Luxeon Clone

Today I received some samples of a new Chinese-made clone of the Lumileds Luxeon LED.

Luxeon Clones

The clones are easy to identify when they are mounted on the star heatsinks, as the solder pads are flatter, the heat sink itself is a much lighter metal, and there is no binning or model number marking on the back, but the emitters themselves are almost perfect copies. The only significant difference I could see was in lens clairity - and even then, I needed a 10x loupe to see the difference.

Closeup of Genuine Luxeon Closeup of Luxeon Clone

Genuine Luxeon (left) and Clone (right)

I think the lens fogginess is caused by surface defects and could probably be polished away. The clone also seems to have more “fuzz” around the edge of the lens, and this could be related to the poor polish of the lens. Everything else seems to be indistinguishable, even the phosphor layer, which I expected would be the weak link in the clones.

Initial informal testing was impressive. To my eye, color and brightness of the bare clone emitters are on a par with some TX0J Luxeon III emitters I have on my bench. I will have to conduct further tests with some optics and reflectors, which generally makes it easier to pick out differences in color.

My initial feeling is that even if these do perform well, I will probably not use them in any flashlights, since the $9 savings ($7 for a clone vs $16 for a good-binned Luxeon III) isn’t a significant enough amount in a $200 flashlight to make up for the unknowns in binning and long-term reliability. For projects needing a large number of emitters, though, these might be more than acceptable.

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