Welcome to the future of lighting!  As a relative newcomer to the world of lighting, I’d like to use this forum as an opportunity to educate the average consumer and new lighting enthusiast on the basics of LED lighting.  Consider this your opportunity to sit on my shoulder as I learn what issues are most important in this quickly changing industry as well as what new technological developments will mean to the average Joe.  While this most certainly will be a work in progress, my goal is to keep you well informed on how new developments could directly affect you, the consumer.   I also plan to provide you with numerous tools and industry websites to help you easily make sense of the new world of lighting.

Numerous manufacturers will attempt to take advantage of the consumers’ relative lack of knowledge of terminology and specifications of the LED light source.  Their packaging could suggest performance that they simply cannot deliver.  This is not just detrimental to the consumer, but also to the industry as a whole because those who get burned shelling out big bucks for a bad LED solution will inevitably not be back.   I will arm you with the knowledge that will allow you to easily find out who is being honest and selling you a good product and who is using their marketing to sell you short.

First, let me give you a few items on my background, so you know where I’m coming from.  I earned a degree in mechanical engineering with an automotive focus back in 2000.  The first 11 years of my career, however, have been spent in sales for Molex’s core business which is electronic interconnects.    I’ve sold Molex connectors, cable assemblies, copper flex assemblies even PCB assemblies to a both small electronics manufacturers and titans of the computing industry.   So, this experience gives me a nice window into the guts of new LED lighting world.  But as you can see, I’ve got a lot to learn about general lighting and the ins and outs of LEDs.  I hope that this will allow me to easily communicate and relate my experiences to others with little lighting experience.

This leads to my first lesson on LED lighting: Relating terminology from the old lighting world to the new.  The most significant concept and terminology shift to understand is how to describe the total light output of a light source (or bulb).   For 100 years, total light output of an incandescent light bulb has been described in “watts.”   But watts are actually a unit of measurement of electrical power, not light output.  So now, when we talk about LED “bulbs” that consume only 13 watts, it can get very difficult to understand how much light is actually coming out of the bulb.  “Lumens” is the actual scientific term for light output and the preferred terminology for the new LED lighting industry.   How do I know how many “new world” lumens are equivalent to the “old world” watts that I’m used to?  Glad you asked!   The below chart is the provided by Energy Star and gives you an excellent rule of thumb to verify if the LED bulb you are buying is in fact equivalent to the incandescent bulb that you are replacing.

How Much Light Do I Need?

Incandescent Bulbs

Minimum Light Output

Common ENERGY STAR Qualified Bulbs






4 to 9



9 to 13



13 to 15



18 to 25



23 to 30



22 to 40



40 to 45

This figure can be found at the Energy Star website.


I have found that the Energy Star website is an excellent source of information on differences between incandescent bulbs, CFLs and LED lighting sources.  I highly recommend that you get familiar with this site because it has a wealth of information that you can trust.


Other important terms I will be using in this blog:

Edison Base or Edison Socket – The standard socket that you have been using in your house for years.  Since the new LED solutions also have the need for new sockets, it will be important to distinguish between the new and the old.

Retrofit – Any new bulb or lighting system that will screw directly into an Edison socket without the need for more complicated home construction or fixture.

As I stated above, this blog is a work in progress and I hope to make it a place where you, the average Joe, can learn about LED lighting.   As I find new and informative sources of information, I’ll pass them on.  Like many people out there on this new frontier, the Solid State Business Unit at Molex is trying to reinvent the light bulb and we we’ve got some interesting ideas and products.  So, this promises to be an exciting journey.   I hope that this blog can become a running dialogue as we progress, so I encourage you to post any comments or questions that you may have from my writings.  I’ll do my best to get back to you in timely fashion.