Many LED suppliers within the UK and abroad make baseless and sometimes even false claims about their LED panels - most suppliers don’t even know what brand of LED chip is being used within the panels they are supplying!

We have decided that you, the customer, should be given a full explanation of how LED Light Panels are constructed and what effect that construction has on the performance and reliability of these products. This will also help you understand why you will see so many different price variations.

Based on this, we have decided to explain each component that is used in the construction of an LED Panel to help you know what to look out for.

Exploded View of a Typical LED Panel

 Inside an LED Panel

 Aluminium Frame

The frame forms part of the structural backbone of the whole LED system, including the LED chips, and must not be too lightweight or poorly constructed that it twists and bends very easily.

The frame also provides the vital function of cooling the LED chips – it acts as a heatsink. A well-constructed frame will ensure that the LED chips are cooled properly in order to prolong their life and minimise lumen depreciation (LM80/LM79)

Diffuser

The diffusion plate is designed to ensure that the light coming out of the LED Panel is distributed as evenly as possible, and is also designed to minimise glare.

This diffusion plate is usually made from polystyrene, which is a plastic and highly flammable. In order to minimise the risk to our customers in the event of a building fire, the diffusers in our panels are tested by an Independent UK laboratory to BS 2782-0:2004 Annex B (Method 508A) to ensure that they reach Tp(b) as a minimum requirement.

 Light Guide Plate

The Light Guide Plate (or LGP) is a key component of the LED panel. This is what distributes the light emitted from the LED chips across and also down and out of the LED panel. The LGP (Light Guide Plate) is an area that allows manufacturers/suppliers to cut corners because it is an area that unless you dismantle the LED panel you will never actually get to inspect.

Cheap Chinese produced LGP’s will not only fail to distribute the light evenly across the front of the panel but in time they may also exhibit another major problem: Over a relatively short space of time, a "Yellowy tinge" develops unevenly across the LED Panel. We have been made aware of a number of incidences where LED panels have been supplied in the UK which have started to show signs of the LGP yellowing in under 12 months! You will be relieved to know that LED Panel Store uses only high-quality Japanese LGP’s which do not suffer from this problem!

Reflective Paper

You would think this “simple” component of the LED panel system would be difficult to get wrong! It is, but many manufacturers will even try to save a few pence here. The reflective paper should be of high quality, high reflectivity paper that will not degrade within the design life of the panel and it must be held in close contact with the back of the LGP. Improper fixing of this reflective paper or just simply poor quality paper results in uneven distribution of the light from the LGP onto the diffusion plate which will result in "wave light patterns" across the LED panel.

Back Plate

The final part of the LED panel construction is the backplate. A well-fitted metal backplate acts as an additional heat sink to ensure the long and efficient life of the LED chips. The back plate helps to ensure the rigidity and durability of the panel.

Some manufacturers cut costs by using plastic for their back plates; plastic is a poor conductor of heat and does not add much to the rigidity of the panel. In addition, the back plate seals the back of the LED panel. Improper sealing causes light leakage which will decrease the total lumen output and decrease the efficiency of the LED panel as some light that you want to come out the front of the front comes out of the back instead.

 LED Chip Set

There are a great many variations when it comes to the LED Chip and its quality. Most suppliers don’t know the details of the manufacturer and encapsulator of the LED chips used in their panels. We do! The chips in our LED panels are produced by a Stock Market Listed Corporation of which we have over four years’ experience.

All LED chips will lose light output over a period of time. This can be tested and the results are known as the LM-80. Many LED panels are sold utilising LED chips that have not been tested in the way. The reason that they have not been tested is that they are cheap and thus of poor quality, and the light from them will quickly decrease over time. All of the LED panels that we sell use LM-80 certified chips.

LED lighting is meant to be efficient, but some are more efficient than others. Cheap LED panels that are being sold in the UK today have a Chip lumen efficiency of between 70 and 80 lumens per watt. LED Panel Store LED Panels have a much higher efficiency of 100 lumens per watt. What this means in simple terms is that a Cheap LED panel running at 54-watt will have a total output of around 4050 Lumens. A LED Panel Store 40W LED Panel will have a total output of around 4000 Lumens.

This is a saving of 14 watts for just one LED panel. This may not seem much, but it not only represents an additional 35% saving in electricity costs but also has the substantial additional benefit of requiring 35% less panel to be installed! Some manufacturers have been “overclocking” the chips. Overclocking gives a higher lumen output by running the chip at a higher current than is recommended. Over time this will result in very rapid light decay from even LM-80 certified chips. Our LED chips are run at ????

The PCB

The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) not only holds the LED chips in place and conducts the electrical current to them. It is also the first stage in conducting that horrible, destructive heat away from them.

Manufacturers of cheap, poor quality LED panels will use a fibre PCB which does not conduct the heat away very well. Manufacturers and suppliers of high quality LED panels (such as LED Panel Store’s panels) will always use an aluminum PCB which has excellent heat conducting properties. This means that the heat is rapidly removed from the LED chip and into the aluminum frame, ensuring that the LEDs are kept cool and will continue to offer a high light output throughout the life of the panel.

The LED Driver

The LED Driver is arguably the most important part of the LED panel system as the panel will not even light up if the driver fails.

Some LED panel manufacturers use drivers that they have designed and built in order to save money. Others will use cheap drivers manufactured by an obscure company that specialises only in the design and manufacture of LED drivers. None of these are ideal as the design and manufacture of a high quality LED driver is not a task that can be accomplished by many companies. The best solution is to only use high quality LED drivers from well-known and respected LED driver manufacturers.

We only use 5-year warranty LED Drivers from  LIFUD, who are amongst the best-known driver manufacturers in the world. (LIFUD also offer 3-year warranty drivers, but since replacing the driver not only means buying a new driver, but also may involve the services of an electrician, we don’t take any chances!)