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What is LED?

LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode. It's basically a semiconductor chip divided into two parts, called the "p-region" and the "n-region." The p-region has a positive charge and the n-region a negative one. In between the two regions is a barrier referred to as a "junction" which keeps the charges separate until a voltage is applied. If you think back to your high-school physics, you'll recall that when a material is negatively charged that means it's molecules have a lot of extra electrons floating around. When an electric voltage is given to the diode, the extra electrons in the n-region now have the extra energy needed to move across the junction. You've no doubt heard the phrase; "Opposites attract." Well, that principle is what causes the electrons flowing into the p-region to recombine with the positive charges there. Without going into a narrative on quantum physics, let's just say that when the charges recombine, electromagnetic energy within a very narrow range of wavelengths is emitted. In other words, a single color of light comes out of the diode. This color depends on the material of the semi-conductor. The process is a fairly straightforward way of producing light, and that's where the advantages come in. LEDs don't require a lot of power (about 80% less than incandescent bulbs). A few volts are all it takes to excite the electrons and get them jumping across the junction. LEDs also use their power more efficiently as opposed to an incandescent bulb, where much of the energy is converted into radiation that you have no control over (i.e. heat), most of the power supplied to an LED is converted to a specific wavelength of light. In the end, this all means that there's a much smaller load on the vehicle's battery. LEDs are ideal for things such as turn signals and brake lights because they only emit light of one color. With a normal bulb emitting white light, some sort of glass or plastic filter must be used to color the light. The filter effectively blocks the other wavelengths of light to let the desired color through. But with an LED this is not necessary, the full light output can be used. Because the light is monochromatic, there is less diffusion of the light, which makes it more visible at greater distances. Another practical benefit of LEDs is their durability. LEDs have a longer life than ordinary bulbs and their simple construction means they are very shock and vibration resistant. This obviously makes them well suited for motorcycle applications, as they're capable of withstanding the bumpiest of roads.


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