INFORMATION ABOUT L.E.D.'S
One of most frequent requests or inquiries is ‘How do I change the light bulb in my solar light?’
Solar Lights have been around for over a decade and LED's have been around for at least three decades. Many people do not know what an LED is and many are unaware that 99% of solar lights do not use a ‘light bulb’ but in fact an LED. An LED is a Light Emitting Diode. It’s like a light bulb but really it’s an electrical component which has been used for decades. LED’s are proven very reliable and have a typical life expectancy of around 100,000 hours. When used in a solar light which illuminates during the night time hours this equates to approximately 20 years of use. Although the actual life of an LED cannot be guaranteed they do prove far more reliable than a conventional light bulb. The primary reason for their use in solar lights is that they consume very little power. This is important as a solar light is fitted with rechargeable batteries that have to be capable of supplying power to the LED for up to several hours continuously. A conventional light bulb, even of very low wattage, would deplete the batteries too quickly.
LED’s are available in a variety of colors with the most popular used in solar lights being white, amber, green, blue and red. Recent developments in LED technology can provide color changing LED’s. Some white LED’s can appear with a very slight blue tint to the color of the light output. LED’s do not get hot like conventional light bulbs, are very small in size, and have particular angles of view. When installed inside a solar light often reflectors and prismatic lenses are fitted around the LED to help disperse the light evenly and as effectively as possible. LED’s are not really ‘user changeable’ unless you have the electronics expertise. Therefore if you have a choice of colors, you should select the right color at the outset.
LED’s are used in many electrical products these days such as computers, faxes, modems, telephones, TV’s, VCR’s, and many other audio/video type devices. These are usually just standards LED’s often red or green. The light output is nominal. LED’s fitted in solar lights are usually the ‘super bright’ versions which are much brighter than standard LED’s. However, there is a limitation as to the maximum amount of light an LED in a solar light can provide. Sometimes expectations can be far too great of a single LED or even multiple LED’s. This is usually due to the consumer not being fully aware of the technology and its limitations which, if you take just a moment to think about it, as most solar lights are powered by just one or two AA type Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries, connected to a single or pair of LED’s, could it really be possible to achieve 100, 60 or even 40 watts of light output? Obviously that is not possible and never will be. The average solar light provides a light output of less than 4 watts. After all, these are usually used as ‘accent lights’ unless they are advertised to have some other specific purpose.
We offer solar lights that have multiple LED’s grouped together in front of a reflector and behind a special lens. This can dramatically increase the light output and in a floodlight configuration an output of up to 50 watts can currently be achieved. Of course, this type of fixture is not a decorative light for the yard but more of a functional device for area lighting or flag pole lighting. AA type Ni-Cad rechargeable batteries would not be sufficient and so a large sealed lead acid battery is used for the power source.
Recent developments in LED technology have also enabled us to introduce two new fixtures each fitted with special 1 Watt LED’s. These are bigger and more powerful LED’s that although still powered by multiple AA type Ni-Mh rechargeable batteries the light output is considerably brighter than the super bright LED. A light output of around 15 to 20 watts can typically, depending upon the fixture, by achieved.