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LED Bulb Basics

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What is an LED?
An LED is a light emitting diode.  An LED is a semiconductor device that will emit visible light when an electrical current passes through it.  An LED bulb is a light bulb produced using one or more LEDs in place of that traditional filament found in incandescent lighting.

What is an SMD?
SMD stands for Surface Mounted Diode, which is the latest and most high tech design for LED lighting.  SMDs are the next generation LED light and are far superior in performance.  SMDs are small, solid state, high-intensity chips which when used for lighting are highly energy efficient, and deliver a vastly superior lighting experience.   SMD ships are capable of producing up to 4 times the light of an LED.  Another significant benefit of our SMDs is a 140 degree lighting angle.  The wider angle and higher light output make them a great upgrade to ordinary incandescent bulbs.

Which Color LED bulb should I choose?
For best results the LED color should be the same as the lens color.  For example: when a white LED is used with a red tail lamp lens, the lens will filter out all but the red portion of the light.  When a red LED bulb is used with the red tail lamp lens, very little or no light will be blocked by the lens.  The light from a White LED contains a small portion of light within the red portion of the visible light spectrum.  As a result, much of the light is unable to pass through the filter.  Selecting a bulb that matches the lens color is very important when buying LED bulbs.  However, when considering brighter LED bulbs such as those built with SMD technology, matching the bulb color to the lens is less important.  The increased brightness of the SMD technology makes the performance difference between a matched bulb and a white bulb very minor.

How Bright are LED Bulbs?
Generally LED bulbs are not as bright as a standard incandescent bulb.  However, they do have many advantages over incandescent bulbs.  Those benefits include longer life, faster on/off times, significantly lower power consumption, more vivid colors, and very low heat output.  While they are generally not as bright as incandescent bulbs, some of them with large numbers of LEDs will appear brighter than filament bulbs.  If you are seeking a bulb that has all the benefits of an LED plus an increase in brightness, then the bulbs that use SMD technology are the way to go.  SMD technology is the future of the LED bulb.  It is important to know that the light from LED and SMD bulbs is distributed differently so they can appear brighter in some applications and not as bright in others.  Lighting results with LED bulbs strongly depends on the size and shape of the bulb fixture (housing) and the reflector (lens).

Do LED bulbs produce a lot of heat that will cause damage to my vehicle?
No.  LED (and SMD) bulbs produce a fraction of the heat created by an equivalent incandescent bulb.  The brighter a bulb is, the more heat it emits.  You can hold our brightest LED bulbs in the palm of your hand even after they have been lit continuously for over 24 hours!  Touching the average incandescent bulb after just 30 seconds of lighting can cause a serious burn.  While LED bulbs do get warm, they produce relatively little heat as compared to an incandescent bulb.

Why are some colors of LEDs more expensive than others?
LEDs use different semiconductor materials to create different colors of light, and some semiconductor materials are more expensive than others.  Manufacturing costs are different based on the materials so this affects the price of the LED produced.  White LEDs are the most expensive because red, green and blue semi conductor materials are combined together to make a white LEDs.

How is the brightness of LED bulbs rated?
Most LED bulbs emit light like a flashlight, all out the end of the LED.  Regular filament bulbs emit light from the end and all sides evenly.  This is the reason why we do not rate LED car bulbs in lumens or watts, the numbers would be either deceptively low or deceptively high based on where the measurement is taken.  In order to achieve more even lighting with LED technology, multiple LEDs on a single bulb are required.  Even in that instance, the light emitted will be more intense in some areas than others making rating the bulb in the traditional manner unreliable.