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What Are The Basic Components of LED Light Bulbs?

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LED lighting is the latest in modern, stylish lighting that is efficient and affordable. There’s a chance you’ve seen an LED light, even if you didn’t know you were looking at it at the time. They’re the little lights that come on when you press your remote; they shine in your eyes from your clock radio at 3am telling you its 3am; and in combination they create powerful light sources such as traffic lights and televisions. What exactly is an LED bulb, and how does it work? What bits go into making it?

LED diodes

LED stands for light emitting diode. That’s all well and good, but what does that mean? Traditional light bulbs have a thin piece of wire that glows as electrons are passed through it and bump into the atoms of the wire. As the atoms get excited they jump up to a higher energy level; as they drop, they give off that energy in the form of light (that’s a basic picture, but you get the idea). They can burn out, they’re not terribly efficient and they tend not to last too long.

An LED, in comparison, utilises electrons however instead of giving off light by bumping into the atoms of the wire, it uses a semiconductor. A semiconductor is a material that can conduct electricity under some circumstances but not others; electricity only flows in one direction. Two materials are placed side by side. One material has a lot of positive charge and the other, a lot of negative charge. As electricity is forced through the material, electrons move towards the positive charges. As the electron combines with the positive charge, it drops an energy level and gives off that energy (as light). LEDs last virtually forever, and they can be very small and therefore fit into almost any space, including modern circuits. Plus, there is no wasted energy in the form of the heat that is required to warm up wire in traditional bulbs. Almost all of the electricity is used to make light. The light they generate is, well, lighter.

There are several small parts that come together to make LED lighting. LED components include the diode, a plastic case (this can be coloured to make the light different colours) and you need the terminal pins (anode and cathode), which conduct the electricity. There’s a tiny wire to bring electricity across the semiconductor. Actual LED bulbs have a heat sink, a reflector (to throw the light out), and sometimes diffusers (to soften the light). Some have built-in technology to ensure even lighting. The right LED globe is energy efficient, will last for much longer than a standard globe, and will give out much stronger light.

LED lighting is, quite simply, a better choice. View out  LED lighting product range, and if you're not sure what to get use our easy step-by-step guide for choosing the right bulb.


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