Light emitting diodes (LED) units have achieved rapid popularity. Their main advantages are their low current draw and long operational life. These features make them extremely economic, despite a high purchase price. LEDs are by now a significant force in the overall lighting market and enjoy a growing market share. They are available in a variety of formats including the familiar bulbs, tubes, down lights, recessed lights as well as LED emergency light bars.
As well as low power and a long life, LEDs provide other benefits like reliable performance under high vibration and small, compact size. Importantly, they also produce low residual heat because they operate with only about ten percent of the wattage needed by conventional lighting to generate the same lumens (luminosity). Indeed, LEDs are purposefully designed to require low wattage since they are damaged by high, prolonged heat.
As their name suggests, these bars are intended for use in extraordinary situations under extreme conditions. They are designed to deliver extraordinary performance. In addition to providing general illumination, the light bars are designed to act as an alert and highlight hazardous zones. Their high performance makes them attractive to many public agencies such as police, fire and EMS units.
The bar typically consists of one or more light heads. Each head contains several LEDs. Typically, the units are about 100-150 millimeters (mm) high, 1100-1700 mm long and 300-500 mm wide. They have a sturdy construction typically with a powder-coated, metal chassis.
They incorporate a polycarbonate lens, vertical dispersion with a low aerodynamic profile. They require only a low current draw and are rated to provide up to 100,000 hours. Some come equipped with magnetic feet for greater stability on a metal surface.
Outdoor emergencies often require electrical power produced by movable or portable generators. Variable voltage is a common feature with these generators. Variable voltage causes an LED to generate an abnormally high level of heat. This heat increase can be a problem for the LED unit if sustained. Excess heat can ruin the LED, significantly shortening its operating life and so require it to be replaced early.
Examples include recreational yachts and emergency scenes that depend on generators for power. Voltage surges cause an LED to generate more heat than in a no-surge scenario. This heat escalation can cause problems if the voltage surge is prolonged. The basic formula applying to this issue is: Voltage/Resistance = Current. In short, the problem in these environments is that the voltage is not always the same; it fluctuates.
Alternatively, rather than use a linear resistor, some LED emergency light bars use another device known as a Buck Power Converter. These devices tend to be more costly than a linear resistor but many consider the cost justified since believing the device more effective in controlling voltage surge.
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Author: Lenore BoltonThis author has published 2 articles so far.