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Whats All the Rage?

“L-E-D”. When it comes to lighting, you’re hearing these three letters over and over again… you see it posted all over lighting websites, and its starting to bug you. It seems to be an exciting new trend…some kind of new innovative light…but you have no idea what it is. You’d like to know what everybody’s talking about- what’s all the rage?  LED Display

LED’s – Light Emitting Diodes – Simply put, LED’s are diodes that…(huh?) hang on, I’ll explain: a diode is the simplest sort of semiconductor device. (what’s that?) wow, you’re impatient: A semi-conductor is a material with the ability to conduct electrical current. Basically, instead of emitting light from a vacuum (as in an incandescent bulb) or a gas (as in a CFL), LED emits light from a piece of solid matter, its semi-conductor. Stated very simply, an LED produces light when electrons move around within its semiconductor structure.

They tell you when to stop and go. They have ruled your driving, saved your life countless times, and that little red man made you wait around till you were able to cross the street. That’s right – the red, yellow and green on the traffic lights are Led lights right in front of your nose. In fact, Light Emitting Diodes have been around for some time, conceptualized in 1907. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that practical applications were found and LED’s were first manufactured. LED used to be used exclusively for traffic signals, brake lights and headlights on luxury cars, and indicator lights on appliances. You probably didn’t even know that LED lights were lighting up your digital clocks, flashlights and telling you when you’ve got a new voice message on your cell phone. Expensive at the start, as applications grew, benefits were discovered and manufacturing costs went down. According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), lighting manufacturers have invested considerable time, effort and research into adapting this super energy-efficient technology for household use. The technology has advanced enough to win approval from the government’s popular and well-respected Energy Star® program. So here’s why:

  • They do more for less. LED’s are efficient-producing a lot of light from a little power. For example, one 5-watt LED can produce more light (measured in lumens) than one standard 75-watt incandescent bulb. The 5-watt LED could do the job of the 75-watt incandescent at 1/15 of the energy consumption. LED’s save energy and, therefore, money. This is because in LED lights, 90% of energy is converted into light, while in incandescent bulbs 90% of energy goes to heat and only 10% to visible light.
  • They last longer. LED is virtually maintenance free – they don’t have a filament that will burn out, so they last much longer. A standard “long life” household bulb will burn for about 2,000 hours. An LED can have a useful lifespan up to 100,000 hours! By some sources, LED’s can last for as long as 40 years. Imagine not having to change a light bulb for years. There are LED products available this year that will make frequent light bulb changes so 20th century.
  • How it actually works… (skip this part if you don’t really care) Light is a form of energy that can be released by an atom. It is made up of many small particle-like packets, called photons, which are the most basic units of light. LED’s are specially constructed to release a large number of photons outward.When an electric charge strikes the semiconductor, a small electrical current, which is measured by watts (oh! so that’s what they mean by ‘has low wattage’!) is passed through the semiconductor material. this causes the electrons to move around, become “excited” and give off photons. Almost all of the energy emitted is light energy. In an ordinary diode, such as incandescent bulbs, the semiconductor material itself ends up absorbing a lot of the light energy so it produces more heat energy than light energy.This is completely wasted energy, unless you’re using the lamp as a heater, because a huge portion of the available electricity isn’t going toward producing visible light. LED’s generate very little heat, relatively speaking. A much higher percentage of the electrical power is going directly to generating light, which cuts down on the electricity demands considerably. As you can see in the diagram,they are housed in a plastic bulb that concentrates the light in a particular direction. Most of the light from the diode bounces off the sides of the bulb, traveling on through the rounded end.

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