linear light - ecowat lighting
linear light - ecowat lighting

What is LED Linear Light? their Application, Fixtures and Maintenance

Linear lights are one of the most popular and widely used lights in modern architecture and lighting. The high variety of linear lights in their construction, installation, luminous flux, and light quality has made them important as recessed, surface mounted, and pendant linear lights for walls, and ceiling lighting in residential, office, and commercial spaces.

LED linear lights have multiple usages varying from exterior and facade, narrow under-cabinet light lines, from widths up to 70 meters to 30 cm, and from continuous lines to a variety of shapes such as square, rectangular and L-shaped or angles. As mentioned, these are for offices, galleries, stores, modern houses, etc., all of the variations of the LED linear light sales market are based on the concept of space architecture, which has a significant impact on the price of the linear light and its accessories, and is fully introduced in this article.

New LED linear lights with new technology, including modular linear lights that have the ability to control all the components of the light, light efficiency and providing sufficient light, quality of color appearance, and how to customize it based on the elements used in architecture and the interior design of the space have become much more advanced, and in this way, you can have quality linear light in various shapes, including continuous lines, squares, rectangles, or any other geometric shape. This feature is the winning card of lighting for architects and interior designers because linear lights, in addition to providing proper lighting, are also used decoratively and double the visual beauty of the space.

In the following, all the details and complete introduction of linear lights, their installation, quality of light, color, design, and construction method, and lighting with them have been discussed for you to choose the best linear light for your desired space and customize it based on your project needs.

The History of Linear Lights

Throughout history, the construction industry and other related businesses have made great progress and have developed at a high speed. The developments related to lighting and lighting industries were progressing at a very low speed until 50 years ago. Of course, this development gained significant speed after the widespread use of LED technology in the early 2000s, which also includes linear lights.

Until the early 1950s, there was practically no such thing as a linear lamp. In this period, linear lights were used as a replacement for linear shutter panels that were used in most office spaces at that time. The old fluorescent lamps are also among the ancestors of today’s linear lamps. After the advancement of technology and the widespread use of computers, a new problem arose for consumers of lighting devices, and this problem was nothing but the glare on the monitor screen. Employees and consumers who used computers for their work, while working under the light of old linear lights, had the problem of glare and work disruption.

In the following years with the development of linear lamps, an attempt was made to solve this problem, for example, the first generation of T5 linear lamps was unveiled. In these lights, the problem of glare was solved to some extent, but all these lights still used the same 1950s technology and fluorescent lighting.

Between 2010 and 2011, the advancement of LED technology created a revolution in the field of lighting, and various types of linear lights such as LED strips emerged quickly. Finally, by identifying and solving the problems related to LED filaments, modular linear lights with much more light, low glare, and in different types of one-way and two-way, with a small and large width, RGBW, Dali, and other types of phenomena were introduced.

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    What is a modular linear light?

    linear light engine - ecowat lighting

    In modular linear lights, each part of the light source can be replaced separately, so there is no need to replace the entire light source for lamp maintenance and repair.

    Why is a modular linear light better than an integrated linear light or LED string?

    Due to the fact that in modular linear lights, by burning a chip, the desired part can be easily replaced without the need to replace the entire light source, the maintenance cost of these lights is much lower than integrated linear lights. In addition, the process of installing and maintaining these lights is also easy, and there is no need to install or replace a single light line. As a result, the lifetime of the linear lamp is increased and it provides better light.

    Types of linear lights based on the performance system

    The difference between the Zhaga standards light engines and other linear light modules

    The best linear lights in terms of quality are Zhaga standard linear lights which is a global physical standard that monitors the dimensions of linear light engines. Modules with Zhaga standard are produced in dimensions with 7 cm coefficients and work by constant current driver.

    In the general category of LED drivers, the lights operate either with a constant voltage or constant current driver. If a constant voltage driver is used in the linear light, it is necessary to use electrical resistance to keep it constant. As a result, with the use of resistance, part of the current is converted into heat which enters the components of the lamp that reduces its lifespan. In addition, due to the presence of these resistors, the light at the beginning and end of the linear lamp may differ and the lamp may lose light along the optical line. All kinds of LED strings and strips are in this category.

    In linear lights with a constant current driver and module, there is no need to use resistance anymore. Therefore, there will be no extra heat or light loss in them. In addition, by using Zhaga’s standard constant current modules, as this is an international standard and is known all over the world, you can easily get the required light engine from anywhere.

    Types of linear lights based on application

    In general, any lamp in which the light source shines in a line and not round or square is called a linear lamp or line lamp. According to this definition, even old fluorescent lamps are considered linear lights. But here we only mention LED linear lights with more advanced technology, including modular linear lights. The way to install a linear light is in the form of a built-in (recessed linear light) , surface mounted and pendant, each of which will be described separately. The use of linear lights in different spaces, including offices, commercial complexes such as stores, or even residential spaces, differs depending on the type of their installation.

