Bin lottery.....what is this??

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Hot Brass
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Bin lottery.....what is this??

I have seen a lot of talk about “bin lottery”,regarding led emitter colors. I can’t wrap my mind around why,let’s say a particular cool white emitter,which could possibly have a different colour included,maybe blue or green. I guess I need to go to school a bit regarding leds?! If these emitters are assembled by automatic,computerized equipment,by the thousands,why are they not all the same tint-wise? What actually happens during assembly….does the surrounding air affect the color somehow during assembly….what? I guess I need to look at what ingredients are used in the manufacture of these. Can someone recommend a good site for ‘beginners”? Thanks,HB

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gregs656
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I think what people mean is not that there is a ‘lottery’ when they are produced, but when they are bought and implemented in flashlights. When manufacturers buy in the LEDs, they are going to buy what they can get for the best price (or at the least notice) – which might mean they have to accept a variety of bins at different periods of production, or even on a single order if they are desperate – while they legitimately fall under ‘cool white’ or ‘neutral white’ they are not all the same, and some are more appealing than others.

That is how I understand it, anyway.

I believe Zebralight have received a lot of flack for this, which makes sense when you consider how much demand there is for their lights – they are going to do anything to keep up production.

jacktheclipper
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When people say they have ' won the tint lottery ' it means that they received an emitter with the correct tint . Within a given tint bin there can be variances , some 3C emitters will be cooler or warmer than others , A 3c tint may appear more like a 1A or a 4C .

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CalvinIS
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Simply stated not all LEDs are made equal. During the manufacturing process the LEDs will vary in many qualities including tint. It's very similar to CPUs where they are binned by performance. If you order LEDs from CREE they do not guarantee you which bin you will get, instead you will get a "range" of possible bins. The reason people are able to purchase specific bins is if a particular vendor gets lucky and receives a desirable bin or if they purchase them from a different supplier who has a wide selection. Generally speaking these desirable bins are more expensive and hard to get a hold of. This makes sense in a way so that CREE is not left with a whole bunch of "undesirable" LEDs. This also explains why large projects usually contain not-so-great looking tints since those LEDs are cheaper. When people "win" the bin/tint lottery it simply means they received an LED that looks the most desirable to them since the categories of cool white, neutral white, and warm white all cover a huge range of temperatures and variances.

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Hot Brass
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Thanks everyone! HB

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Tom E
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There's variances in manufacturing and within the same bin and tint, but winning the "bin lottery" is more likely the fact that buying Chinese/HK sourced lights and LED's is truly playing the lotttery - mostly they don't tell you what the bin/tint is, and if they do, it's probably wrong anyway! You have no clue what you will get when ordering a "cool white" or supposed neutral tint light or LED in a no-name light from sources like FastTech, WallBuy's, etc.

Thankfully there are a couple of trusted sources, and IlluminationSupply is certainly at the top of the list of trusted sources for LED's!!