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Author Topic: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?  (Read 5304 times)

Daniel Oliver

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LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« on: January 30, 2016, 05:45:33 pm »

I'm trying to put together lighting for an open-mic-night, so the area is pretty small.  I'm considering PAR38 cans, but have heard of replacing the 150W incandescent bulbs with LED PAR38 bulbs in the realm of 23W or so.  How would that brightness compare to inexpensive LED PAR cans, the ones with a whole bunch of little LED lights in them?  Are they comparable?  Which way to go for cost effectiveness?  Which way would be brighter and throw further?  Thanks. 

I won't have a DMX controller.  I just want to turn them on and leave them at full brightness all night.  Would this be too bright, if I had 4 PAR38s running? 

What are the advantages of using gels, as opposed to an LED PAR can that changes its color within itself? 

Oh, and what color temperature should I look for when replacing conventional PAR38 cans with LED bulbs?  Should I stick with a warm white around 3000K, to replicate the incandescent hue?  Or should I go with a cool white around 6000K for maximum brightness, since the gels will be adding color?  Thanks for any and all help. 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2016, 05:52:00 pm by Daniel Oliver »
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Rob Spence

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Re: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2016, 05:28:39 pm »

I'm trying to put together lighting for an open-mic-night, so the area is pretty small.  I'm considering PAR38 cans, but have heard of replacing the 150W incandescent bulbs with LED PAR38 bulbs in the realm of 23W or so.  How would that brightness compare to inexpensive LED PAR cans, the ones with a whole bunch of little LED lights in them?  Are they comparable?  Which way to go for cost effectiveness?  Which way would be brighter and throw further?  Thanks. 

I won't have a DMX controller.  I just want to turn them on and leave them at full brightness all night.  Would this be too bright, if I had 4 PAR38s running? 

What are the advantages of using gels, as opposed to an LED PAR can that changes its color within itself? 

Oh, and what color temperature should I look for when replacing conventional PAR38 cans with LED bulbs?  Should I stick with a warm white around 3000K, to replicate the incandescent hue?  Or should I go with a cool white around 6000K for maximum brightness, since the gels will be adding color?  Thanks for any and all help.

Many of your questions are personal preference. What do YOU want the color or brightness to be?

Not all fixtures, or lamps are the same.

Watts isn't light. You need to look up the Lumens of the fixtures or lamps you are interested in. You need to determine how bright you want the performers lit. Some folk here may be able to give you a target brightness in foot candles. You can then use some lighting charts to determine if the units you have in mind are the right brightness at the distance you will install them.



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Steve Garris

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Re: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2016, 01:34:28 pm »

I'm trying to put together lighting for an open-mic-night, so the area is pretty small.  I'm considering PAR38 cans, but have heard of replacing the 150W incandescent bulbs with LED PAR38 bulbs in the realm of 23W or so.  How would that brightness compare to inexpensive LED PAR cans, the ones with a whole bunch of little LED lights in them?  Are they comparable?  Which way to go for cost effectiveness?  Which way would be brighter and throw further?  Thanks. 

I won't have a DMX controller.  I just want to turn them on and leave them at full brightness all night.  Would this be too bright, if I had 4 PAR38s running? 

What are the advantages of using gels, as opposed to an LED PAR can that changes its color within itself? 

Oh, and what color temperature should I look for when replacing conventional PAR38 cans with LED bulbs?  Should I stick with a warm white around 3000K, to replicate the incandescent hue?  Or should I go with a cool white around 6000K for maximum brightness, since the gels will be adding color?  Thanks for any and all help.

There are many advantages to using newer led lights - less power draw, no heat, color options without having to mess with gels, lighter weight, and some run sound activated or auto running light shows.

Inexpensive par lights no longer need to have the little "lightbright" led's. They now have the more powerful and larger led's. Some are fixed colors (cheaper), and some change the color via the chip on the led (more expensive). After that, you pay by the watt, which will typically indicate how bright they will look (varies by manufacturer though).

