LED Bike Lights
A summary of LED Lights and the way they work
As well as producing light, LEDs are used in many different ways and there are various modern devices that benefit from this type of light such as remote controls, digital clocks and the images that can be seen on giant television screens which are formed by light emitting diodes. The principle is quite simple - the illumination is by way of electrons that do not emit heat and for this reason alone their lifespan far exceeds that of a conventional light bulb many times over. Due to the fact that LEDs can produce more light from a much smaller bulb, many modern appliances have become more compact offering better storage and manoeuvrability. As an example of this, over recent years, televisions have taken on a new look enabling a much narrower and lighter product as a result of this breakthrough in technology. Magicshine bike lights illustrate the way that different lights can utilise LED units in different ways examine the single unit 4x LED Magicshine MJ-872 and double unit Magicshine MJ-880 to see the options.
How a Diode performs
Light emitting diodes, although often very small, can produce considerably more light than their size would indicate and they operate because they become part of an electrical circuit. Its working principle is very simple and it is a semi-conducting device that is able to conduct an electric current and it is this current that produces the light.
A diode is a simple type of semi-conductor made up of a material that can conduct an electric current. A normal semi-conductor is made up of a material that is tainted which means that it has had impurities added to it. This process enables the bonding of atoms that are added and the balance is changed as extra atoms are combined. This results in the material becoming more conductive.
Understanding the negative and positive factor
When a semi-conductor has extra electrons it is known as an N type material because it has negative charged particles included. Free electrons move to positively charged from negatively charged areas. Whereas a semi-conductor with more holes is known as a P type material this is due to the fact that it possesses more positively charged particles. Due to this, the holes seem to move to a negatively charged area from a positive one. This is because electrons have the ability to leap from one hole to another.
A diode is made up of sections of N and P types of material that are fused together with electrodes at each end. This enables conducted electricity to flow only one way. A depletion zone is formed when N type material begins to fill the holes from the P type material. When this occurs the semi-conductor returns to its original state where all the holes are packed ensuring that there are no spaces for the charge to flow.
Eradicating the depletion zone means that this procedure has to be reversed and this ensures that P type and N type electrons move in the opposite direction. This is achieved by connecting the N type side of the diode to the negative end and the P type side to the positive end. This is when a difference in voltage occurs amongst the electrodes. When the required difference is achieved the electrons are boosted out of their holes in the depletion zone and are then allowed to move independently. Next a charge moves across the diode and the depletion zone then recedes.
This procedure produces an intriguing side effect with the generation of light. The most basic entities of light are brought about by particles. These particles possess momentum and energy; a type of energy that can produce light which is able to be released by an atom.
These particles are known as photons and when electrons begin to encircle the focal point of an atom, photons are set free. The greater energy an electron has the greater the distance it orbits from an atoms focal point.
Frequency fluctuation can instigate an energy release in the form of a photon. This boost in energy can cause an electron to jump from a lower to a higher orbital.
Why cyclists favour LEDs
Light emitting diodes or LEDs as they are commonly known have many uses and are renowned for their durability. LED bike lights allow a cyclist peace of mind because when cycling at night they are reliable and will not let you down as many of the conventional type of cycle lamps could do. The reason for this is that they do not have a filament; when a conventional light bulb breaks down it is usually the filament that breaks and when this happens there is no warning. You could be cycling along a poorly lit country lane and suddenly a filament perishes and you are left in complete darkness. This is a potentially dangerous situation but can be overcome by taking advantage of modern technology that has given us the LED light.
Consequently, for any cyclist the LED bike light can be as important as a safety helmet. Even when riding a mountain bike through a forest where the natural light is restricted, a reliable form of artificial light could mean the difference between seeing an obstacle thus avoiding any collision to not being even remotely aware of any obstruction in your path. In this type of situation, falling off your bike could be costly with repairs to your bike and at the same time suffering an injury resulting in being unable to work. But all of this could be avoided just by investing in an LED bike light.
The Superiority of LEDs
Although all diodes produce light its effectiveness is in question due to the fact that a certain amount of light is absorbed by the semi-conductor. However, LEDs have a number of advantages over the conventional lamps that have been our main source of light for many years. When the filament breaks down on a conventional lamp it has to be replaced. As a light emitting diode does not contain a filament, this enables it to last a lot longer. A conventional lamp due to its glass construction is fragile and easily broken whereas an LED is much smaller and made of plastic making it more robust and durable. In addition to this, is the fact that an LED is much easier to fit and it does not generate any heat at all either
Efficiency is the main plus factor with light emitting diodes. As conventional light bulbs waste a lot of energy simply because the filament has to be warm before it will emit any light. The opposite happens with LEDs as all of the power that is used is solely to produce light. Therefore, there is very little electricity that is wasted and as the cost of power has soared over recent years this can be a great saving for any household.
Is it a case of LED light bulbs over Conventional and Fluorescent?
