Induction Lighting Reliability Hello all, I’m an electrical engineer working for Inda-Gro an Induction grow light manufacturer. I’m a new poster to this site, but I thought it important to comment in areas of technical accuracy. I will refrain from promoting Inda-Gro products and focus only on the accuracy and importance of the post. Please feel free to ask any questions as appropriate. First off, I would like to thank KNNA for the excellent postings; they are obviously well educated and versed in the subject manner. I wanted to address the stated issue that while the lamps may have a 100,000 hour life, the drivers do not. I disagree with this comment; if the drivers are properly designed for the application they should not have any issues with this stated life. Electronics generally are very reliable and have extremely long lives. If you look around your own homes I’m sure you can find some items that are 10 to 20 years old and still work just fine. A sweeping statement that the driver in 95% of induction light systems will not meet the life requirements is inappropriate. First and most fundamental is that there is not nearly enough data to support this comment. How could it possibly be clear that 95% will not meet the life statement when there are not any systems that have been in place that long and there certainly have not been so many failures of existing units to base such a statement? These products are relatively new to the market, so any failures we are seeing have to be associated with quality and design issues. This is basically the same thing the LED lighting industry went through in the beginning. There are several manufacturers of these products, so you cannot blame the entire industry for what is likely a problem with just a few. Knowing this, it is important to deal with a company that has a strong presence in your country. No product is perfect, failures will happen, that’s just life, the difference is there someone to stand behind the product and take care of you in a timely fashion. Sending the product back to China for repair does not qualify, the country distributor/dealer/manufacturer needs to take care of you as locally as possible. Have there been horror stories, I’m sure there have, I’ve heard some. One of our customers purchased an induction light from another manufacturer, the lamp was broken in shipping, both the dealer and the manufacturer refused to help the customer leaving him with a broken lamp that he could not use or repair. Here are my recommendations on this topic: 1. Do not purchase from a Chinese/Hong Kong drop shipper. They simply are not available to support you. 2. When purchasing from an in country dealer/manufacturer, make sure they are available to support the product. Ask about their warranty policies and the likely turnaround time of a repair. 3. Avoid products priced significantly less than similar competing products. There are reasons they are able to sell them cheaper and most of them are not good. That old adage “you get what you pay for” seems to hold pretty well. I would like to comment on the general subject of electronics reliability and life since I have a lot of experience in this area. I have worked on NASA, DOD, Nuclear, and life support medical equipment, all of these requiring the highest degree of reliability. One of differences today is the wide use of switching power supplies. Switching power supplies currently are the basis for nearly all of lighting industry drivers. Induction, LED, Metal Halide, and HPS electronic drivers are all based on a switching power supply. Switch power supplies have been around for a long time, their main advantage is that they are very efficient, 90 to 95%, where a typical linear power supply is only about 50% efficient. The reason switchers were not adopted earlier, is that they had poor reliability. They are very dynamic, switching at relatively high frequencies, constantly swinging voltage. As with all technologies, they evolve and improve with time, designs are fine-tuned and electronic component reliability has improved as manufacturing process have improved. Today a properly designed switching power supply has an acceptable reliability and life. The problem is that do to the dynamic nature, any design flaw or compromised component will likely show themselves fairly quickly. Currently the biggest issue with switching power supplies is the quality of design, components, and manufacturing. We all know that nearly all of this type of manufacturing is currently done in China; we also know that there is a lot of variance in the quality of manufacturers. There are some very good manufacturers, but unfortunately there are some bad that just want to ride on the coat tails of those whom have already done the work. They just want to sell inferior product at cheap prices, often dropped shipped from Hong Kong or via a local dealer/distributor with the same compromised integrity. With these manufacturers and dealers you have a higher probability of product problems and in all likelihood you will have issues with the manufacturer or dealer resolving it. The bottom line is that you need to know who you are dealing with.