Sunday, August 26, 2007

A note from FIJI ...This is the sort of service all those providers of gear should take note of!

How nice to get a note from Michael of Bebi Electronics way down Fiji offering to send me some replacement lamps for the ones we have been having a bit of bother with. Made more amazing by the fact that he'd only noticed my post regarding LED's as we had not bothered to request replacements yet as we are not able to get mail while down island...Anyway he included some info regarding LED's that may be of interest...

....I saw the post on your blog, if you are having a problem with your light, just give us a ship-to address.

On LED'S In general, last year (around May, model dependent), we switched to Nichia LED's for the reasons that you observed and noted, (but was much more apparent to us seeing quite a few more LED devices than you do! If you would like some more no bs details, go to .).

As you've observed, solid-state lighting is in it's infancy (again, more apparent to us). The rational on our life-time guarantee is predicated on every year the quality/efficiency of the LED devices themselves will improve markedly. Nichia is 'almost' ready to begin mass producing a device which has 3x the light output for a given input current as those manufactured two years ago, and the range within a lot of devices are much more narrow (8 years ago, I saw a range within a given lot of +/- 30%!). In the lab, they have made devices which are in excess of 90% efficient in converting electrical energy to light energy. Compare that to a solar panel with 17% efficiency!

Unfortunately, the market, driven by Chinese mfg and US investment dollars, is pushing to produce low-cost, low quality devices, of which there are a plethora (West Marine is a good source for these!). Worse yet, for the marine market, which tends to be quality conscious, there is no outside indicator (IE; price) to the consumer (that's you) of the devices that are embedded in a light you might buy. For example, we could buy, at an order of magnitude less money, Chinese devices which have a half-life of 500 hours. The original devices we started with were the highest quality Chinese we could find, and they were quite a disappointment to us.

So long as we are a viable business entity, we are committed to producing as high a quality of product as the technology allows, without gouging our customers. Looking at ORCA and Lopolights, we're tempted and joke about quadrupling our prices to pander to the market which equates high price to high quality (we'd eat better, too!).

Michael Homsany
Bebi Electronics, Ltd.