Up until the year 2000, LEDs were very expensive due to the cost of the materials that made up their construction. Fortunately, since this time these costs have reduced dramatically. Although they remain more expensive than conventional bulbs to purchase there is a long term saving due to their durability and longer life span.
Taking advantage of this modern technology can give each and every cyclist peace of mind. As the popularity of cycling increases due to the health factors involved, safety must be a prime concern. It is not only about being able to see clearly when the light is not at its best due to weather conditions or any other factor but it is also about being seen by other road users too. This is where LED bike lights could help reduce the uncertainty of cycling at night as a cyclist would be more confident that they would not experience a light failure when they are travelling many miles from home.
This same situation can apply in the home. For instance when confronted with the failure of a conventional light bulb, most people have experienced the situation where they are fumbling around in the dark looking for a replacement. One of the many mistakes that have been made in the past is that when conventional light bulbs are purchased in packs they are stored away until a failure is experienced. When a replacement is needed very often there is a dud bulb in a pack and this is not discovered until a new bulb is required. By using LED lights this can ensure that an incident of this nature is never experienced.
Disposal is safer
Fluorescent lights have increased in popularity over the years and compact fluorescent bulbs have become more efficient and in doing so consume a lot less power than their conventional equivalent. In fact, it is estimated that compact fluorescent bulbs can last eight times longer than a conventional bulb giving out the same amount of light. However, there is a down side and that is fluorescent bulbs contain mercury which is toxic. So as a result of this reality, disposing of them when they no longer work can become a problem due to the safety regulations that control the disposal of hazardous waste.
The light emitting diode offers the lower consumption of its fluorescent counterpart without the hazardous nature of its contents. Getting down to the economical advantages of LEDs the figures read like this. A conventional 60-watt light bulb uses $300 worth of electricity a year and produces around 800 lumens of light. A compact fluorescent bulb producing the same amount of light will cost around $75 a year in electricity. An LED bulb uses less than eight watts of power and its cost per year will be in the region of $30 yet it will last something like 50,000 hours longer.
Cost vs. efficiency
The reason that many people still purchase conventional light bulbs is their initial cost. Since they are much cheaper to purchase and in times of economic restraint the cheapest always sells first. However, there is a considerable long term saving with LEDs but it is the initial cost that is the stumbling block for many which often deters purchasers. Furthermore, as well as the long term saving, LEDs are much easier to dispose of when they finally break down because there are no concerns over toxic waste.
As LED lighting is still in its infancy there can still be some problems that need to be overcome. For example, in some cases circuits have been known to overheat and this has caused more current to be used and when this occurs burnout can be experienced. As these teething problems are resolved and production becomes more efficient, LEDs will be even more reliable and their initial cost will undoubtedly fall.
Conventional light bulbs exhibit a warm yellowish light as opposed to the brightness of LEDs and fluorescent bulbs. In addition, because LEDs are easier to dim they can be used to great advantage for the enhancement of plant growth. There is also a greater gain in this field as no heat is emitted which can become damaging to plants and their growing process.
The reason why Cycling is improved with LED lights
In the case of the cyclist the light does not have to be fitted on the bike as lights designed to follow the contours of the body are not too far away. The advantages of this type of technology will be immeasurable with the amount of lives that can be saved and the accidents that will be prevented. This will take away the vulnerability that a cyclist experiences when out on the road.
It should be remembered that cycling is one of the healthiest pastimes and the human body can derive enormous benefit from this pursuit. When we read about the epidemic known as obesity that is consuming the worlds developed countries, cycling could be one of the best ways to alleviate this problem for many. Unlike jogging it does not put seven times the weight of the body on the knees and ankles and once the bike has been purchased, providing it is maintained correctly, there are no ongoing fees unlike joining a gym. So the advantages are immense and add to this the fact that participation can be carried out at any time to fit into the busiest of schedules, which can be day or night due to the added benefit of LED bike lights. Cycling through the night can be on much less congested roads with the emphasis more on physical fitness than trying to avoid the traffic.
The future for LED lights
The last decade has seen a dramatic advancement in the way LEDs are used and produced one area that has had an effect on many of us is its use in the production of TVs. Today the modern television is considerably thinner and lighter that the TVs of the past. Besides this they have become more manoeuvrable because of the use of LEDs in their production. With the drastic improvements that are being introduced, flat screen TVs are getting much bigger yet at the same time thinner. This type of technology is still in its early stages but imagine how TVs will look in decades to come. Another recent innovation has been perfected which is known as local dimming. This allows different parts of a TV screen to be dimmed or brightened to the requirement of the observer thus producing a more enhanced display. Lighting around the edge of the screen is in use and the colour quality is constantly improving.
What the future in this field holds is mind boggling. Now scientists are working on organic materials that will enable semi-conductors to be much more adaptable. This will initiate flexible lights and televisions that can be folded or rolled up. The impact this will have on the mobile phone industry could be astounding. Imagine what our children and grandchildren would want for Christmas in 2020.