Cree LED Launches TEMPO – An LED Luminaire Testing Service


You all know me, I’m not really a “press release” kind of guy when it comes to content.  When I find a press release worthy of a nod, I try to get some of the commentary in there that made me want to talk about the release in the first place.  This press release from Cree, Inc made me want to know more about this service they’re starting up called TEMPO.  From the press release at Cree:

Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a market leader in LED lighting, announces the commercial availability of TEMPOâ„¢ Services, a comprehensive set of quantitative and qualitative tests and analyses for LED-based lighting fixtures and lamps. TEMPO (Thermal, Electrical, Mechanical, Photometric and Optical) Services represent the accumulated advantage of Cree’s extensive experience with customer LED systems combined with the use of calibrated test equipment to give LED lighting manufacturers and end users confidence in LED product designs.

Third-party labs currently provide testing services, such as IES LM-79, which is widely regarded as the most comprehensive LED luminaire test in the industry. However, through years of experience with component LEDs and Cree LED-based lighting systems, Cree has identified many other aspects of end-product quality that are not and cannot be examined by third parties. These aspects of quality include chemical compatibility between materials used in the luminaire and the LEDs, the effectiveness of mixing slightly different color LEDs for enhanced color consistency and TM-21 LED lifetime projections.

Ok, interesting.  What this service provides is an evaluation of a fixture (LED lamp source) by a bunch of standards used by the Department of Energy and Illuminating Engineering Society.  Cree also adds to the service that they have about eleventy billion man hours working with LEDs and creating designs that worked and did not work, and learning from their mistakes.  You know, like Edison said – and I’m paraphrasing here – “I didn’t fail at inventing the light bulb.  I came up with 2,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb.”  I can totally get behind that.  In my head, it’s kind of like taking advice about being an alcoholic from someone who’s never had a drink.  I’d want to know about it from someone who’s succeeded AND failed.

It’s important to look at the standards Cree mentions in their press release regarding the TEMPO service.  IES LM-79, which is the IES’ approved method for “Electrical and Photometric Measurements of Solid-State Lighting Products.”  LEDs, for all-intensive purposes, are solid-state lighting products, in case you hadn’t quite yet put that together:

IES LM-79 tells how to test and get reproducible measurements with solid state lighting – things like using integrating spheres and goniophotometers, measuring Luminous Flux, Efficacy, Intensity Distribution, and so on.  It’s a standard for having a standard way to test LEDs. It also talks about power supplies and regulating voltage, thermal conditions for the products being tested, product seasoning and stabilization, and orientation to name a little bit.  The other IES standard being mentioned by Cree is the IES TM-21 standard, which deals with Lumen Depreciation and long-term lamp life estimating.  TM-21 is a long-term version of IES LM-80-08 in a way, as LM-80-08 (the standard for testing Lumen Maintenance in LEDs and arrays) doesn’t deal with long-term predictions.

It’s so exciting whenever I get to break out my IES Compendium!  NO WONDER I’m single!

I pulled a sample report from the Cree TEMPO Service website to see what kinds of things that would be included in their heaviest service, the TEMPO 21 service.  I have to say that from learning what I learned in Sweden about luminaire inefficiency, this would be a pretty awesome service to have if you were a luminaire designer or LED engineer.  Cree’s TEMPO21 provides the following testing:

Thermal & Mechanical

  • Solder Point Analysis (Tj/Tsp)
  • Thermal Imaging With IR Camera*
  • Qualititive Mechanical Construction Analysis*
  • Chemical Compatibility Analysis*
  • X-ray Of Printed Circuit Board (Solder Joint Analysis)*
  • LED Lifetme Estimate (TM-21)*
  • Review Against ENERGY STAR Criteria*


  • Driver Efficiency*
  • Transient Analysis (surge, inrush, hot-plug)*
  • Power Analysis (Power Factor, THD)
  • Vf/Current Balancing Of Series-Parallel Arrays*
  • Hi-Pot (Dielectric Breakdown) Test*
  • Dimmer Compatibility Check*

Photometric and Optical

  • Luminous Flux
  • Radiant Flux
  • Chromaticity (includes CRI, CCT, x-y, u’v’)
  • Spectral Distribution (350 nm to 850 nm)
  • Illuminance (ft-cd, lux)
  • Fixture Optical Efficiency (% loss)
  • Fixture Efficacy (lumens/watt)
  • Binning And Color Point Evaluation*

* denotes a test not offered by other third-party luminaire testing facilities

You need to check out a copy of their sample report, which gives the full range of what the TEMPO service provides for your luminaire.  I took a few screen grabs of the report, but it’s free, you should just go and download it:

Cool.  I’m excited to see how this plays out, this kind of analysis really appeals to me and my nerdiness.

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  1. Jim: We’re glad you’re so excited about our new TEMPO evaluation services. Bonus, these services offer more than just test results. Our TEMPO 21 Service includes a one-hour consultation with a Cree Applications engineer. So we’re providing more than just results, but help in improving designs.

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