LED Basics

striplights    LED cross section
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An LED is a "Light Emitting Diode":

A "Diode" is an electrical component that only lets power go in one direction. It's the electrical equivalent of a "one way" sign; a gate that only opens in one direction.

"Light Emitting": On the atomic level, the "one way" process produces a photon. Depending on the material and geometry of the diode, the light produced can be bright-white or nearly any color.

Advantages:

  • They last a long time - 50,000 - 100,000 hours rated life expectancy
  • from "How Stuff Works": the main advantage is efficiency. In conventional incandescent bulbs, the light-production generates a lot of heat; the filament gets glowing-hot. This is completely wasted energy (unless you're using the lamp as a heater) because a huge portion of the available electricity isn't going toward producing visible light, it's going to producing heat. With an LED, much more of the electrical power is going directly to generating light
  • They can be used in an enclosed space - less heat means less need to ventilate the space that is being lighted.

Uses:

  Real Good Toys Blog: ExtraBrite LED, Power Supply update  
LED Ceiling Light

Light from behind a valence

   
Ceiling lighting

Area lighting
from behind a valence

"Daylight" scene
viewed thru a window

Back-lighting stained glass

Striplight Installation:

 

     
 
Tapewire with eyelets
connect a striplight pure white warm white
 
Tapewire with connector
 
Solidwire with eyelets
 
Solidwire with connector
 
Solidwire with solder
Eyelet connection "Pure White" LED "Warm White" LED