Bright Light Emitting Diodes


David Meego - Click for blog homepageThis is a little off topic, but ....


Light Emitting Diodes (or LEDs) have been around quite a while and have been used for many applications over the years.  Do you remember the watches with the red digits that required two hands to read as you had to press the button to make it light up?  Or the calculators with the same red 7 segment displays?


Moving on from the old glowing red dot, we can now have LEDs in almost any colour, orange, yellow, green, blue, white, even infrared and ultraviolet.  But it is not the colour I wanted to discuss, it is the brightness.


In recent years, the LED manufacturers have been able to produce LEDs that can generate an amazing level of brightness.  This has made the LED a viable replacement for the incandescent globe in many devices.  LED torches are now smaller and brighter as well as longer lasting and more robust that their predecessors.


While this increase in brightness has created opportunities for the the LED to be used in more applications, electronics manufacturers are now using bright LEDs in places they should not be used.


So what is this post all about? I recently bought a surge protector gizmo with two USB charging outlets. A very cool device which can protect the stereo system in the bedroom and charge my Windows phone and my Zune HD from a single power outlet.


The problem was that it also operates as an unwanted night light. The glow from the super bright blue LED lighting up the entire corner of the room.  I have had to place some black electrical tape over the LED to dull it down. I have provided this feedback to the manufacturer and they said they would look into making the LEDs dimmer.


My question to electronics manufacturers is "Why do you have to use super bright LEDs just to tell us that a device is on?".


We have to close the door to my home office at night to stop the glow from various devices lighting up the hallway.


Have you had similar experiences? Please post a comment.


David


PS: See the Wikipedia entry for more information on Light Emitting Diodes.

Comments (11)

  1. Vaidy says:

    🙂 I do have the same experience. And worse, this is a serious sleep distract to my daughter.

    But I have at least made sure that I do not have multi-color LEDs flashing. Almost all such instruments at home are Bluish, which is pleasant to some extent.

    Vaidy

  2. Sivakumar V says:

    Yep… I face the same problem, as I work from home… At night especially, when all lights are off, I can see a shimmer of lights glowing from my modem, router, VoiP device and my spike busters… 😀

    It is indeed very bright and kills sleep many a time.. I used to wrap a piece of dark colored linen atop these devices to dull their glowing effect… 🙂

  3. We’re now wrapping the devices in black masking tape to reduce the blue/green glow.  Completely unnecessary for an indicator light, but I do love my LED Surefire!

  4. mgomezb says:

    I have had the same issue with my sophisticated AT&T U-verse box. The thing has a blue led on it that can — kid you not – light up an entire room. I have resorted to duck tape, electrical black tape and even turning the thing around to minimize the light. What a headache.

    Now, my living room is worst than a Christmas tree: the blue ray player, the flat panel, the u-verse box, the internet radio, the receiver,… all seem to have a life of their own with these ultra bright leds to indicate that they are — ironically — turned off!

    MG.-

    Mariano Gomez, MVP

  5. devon says:

    There is a strange green glow in the corner of my daughters bedroom, we use it as a night light for her!  From the plug/charger for her mp3 player (which we use as a sound machine since I live in a 1920’s streetcard neighborhood with tightly packed houses!)

  6. oldnewthing says:

    My Windows Home Server comes with a slider control to adjust the brightness of the external LEDs (yay). Unfortunately, the slider setting is not persisted, so when the server reboots (e.g. after installing patches), the brightness returns to its default level, which is "as bright as possible" (boo). I think electrical tape is in my future.

  7. Steve says:

    Yes, it is an issue I share as well. When a guest visited and slept in my home office, I had to tape PostIt notes over all of my blue LED PC power lights.  They are incredibly bright, and highly directional.

    I don’t need any night lights in my home office–there must be 20+ LEDs that keep the room glowing at night.

  8. Xavier says:

    blue-tack fixes everything 😉 A good use of sensible LED / backlighting is my Blackberry, if the environment is dark the LED / backlight power is reduced as you dont need as much light in the dark to see activity.

  9. mgomezb says:

    OMG! I was able to see the blue bright led light that David is referring to. This thing can light up a rave party!

  10. Nancy Lee says:

    Being a technological lover and an engineer of Shri Ram Institute of Technology i.e. one of the best engineering colleges in India, I always show my huge interest to know and perform detailed analysis about different features and activities of electronic components, including Light Emitting Diodes. Thus, I would surely analyze the problem caused by super bright lighting of LEDs and surely recommend for an alternate to it.

  11. Hi Nancy

    The solution is a LED which glows enough to see it is on without throwing out enough light to read by.

    David

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