LED Toolbox


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They're everywhere! You've just received a new development board with the latest microprocessor from your favourite manufacturer. What's the first application it describes? Making an LED flash!

They have invaded our surroundings:
cars, decoration (indoor and outdoor), lighting (indoor and outdoor), electronic appliances (telephones, computers, televisions, etc.), warning lights, public lighting (street lamps, tunnels, illuminated signage), information panels (stations, airports, stadiums), advertising panels - the list goes on and on!

Why have they proved so successful? They main reasons are that LEDs have longer life and consume less power than incandescent lamps. Solid State Lighting systems are easy to install, robust, powerful, reliable, compact, and use less power; what's more, they cover a wide range of colours.

The principle of the TOOLBOX series is to bring together the data sheets from all manufacturers for a given device. We haven't been able to assemble the data sheets for every LED in existence - that would have needed several DVDs!
So we are offering comprehensive technical documentation around and about LEDs: data sheets, along with application notes, design guides, white papers, catalogues, etc.

To familiarise yourself with the world of LEDs (optical properties, electrical characteristics, mounting, life expectancy), we recommend you to start with the 'General information' section.

Then you can move on to the practical stuff.
Although it's perfectly possible to power an LED just using a battery and a resistor, most applications require a more sophisticated power source. To explore the different ways of powering LEDs, see the section: LED drivers - General information.
Then you can choose the most suitable driver for your project:
- LED drivers - Boost drivers
- LED drivers - Buck drivers
- LED drivers - Charge pump drivers
- LED drivers - Constant current drivers
- LED drivers - Multi-topology drivers
- LED drivers - Other

But if you don't want to build an LED supply and control system, you'll find ready-made supply and control blocks here: Power supply & controller/dimmer.

Besides the supply and control module, you'll need other components to build your LED lighting system:
- optical components (filters, lenses, etc.): Optics
- LED have many good points, but one big shortcoming: they get hot. This is a detail not to be overlooked: Thermal: information & products
- hardware (holders, cables, etc.): Accessories (holder, cable, mounting system)
- tools for resistor calculation and measurement: Tools (calculation, measurement)
- sensors: Sensors (ambient light sensor, RGB sensor).
  And finally, the hardest thing will be to choose the most suitable LED for your application. We've classified LEDs by type, size, and colour.

You'll find a whole selection of through-hole LEDs. They are available in different shapes and sizes (round, oval, rectangular, cylindrical, triangular, etc.):
- Oval
- Rectangular
- Round 3mm (T1)
- Round 5mm (T1 3/4)
- Round 8mm
- Round 10mm
- Round 20mm
- Other: axial, concave, cylinder, triangular...
- Super flux

'Surface-mounting' LEDs are also available in various sizes and colours:
- High power
- Luxeon
- Other: MCPCB, chip

LED modules also offer a great many possibilities: bargraphs, light bar, indicators, rings, flexible or rigid strips, etc.
- LED bar graph array & light bar
- LED chain
- LED cluster (round, ring, square...)
- LED indicator, flashing LED
- LED strip (flex & rigid)

All these LEDs emit visible light. Invisible-light LEDs (infrared and ultraviolet) also find many applications (detectors, communication systems): Invisible: IR & UV LED.

If you merely want to replace an incandescent lamp by an LED lamp, we suggest several types: LED lamps: bulbs, neon.
We also present ready-to-use LED luminaires: LED lighting.

For sourcing your devices, see these pages:
- Suppliers
- Manufacturers
- Catalogues.

And finally, we've collected the articles about LEDs that have appeared in Elektor: Elektor articles.

In the Adobe Reader directory on this DVD you'll find Adobe® Reader® which will let you view and print files in PDF format.