Back to LED Basics

November 8, 2011 by CHAUVET DJ

by Ford Sellers, CHAUVET® Senior Product Manager


LEDs are a serious trend. You may have read the “5 Reasons to Switch to LEDs”  post, but still aren’t convinced. Maybe you’re hesitant to make the switch because you’re unfamiliar with the technology? In that case, we’re here to simplify things. Read on and get to know some LED basics.

What is an LED?
An LED (light emitting diode) is an electronic component that generates light with no filament. Depending on the type of LED and how often it’s used, the average life expectancy of your fixture can be up to 50,000 hours.

Heat
Contrary to what some people believe, LEDs do emit heat, but it is significantly less than incandescent bulbs and it is projected in a different direction. While incandescent bulbs project heat outwards, LEDs are much more efficient and emit heat backwards so it is important for fixtures to have built-in cooling systems like fans or fins in the fixture casing. Making sure the LEDs have a way to get rid of all of this heat is called “thermal management.” Proper thermal management will help a fixture be brighter, last longer and help them survive their long lifespan (as we mentioned, up to 50,000 hours!).

Color
LEDs are extremely specific in their colors. How specific they are is represented by how tight their “bin” is. In layman’s terms, tight LED binning means that the colors in one fixture very closely match the colors in one of the same type. LEDs are usually much more specific in their color than incandescent bulbs. When it comes to mixing colors from LED fixtures, there are two different approaches. As you may remember in the “Difference Between Single- and Tri-colored LEDs” post, single-colored LEDs and tri-colored LEDs mix color differently. To increase color options, LEDs are branching out from the standard RGB combination and adding white and/or amber. Adding white allows for more pastels and cooler colors, while adding amber creates more saturated and warmer colors.

LEDs are constantly changing and have a very bright future. For example, did you know that the brightness of LEDs doubles every 18 months? As technology increases, there’s no question that LEDs will be the dominant light source. Know the facts and get comfortable with LED technology before you get left in the dark!

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