7 Reasons Why Flat LED Lighting Panels Are Imperfect Products: Part 2- Solutions

The last post on “Beneath the Surface” discussed some of the challenges that flat LED panels pose when used for backlighting applications.  This post addresses each point in the other post with a design-driven solution. Anything we’re missing?  Leave a comment and we will address it with another blog post!

1. Hot spots

Answer: Depending on the translucency of the surface being backlit, hot spots along the edges of LED panels are often a major design concern.  You can accommodate this setback by burying the hot spot in structural framing, or increasing the space between the backlit surface and the LED panel to diffuse the hot spot.

2. Difficult to determine how many edges to run LEDs across

Answer: This is a tough one- since most LED panels are custom produced to size, it just takes experience and experimentation to know how many edges require light sources.

3. Cold spots

Answer: Consider the ideal size of the panels; although many manufacturers can produce flat LED panels in 4’ x 8’ sheets, it can be beneficial to break that module down into smaller panels.  A good rule of thumb is to allow each LED string to throw light 15” – 20” across the face of the panel.  So, if your panel is over 20” wide, consider running strings on two parallel sides.

4. Expensive

Answer: LED panels have higher upfront costs, but can have dramatic energy savings, especially when the LED lighting system is controllable.  By using flat LED panels in applications for which they are best suited (feature areas which require evenly illuminated surfaces and when you have limited space in which to throw light), you can preserve your client’s budget and make the most impact where needed.

5. Imperfections in acrylic batches

Answer: Tight quality control standards will ease this challenge.  Unfortunately, designers don’t have much control over this part of the production process, so be sure to choose a manufacturer that you trust and that has strong attention to detail.

6. Powering every single panel with an adapter

Answer: Specify a complete LED backlighting system that has power supplies that can run at least 100 linear feet of LED strings.  Running an entire backlit wall or ceiling back to a central power source results in more efficient wiring and installation.

7. Panels have varying brightness

Answer: Balance out the brightness among panels by specifying dimming packs that can control each LED string and each panel individually.  If a small panel appears brighter, or a panel closer to natural sunlight appears dimmer, you can control the brightness of the panels via a manual user interface or by accessing that dimming capability through a central building management system.

Have you experienced any of the above issues?  How did you design around those product limitations?  Now that you know a bit more about flat LED light panels, enjoy designing your next unique backlit feature!