancement in technology LED’s can change to any color. Primarily only used in theatrical situations, there are now many other calls for full-color tuning, especially with the new studies in circadian rhythm showing that certain colors of light are more beneficial/detrimental to our sleep schedules.
Warm dimming and color preference LED technology were both based only on white color temperature. Full color tuning however is designed to deliver a color output anywhere within the visible color spectrum. A common way to achieve this is through RGB color control which allows you to deliver any color imaginable, whether RGB or the white color spectrum.
There are differing ways to control full color tuning LED bulbs. Some connect to a local area network (LAN) giving any computer or device with the requisite software the ability to change colors. There are also USB devices as well as remote controls that allow for varying levels of control. This gives the user total control of the color of a given set of lamps and luminaires. They can be grouped together and changed simultaneously or can be selected individually and changed.
Lighting technology moves quickly, so expect more surprises in the future with color control in LEDs as the demand for additional control continues to grow.