COB LED Vs. CCFL: The Comprehensive Comparison

Lighting has become an important part of today’s fast-paced and digitized world and has changed the face of display technologies. Different people use them for different reasons, and it has continued to evolve rapidly. 

Two notable heads stand out among the crowds in the lighting world: Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFLs) for their prolonged existence in the industry and Light-Emitting Diode (LEDs) for their innovative technologies. 

These two have become a debate topic on which is best. This is why, in this article, we shall be making an indirect comparison between them, using COB LED— a type of LED technology—as a replacement for LED as we look at COB LED vs. CCFL. Let’s proceed!

What Is COB LED Technology

Lighting technology continues to grow and evolve daily, producing brighter lights requiring less energy consumption. The latest addition of COB technology has surely blown a lot of minds. In the realm of lighting, COB LED is an abbreviation that simply means chip-on-board light-emitting diode.

It is a term used to refer to a single device that has many LED chips mounted in direct contact with a board known as a printed circuit board (PCB) or thermally efficient substrate to produce LED arrays. 

These PCBs are made of phosphor comprising sapphire coating or silicon carbide and gallium-nitride-on-silicon (GaN-on-Si) that helps in this white light formation. Packaging or mounting these bare chips onto the PCB directly helps to create a flat, uniform LED surface while producing a much higher chip density. 

These bare chips are green, blue, and red chips, which, when combined, help replicate true-to-life imagery. COB LEDs are often grouped into flip, front-mounted, and semi-flip chips. 

With its ability to bypass the limitations of chip arrays, it can create a pixel pitch—vertical or horizontal distance between individual LED pixels on an LED screen—below PH0.Xmm. COB LED became popular in the LED market in 2007. However, there were initial doubts about its popularity in the early stages. 

This is because not many people knew or had experience with it, as well as the criticisms on the product’s ability to produce large amounts of energy yet discharge little currents or energy.

However, over the years, it has become a widely accepted LED technology over its other alternatives, like the Surface Mounted Device (SMD) LED and the Dual In-Line Package (DIP) LED, which has been around way longer than COB LED.

This preference is due to many reasons, such as its ability to produce an improved lumen density, i.e., a higher packing density of the LED arrays. This gives room for greater light uniformity and higher intensity when compared to other LED lights. 

Also, the number of LEDs placed in any display area for COB LED is way higher than other LED packages like SMD LED and DIP LED. This means that occupying a smaller amount of space on the board without requiring any bonding wires gives room for a tighter pixel pitch; the tighter the pixel pitch, the higher the resolution. 

Another COB LED difference from other LED light options is its lower energy consumption rate while still producing the same output amount, offering a greener light solution than its peers. These reasons explain the significant and successful breakthrough of COB LED technology in the lighting world.

What Is CCFL Technology?

In the world of backlight display, CCFL is the older version of the two LIquid Crystal Display (LCD) backlights. The newer version and CCFL’s LCD backlight replacement is the Light-Emitting Display (LED) LCD. CCFL is an acronym for Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp. They are also referred to as Cold Cathode Fluorescent Tube (CCFT). 

This backlight type utilizes a long, thin tube filled with electrodes and mercury vapor to create ultraviolet light. This ultraviolet light is then turned into visible light using a phosphor coating. These ultraviolet lights also allow for the illumination of the LCD liquid pixel.  

For a better understanding, CCFLs can be defined as transducers capable of converting electrical energy into light energy. CCFL bulbs are defined by their fluorescence and their use of electron discharge. They are like the backlighting for the CCFL LCD. When turned on,  they help illuminate the layers of liquid pixels, which produces clear images. 

CCFL as a technology has been around since Edison’s incandescent light bulb was invented. Ever since then, it has become known to be a durable and cheap electronic light source. It produces a smooth and even light source easily distributed behind the LCD screen for optimal contrast and color.

This lighting technology is commonly used in various displays and electronic devices. This is because it offers a uniform and consistent light source. The operating features of CCFLs are mainly influenced and characterized by temperature. 

This means that the voltage needed to strike the lamp initially rises significantly in cold temperatures, and the brightness drops significantly. The difference between CCFLvs. LEDs are quite obvious when drawing a comparison between them. One such difference is the technology they use to produce light. This is a major difference. 

While CCFL uses phosphors and mercury vapor to emit light, LED uses semiconductors. LED has taken over the world of backlighting, as it may seem if you consider its employment and usage in almost every electronic device. However, CCFLs are still being used in some instances. 

One such is that they are used in certain industrial equipment and medical devices.  Now we know what COB LED and CCFL are all about and how CCFL differs from LED, let’s compare COB LED and CCFL. Let’s get down to business!