A few examples: This light works well if you're on a budget. It can have fixed colors, a white wash (all colors on), and can be run via dmx to do just about anything. I would prefer this over an led bulb in a Par 38 can. It uses 18 3W led's, fixed colors RGB:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/4pcs-18-LED-RGB-PAR-CAN-DJ-Stage-DMX-Lighting-For-Disco-Party-Wedding-Uplighting-/271990307342?hash=item3f53e2ba0e:g:QRMAAOSwVL1V~G~L

And for a little more, these lights have (7) RGB 10W led's - the type that change color via the chip. These are bright, and throw a nice beam. The colors are really great on these - I'm building a light show using these right now:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MO8C766/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1ZA0LKMGHFMHQ&coliid=I2G56HYIQDP7DT&psc=1
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Daniel Oliver

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Re: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 09:15:19 am »


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MO8C766/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1ZA0LKMGHFMHQ&coliid=I2G56HYIQDP7DT&psc=1

Thanks for the advice.  I noticed on that link there are options for different numbers of LED's, with one being a whopping 177 LED's.  Would those be the "Light Brite" type you mentioned, and not as bright or as good as the 7 LED version?

I probably should have waited for responses before I ordered the old-style PAR38's because I ended up spending more money than that first link you provided, and they'll probably not be as bright.  They also don't have built-in DMX capability, without adding those DMX boxes with edison plugs on the sides.  I raised their cost buying LED bulbs for them, so I'm into 4 PAR38's for $110 or so. 

In the first link you provided, it looks like a bunch of brights spots in the pictures, as opposed to a smoother wash type of illumination.  That was one reason I went the way I did.  This will be for an open mic night, so I don't think I'll utilize any music-triggering.  I was aiming for a basic stage wash, just to illuminate the performers. 

I do plan on adding a few more lights to my trees, and I'll take your advice and go with some that are more technologically advanced for those.  I'm sure DMX functionality and a board is in the near future as well.  I would like to at least be able to dim the stage.  The monetary outlay is quickly adding up. 
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Steve Garris

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Re: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2016, 12:56:48 pm »

Thanks for the advice.  I noticed on that link there are options for different numbers of LED's, with one being a whopping 177 LED's.  Would those be the "Light Brite" type you mentioned, and not as bright or as good as the 7 LED version?


Yes - I call those Light-Brite lights - thanks for the spelling correction. As for the brightness of that light? I really don't know, it might be just as bright as the others. Those type of lights were really popular 7 or 8 years ago, but the larger, color changing led's are in now. I also prefer the newer flat styles, as they are made to lay flat on the floor to illuminate walls. There's actually money now in renting those things for weddings and parties.
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Daniel Oliver

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Re: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2016, 01:02:04 pm »

Yes - I call those Light-Brite lights - thanks for the spelling correction. As for the brightness of that light? I really don't know, it might be just as bright as the others. Those type of lights were really popular 7 or 8 years ago, but the larger, color changing led's are in now. I also prefer the newer flat styles, as they are made to lay flat on the floor to illuminate walls. There's actually money now in renting those things for weddings and parties.

That wasn't intended to be a correction of your spelling.  Sorry it came across that way.  I just googled it, and it's actually spelled, "Lite Brite" so I was incorrect anyway. 

I've been researching the LED stuff, and found some videos explaining how those "Lite Brite" types are colored, and lose 66% of their output when choosing certain colors, so I'm pretty much sold on the newer ones that actually utilize all the LEDs no matter the color.  Like the 7-LED you linked to, at 10W for each LED, I bet it's much brighter than the ones where they cram a ton of 5mm LED's that may or may not all be lit up at once.  Thanks for the helpful guidance.  I'll be adding some of those "better" LED PAR cans to my rig soon.  Regards. 
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Steve Garris

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Re: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2016, 01:03:10 pm »


In the first link you provided, it looks like a bunch of brights spots in the pictures, as opposed to a smoother wash type of illumination.  That was one reason I went the way I did.  This will be for an open mic night, so I don't think I'll utilize any music-triggering.  I was aiming for a basic stage wash, just to illuminate the performers. 

