Fibre Optic FX Ltd.

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"LED's have revolutionised the way we approach lighting"

What are LED Lights?

LED Basics

Light emitting diodes or LED's date back to the early 1960s. However, for decades LEDs did not have many practical applications due to their manufacturing cost. Today, LEDs have many cost effective applications in everything from toys and TVs (red led standby lights) to street lighting and luxury car headlights.

An SMD LED is a surface mount LED that reduces the size of the light source whilst at the same time gives an opportunity to have a red, green and blue LED integrated into one unit allowing for mixing percentages of the RED GREEN & BLUE to generate all the colours of the rainbow from one LED chip.

This type of light is significantly more efficient than say halogen bulbs because far more of the energy consumed is converted to light and not into wasted heat as in a halogen.

SMD Type 

SMD LEDs (surface mount device) mount on the surface of printed circuit boards but do not physically go through the boards like other types of LEDs. Another important feature of SMD is miniaturisation. Reducing the size of the LED makes it possible to place 3 LED chips of different colours in one module. The three colours red, blue and green require a smaller pitch. The pitch (or distance) between pixels affects the resolution and image quality of an LED display, such as a digital billboard. Using one LED to create three colours results in improved colour rendition.


Sample LED Diagram

Regular LED type
Regular LEDs are larger in size than SMDs. Regular LEDs, however, still have many applications for cost-effective lighting. These applications include solar powered lighting products used in rural areas and developing countries with unreliable power supplies. Regular LEDs are also a better alternative to compact fluorescent lighting because they use less energy and have a longer lifespan than fluorescent light bulbs.


Sample LED Diagram


Benefits of SMD LED

A smaller size is the primary benefit of SMD LEDs. Even though regular LEDs are smaller than most other types of lights, new electronic devices continue to require even smaller light sources. Hard drives, flash drives and other computer components require the efficient use of space. On devices where space is at a premium, SMDs can provide a light source without taking up a significant amount of room inside these devices. Outdoor and indoor displays, therefore, benefit greatly from SMDs because they help arrange light in tight groups, creating more colours and high quality images when used in animated displays.


Life of a LED

The lifespan of an LED light depends mainly on the quality of the light manufacturing process. An SMD LED can last up to 100,000 hours. In other words, an SMD LED could provide more than 11 years of continuous lighting but an average life of 50,000 hours is more realistic. Additionally, LED lights won’t burn out like incandescent light bulbs unless serious hardware damage occurs. The brightness of an LED will, however, gradually fade over time. Also the lifespan will decrease further if the LED temperature and light output are running at maximum.


If you are interested in finding out more please take a look at our LED Lighting projects page here.

You can also view our full range of led lights and accessories by clicking here.