Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Todays LED Lights

While the hype of Green House Gases and Global Warming has been shown to be a complete hoax, there have been some good technologies that came out of the push for being greener than green. One of those better technologies is the vast improvments in LED's

While white LED's have been around since before the year 2000, the quality of light was very poor. One article, written several years back was actually titled "Why White LED's Suck," The author had a point. The brightness available from the early "bright white" LED that he tried was lacking, and the color rendition was horible.

I did some previous research and
posted three articles on LED's back
in December 2006 on this blog.

Geek Alert: the following discussions repeatedly refer to 1W, 3W, 5W and 7W. The W is short for Watt. These are power consumption ratings of various lights, and generally just mean we are using more power from the batteries, getting more light, producing more heat, running the batteries down faster, and in some cases (like 5 and 7W LED's) running risk of damaging the LED's.
But things have gotten better. The light from 1W LED's is somewhat brighter, but much more importantly, the color of the light has improved. And over past several years, not only have manufactures learned to coax more power through the LED's for even brighter light (hence 3W LED's and even a few 5W and 7W LED's) from essentially the same 1 W Luxeon

Even more resently, a couple of new LED's have emerged. The Seoul SSC P4 and the Cree XR-E. Both produce more light and can be used for 1W to maybe 5W lights. These show great promise for brighter lights and longer lasting batteries, but are just out of reach for my budget right now. There are even more advanced LED's, but these get progressively more expensive, putting them out of my reach.

As LED lights have improved, they have rapidly gained a well earned acceptance as the light of choice for almost all battery powered applications. This is because of the high cost of electricity from almost all battery (and some generator) sources. I touched on the cost of batteries and generators for power back in October 2008 in this blog. Suffice it to say that power from rechagable batteries or a generator will cost you 20 or more times what it costs coming out of an outlet, and power from non rechargable batteries will cost you about 10 times as much as rechargable batteries (over the long run).

Still, with limited exceptions, like the under $3 LED night lights and some Christmas lights, LED's are not really a good deal for household lighting. The difference in efficiancy between them and flourescent lights isn't enough to reccommend their use.

Sources for more information. Nearly all of the information in this article comes from discussions on the CandlePower Forum and from the Flashlight Reviews website. At these websites, you can find people who can only be described as addicted to lights of all kinds, especially flashlights. Some even modify or manufacture their own devices. (Actually, I suspect some of those who post there are flashlight or other tool manufactures.)

I expect to post on some specific flashlights I use, sometime in the next couple of weeks.

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