WINDOWLED COMMUNITY FORUMS
The WindowLED Project is entirely open source and is to be community driven, centered around our forums.
Here you can ask any questions, discuss anything, contribute to the project, and offer links to materials.
If you get more involved, the more roles you are given and offered. We need people to drive the community.
[Sticky] Holy Grail Consensus
Below is a current Holy Grail list of features that will remain on the top of the Holy Grail forum, and update as things develop. If you have opinions on anything, discuss them in the forum. Here we should come up with a consensus. If there are differences that can’t be reconciled, separate consensuses can also develop.
DIY Lamp Bodies
- Open Source
- Community Driven
- Bright as open windows: 10,000 – 25,000 Lumens
- Dim as a nightlight: 10 Lumens or less driver (achieved)
- Ambient lighting (achieved)
- Even Illumination (achieved)
- Full Range Dimming (achieved)
- Bluetooth and dimmer (achieved)
- Dimming App (achieved)
- Halogen Replacement
- No Buzzing (achieved)
- No flickering (achieved)
- Passive cooling (no fan, moving parts or noise)
- Replaceable Parts
- Natural light color range (Color Temperature 1800-6500K)
- Light Authenticity (color rendering)
- LED Driver features: Auxiliary power, Switch
- Power Supply: Water Resistant or Waterproof (IP67/8)
- Safety Certifications (for whole lamps)
- Wireless Adaptability
- Small Parts
- Thin Shaft
- Flexible and Thin Cord
A price goal could be chosen for a full lamp – under $100 would be great, but under $150 may be more feasible. We would have to search for parts and experiment with them. Theoretically, you could bring the cost down to a typical lamp, plus the difference in cost of the LED assembly parts and power supply parts. The separate kit, LED assembly, dimmer and power supply would cost more by themselves.
*A typical LED floor lamp costs $80
*LED assembly parts can perhaps be brought below $25, and the difference in cost with a typical LED floor lamp might be $10, so you can add $15 to the cost.
*The power supply cost can be brought down below $50, including the bluetooth module, and the difference with an existing LED might not be significant. However, it is possible that a much less expensive driver can be engineered, and the additional cost could be brought down to $25.
*The total additional cost would be $40-75 to an $80 lamp, so $120-$145.
These are perhaps some target prices:
*LED Lamp: $125.
– Currently cost of a kit plus an $80 lamp, so $680
*LED Assembly: $30
– Currently: $150
*Power Supply: $60
– Currently: $350
– Currently: $80
– Currently: $600
(1) Bright as open windows: 10,000 – 25,000 Lumens
We have gone over 10,000 lumens, but it would be great to go higher. People often think that lamps that bright sound insane, but they haven’t used it themselves. A lamp that can get to the same level as wide, open windows is something that people have not experienced it, and if they did, they would know. It’s why people like to open windows wide during the day.
Brighter LEDs require more power, and produce more heat and can require a different heatsink, and the lowest light level will be brighter. Our current LED can go around 20,000 lumens with a different driver, but we haven’t found anything that goes down to 0.1% brightness like ours. The vast majority of LED drivers go down to 10% of its highest setting, and even for a 10,000 lumen light, 1000 lumens is too high. We can go down to 10 lumens, and it’s likely that going down to 25 lumens wouldn’t be a huge tradeoff.
(2) Dim as a nightlight: 10 Lumens or less driver (achieved)
As mentioned above, we could only find one driver that goes down to 0.1% of its maximum. This should be the standard level desired. It is important to keep in mind that the darker it is, the brighter a light will appear – even a night light at night can be too bright when its pointing at you. This is as bright as a night light, but points up. There are no floor lamps on the market that go below perhaps 400 lumens, and even that is too bright, and for many the lower range is more important and useful. With the lower end, the WindowLED can be used in a room of any size, better than any floor lamp.
(3) Ambient lighting (achieved)
Nearly all the lighting we use today is direct, shining down, on things and in your eyes. This makes sense when you want to read or work or focus on something, but not for general room lighting, like the lighting that comes through windows when the sun is out.
(4) Even Illumination (achieved)
Currently very even. There are questions about whether there is such a thing as “too even”, and variations in illumination are better.
