Drop-in vs. Integrated vs. Dedicated

What is the difference between drop-in, integrated, and dedicated fixtures? What are the pros and cons of each? In this video, Sterling Lighting co-founder, Patrick Harders, looks into the different kinds of light sources and explains how Sterling Lighting came to create their signature line of dedicated and integrated fixtures.

LINK: 
https://youtu.be/0p_V8uxwgCQ

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Video Highlights

Many of the drop-in fixtures we have today haven’t changed much in the past decade. They’re still like the fixtures we used in 2006, 2007, and 2008… However, whether it’s a well light drop-in bulb or a MR-16-style drop-in bulb, these LEDs were not designed specifically for the fixtures they fit into. As I mentioned in our last email, many of these drop-in fixtures fail prematurely because of this as they cannot properly dissipate the heat generated by the light source.

With the rise of LEDs, the other kind of fixture you saw becoming popular were integrated fixtures. Integrated fixtures are much better at pulling the heat off the LED, which means they last longer than drop-in fixtures.

However, the issue with these is that they’re a pain to change out. I’ve installed hundreds upon hundreds of these fixtures and when they failed, I had to pull everything apart. It would take me anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to change out each fixture when the driver or LED went bad.

So, when we began designing our own line of fixtures, we really wanted to create a system that would be the best of both worlds. This is why our fixtures feature two important components:

1. Proper Heat Dissipation

We designed all our fixtures with thermal management in mind. Because our fixtures are built specifically for LEDs, we don’t have a pocket of air between the LED and the fixture. Instead, we have metal on metal contact between the two, which allows the brass in the fixture to conduct the heat away from the LED. This, in turn, allows our fixtures to last longer.

2. Ease of Service

I didn’t like spending a lot of time changing out LEDs, which is why our fixtures are simply plug and play. If an LED or driver goes bad, you can unconnect it, replace the part that failed, and put it back together. It’s a hassle-free process and certainly should take far less than 15 to 30 minutes per fixture.

Many of the drop-in fixtures we have today haven’t changed much in the past decade. They’re still like the fixtures we used in 2006, 2007, and 2008… However, whether it’s a well light drop-in bulb or a MR-16-style drop-in bulb, these LEDs were not designed specifically for the fixtures they fit into. As I mentioned in our last email, many of these drop-in fixtures fail prematurely because of this as they cannot properly dissipate the heat generated by the light source.

With the rise of LEDs, the other kind of fixture you saw becoming popular were integrated fixtures. Integrated fixtures are much better at pulling the heat off the LED, which means they last longer than drop-in fixtures.

However, the issue with these is that they’re a pain to change out. I’ve installed hundreds upon hundreds of these fixtures and when they failed, I had to pull everything apart. It would take me anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to change out each fixture when the driver or LED went bad.

So, when we began designing our own line of fixtures, we really wanted to create a system that would be the best of both worlds. This is why our fixtures feature two important components:

1. Proper Heat Dissipation

We designed all our fixtures with thermal management in mind. Because our fixtures are built specifically for LEDs, we don’t have a pocket of air between the LED and the fixture. Instead, we have metal on metal contact between the two, which allows the brass in the fixture to conduct the heat away from the LED. This, in turn, allows our fixtures to last longer.

2. Ease of Service

I didn’t like spending a lot of time changing out LEDs, which is why our fixtures are simply plug and play. If an LED or driver goes bad, you can unconnect it, replace the part that failed, and put it back together. It’s a hassle-free process and certainly should take far less than 15 to 30 minutes per fixture.