Many clients have a great idea but lack technical details to support the concept. Such technical details may include information about overall functionality and integration. Fortunately, a desired outcome is the only required information to initiate the application development process for a custom LED lighting solution. Our applications engineers specialize in determining exactly what is required to develop new custom lighting concepts. For example, suppose a client has decided to develop a computer mouse equipped with an LED lighting design for visual effects. The client has plans to design custom molds used for mass-production of the exterior plastic components, but the mold design must compliment LED light integration. Determining the desired outcome is the most important step in the process. In this example, suppose the client has decided that the left and right mouse buttons should illuminate blue and orange, respectively. An applications engineer will begin by conducting extensive researching within our central LED database. The goal is to locate the most suitable light emitting diodes to meet criteria specified by the client. To narrow search results, the engineer may explain the concept of several common LED characteristics such as beam angle and luminous intensity. Subsequent to a short question and answer session, the engineer can begin to narrow the search results based on client response. The engineer will eventually assist with physical and electrical aspects involved with incorporating the LED lights into the computer mouse. After considering all aspects of the new design, the client can proceed with plans to develop the mouse body molds.
Beyond basic application interfacing, a realm of complex variables further complicates an otherwise strait forward LED lighting design. Environmental factors such as ambient temperature, humidity, and sun light will affect the basic operation and reliability of the LED light. Hot and humid conditions are generally bad. Therefore, considering the worst-case condition offers a baseline for engineering procedures. LED datasheets generally state operating criteria at room temperature. However, graph data usually offered subsequent to typical operating conditions provides data relative to alternative environments. A derating curve offers the maximum forward drive current according to temperature. Some datasheets offer lifespan or reliability data according not only to temperature, but also to humidity. It is important to consider this data while engineering an LED lighting solution with potential exposure to a fluctuating environment.
To further ones understanding of custom lighting, consider the following custom LED lighting solution. The objective is to design an LED array for a civilian airport lighting application, known as a PAPI. A third party designs and manufactures the housing component, originally engineered to meet strict Federal Aviation Administration regulations. Corresponding electronics are required to fit within the confines of the housing, and must operate from a particular power grid installed at the airport. Assume that optical requirements call for a red or white light visible from a distance of five miles during daylight. A successful overall design does not only depend upon specific optical requirements, but also on the mechanical and electrical compatibility with corresponding housing. Dimensional restrictions and mounting criteria are carefully considered. The interior volume of the housing will generally have a direct affect on thermal properties. In addition, mechanical connections with the housing can dissipate heat, theoretically creating a heat sink. Ventilation is also important. A common practice is strategically placing electronic components that generate excessive thermal energy in direct proximity to any openings or vents in the housing. Assume the airport's primary power grid operates at 120 volts AC, single phase, at 60 Hz. A high-grade linear power supply will function as a buffer between the primary power grid and LED circuitry. The supply's output rating is 48 volts DC with a maximum current of 12 amps. The linear power supply's voltage and current specifications provide a mathematical foundation necessary for engineering the corresponding LED circuitry.