I do plan on adding a few more lights to my trees, and I'll take your advice and go with some that are more technologically advanced for those.  I'm sure DMX functionality and a board is in the near future as well.  I would like to at least be able to dim the stage.  The monetary outlay is quickly adding up.

Unfortunately the Par 38's with bulbs wont have any wider of spread - I have them and they're about the same. But you are correct, the beam angle is only about 25 deg with all of these lights. This looks great for back-lighting, but for front wash it makes things a little more difficult.

BTW, you can set these led lights to a dim setting, of any color, and they will remember the settings when you turn them on & off.
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Steve Garris

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Re: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2016, 01:09:38 pm »

That wasn't intended to be a correction of your spelling.  Sorry it came across that way.  I just googled it, and it's actually spelled, "Lite Brite" so I was incorrect anyway. 

I've been researching the LED stuff, and found some videos explaining how those "Lite Brite" types are colored, and lose 66% of their output when choosing certain colors, so I'm pretty much sold on the newer ones that actually utilize all the LEDs no matter the color.  Like the 7-LED you linked to, at 10W for each LED, I bet it's much brighter than the ones where they cram a ton of 5mm LED's that may or may not all be lit up at once.  Thanks for the helpful guidance.  I'll be adding some of those "better" LED PAR cans to my rig soon.  Regards.

You're right it's Lite Brite! No worries, I want to know how to spell it properly.

True that the ones that use dedicated colors for each led won't always have all of them on at the same time - BUT, I use a couple of these lights, and an ADJ Mega Bar which also has the little led's, and they provide some really cool "movement" that wouldn't be there with the newer lights. I think they look great behind a drum set, with sound activation changing the colors.

The (7) 10 watt lights will also be dimmer on many of the deep colors, as the darker colors automatically have less brightness than the white.
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Steve Garris

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Re: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2016, 01:28:49 pm »

Take a look at this photo, which has all that we've discussed and there's smoke so you can see the effect:

The green lights across the top are the $18 ebay lights. Note that these have dedicated colors for each led, so only the green ones are lit. The performers faces are also lit by these lights, mounted out front about 20 feet away, set to white and probably dimmed a bit (club lights). You can also see a row of blue lights in the back which are the same $18 light. For that price, these are really impressive.

Directly behind the guitar player is my drum light tree, which consists of:
(1) ADJ Mega Bar RBGA - set to "sound active"
(2) Slim Par (Lite Brite) fixtures on the inside, also set to sound active
(2) Blizzard Hotbox 5's on the outside
The Blizzards have (7) 15 watt led's, and are the brightest lights with the narrowest of beams. They are very bright in this picture because they happen to be on white when the picture was taken. I do not recommend these for a wash or spot light, they're just too beamy!

Lastly, directly above the singer you can see 3 lights on a tree, green & amber. These lights are very similar to  the (7) 10 watt lights, but are advertised as (7) 5 watt led's RBGA. I really like these lights, and they're priced at about $80 each (when they're on sale) from MCM electronics. I'm looking forward to comparing these to my new (7) 10 watt fixtures from the link I already posted. Notice the nice rich color and uniform beams. They also have a slightly wider field angle.
RBGW version:http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/555-27065
RBGA version: http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/LEDJ-LEDJ59B-/555-27075
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2016, 01:32:11 pm »

Blizzard Lighting provides photometric information for their products. They list the individual output for each color in a multi-color LED fixture. The HotBox fixture has a metal body, a locking power cord (PowerCon style), and pretty good intensity for a relatively modest price. Available in several varients, depending on what you are looking for.  About a 26 degree field, IIRC, so it doesn't scatter light all over the place.  It depends on what you are looking for. Steve finds them too narrow, but stand-up is more like theater lighting than rock concert lighting, IME.
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Re: LED PAR cans vs replacing conventional PAR cans with LED bulbs?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2016, 01:32:11 pm »


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