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Characterizing Photometric Flicker

The focus of this study is simply to report on the commercial availability and performance of emerging flicker meters. Commercial-meter measurements and calculations were compared against those generated by a photoelectric characterization system developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The results and analysis show that the three commercially available flicker meters evaluated for this study measured light-intensity waveforms and calculated essential flicker-performance characteristics and metrics similarly, both to each other and to the reference meter chosen as an accuracy benchmark. Some differences in performance were found, however, when measurements were taken of light-intensity waveforms with significant high-frequency content – greater than the dominant 120 Hz found in many products at full output. Such conditions may be found in light sources that employ pulse-width modulation to achieve their target light output (e.g., intensity or color). If the meter was not appropriately configured (e.g., sampling frequency was too low), or if proper configuration was not possible given meter constraints (e.g., maximum number of available data points), then the waveform characteristics were not accurately captured, often resulting in the calculation of flicker metrics that deviated significantly from the reference.

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