Klauf Light Bar: LED lighting made cheap, easy and extendable
The latest LED lighting product to hit Kickstarter, Klauf Light Bars are semi-portable, low-cost LED strips which can be connected end-to-end more or less straight out of the box. They come in 6-inch and 12-inch (15 and 30 cm) lengths, which can be arranged as you like up to a length of 15 feet (or about 4.5 meters). They can either be slotted together directly or connected with cables, which is handy if you intend to install them under kitchen cabinets which extend around a corner (recommended), or make giant illuminating nunchaku (less so).
Usefully, the Light Bars plug directly into a socket. If you're looking for an LED system to install permanently, you might be best off hiring an electrician to escape trailing-cable syndrome, but, if you can see yourself needing to cart your new LED friend between your garage, your kitchen, your garden, and your desk, the semi-portability could be a boon. (In future, Klauf Lighting tells Gizmag it intends to offer 9- and 12-ft extension cables to plug into.) All the necessary electronics are integrated, so there's no hassle with external transformers or DC converters.
Also firmly in the Klauf Light Bar's favor is its warm 2,700-K color appearance, by way of a phosphor diffuser that absorbs light from the high-output blue LEDs inside at one wavelength, before belching it out at another.
And, as much as it pains me to type the words, perhaps best of all is the price. That's right folks, with the temporary starting price of just… Look, seriously, these things are going pretty cheap: $US55 for a 12-inch Light Bar, $45 for the 6-inch (and less, if by some miracle I finish this article in such time that the early bird offers haven't all gone.) There are two finishes: powder black and anodized.
On a cautionary note, though, as LED lights go, these aren't amazingly efficient [n.b. see the update below]. The 6-inch and 12-inch models emit 435 lumens and 210 lumens apiece, with a stated efficacy of 50 lumens/watt (though for the 9-watt-rated 12-incher, we make that nearer 48 lm/W). As a very loose comparison, see the 80 lm/W or more of current LED light bulbs. Note that in many cases, those bulb will end up inside a light shade, limiting its performance. Being the complete package, diffuser and all, the Klauf Light Bar has already made its compromises. Still, perhaps efficiency gains will be made in future models, should the product take root.
See below for the Kickstarter vid.
Update 04.25.13: Klauf Lighting's Joseph Lee got back to us about efficacy, and his response makes for interesting reading. "This is a big, big thing… we state 9 watts because we meter it at the source," he said. "However, there is only a 6 watt driver in our fixture. Most other companies (all that we know of) will state "6 watts," due to the driver load, although their fixtures are really consuming 9 watts, due to the DC conversion process (transformer) and the load the driver IC and resisters, etc., require. So, I think it's more of a case of honesty and truth in advertising more than anything."