    Recessed linear light

    Recessed linear lights are considered to be among the most minimal and beautiful lighting devices. In these lights, the entire body of the lamp is placed inside the wall or ceiling, and only the diffuser or cover is visible on the light source to provide sufficient illumination. Recessed linear lights are divided into two groups, trim and trimless, and can be made in all kinds of lines and geometric shapes.

    trimless recessed linear lights - ecowat lighting

    Recessed linear light (trim)

    In recessed trim linear lights, around the light diffuser, there are edges about 1 cm wide on each side. These edges make it easy to install the light and if there are errors of 1 cm when making a cut or groove on the ceiling to install the light, even with the edge, it will be covered. Built-in linear lights are adjusted from the inside by a means of a butterfly-shaped fastener placed behind the light body, and by rotating the fastener around the lamp, the body is fixed in the ceiling.

    linear light - ecowat lighting

    Recessed trimless linear light

    As mentioned earlier, the use of recessed linear lights increases the beauty of the space. Now imagine that your linear light inside the ceiling does not have any edges. In other words, there is no trace of the lamp body, and only the light source can be seen integrated with the roof’s structure. This is one of the advantages and beauties of the built-in linear light without edge or trim-less. In the trim-less linear light, all the additions around the lamp are removed and an extremely beautiful and minimal appearance is created in the lighting of the space. The light of a linear lamp without an edge is still the same as other linear lights, and the only difference is the appearance of the lamp and the way they are installed.

    A recessed linear light without an edge is usually used as a decorative light (a recessed trimless linear light with a width of 4 cm) or a general light (a built-in trimless linear lamp with a width of 6 cm & 9 cm).

    The installation of this light is done before the completion of the Knauf or other ceiling structures. In fact, in the trim-less linear light, the edges of the lamp are not removed, but moved to a higher altitude than the light source, so that it is placed behind the lampshade and cannot be seen. After placing the lamp along with its edges behind the plaster, the small gap between the lamp and the ceiling is puttied and then by painting the surface of the ceiling, this gap is completely removed and the lamp is completely integrated and seen with the roof’s structure.

    How to install a recessed linear light with an edge

    The edgeless linear light is different from other linear lights in terms of installation. As a result, they look more beautiful than other linear lights. The trim less linear light, however, in terms of the appearance of the body profile, is not much different from other built-in linear lights.

    The installation of linear light without edge is done before the completion of the Knauf structure. In order to do this, first, the lamp profile is connected to the Knauf metal grid from above. Then, after placing the Knauf panels, the edges are connected to the surface, and finally, with putty and paint, all the grooves and specific points are gone and only the light source is visible.

    trimless recessed linear lights - ecowat lighting

    Suspended linear light

    suspended linear lights - ecowat lighting

    Suspended (pendant or hanging) linear lights, which are among the most popular and beautiful lights in the market, are produced like other surface linear lights regarding their structural design. These lights are hung from the ceiling by means of two types of hangers, i.e. cable hangers or telescopic hangers, in order to provide both sufficient lighting and visual beauty in spaces where the ceiling height is high or where a decorative light is needed. To use the hanging cable, the lamp is established by means of a current wire placed parallel to the hanging cable. But in the second case, using a rigid pendant  that is thicker than the cable, the current wire passes through the cable and there is no need for a separate wire.

    LED pendant lights are divided into two categories:

    A. One-side suspended linear light;

    in these lights, the light source is placed at the bottom of the lamp and the light shines from the side of the lamp towards the ground.

    B. Double-side suspended linear light;

    in double-sided pendant linear lights, two rows of light engines are placed at the top and bottom of the light. Thus, these lights have the ability to illuminate the ceiling (up light) and the ground (down light) separately. This possibility makes it possible to turn on each of the lights that shine upwards or downwards separately. By illuminating the space above the lamp, these lights are usually installed on ceilings that have the light color or the ceiling element gets a beautiful effect with the light.

    Surface mounted linear light

    surface mounted linear lights - ecowat lighting

    In terms of the way of installation and placement, the linear LED surface lights are easily installed inside the grooves between the wooden and metal baffles or on the ceiling and wall with screws and dowels. Surface-mounted linear lights are used in spaces where a groove cannot be created inside the wall to provide sufficient light and placement of the light, or the height limit prevents the installation of pendant linear lights. In these lights, the entire body of the light is considered and seen as a part of the decoration. Therefore, many linear lights are produced with customized body colors so that they can be matched with the decoration of the desired space. Modular surfaced linear lights can also be customized by providing the right luminous flux in all geometric shapes.

    Showing the cross-section of the Ecowat modular linear light

    linear light sizes - ecowat lighting

    LED linear light components

    In general, a linear LED modular light includes the following components:

    LED engine with Osram chipsets:

    PCB boards on which LED chips are placed as lighting sources. These lighting engines, which have the Zhaga standard and Ecowat production, are connected to each other by means of push sockets or the ones with the ability to connect without the need for tools. The number of chips on the 7 cm module is 6, on the 14 cm module is 12 and on the 28 cm module is 32 or 48 depending on your choice.

