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