Why Do LED Bulbs Look So Funny?
Good question. In order to understand the answer, you must consider how LED bulbs are designed and manufactured.
LED bulbs produce just as much light as traditional incandescent bulbs, but that is where the similarity ends. The design of a modern day LED bulb is completely different than what Thomas Edison came up with over a century ago. Far more technically advanced materials are used to design and manufacture today’s LED light bulbs.
Let’s take a peek inside of a general purpose LED light bulb, and explore each component’s function:
The LED bulbs on the market today are designed to replace standard Incandescent bulbs, and to fit your existing light fixtures. Therefore, the Base of LED bulbs is the same size and thread pattern as traditional bulbs. Many base designs and sizes are available to fit various fixtures, but most household fixtures require a Medium base, also known as an E-26 base. The electrical power enters the base through a contact located on the very bottom of the base.
The Electrical Connector is just as the name suggests, it connects the bulb’s Base to the Driver, which we will explore next.
The Driver is the internal component which converts AC power supplied by the fixture into 12 volt DC current which is what the LED bulb needs to produce light. The Driver will produce some heat while converting AC to DC. The amount of heat produced is significantly less than an Incandescent bulb, but there is enough heat to require the next, and most visible component of an LED bulb, the heatsink.
The Heatsink is the part of an LED bulb that your eye usually goes to first. Each manufacturer designs their Heatsinks to have a signature look, but they all have the same purpose. Typically, the Heatsink is constructed of aluminum fins, and it’s sole purpose is to extract unwanted heat away from the Driver, so the other components of the LED bulb remain cool and efficient. The Heatsink is responsible for prolonging the life of the internal electronics of the bulb, which is why an LED bulb will outlast a conventional bulb many times over.
The LED Panel is where the magic happens. A printed circuit board will contain as few as one light-emitting diode, or an array of 10 (or more) light-emitting diodes. Because the light is produced by LEDS, the power required to produce a given amount of light is minimal. This is why an LED bulb will save you significant money over time.
The Globe (lens)is typically made of plastic (to be more shatter resistant than glass), and is designed to diffuse the light produced by the light-emitting diodes. Globes come in a multitude of shapes. If the Globe is shaped like one-half of a sphere, the bulb is considered to be Directional, which means the majority of light is projected forward (away from the Base). If the Globe is larger than half of a sphere, meaning it extends beyond the physical dimensions of the Heatsink, the bulb is considered Omni-Directional, indicating the light is spread more evenly around the bulb, a beam angle up to 320 degrees is typical for this type of bulb.
So, there you have it. LED bulbs do look a bit funny, but as you have just learned, the aesthetics are driven by the function of the components. So we suggest you look past their funny exterior, and focus on the many positives advantages an LED bulb offers over the Incandescent bulb it replaces. An LED uses 80% less electrical energy, which saves you money each month, and reduces the demand on your local power company. Plus, an LED bulb typically lasts up to 20 years or more, which saves you the time and energy of replacing cheap standard bulbs, and significantly reduces the amount of debris heading to the landfill.
That is why our slogan is “Saving the planet one bulb at a time.”