Comparison Between COB LED and CCFL

Let’s examine some major differences between COB LED and CCFL. You will be able to distinguish between them when you know their differences. Let’s dive in!  

COB LED Vs. CCFL: Difference in Energy Efficiency

One of the significant areas differentiating COB LEDs from CCFLs is their energy efficiencies or efficacies. COB LEDs are considered high-performance lighting largely attributed to their high luminous efficacy. COB LEDs have a lumen density of about 80 to 250 lumens per watt. 

Compared with other incandescent or fluorescent lights like CCFL, COB LEDs consume less energy while providing the same or higher brightness level. Also, they have a wider beam angle, meaning they can share diffused and more coordinated lighting over a larger area.  COB LEDs also provide improved and more thermal management.  

It can function at its best if heat is effectively managed, reducing energy waste and increasing energy efficiency. This energy efficiency also reduces electricity bills. On the other hand, Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFLs) also have high energy efficiency, although not as COB LEDs. 

The luminous efficacy of CCFL is about 50 to 100 lm/w, and it also needs a high-voltage supply to work. It needs up to 1000 volts for its functionality and 200 to 800V to sustain its operation. This makes it consume more energy than COB LEDs. 

COB LED Vs. CCFL: Difference in Brightness

Brightness Level is another significant COB LED difference from not just CCFL but other LED technologies, too. COB LED has more coordinated illumination and terrific brightness. It can illuminate better compared with CCFL. Its high lumen is the reason for this brightness. Each chip’s lumen output determines the COB LED’s brightness level.

COB designs possess a focused light source, which helps to minimize shadows and improve brightness. It helps guarantee that light is distributed equally across the lit-up area. In addition, COB lights can be dimmed. Users can modify brightness levels depending on their preferences. 

Because COB LEDs are adjustable, considering their dimmable features, they can be used to create different moods and atmospheres. Also, it makes them appropriate to be used where lighting control is important, such as in theaters, restaurants, residential areas, hotels, etc. 

On the other hand, CCFL lighting does not have the brightness level that COB LEDs have, though it is considerably bright enough. CCFL backlights generate a coordinated brightness level. Two methods can be adopted to control the brightness level of CCFLs: analog and digital dimmable. 

In analog dimming, a DC voltage is used to control the output current of the inverter that helps to power the CCFL, which controls its brightness level. In digital dimming, an inverter is specifically designed for this control. This is becoming the preferred control technique since it allows for a more flexible brightness level control.

COB LED Vs. CCFL: Difference in Color Options

Lights are skilfully and deliberately designed and arranged to replicate any color. Some lights appear warm or brownish, while others appear cool or white. Other special types of lights can be green, blue, or red. These color options differentiate between COB LED and Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (CCFL).

COB LED allows and provides various color rendering options that CCFL does not. This makes it possible to have vibrant and accurate lighting in different settings. It also enhances space and objects’ appearance by reproducing color more precisely. 

The color varieties of COB LEDs are neutral white, warm white, cool white, green, pink, blue, and red. These color options make COB LED more suitable for different applications. For instance, the adjustments and natural color COB LEDs produce make them a great choice for the media and entertainment industries.

Regarding the color range or rendering options of the CCFL backlight, its primary emission color is white light. However, with the use of phosphor coating, other color options can be produced. 

For instance, a red CCFL light can be produced using a red-emitting phosphor coating. The difference in this color option’s achievements is that when compared to COB LED, CCFL has limited color options. This entails that COB LEDs offer a wider variety of color options than CCFL. This is more like comparing COB LED vs. Cree in terms of color rendering. 

COB LED Vs. CCFL: Difference in Size and Design

An extensive comparison of the size and designs of COB LEDs and CCFLs will reveal their differences and peculiar features. Regarding size, CCFLs are commensurately heavier and thicker than their LED counterparts, including COB LEDs. 

Different sizes of CCFL lights are available, ranging from 25mm to 600 mm long and 2.0 mm to 11 mm wide. In terms of design, CCFLs are designed as long, thin tubes filled with mercury vapor.

With regard to COB LEDs, different sizes and design options abound. Like other LED types, COB LEDs have widths ranging from 2mm to 10mm. Normally, these sizes are very small compared to CCFL and other fluorescent lights. In addition, COB LEDs also have small chip sizes. But despite their small chip sizes, achieving a higher pixel pitch is not far-fetched. 

In general, COB LED sizes do not affect their performance. In design, COB LED lights are compact and have a pattern arrangement. This compactness and arrangement help to accommodate many light-emitting diodes in one circuit. Furthermore, the sizes and designs of COB LED make them a great choice for indoor usage and decoration. This is mainly because it is way easier to fit them into narrow strips for tight corners.

