What is a COB?
We have some 'LEDsplaining' to do. What is COB LED? We'll give you a hint, it's not corn related, a foreign political party, nor a type of delicious salad/racist baseball legend. COB stand for "Chips-on-Board;" Each 'board' is hundreds of micro-thin wafers stacked one upon the other and make a chip that can be powered by a single circuit. It's different from the previous generation of individual square-with-a-glob LEDs that are packaged in a form called HBLED, which stands for High Brightness LED.
High brightness LEDs (HBLED), are usually covered with a drop of polymer (to focus and protect.) They're common in many of today's LED Bulbs and Lights and popular among manufacturers because their easy plug-n-play usage has a long life-span and intense brightness; furthermore, they have countless applications and they're quite cheap. Unfortunately, their intensity comes at the price of high heat, which requires increased space and energy consuming thermal management such as large heat sinks and multiple fans. The grow lights that employ these dome shaped diodes are still very relevant, and indeed, powerful; however, the new breed of COB LED lights has some advantages that may see the HBLED become a thing of the past, particularly for grow lighting.
"COBs mean more PAR for even less Wattage! Cheaper bills. Bigger plants. Happy Growers!"
The COB benefits from a certain amount of simplicity that stems from the fact that multiple diodes (9 or more) can be powered by a single circuit while the old styles of LEDs typically needed one circuit per diode. Simplicity of circuitry allows COB lighting to be far superior in terms of light quantity and quality per watt. Another big plus is that the design is a boon for improved heat dissipation, which means we can both (A) emit more light from a smaller space, and (B) have lights that stay stronger, longer. Beyond that, the design brings us much closer to the elimination of color blending issues that plague the previous generation of grow LEDs. Basically, the good news for us: COBs mean more PAR for even less wattage! Cheaper bills. Bigger plants. Happy Growers! Check out some COB LEDs from Roleadro's Module Series, HydroGrow's Sol Series, and Cirrus' Titan 3 and Titan 5.
Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Wait. Don't rush out and make that hasty decision yet, we've got a couple more surprises for you! Even newer is the MCOB (Multiple-Chips-on-Board) layout of the COB that allows multiple chips to share a single 'cup' and linked in a series. There is also the MCCOB. No. It's not on the dollar menu at McDonald's - it stands for "Multiple Chips&Cups on Board." These designs are still new and we're right now watching to see how manufacturers are applying them. One manufacturer we are really excited about is Cirrus LED whose MCOB lights are controlled by wifi and are very exciting; they're certainly one of the main players riding the wave of the future.
Disagree? Agree? Have some itching questions? Let us know in the comments! And get ready for our next article, probably about "Brands, which one is best?"
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