Dyson CSYS review: here is a light that may never go out

17 Feb 2016

The Dyson CSYS Task LED map, which can survive 154,000 hours of use

How many engineers does it take to change the light bulb? Just one. That’s Jake Dyson, son of James Dyson, who has created a LED lamp with a life of at least 37 years.

On first glance, the Dyson CSYS lamp looks like something from a technical drawing class at school, or something that might belong in a science lab.

It has a pretty industrial look to it and doesn’t look too unlike a construction crane.

Future Human

However, on closer perusal, the neat lines, the functional swish as it moves around 360º and its precision design would actually place it in an architect or engineer’s studio, perhaps something Apple’s Jony Ive might insist on for all of his top-secret designers.

The latest addition to the Dyson family of products isn’t a vacuum cleaner, fan or humidifier but an actual lamp that was designed by Jake Dyson and is something of an engineering and design marvel, insofar as it protects LEDs from overheating, prolonging their life.

What’s the significance of this, you ask? Well, if you use the lamp continuously for at least 12 hours a day you can get 154,000 hours of use out of it – or 37 years.

What sorcery is this? Well, it’s science. LEDs can last a long time but, due to exposure to heat – typically 130ºC – they tend to die because the phosphorous coating gets warped.

The CSYS lamp designed by Dyson uses a heat-pipe technology that draws heat away from the LEDs using an aluminium heat sink built into its horizontal arm, a technology usually found in satellites.

Look and feel



The CSYS comes in three main configurations: there is the CSYS Task, which is a desktop configuration; there is the CSYS Clamp, which fastens to a surface and can be used as either a desk or a bedside lamp and there is the CSYS Tall, a floor-standing light.

As I said, on first glance, it appears to be something from science lab or a technical drawing class. But it has a certain aesthetic balance that wouldn’t be too out of place in an Apple Store or an art-house Berlin hotel.

It is designed to be functional rather than flattering and, unlike most conventional lamps that require tension to stay in position, it uses gravity.

The arm moves using a three-axis glide motion system; vertically using a counterweight pulley system that is similar to what is used on a construction crane, and extends 27.5cms horizontally along anti-friction bearings.

A solid base allows it to swing 360º, so as lamps go it is very flexible and versatile, despite its solid-looking appearance.

At the base of the desk lamp is a single touch-sensitive button that lets you switch it on and off at a single tap but also dim and brighten the light by pressing on the button for longer.


Dyson CSYS Task Lamp_Review

It has literally taken one engineer to change the light bulb as we know it.

The Dyson CSYS sets a new standard in design, performance and function.

While it may not win on appearances – it is hyper-modern looking and suits a more aesthetic, industrial, futuristic environment than your average cosy living room – it packs quite a punch in terms of brightness at full blast and calms to a nice mellow glow at its lowest setting.

Dyson claims the lamp will not lose its effectiveness for at least 37 years, which is quite a claim and, obviously, only time will bear that out.

It is quite incredible to actually see the lamp in action, a lot of light can come from just an array of eight LEDs.

One criticism I have is when it turns on it comes on directly at its brightest setting – quite blinding in the early hours – but the touch sensitivity of the button at its base means responding to this a minor hassle.

The other criticism is the price, which at €599 is more than you’ll ever pay for a lamp in your life. So, I expect it to primarily be used by professionals like designers and engineers or in super-swish and fancy hotels.

By taking on the frustration of dealing with the dimming of LEDs due to the damage caused by exposing them to temperatures of up to 130ºC, Dyson is onto a winner here.

It is a critical development when you think how many LEDs get wasted and don’t last their full time, which is a shame because LEDs use about a fifth the energy of traditional halogen bulbs and could save users $1,200 in energy costs over 37 years.

Something tells me this is only the start of Dyson’s foray into light and energy.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years