(5) Full Range Dimming (achieved)
Lights almost always have an on-off switch, or low-medium-high. Full range dimming is where you can turn a dial and adjust the brightness to any level, like how a volume knob works. Dimmable lighting sort of disappeared when we switched to fluorescent lights, and people use different bulbs and numbers of light bulbs for different purposes. Any incandescent light required a simple dimmer, whereas fluorescent and LED lights require more electronics, which are often built into the bulbs, which you then have to buy separately. With LED lamps, you can separate the electronics in a driver of some kind and use any LED, and then dim it with a knob (potentiometer or encoder) or wireless device.
(6) Bluetooth and dimmer (achieved)
There is currently a bluetooth module in the power supply, and a dimmer (encoder) that can be used on the lamp. The module is expensive, and it’s possible the cost can be brought down if a custom module were made.
(7) Dimming App (achieved)
There is an app, and it works quite well. There are all sorts of improvements that need to be made, such as having customizable ranges.
(8) Halogen Replacement
As you dimmed the halogen floor lamps, the color temperature changed, and the range was excellent. Ideally we can make the color temperature change, another feature listed here.
(9) No Buzzing (achieved)
The LED does not buzz, it’s totally quiet. Lets keep it that way.
(10) No flickering (achieved)
Many LEDs flicker, most of the time because they use pulsating to dim. Digital pulse-width modulation (PWM) dimming works by flickering faster when brightening, and slower when dimming down. This can be fast enough that people don’t notice, but sometimes they do and it can drive them nuts, which is terrible if it’s lighting you use or can’t get away from. It would be wrong to use PWM lighting if it could be perceived at all. There may even be some people who say that PWM should be avoided because it’s not the way light works naturally, regardless of how it’s perceived.
(11) Passive cooling (no fan, moving parts or noise)
The lamp is quiet and uncomplicated, lets keep it that way. A fan might allow more possibilities with brighter LEDs or design, but it should be avoided if possible. A fan can also make the LED assembly less or more compact, depending on the size of the fan and necessary heatsink. Having moving parts complicates anything, no matter what people say, and should perhaps be avoided by principal. If it malfunctions, it can get noisy or cause the LED to burn out. Fans also vary a lot more than a simple heatsink, and if a lamp depends on it, the standardization we want may not be possible. A light is always there and inescapable, and people should be able to have total silence if they want, even if it only bothers some. Even the slightest noise, even if it’s white noise, should be avoided.
(12) Replaceable Parts
Ideally the LED, dimmer and power supply can be replaced, and with simple or standard adapters. It would also be great if components can be swapped out of the power supply, such as bluetooth and other wireless devices. Items may break or malfunction, and anything degrades over time. Parts also improve and can be used for different desires and purposes. Someone may want to have a brighter or dimmer LED, or one with different natural lighting, authenticity, colors or improvements. Power supplies are changing as well, and offer different options. Often the LED and power supply would have to be changed together because they have certain electrical needs.
The part are currently replaceable, but with difficulty, especially the power supply. We have a ways to go, and experiments are being done.
Details here are longer, see the forum topic “Replaceable Parts”.
(13) Natural light color range (Color Temperature 1800-6500K)
Daylight goes from a “warm” reddish-orange at dawn to bright white at high noon, and back to warm at dusk. With LEDs, you can adjust the natural color (color temperature) by having either a “tunable” or self-adjusting light, which changes color as you dim it, between warm and white. Changing natural color has the enormous advantage of being more comfortable at different times or moods, and useful for different purposes. The current WindowLED is at a fixed level, and we should try developing adjustable options.
This is pretty difficult in certain ways, and have a ton of nuanced details.
Read more in the forum topic “Natural light color range (Color Temperature 1800-6500K)”
(14) Light Authenticity (color rendering)
The closer a light source reveals objects like natural light, the better. Even with the same natural light color, how colors are revealed varies a lot, and is important for all sorts of reasons, including making out objects, seeing colors as they are intended, such as in art, issues with color blindness, and mood. This is measured by the color rendering index (CRI), where a rating of 100 is identical to daylight. Incandescent lights had a color rendering index of 100, while fluorescent lights are typically 50 CRI, and LEDs are typically 80 CRI, but have reached as high as 99 CRI. The color rendering index still measures only for a certain color range, averaging the colors (R1-R8), and does not account for saturated red (R9) and skin tone colors (R13), which can make red objects and faces look more pale. A value of 50 for R9 or R13 is considered “good”, while above 90 “excellent”.
The light currently has a CRI value of 90 and an R9 value of 50, which many would consider the minimum. We should look for LEDs with better color rendering.
