Thursday, January 21, 2016

LED Bulbs are the Future

The old and faithful incandescent light bulbs are being forced out of automotive lighting, to be replaced by LED lights. LED is short for Light Emitting Diodes. This is a form of transistor, doped with a substrate that emits light when current is applied. The LEDs have a number of advantages over incandescent lighting that are very attractive for automotive use:

1. They are very insensitive to vibrations

2. They last for the life of the vehicle (does not apply to headlight LEDs yet)

3. They can be baked into moisture proof casings to be installed in all kinds of harsh environments

4. They light up much quicker than incandescent bulbs

5. They are extremely compact

6. They can be made to emit different colours

7. They run cool

8. They give more light per supplied watt than incandescent light bulbs

There is now LED lighting technology available for every conventional automotive lighting purpose. The LEDs are also creating new light features for automotive purposes, as the LEDs can be installed in ways and in locations that are impossible with incandescent and fluorescent lighting. The first automotive use of LEDs was on the 1984 Corvette, which had a LED centre high mount stop lamp. 

The LEDs are better for stop lamps than anything else, as they light up instantaneously. This gives the drivers behind more time to react to avoid an accident if a car makes a sudden stop. It might seem insignificant that a LED lights up 0.2 seconds faster than an incandescent bulb, but at 75 mph this translates to 21' extra braking distance for the cars behind. This can literally make the difference between life and death. Changing from incandescent light bulbs to LEDs in the brake light thus is not only a question of styling. It is also an important safety measure.  

LED brake lights are more or less standard on modern cars. The LEDs also make for development of better brake lights. Some cars now have brake lights that become brighter with increased pressure in the braking system, or LEDs that start flashing rapidly when the car is braking really hard. This gives the drivers behind even better warnings, helping them to avoid accidents.


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