UNDERSTANDING LED COLOR TEMPERATURE AND THE KELVIN SCALE

THE BASICS

Color temperature is a method of describing the color characteristics - warmth or coolness - of a white light source. Commonly referred to as the Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), it's a gauge of how yellow or blue a white light source appears to the human eye. The spectrum of color temperature is assigned numerical values, measured in degrees of Kelvin (K), on a scale of 1,000 to 10,000. Most Kelvin temperatures for modern lighting applications however fall somewhere on a scale of 2000K to 6500k. The color temperature of a light source lets us know what the look and feel of the light produced will be.

Understanding LED Color Temperature and the Kelvin Scale

  • On the low end of the scale, from 2000K to 3000K, the light produced is often referred to as a "warm white", "soft white" or sometimes called a "candle white". It ranges from orange-ish to yellow-ish white in appearance. This kind of light is inviting, comfortable and relaxing.
  • In the middle of the scale, from 3100K to 4500K, the light produced is often referred to as a "neutral white", "bright white" or "natural white". Light sources within this range will emit a more neutral white light and may even have a slightly blue tint. This kind of light is bright, vibrant and clean appearing.
  • At the top end of the scale, from 4600K and above, the light produced is referred to "cool white", "pure white" or "day white". Light sources in this range will have a blue-ish white tint to them. The higher the number, the more blueish it will appear.  This kind of light will appear crisp, invigorating and energetic.

 

5050 LED Chips: Single Color, RGB and RGBWW

All Boogey Lights® lighting solutions use 5050 LED Chips. 5050 LED chips are named after the dimensions of each chip: 5.0mm x 5.0mm. The most common 5050 LED chips contain 3 diodes although some can have as many as 5 diodes. Lumens ratings for 5050 LEDs are typically in the 15-22 range depending upon the configuration.

Boogey Lights 5050 LED Chips

Single Color 5050 LED Chips

A single-color 5050 LED includes 3 diodes of the same color which makes it incredibly bright for that one color. While white single color 5050 LEDs can be produced in any Kelvin temperature range, they're most commonly made in the cool white or pure white spectrum since white light in this spectrum is best where bright illumination is needed. Single-color 5050 LEDs can be connected directly to a 12vdc power source without a controller although a controller may be used to provided additional functionality such as on/off, dimming and other pre-set functions.

Boogey Lights RGBWW LED Lights

Multi-Color RGB 5050 LED Chips

A multi-colored RGB 5050 LED chip includes 1 red, 1 blue, and 1 green diode (thus where the term 'RGB' comes from). It's the mixing of these three different color diodes that produce up to 16 million different color combinations. Multi-color RGB 5050 LEDs require the use of an RGB controller. This controller mixes the red, green and blue colors to create other colors. For example, to create the color yellow, the controller mixes equal parts of red and green (blue is off). To produce the color white using an RGB 5050 LED, the controller mixes equal parts of red, green and blue. The color temperature of white created by RGB 5050 LEDs is in the cool white or pure white spectrum with Kelvin temperatures typically in the 5500K-6500K range.

RGBWW 5050 LED Chips

(RGBWW = RGB + Warm White + Cool White)

There is a third type of 5050 LED chip and that is the RGBWW 5050 LED. RGBWW 5050 LEDs combine the best of single color and multi-color RGB LEDs into one 5050 LED chip. An RGBWW LED chip contain 5 diodes: 1 red, 1 green, 1 blue, 1 warm white, 1 cool white.  Because of the two extra diodes, the PCB for RGBWW LEDs is wider (12mm) than RGB LEDs (10mm).  RGBWW 5050 LEDs also require the use of an RGBWW controller to create and mix different colors. The great thing about an RGBWW LED chip is that not only will it produce all of the same colors as an RGB LED chip, it will also produce the color white on both ends of the Kelvin spectrum. With RGBWW, you can for example create a WARM WHITE (2000K - 3000K) and a COOL WHITE (4600K - 6500K). Better still, by mixing equal parts of the Warm White and Cool White, you can also create a Neutral or Natural White color. But it gets even better; by mixing the warm white and cool white diodes with the RGB diodes it's possible to create additional variations of RGB light combinations. For example, mixing equal parts of red, green and blue of the RGB LED and then adding the warm white diode and cool white diode produces an incredibly bright white light not possible with any other 5050 LED chip.