Conventional mercury based illuminators such as arc lamps and metal halide lamps require a warm up period before use and a cool down period after switch off before they can be safely used again. As a solid state device, LEDs switch on/off instantly and need only draw power when illumination is required.  Many laboratories leave the mercury based illuminators switched on all day to ensure its availability when required.  When an LED based illumination system is used, power consumption is significantly lower.

In addition to saving energy, the carbon footprint from using LEDs is trivial compared with mercury lamps.

The examples below highlight the saving in power consumption between these different types of illuminators when they are used in common experimental set ups.

1. Time-lapse experiment over 24 hours: 0.5 second image capture every 30 minutes

  100W Mercury 120W M/Halide  pE-300white Saving with LED
On Time 24 hours 24 hours 24 seconds  
Rated Power 100 Watts 120 Watts 80 Watts  
Energy Use 2.4 kWh 2.9 kWh .0005 kWh >99%

2. Daily screening use: 3 hours viewing in an 8 hour period

  100W Mercury 120W M/Halide  pE-300white Saving with LED
On Time : Day 8 hours 8 hours 3 hours  
Rated Power 100 Watts 120 Watts 80 Watts  
Energy Use 0.8 kWh 0.96 kWh 0.24 kWh >70%

LEDs cost less to operate!

CoolLED’s pE-Series LED illumination systems reduce laboratory operating costs

Evaluating the cost of operating mercury and metal halide lamps is not just about the greater amount of energy consumed and the cost of replacement bulbs but also about recognising the associated costs when a bulb needs replaced; down time between replacements, alignment of new bulbs and the disposal of spent bulbs.  In addition, if the laboratory uses a third party supplier to carry out these maintenance tasks, there is the labour charge which will have to be covered.

The examples below identify the quantifiable costs of replacement bulbs and light guides (when used) and then highlight other considerations which will impose cost on a laboratory.

1. Operation over (minimum guaranteed) LED lifetime: 25,000 hours

  100W mercury 120W metal halide  pE-300white
Bulb/LED Lifetime 200 hours 2,000 hours 25,000 hours
Bulb/LEDs replaced 124 12 0
Cost of Bulb US $200 US $700 n/a
Replacement bulbs US $24,800
You would save this cost using LEDs!
US $8,400
You would save this cost using LEDs!
Light Guide lifetime when used with mercury/halide Not used 5,000 hours Not used
Cost of Light Guide (LLG) n/a US $400 n/a
Replacement LLG 0 $2,000
You would save this using LEDs!

2. Additional cost consideration for laboratory using mercury / metal-halide lamps

  100W mercury 120W metal halide  pE-300white
Extraction costs / Safety procedures for Mercury vapour release
Lost operating time when bulb fails
Bulb alignment cost – Time or 3rd party
Disposal cost of spent bulbs


Al Shipman of the Royal Liverpool NHS hospital in the UK commented that he fitted a CoolLED pE-300white solid state LED illumination system after an incident in his lab with a blown mercury bulb.  A new mercury bulb had been recently fitted by a member of staff.  On investigation, he concluded that it was likely that the focusing lens in the fluorescence assembly had become displaced during the fitting and was too close to the mercury bulb.

Although this is uncommon, it is not an impossible event in any lab as different personnel may be called upon to change bulbs and familiarity with the difficult alignment process is rarely acquired by all lab users.  This human error is understandable.  Even before the incident, the lab was considering the need to move away from mercury bulbs since, however slight the risk of a bulb blowing, any risk involving small bits of glass and mercury vapour contaminating the working lab should be permanently avoided.

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WEEE statement

All qualifying products that are subject to the WEEE Directive and supplied by CoolLED are compliant with the WEEE marking requirements. Such products are marked with the “crossed out wheelie bin” WEEE symbol and in accordance with European Standard EN 50419.

CoolLED Certificate No: WEE/GB4236XX


RoHS statement

Based on information obtained from our component suppliers, this statement certifies that ALL products manufactured and supplied by CoolLED Ltd are in compliance with Directive 2011/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2011 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (also known as “RoHS”).

This declaration is correct to the best of CoolLED Ltd knowledge, information and belief at the date of its release.