How is the life of an LED tested?

When we buy an LED device, the only guarantee that it will have a long life is to go to premium manufacturers.

The life of an LED can be measured in the same way as a conventional lamp. Instead of melting, a good quality LED will gradually lose power over time, in a process that lasts tens of thousands of hours.

Due to this principle of the nature of LEDs, instead of measuring their life from their manufacture to the moment in which it melts or goes out, the life of an LED is measured from its manufacture until its performance drops to a 70% brightness. This measure is expressed as L70 in the specifications.


Different tests determine how long it takes for an LED to reach the L70. That period of time is specified as “B50”If that 70% brightness is reached at 50.000h of use, about 5 years and a half. The L70 measurement and the time it takes for an LED to reach it is commonly known as maintenance of the LED flow and can be written as "B50 L70".  

For flow maintenance - or any other specification - to be applicable, everyone has to use the same testing process. LM-80 y LM-84 They are the main testing protocols to determine flow maintenance. The LM-80 applies to individual emitters, and LM-84 applies to complete luminaires. In theory, this classification would make sense if all LED products passed this test, but in practice, it is not an easy task.


During testing, patience.

To complete the corresponding tests, the emitters or luminaires must remain lit under strictly specified conditions for multiple cycles of 1.000 hours. In total, the protocols LM-80 y LM-84 They require a total of 6.000 hours of real-time testing, with checks every 1.000 hours. This amounts to a total of 8 months of trials.

An LED can take up to 50.000 hours to reach 70% performance. Thus, it would take five and a half years to prove its durability, a highly unlikely process.


The most reliable standards TM-21 y TM-28For example, they offer us formulas with which to extrapolate the results over a longer period of time and thus know how the issuer will act in the future.

But even with this possibility of predicting flow maintenance virtually, the basic testing takes a long time. For example, an issuer that has been rated L70 B50 needs a year of real-time testing.

This process is long and its cost is very high. As a result, most emitter manufacturers perform the LM-80 test while few luminaire manufacturers test their products under the LM-84 protocol.

Generally, luminaire manufacturers base their L70 rating on the information they receive on the LM-80 test from the LED manufacturer. In any case, the test protocols for the LED emitters do not correspond to the 100% with their performative capacity within a luminaire. The manufacturer of this can cool or supercharge these emitters to reduce costs and appear brighter at the factory. In this case, the luminaire in question will never reach the 50.000h of life.

Premium manufacturers, a safe bet.

Some manufacturers like ETC, are committed to building long-lasting products and excellent quality, manufacturing many of their most popular LED products under the LM-84 test. Four of the ETC products far exceed the minimum duration established in the industry.

The ColorSource Spot y Source Four LED 2 Series they have a life expectancy of up to 54.000 hours, while the ColorSource PAR y ColorSource Linear They achieve a duration of up to 55.000 hours.


The use of a luminaire varies greatly from one space to another, so it would be difficult to know how long a luminaire can last. However, if we assume that a certain device with a life of 54.000 hours worked for two hours a day every day of the year, it would reach its useful life after 74 years.

ETC It is characterized by offering products with unprecedented durability, in addition to standing out for its exceptional warranty of up to 10 years on the LED chip. A safe bet for those who want take the step to this new technology without taking risks and making the most of your investment. Stonex, its official distributor in Spain, is committed with its customers to always offer a catalog that combines the best products in the field of scenic lighting and an after-sales service that stands out for its professionalism and experience.

In Spain, the company Stonex is an official distributor of ETC, among other well-known brands. As a national reference in professional lighting and stage engineering, Stonex brings more than 39 years of experience offering integral solutions for the sectors of entertainment, entertainment, architecture and emergency lighting; comprising the design, supply, installation and maintenance of scenic equipment and premium lighting.

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