LEDs are light emitting diodes. These are electronic components that produce light by conversion of electrical energy directly to light by the movement of electrons within the material of the diode.
LEDs have no gases, filaments or any moving parts to fatigue. They provide light through a one step process that takes place within the diode. There is no glass to break or screwed contacts to loosen.
Incandescent create light by use of a filament. When power is applied, the filament glows, generating heat, in turn, producing light. LEDs are the opposite. LEDs create light though a "cold process", when power is applied to semiconductors (usually gallium, arsenic and phosphorus) they're stimulated by the movement of electrons; thus creating photons, the light that is visibly seen by humans.
No, LEDs operate using entirely different components. LEDs are diodes; they only allow power to move in one direction. The anode (+) is where the current comes in and the cathode (-) is where the current goes out, much like the positive and negative terminals of a battery. Incandescent bulbs project light in every direction (omni directional) where LEDs due to their package design and layout, project light in specified directions such as 20, 50 or 120 degrees.
LEDs do not use a filament where a conductor is heated and light is created. Filament based lighting consumes more power than the light produced. LEDs produce very little amounts of heat and do not use filaments making them far more efficient in consumption and output.
LED's are geared for harsh environments. LED's function from -40 F to 180 F; there is no delay or required "warm-up" time for LED's to function.
LED's are rated by manufacturers to operate under normal conditions for approximately 10 years or 100,000 hours of continuous use. As LED's get older, they tend to dim and fade but aren't susceptible to blinking like incandescent or fluorescents.
LED light bulbs are much brighter than incandescent or halogen bulbs of the same wattage, but LED bulbs are not available in high wattages. Thus, when replacing incandescent or halogen lamps with LED lamps, more LED lamps are often needed. For example, to replace one 65-watt incandescent floodlight you may need two 6-watt or 7-watt LED floodlights. Although you have more bulbs you are still using 80% less electricity. Incandescent bulbs use about five times as much power to produce the same amount of light as LED bulbs. At low power levels the difference is larger. At higher power the difference is somewhat smaller. Electrical power is measured in watts. For example, a LED bulb consuming 3 watts might output light comparable to a 20-watt incandescent bulb, and a 6-watt LED bulb might be comparable to 30-watt incandescent bulb. Our brightest LED flood lamps use 11 to 12 watts and output light comparable to a 50-watt incandescent.
LED's are driven by constant current (350mA, 700mA or 1A) drivers or constant voltage (10V, 12V or 24V) drivers. • Constant current drivers fix the current of the system and vary the voltage depending on the load of the LED. • Constant voltage drivers require a fixed voltage and the LED loads are added in parallel across the output of the driver until maximum output currents are reached.
Typically, an LED will last four times longer than a CFL and 25 times longer than an incandescent source that puts out the same amount of light.