Did you know that the first batten luminaire, with the fluorescent lamp packed inside the box, was shipped over 60 years ago? In those days, of course, it had a T12 halophosphate lamp and wire-wound control gear. Pretty inefficient by today’s standards.
Times have moved on but the concept of a simple luminaire for general applications lives on and over a million are sold each year.
A conventional 1.2m batten with a single T5 or T8 fluorescent lamp emits about 2,500 lm and the LED versions we have tested all exceed this light output by a fair amount. Most manufacturers offer a standard and high output (with higher wattage) version so check how much light you want. This is especially so if you are doing one for one replacements.
The battens we looked at have a similar wattage to the old fluorescent ones so what you will tend to get, due to the higher lumen output of the LEDs, is a higher illumination level than before. Also, check whether you need an IP rated version. A few of the units listed below are only available in IP65 whereas the other manufacturers mentioned may well have a separate range of dedicated IP luminaires.
Even with something as simple as a batten, it is worth considering the light distribution. Light isn’t necessarily required only on the work top. A wide angle beam will give you better illumination on shelving and noticeboards.
Even some upward light can be desirable to lighten the ceiling and “lift” the appearance of the space. A bare fluorescent lamp gives you all this by default (at the expense of a reduction in horizontal illuminance) but some LED luminaires can have a quite narrow downward distribution. For this reason, literature which tells you the horizontal illuminance compared with a fluorescent batten is of no value unless the beam angle of the LED luminaires is also given.
If your battens are being used in an emergency escape route, a corridor for example, you should consider a luminaire with a more concentrated downward beam. This will help achieve the minimum 1 lux required at floor level. You should consult with the manufacturer about what spacings are required to meet BS 5266. Do make sure, though, that all escape signs are well illuminated.
All the battens listed below have the option of a three-hour emergency pack but we did not test them for duration or output.
Goodlight G5 linear LED
This unit is only available in an IP65 version but it is often used in places where an IP20 unit might have been used before. Although the body looks as if it is made of extruded, anodised aluminium, it is actually made of silver coloured PVC. The diffuser is a flat sheet of opal pmma sealed in to the body. This unit is different from many of the others in that you don’t need to open the body to make the mains connection. There is a screwed weatherproof connector on the end plate.
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We looked at the 40W 1.2m version which emits 5,100 lm. However, they also make a 20W, 2,500 lm version which is a similar output to a 40W fluorescent. This would save you 50% energy but do remember that, like all LEDs, the output reduces over time – L70 at 50,000 hrs.
It has a mild steel body and opal polycarbonate lens. A feature that JCC mention is that the diffuser and body slide apart and can be locked in place after installation.
We tested the 46W version giving 4,800 lm but, for maximum energy saving, there is also a 24W version with 2,500lm – about the same as an equivalent length fluorescent lamp. As always with retrofits, check how much light you need. The Luxpack has a polycarbonate reeded opal lens giving a uniform appearance all around. The body is white sheet steel.
The beam appears wider than the 110° might suggest. It definitely emits some upward light.
This unit had the highest output and highest wattage of the battens we tested. It emits more light than a twin 1.2m 36W T8. The optical system is how the Multilens gets its name. The 1.2m version comprises four 300 mm moulded plastic modules. Behind each module is a matrix of 3 x 14 LED chips. Unfortunately, the lens does little to obscure the view of the chips so it can be quite intense if you look directly at it. That said, this unit does have one of the highest efficacies of those tested.
Nualite Titan Gen II
This is another IP65 unit which is also used for general applications. Most of the body is clear polycarbonate. From the top, you can see the driver inside and an aluminium spine. The whole assembly clips together and there isn’t a screw in sight. Unusually, it has two diffusers. There is a narrow, inner one and then the outer is slightly opalised, reeded polycarbonate. The beam angle is wider than most and the claimed efficacy, the highest of the lot.
NVC Phoenix LED
Their standard offer for a 1.2m unit is 30W which is 5,000K and 3,370 lm. They also offer a 55W version with 5,920 lm which is intended as a replacement for a twin fluorescent. The body is white painted steel with an opal polycarbonate diffuser. There is a fair amount of upward light from this unit so its appearance is very much like a fluorescent. It’s good to see that NVC also offer a range of trough and aisle-light reflectors and also wire guards.
This is very similar in appearance to a conventional fluorescent batten. The construction is folded steel, using considerably thicker metal than some other battens we looked at. It has a reeded, opal polycarbonate diffuser which gives a uniform light all around.
There is plenty of space inside, a large mains terminal block, everything is clearly labelled and there are plenty of fixing points on the spine. It should be easy to install.
Tamlite Micro LED
This luminaire is unusual in that the body is made of extruded aluminium. As such, it is very rigid. It doesn’t flex like some of the other units tested. Again, the backplate used for mounted is made of steel but is very solid. The reeded polycarbonate diffuser cuts off light above the horizontal has a fairly soft edge. However, although it is slightly opalised, you can see the individual LEDs behind.
Thorn invented the PopPack way back in 1954 how so does the latest LED version compare with its fluorescent predecessors? Obviously, it is a lot more efficient, giving about 75% more light for the same wattage. It’s also good to see that it emits some upward light. One of the selling points of the original PopPack was easy installation. This continues the tradition by having identical fixing and connection points so it can easily be retrofitted as surface mount or on a BESA box.
The opal acrylic diffuser gives a uniform appearance in all directions.
- A special conference on emergency lighting is taking place in London on Thursday 25 February 2016. It's free to those responsible for the specification and maintenance of emergency lighting installations. You can view the full programme and register for a free place HERE.