While we will always need light, could it be possible that in the quest to create the “perfect” light bulb, a bulb isn’t what we are looking for at all? Edison’s original invention required the familiar gas-filled bubble we call a bulb to house and protect a carbon filament, and blown glass was the best, most efficient option. Yet that was over 100 years ago, and technology has brought us all types of materials that Edison may have considered better alternatives than a glass bulb.
The idea that we no longer need light bulbs is either revolutionary or absurd, but two products on our website are created with that very idea in mind. One is the LED downlight module, and the other is a series of LED tape light “profiles” from Poland-based Klus Design. One product suggests replacing traditional light fixtures and bulbs with dedicated, modular retrofits, while the other suggests we can do without light fixtures and bulbs altogether.
LED downlights consist of an array of high-powered LEDs, an LED driver, and a heatsink all integrated into a single unit. This alone doesn’t make downlights that much different than any LED light bulb. The difference is in the appearance of the product. The manufacturer doesn’t intend to make the module look like anything like the familiar light bulb we know. Instead, the LED module is a geometric mass of aluminum fins and hard plastic that replaces the bulb within a recessed can, sometimes permanently.
The second product, LED tape light profiles, takes the concept further. As we discussed in a previous article, LED tape light is an extremely versatile and easy to use product. To prove this, Klus even used tape light and their patented aluminum profiles to create a “House Without a Bulb.” Klus tape light profiles—an aluminum extrusion that houses an LED tape light—are inlayed into a groove cut into the underside of a step or cabinet, or mounted to the top of a flat surface. Some models are even made for installation into floors, sidewalks, and driveways. As with the LED modules, you never see a bulb, just light emanating from a recessed area that blends in with its surroundings. It blends in so well, in fact, the casual observer would be hard-pressed to determine where the light is coming from.
Even before LED downlights and tape light profiles, we turned the traditional round light bulb into reflectors, imitation flames, high efficiency tubes, and compact spirals. Do we need the “bulb” shape any longer for anything more than nostalgia? Share your responses in the comments below, or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.
Anyone who has used rope light knows it’s an incredible and adaptable light source. You can install it virtually anywhere with amazing results, as shown in a recent article. That said, rope light does have its drawbacks. The round shape of rope light can make it difficult to work with in tight areas, and even the smallest diameter rope light can be challenging to hide from view. In response to these concerns, we’ve added a new, even more versatile product to our selection: LED tape light.
Also known as LED strip lights, our LED tape lights offer functionality similar to traditional LED rope lights, but with a few key differences including shape and ease of installation. Perhaps most notable, unlike rope light, tape light is flat. This may seem overly obvious, but this design has huge advantages. Because it is flat, tape light can be much easier to install, especially for the nonprofessional. The shape makes DIY installation of under cabinet and cove lighting, accent lighting, and mood lighting a cinch! To make things even easier, all you need to affix the product to a surface is the tape light’s “peel-and-stick” adhesive backing—no installation clips needed.
Because it’s a low-voltage product, you can also use LED tape light in many outdoor lighting applications. Running on 24 volts, tape light minimizes the risk of electrical shorts and safety hazards frequently encountered with line voltage outdoor lighting. You can install it under eaves, on gazebos and decks, and even lining sidewalks. In short, you can install it many areas susceptible to short-term moisture, but you can’t submerge it (so please don’t use it to light up your pool!).
Including accessories, this new product line includes nearly 50 new products. The tape light itself comes in 4- and 12-inch sections as well as 16-foot spools that you can trim to shorter lengths. Both the sections and spools are available in standard output, high output, and RGB color changing options. The standard solid color tape light consumes fewer than 2 watts per foot, and you’ll find it ideal for most accent lighting applications. The high output solid color version uses more power, though it is 3 times brighter than the standard version. The extra brightness of the high output tape light makes it best for most outdoor areas and some indoor locations where you need brighter task lighting.
Both the standard and high output LED tape lights are great, but the RGB color-changing tape light is the most amazing of all the options. RGB tape lights have individual red, green, and blue LEDs that can mix to create multiple colors. To accomplish that, you’ll need one of our three different RGB controllers, the most sophisticated of which creates 16 colors and 22 patterns from blinking to chasing. If you want to create something truly eye-popping with tape light, or even if you just can’t decide on a single color, the RGB tape light is the best choice. If you don’t believe it, check out the video below!