COB LED Vs. CCFL: Difference in Heat Dissipation

A sure way to establish the difference between CCFL vs. COB LED is their heat dissipation. Generally, the difference in heat dissipation between COB LED and CCFL is largely attributed to the efficiency of their thermal management systems and designs. 

It is pertinent to note that heat dissipation is one of the primary designs and functionalities of COB LED that affects its general performance. Due to its architecture and design, COB LED has a modified heatsink attached to its printed circuit board (PCB) or substrate. 

The heatsink works to dissipate the heat from its system to the atmosphere through divergent ways, such as radiation, conduction, and convection. The above aids in improving the thermal performance of the COB LED.

It is important to note that a COB LED’s heat dissipation or thermal performance depends on several factors, ranging from its materials, environmental conditions, and interface to geometries. These factors help to keep the COB cool and in good condition, prolonging its lifespan.  

From the above narratives, it is safe to state that COB LEDs have better heat dissipation and thermal performance than CCFL. In CCFL, the heat dissipated to its filament often causes its electronic drivers to fail.

COB LED Vs. CCFL: Difference in Lifespan

One breakthrough of a COB LED is its longevity. It has a remarkable lifespan owing to some factors, including its improved product material and good thermal performance that can withstand heat and handle electricity distribution more efficiently than CCFL, as highlighted in the previous section. 

This is another feature that significantly differentiates them. COB LEDs are structured or designed to withstand wear, tear, pressures, and harsh conditions. This makes them quite cost-effective, considering you don’t have to worry about repair costs soon. 

Their lifespan is also attributed to their operation temperature. It operates optimally at a specific range of temperatures. COB LED lights are also stable and don’t flicker. This saves it from undue stress and weakness in its system and performance, which helps extend its lifespan. 

This accounts for why it is very important to implement effective and efficient cooling mechanisms like good ventilation because it helps maintain its optimal operating temperature, extending its lifespan further.

Furthermore, a stable voltage and electrical current are factors that help ensure the longevity of COB LEDs. The implication is that surges and fluctuations in the power supply can weaken and, at worst, damage its diode chips, which can shorten their life service.

While CCFLs also have a long lifespan, they are not comparable to COB LEDs and other LED lights. Its durability is mainly dependent on its product quality and material. Unlike COB LED, CCFL supports a flickering light feature. This can weaken its tube, which tends to shorten its lifespan. 

In conclusion, this comparison is not just limited to CCFL. it can be extended to other regular LED products because, similar to comparing COB LED vs. LED, it has a longer lifespan than other LED technologies.

COB LED Vs. CCFL: Difference in Maintenance

The maintenance culture of COB LEDs and CCFLs is also a way to differentiate them. While all equipment and machines need proper care and attention to ensure their durability, some require more attention and a high-maintenance culture than others. This is the case with COB LEDs, as they need deep care and attention for their maintenance.

In maintaining the COB LED, specific rules and guidelines must be obeyed. The first is in terms of safety precautions. To ensure your safety and that of the equipment, you must turn off all power sources and supplies while cleaning the COB LED lamps. In addition, when cleaning the COB, use a dry cloth. 

Do not use non-manufacturer cleaning products or corrosive material chemicals to clean the COB LED’s surface. Suppose the lamps are to be installed in the kitchen; in that case, attention must be paid to the installation to ensure fume prevention because any accumulation of grease stains on the lamp can deeply affect its illumination quality. 

Whenever you leave the office, your house, or anywhere, these COB LED lights are used; they must be turned off after use. This will help prolong the lifespan of the LED. After installing the COB LED after purchase, carefully read its installation manuals and instructions to avoid potential danger. 

Avoid frequently switching the COB LEDs on and off when using its lighting fixtures. In the case of damage or issue with the COB, seek the assistance of a professional. When it comes to the maintenance of the CCFL, a general maintenance culture is observed, but not as tasking as maintaining a COB LED.

COB LED Vs. CCFL: Difference in Cost

Another valid point for comparing COB vs. CCFL is their cost difference. As expected, several factors contribute to their cost, like the demand rate, manufacturing process, and their difficulty in assembly. 

Cost is added to their differentiation process because, at the end of the day, it could significantly impact your decision-making. Regarding cost, LED lights, like COB LEDs, are generally costlier than fluorescent lights like the CCFL. Many manufacturers build and assemble these lights based on users’ demands, usage, and needs. 

Compared to its counterpart, CCFL, COB LED has a greater production cost. This means it is more expensive than CCFL when comparing the work and production procedure to the material cost. Labor and manufacturing costs account for 10% of its market cost. 

