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Questions about LED Lighting:

What does LED stand for?
Is a LED a bulb?
What is the difference between an incandescent bulb and an LED?
Do LEDs have a wire filament?
Why do LEDs use such little power?
Do LEDs produce heat?
Can LEDs be damaged if hooked backwards?
Are there differences between LED manufacturers?
Are LEDs affected by extreme conditions?
Do LEDs attract insects?
How long do LEDs last?
LEDs are more expensive than other lighting options, why?
Will LEDs evolve?
LED vs. Incandescent -Cost and Consumption Savings Analysis
BTU or British Thermal Unit - Measurement of Heat Energy

What does LED stand for?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.

Is a LED a bulb?
LEDs do appear to be bulbs but in fact are not. LED's are tiny semiconductors encapsulated in plastic which protect their components and help focus the light.

What is the difference between an incandescent bulb and an LED?
Incandescent create light by use of a filament. When power is applied, the filament glows, generating heat, in turn, producing light. LEDs are the opposite. LEDs create light though a "cold process", when power is applied to semiconductors (usually gallium, arsenic and phosphorus) they're stimulated by the movement of electrons; thus creating photons, the light that is visibly seen by humans.

Do LEDs have a wire filament?
No, LEDs operate using entirely different components. LEDs are diodes; they only allow power to move in one direction. The anode (+) is where the current comes in and the cathode (-) is where the current goes out, much like the positive and negative terminals of a battery. Incandescent bulbs project light in every direction (omni directional) where LEDs due to their package design and layout, project light in specified directions such as 20, 50 or 120 degrees.

Why do LEDs use such little power?
LEDs do not use a filament where a conductor is heated and light is created. Filament based lighting consumes more power than the light produced. LEDs produce very little amounts of heat and do not use filaments making them far more efficient in consumption and output.

Do LEDs produce heat?
LEDs produce very little amounts of heat; the heat noticed in some instances is due to on board components and other factors of the circuit. In comparison to incandescent, LEDs produce a fraction of the heat. If LEDs are hot to the touch, they are being overpowered due to improper circuitry.

Can LEDs be damaged if hooked backwards?
Yes, they can. LEDs being diodes, only allow power to pass in one direction. To ensure that you will get the most life out of our LED devices we add additional circuits to prevent this from occurring in both AC and DC applications.

Are there differences between LED manufacturers?
Yes, there are. We use Nichia brand LEDs whenever possible, and have found through testing and usage that other brands create varied results and staggered outputs. Nichia licenses their LED technology to other companies to develop other LED types but SailboatStuff have found that Nichia manufacturers superior LEDs which yield consistent results.

Are LEDs affected by extreme conditions?
LEDs are geared for harsh environments. LEDs function from -40 F to 180 F; there is no delay or required "warm-up" time for LEDs to function.

Do LEDs attract insects?
No they do not. Insects see entirely different spectrum of light and are attracted to ultraviolet light. A side note, flowers create "nectar guides", invisible to the human eye, ultraviolet light attracts insects to flowers for reproductive purposes. This is not to say that all bugs aren't attracted to LED lights but most can't see the light that LEDs produce.

How long do LEDs last?
LEDs are rated by manufacturers to operate under normal conditions for approx 10 years or up to 100,000 hours of continuous use. As LEDs get older, they tend to dim and fade but aren't susceptible to blinking like incandescent or fluorescents.

LEDs are more expensive than other lighting options, why?
LEDs can operate as stand alone devices, but when grouped or clustered they require additional steps to operate properly. LEDs need proper components such as a circuit board, driving components and some cases, housings; to endure the elements. LED circuits can be designed rapidly yes, but to ensure that they will operate correctly and for long periods of time they require testing. Although this process could be automated, SailboatStuff would have to compromise quality in production and forfeit custom assembly entirely.

Will LEDs evolve?
Yes they will. LEDs are rated in luminous and radiant intensity, measured and best described in millicandellas [MCD]. In 1998 Nichia released a 2,200MCD, in 2002 output jumped to 5,400MCD; then in 2004, 6,400 and 9,400MCD units were released. In 2005, an 18,000MCD LED has been released. LEDs, like semiconductors will become smaller and more efficient as time passes. The next step in LED development will incorporate organic materials into LEDs similar to Organic LEDs [OLEDs].

LED vs. Incandescent -Cost and Consumption Savings Analysis

Watt comparison:
1,000 Watts = 1 Kilowatt
Average year = 8,760 Hours

Incandescent

  • 60 Watt Incandescent bulb consumes 60 Watts of power at 110 Volts AC

  • Powering a 60 Watt Incandescent bulb 24 hours consumes 1440 Watts

  • Powering a 60 Watt Incandescent bulb for 365 days consumes 525,600 Watts

  • Average cost per day: $.16

  • Average cost per year: $58.50


  • SailboatStuff LED Lighting
  • SailboatStuff 36 AC LEDs Light consumes 0.030 of 1 Amp at 110 Volts AC

  • Powering the 36 AC LEDs light 24 hours consumes 56.6 Watts

  • Powering the 36 AC LEDs light 365 days consumes 876 Watts

  • Cost per day: $.00566

  • Cost per year: $2.0759

  • Savings: $56.34 using LEDs


  • BTU or British Thermal Unit - Measurement of Heat Energy
    BTUs are measurements needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree
    1 Kilowatt of AC Power = 4,412 BTU's
    Powering a 60 Watt incandescent bulb per year requires 1,791,300 BTU's
    Powering the 36 AC LEDs light per year requires 71,652 BTU's
    Saving: 1,719,648 BTU's by using SailboatStuff 36 AC LEDs Light instead
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