Some light relief

1 min read

The leading lights of led technology provide some relief for customers whose imaginations are limited by the light bulb. By Mike Richardson.

The charge of the ‘light’ brigade continues with the advance of more and more high brightness power led light sources into the battle lines of the general lighting industry. This proverbial cavalry charge puts the traditional light bulb to the sword with a wealth of uses for intelligent, high power led lighting applications limited only by our imagination. With the technological advances of leds comes a myriad of opportunities within lighting applications, such as retail, ambient, automotive and the kind of son et lumière spectaculars provided by major rock and pop entertainers. Lighting equipment manufacturers’ expertise is primarily in industrial design and basic electrical engineering. Designing in a traditional incandescent light source is no more complicated than screwing in a light bulb. However, the design of solid state led lighting assemblies is a very different proposition. A complete system involves a thermal management solution to aid heat flow away from the devices, drive circuitry, the interface, programming, test and debug of a microcontroller and the use of a correctly designed lens to provide focusing and directional characteristics for the beam. This is beyond the competence of the engineering resources traditionally employed by lighting equipment manufacturers. Yet these same manufacturers cannot resist the trend towards the use of power leds as light sources. This results in a growing demand for third parties to provide electronics engineering expertise and services to lighting equipment manufacturers.