Monday, September 5, 2011

Explanation on LED lighting's terminology

• What is “voltage drop”?
“Voltage drop” means the gradual diminishing of voltage along the length of the wire as electricity travels away from a power source. The term applies to what happens when a light or appliance is at a great distance from the power source. Think of a charged electrical wire as a pipe and the electricity as water. If the water pressure is constant, the pipe is fullest and the most pressurized at the source of the water, and gradually tapers off as the pipe gets longer. So with electricity, if the voltage is 12V at the power source, it gradually drops the farther you get from the power. So 50 feet from the power source, the actual voltage might be 10.5V.

• What is “solid state” lighting?
The term “solid state” lighting can be used to refer to the way LED lighting produces light. The process is fundamentally different than incandescent and florescent lighting. This term applies to the fact that inside LED strip lights, for example, every light emitting diode includes a semiconductor block that does the actual work of producing light. It has no moving or vibrating parts of any sort. In contrast, incandescent and florescent lights push current through another element, either a filament in the former or mercury vapor in the later, to excite the electrons and cause light to be emitted. Because the filament and the mercury gas actually vibrate when producing light, neither of these lights can be said to employ a solid-state process.
Being solid-state makes LEDs more durable and increases their lifetime. The component that produces light is not put through the same amount of stress to create light as parts of incandescent and florescent lights. These benefits are some of the many that stem from the technological and functional differences in how LEDs create light.

• What are lumens?
“Lumens” is the unit of measurement for the brightness of a light. Don’t confuse this with “wattage”, which is the unit of measurement for the electricity consumed by a light. If you’re used to incandescent bulbs, you probably use “lumens” and “wattage” interchangeably. But an LED with the brightness of a “40 Watt” incandescent light uses much less electricity that 40 Watts.

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