    In Ecowat LED engines, We use high-qualify Osram chipsets with CRI>95 (Color rendering index) and SDCM<3 (Standard Deviation Colour Matching).

    linear light engine - ecowat lighting


    cooling the inside of the lamp and reflecting the light is dependant on  the reflector or the heat sink of the linear light. This aluminum piece is placed inside the light in a way that the light engines and the driver are screwed to its two sides. It is better to use a linear light whose reflector is connected to the body by a chain since when you need to repair and replace lamp parts, you can easily detach and hang it from the light body by means of reflector clamps and perform the replacement operation easily.

    linear light reflector - ecowat lighting


    The diffuser is a milky-colored cover, usually made of polycarbonate, which is placed on the body of the linear light and in front of the light source to prevent the glare of the light source and to spread the light evenly. When choosing a linear light, use a lamp whose diffuser is anti-UV to prevent harmful rays from the body and skin.

    linear light diffuser - ecowat lighting

    LED driver:

    The beating heart of an LED light is its driver. In linear lights, the driver is usually placed inside the body and behind the reflector. Of course, this piece may be outside the body of the lamp and is very thin, but in this case, it should be ensured that there is no danger and that it is isolated.

    The best linear light drivers are those that do not flicker. The existence of flicker or flickering of light may cause headaches and fatigue in human eyes and thus make the people in the respective space feel uncomfortable. Flicker-free lights do not tire the eyes in any way. Also, high power factor (PF>95%) and low harmonic distortion (THD<10%) are considered reference standards in construction standards, especially in large commercial units, and your lights’ driver should ensure that there is no disturbance in the electricity network.

    Aluminum body:

    The best linear lights are the ones that are placed inside an all-aluminum body, because the aluminum material causes sufficient cooling of the light, maintains and controls its temperature, and thus increases the life of the light.

    Another important point regarding linear light bodies, where the reflector, light engine, driver, and connection wires are placed inside, is the issue of their sufficient resistance against the pressures of the structure. The body of the linear lamp must be designed in a way that it neutralizes the pressure around the ceiling structure inside the ceiling and prevents the compression of the body and as a result, the protrusion of the diffuser so that the linear light can be seen uniformly from below.

    For example, in the design of the body of Ecowat linear lights, two aluminum cans are used around it, so that the extra pressure applied to the light’s body is neutralized and its strength is maintained. This point was implemented due to the sensitivity of the architects in the absence of protrusions in the linear light.

    linear light body - ecowat lighting

    The size and dimensions of the linear light

    One of the limitations of modular linear light production is that you may not be able to have a linear light that exactly matches the dimensions you want as the light engines are made in specific dimensions and placed together, and the final dimensions of the light always have a tolerance. On the other hand, the use of LED filaments, despite the ability to cut in desired dimensions, has many disadvantages, which were explained previously. These things can be worrying for designers and architects who are very careful in executing their plans. Ecowat’s solution for this problem is the production of Zhaga standard linear light modules in different dimensions.

    Our linear light modules are produced in dimensions of 7, 14, and 28 cm so that during the construction stage, the light modules can be arranged next to each other with a more open hand. In the worst-case scenario, in this way, the Ecowat linear lamp should have a maximum difference of 3.5 cm from your desired dimensions. With our standard light engines, you can always have a linear light according to the length you want using the linear light.

    Do you need a brighter linear light?

    The use of a brighter linear light that, in addition to the decorative aspect, illuminates a large space is one of the wishes of many consumers and building owners because the decorative aspect of the linear light is generally considered more than its light value. There is an answer in our product portfolio to solve this problem. Ecowat high-density light engines are the solution to this problem. In the general Ecowat linear light series, each meter of Ecowat linear lamp consumes about 32 watts per meter, if using the Ecowat high-density light engine, is possible to use a light with a power of 45 watts and a luminous flux of 4300 lumens per watt, in compliance with all standards.

    In the picture below, you can see two 28 cm modules produced by Ecowat. There are 48 chips in the first module and 32 chips in the second module. The first module, which is a high-density Ecowat light engine, is brighter than the second one.

    linear light engines - ecowat lighting

    Where can the linear light be installed?

    One of the advantages of linear lights is that due to the variety of installation methods, they can be used in all kinds of spaces, from inside the plasterboard to on the wall and under the cabinet and the like. As mentioned, linear lights are classified into the following types based on their installation;

    • Recessed linear lights: are used for installation inside Knauf, plaster, Gypsum , MDF, and similar items.
    • Surface-mounted linear light: for installation on the ceiling, between wooden baffles or metal grooves, or for installation on the wall, lighting can be done in the best way using a surface-mounted linear lamp.
    • suspended linear lights: Are used to hang lights in normal or exposed ceilings, or in high-height spaces. These lights can be used both as one-way suspended linear lights (downlight) and double-side suspended linear lights (uplight and downlight).

    Which spaces are linear lights used for?

    Ceiling linear lamp or wall linear light, in-ground linear light, or cove light linear light. All of them are the most popular ways of using linear lights in various spaces, from artistic and decorative spaces such as galleries, studios, and cafes to office spaces. Therefore, we divide the applications of linear lights in the interior into several commercial, office, and residential sectors.

    Brilliant ideas for retails lighting with linear lights (stores and commercial space)

    Linear lighting of stores, showrooms, or large commercial centers is very effective in attracting customers and creating visual appeal for the goods and