Many other factors also have a role to play in the prices of a COB LED light. Some of these include the COB LED package material, the wattage, the chip size, the strip length, and the lumens of the chip or die, to mention but a few. 

COB LED Vs. CCFL: Difference in Application

The uniqueness of COB LEDs and CCFLs makes their usage and application different.  Let’s discuss a few of the standard applications of COB LEDs and, of course, CCFLs.

COB LED Applications

Due to the durability and uniformity of COB LED lights and because they produce bright white light, they are structured for various applications, as noted in an earlier section of this article. Now, let’s expand a bit further on this COB LED application as we take a look at some of its common applications below:

    • Outdoor Settings and Indoor Residential Lighting: COB LED suits outdoor settings and indoor residential areas where high-intensity lights are needed and preferred, such as living rooms, hotels, restaurants, lounges, etc.
    • Photography and Videography Studios: Another area where COB LED usage is greatly appreciated is in photography and videography studios. They are used for photographing and videoing models for a fashion shoot.  You can also use it for family photo shoots. COB LED is mainly used by photographers who want to produce sharp pictures and eliminate shadows.
    • Street Lighting: COB LEDs are also suitable for use in street lighting. This is because of its high energy efficiency and higher quality lighting than other light sources with the same lighting conditions. 
    • Decorations: Due to the high lumen output and compactness of COB LEDs, which makes them suitable for producing visually appealing light designs, they are often used in various decorative lighting fixtures, such as chandeliers. Aside from these standard COB LED backlighting applications, these lighting sources can be used in other ways and settings, such as spotlighting, lighting for commercial buildings, etc.

CCFL Applications

Although LED backlight display is gradually taking over the lighting world, CCFLs are not relegated to the background as they are still in demand and used for several reasons and in some places. Some of the situations where CCFLs are applied include:

  • Plant Cultivation: One appreciated CCFL application is its usage in plant cultivation. It is widely used in cultivating plants, particularly used for greenhouse plants. It is used to enhance the growth efficiency and rate of the plants and reduce energy consumption.  Because CCFL is a cold light source, it can comfortably be placed close to the plants without fear of burning them.
  • LCD Devices: Another useful application of CCFL is in Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) devices. They are used as the backlight of TVs, monitors, and laptops.

CCFL Backlight

  • General Illumination:  CCFLs are also used in places that require general illuminations, though not as often as COB LEDs. It is used in retail stores, cafeterias, classrooms, and offices.

COB LED Vs. CCFL: Difference in Color Temperature Stability

Every light source, whether a bright blue beam or a warm, dim glow, is identified by its two main characteristics: brightness and temperature. The former we have already discussed. Now, let’s take a look at the latter.

Color temperature has to do with the measurement, usually in degree kelvin, of the coolness and warmth of the perceived light source. This is quite different from the hotness or coldness of our ambient environment, which is usually measured in degrees Celsius. Light with a high kelvin rating of about 6,000k is considered a cool color and has a bluish-white quality. 

Meanwhile, lights with a low Kelvin rating of 3,000k or less are considered warm. They have a soft yellow-orange glow. This color temperature is measured using a color temperature meter. 

Color temperature stability, on the other hand, has to do with the ability of a light source to maintain its color temperature over time. This color temperature stability also differentiates between CCFLs and COB LEDs.

COB LEDs have and can maintain a color temperature stability ranging from 2700k to 6500k. This makes it compatible with light modifiers and can be powered by a battery or AC power. CCFL, in contrast, has a color temperature stability average range of about 2800k to 3200k. 

Conclusion

LED backlighting has taken the world by storm. Though it threatens to chase the old player—CCFL—out of its game. However, CCFL is not an easy bone to be discarded just yet. It has withstood the taste of time and is still very strong in the lighting world. 

We have successfully highlighted some major differences between COB LED and CCFL. However, its usage and application solely depend on your choice and preference. Having said that, feel free to check out our product list to see some of our best LED products and packages that will surely soothe your display needs.

FAQ 

1. Which Is Better, CCFL or LED?

Making a clear decision in the CCFL vs. LED debate can be challenging. However, the truth is that they are both useful in their unique applications, and the choice on which to settle depends on your needs. 

2. What Type of LED Is Best for the Eyes?

The best type of LED for your eyes are LEDs with a warm-white color temperature rating of 2700k-3000k.

3. What Backlight Type Is Best?

This is similar to other questions and debates raised over time, like “Is direct-lit or edge-lit better than Full-array backlights?” The truth is that Full-array backlights are the best backlights because they provide great image quality with a wide viewing angle. However, all backlights have their preferred application depending on the intended usage.

4. Does CCFL Consume More Energy?

CCFL consumes more energy, generates more heat, and has a much lower brightness than LEDs.

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