Thursday, February 23, 2012

Light Emitting Diode Part II

The voltage dropped across this resistor, combined with the current, constitutes wasted energy and should be kept to a minimum, but a small HEAD VOLTAGE is not advisable (such as 0.5v). The head voltage should be a minimum of 1.5v - and this only applies if the supply is fixed.
The head voltage depends on the supply voltage. If the supply is fixed and guaranteed not to increase or fall, the head voltage can be small (1.5v minimum).
But most supplies are derived from batteries and the voltage will drop as the cells are used.
Here is an example of a problem:
Supply voltage:  12v
7  red LEDs in series = 11.9v
Dropper resistor = 0.1v
As soon as the supply drops to 11.8v, no LEDs will be illuminated.
Example 2:
Supply voltage 12v
5 green LEDs in series @ 2.1v = 10.5v
Dropper resistor = 1.5v
The battery voltage can drop to 10.5v
But let's look at the situation more closely.
Suppose the current @ 12v = 25mA.
As the voltage drops, the current will drop.
At 11.5v, the current will be 17mA
At 11v, the current will be 9mA
At 10.5v, the current will be zero
You can see the workable supply drop is only about 1v.
Many batteries drop 1v and still have over 80% of their energy remaining. That's why you need to design your circuit to have a large

If the cathode lead of a LED cannot be identified, place 3 cells in series with a 220R resistor and illuminate the LED.  4.5v allows all types of LEDs to be tested as white LEDs require up to 3.6v.  Do not use a multimeter as some only have one or two cells and this will not illuminate all types of LEDs. In addition, the negative lead of a multimeter is connected to the positive of the cells (inside the meter) for resistance measurements - so you will get an incorrect determination of the cathode lead. 


 A LED does not have a "Positive" or "Negative" lead. It has a lead identified as the "Cathode" or Kathode" or "k". This is identified by a flat on the side of the LED and/or by the shortest lead.
This lead goes to the 0v rail of the circuit or near the 0v rail (if the LED is connected to other components).
Many LEDs have a "flat" on one side and this identifies the cathode. Some surface-mount LEDs have a dot or shape to identify the cathode lead and some have a cut-out on one end.
Here are some of the identification marks:  

 Part I ... Part II ... Part III ... Part IV
tags:  voltage, battery voltage


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