David Morgan Review: Ecoled Eyeconic Range

23rd August 2019

David Morgan casts his eye over the latest updates to Ecoled’s Eyeconic range of LED downlights, due to be on show at [d]arc room this September.

Small is beautiful, the phrase used by E. F. Schumacher as the title of his influential 1970s book on sustainable development, can also be used to describe the latest versions of the Eyeconic range of LED downlights from Ecoled. 

In 2013, Ecoled was spun out as a separate lighting company from its parent company, the Cadisch Group, who specialise in shaping and finishing metals with a particular expertise in meshes for use in automotive and architectural applications. The Cadisch Group was originally founded in 1883 and has expanded into the architectural market, leading to the introduction of lighting products to complement their cladding materials. Their experience in metal finishing also adds value to Ecoled, who can offer an exceptionally wide range of finishes on their luminaires. 

The extensive Eyeconic range, designed, manufactured and assembled in the UK, is one of the smallest diameter, adjustable angle high-power downlights available. Originally launched in 2016, the range has been recently upgraded with new light engines and optics. At the core of the Eyeconic range is the patented eyeball concept designed by Simon Cadisch, the Group Chairman, who has also been awarded several patents for other inventions. The eyeball design allows up to 28-degree adjustment and incorporates twin O rings, which it is understood provides IP65 rating on all versions. The O rings allow the eyeball to be snapped into the ceiling bezel, providing both adjustment friction and the IP seal. An additional O ring seals the lenses into the eyeball to achieve full IP65 rating for the downlights. An integral intumescent ring mounted on the eyeball ensures that the downlights comply with the 60-minute fire-rated standard. The range is also acoustic-rated to comply with Part E. 

In the development of the original Eyeconic range, a decision was made to not base the dimensions on an MR16 lamp, the default size for most downlights before and during the transition from halogen to LED light sources. Ecoled was able to develop the new range with an eyeball diameter of only 45mm, which allows a ceiling cut out diameter of just 56mm and 62mm bezel diameter for the smallest adjustable type. 

Despite the small size of the eyeball, the optics are changeable from below the ceiling with the aid of a very neat custom designed tool that forms a key element of one of the five patents filed for the Eyeconic range. This tool allows the threaded lens holder baffle to be easily removed and replaced. Without the tool it would prove impossible to remove the lens baffle or eyeballs for servicing from the trimless housings as the available space is so limited. 

The lens holder baffle provides some degree of glare control as its depth recesses the lens into the eyeball. For higher levels of glare control an additional honeycomb louvre accessory is available. The black honeycomb louvre holder is moulded in silicone rubber, allowing easy insertion and removal from the eyeball. Where glare control is not the key issue the lens holder baffles are available in a wide variety of powder coated and anodised finishes.

The latest versions of the Eyeconic range have recently been launched after several years of engineering development. Available as adjustable or fixed, single or twin, trimless or with bezel, all featuring an interchangeable optic, the range is extensive. 

One of the major design changes was an upgrade to the light engine based on the Cree XPH 35. This small multi die LED array allows high lumen outputs to be achieved even with very narrow beam angle optics. However, because the size of this Cree array is larger than single die LED emitters, a variety of beam quality issues can arise when narrow beam lenses are used such as colour over angle and non-uniform distributions. It is understood Ecoled worked very closely with their lens suppliers to develop custom versions and enhancements to overcome these potential problems. The samples I was shown of the 10-degree version produced a very clean beam when used for close offset wall grazing without any obvious colour over angle or beam quality issues.

When run at 1.0 amp the downlights consume around 14 watts and provide a lumen output of over 800 lumens giving an efficiency of around 59 lumens per watt allowing for thermal, optical and driver losses.

If the downlights are run at 350 mA, the lumen output is around 350 lumens with an efficiency of over 67 lumens per watt. For the lower drive currents, a shorter extruded aluminium heat sink can be used, thus reducing the overall height. When run at 1.0 amp the overall void depth required to accommodate the deeper heat sink is 116mm.

In addition to the fixed colour temperature types, the range also includes dim to warm versions with a beam angle of 30-degrees based on a 10 watt Bridgelux two colour temperature COB. Two dim-to-warm light engine ranges are available, from 2700K to 1800K and 3000K to 1800K.

As well as the eyeball versions, the Eyeconic 2.0 range also offers fixed downlight types that match the overall dimensions of the adjustable eyeball versions. A very effective wall wash, fixed downlight version, is also available, which when demonstrated in our offices gave a smooth wash with light output up to the ceiling. The wall wash also matches the diminutive fixed and adjustable types, with a ceiling cut out diameter of 56mm and 62mm bezel diameter. 

A variety of trimless housings and other bezel designs are available, including squares, larger diameter round bezels and multiple aperture types. With the metal finishing expertise support from the Cadisch Group, a wide variety of decorative finishes can be applied to the bezels, giving the Eyeconic range huge appeal for the designer market as the range offers plenty of choice and design freedom.

The original version of Ecoled’s Eyeconic range was warmly received by the lighting design community. To date the fittings can be found in a plethora of high end residential, hospitality and leisure projects around the world, with the hope of continued growth with the recent complimentary additions to this range. 

It seems likely that the light engine and optical enhancements incorporated in the new versions will boost sales of this small and rather beautifully designed range.