Ideal or preferences of tint has been brought up that should be spelled out by the community.
(18) LED Driver features: Auxiliary power, Switch
With an encoder to dim the light, an LED, its circuit must remain on and switch off when it dims to its lowest level. These can be built separately, but requires much less engineering and expense than having a driver with it built in. A separate small power source can cost $10-15, and a switch adds to it. It also makes it more bulky. Drivers don’t have auxiliary power and a switch, because they are meant for applications that don’t use it. The current driver has both auxiliary power and a switch, and future drivers ideally would.
(19) Power Supply: Water Resistant or Waterproof (IP67/8)
The current driver is meant for overhead lighting, and has an extremely low protection (IP20). By sealing it within the enclosure, it increases the protection greatly, but it is unclear what kind of protection rating it would have if it was tested. With the holes and strain relief it is unlikely that it is as high as it should be. Power supplies almost always have a protection rating of water-resistant (IP67), and few are waterproof (IP68). However, they are typically made to not open it unless it was sawed. It would be good to have something that could be as high as possible and can still be opened with screws.
(20) Safety Certifications (for whole lamps)
If anyone wanted to sell whole lamps, which would be great, safety certifications may be something desired if it were to be sold widely, on store shelves. If using certified parts, it’s unlikely that it would be an issue. For the lamp, it would have to pass a tilt-test. If anything was customized, there is a chance that parts would have to be certified.
(21) Wireless Adaptability
It would be great if one could connect to any wireless system they chose. Wireless standards and devices are changing all the time, and which to adapt needs to be spelled out by us. The lamp currently uses bluetooth, but it may be useful to also have wifi, or at least have that option for people.
(22) Small Parts
The power supply, driver, heatsink and dimmer should generally be as small as possible. They are currently very large. A heatsink and driver size are mostly involving heat dissipation, and often the bigger it is, the more cool it will be. A smaller heatsink would allow more shallow shades, and the parts can be more universal. The current power supply is unusually large, but given that a lamp will hardly be moved, and the power supply will be close to the outlet, this is not necessarily a big deal for now.
Smaller dimmer needed: Our #1 Priority.
Having a smaller dimmer is our number one priority. The current dimmer knob is an encoder that is far too large, and requires that a lamp shaft that’s 1.25 inches in diameter, and can barely be maneuvered into a 1-inch shaft, if it can at all. This limits lamps to a tiny number of available lamps, and wide shafts can be pretty ugly. You can use the traditional halogen lamps, and we have a suggestion for a lamp to use for now.
A knob should be as small as possible and mount easily. It must also be able to connect with the cord wiring, and would likely need something to mount and wire it all, like the custom pcb we are using. There are some options available, but they also have major flaws – they don’t have a mount or shaft. There is the possibility of designing a knob that uses a magnetic encoder, which could be very innovative.
(23) Thin Shaft
To be as versatile as possible, it would be good to allow a shaft as thin as possible. The issue of a thin shaft is around having a smaller dimmer, but it is possible that it can be even smaller with a custom lamp, if the section for the dimmer is widened, and the inner diameter can be enough to have the cord slide through, currently a quarter-inch.
(24) Flexible and Thin Cord
Having a multi-strand cord that is flexible and thin is uncommon. The WindowLED requires 5 strands – 3 strands for the encoder and 2 strands for the LED. The current cord is very flexible and a quarter-inch, but we can always be on the lookout for something thinner.
(1) Open Source
Everything is fully open source, with a Creative Commons 0 (CC0) License. Anything custom is on our Github page. We are currently using proprietary parts, but it may be a good idea or a great challenge to make everything fully open source to further fulfill our purpose. On a practical level, if we made every component open source, it might allow greater customizability, and never have to rely on a particular company. With the purchased components, the driver, LED, heatsink, and dimmer are all proprietary, only the bluetooth module is open source. Even with the bluetooth module, it may be better to make something simpler, that might cost a lot less.
(2) Community Driven
Currently, the community is in its infancy. It will only be truly community driven once it is out of the hands of the originators, and the community is wide enough to not have to rely on a few people.
DIY Lamp Bodies
It would be great to create DIY Lamp bodies, with at least one being built with parts off the shelf. This has its own set of challenges and ideals. It includes having aesthetic qualities and a good proportions and shape. Experiments have begun with parts from hardware stores and common products found at department stores or online.
See details and discuss in forum topic “DIY Lamp Bodies”