Looking At The Future Of LED Lights
If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re pretty excited about LED light technology and how fast it is growing. Eventually, there will be an option (if not a standard) of LED lighting for all your illumination needs. The dropping cost of light-emitting diodes and the improving performance is starting to make them a great option for many off-road enthusiasts.
KC HiLites seems to be leading the pack with applied LED technology in the off-road aftermarket right now. This particular LED design was initially developed for the military (under patent U.S. #7,824,076). It has been in testing more than four years for aerospace applications in accordance to DO160F requirements. The design utilizes two single, large-die LEDs in the construction and uses the latest optical, CAD /CAM and thermal software.
The reflector is hydroformed using a complex surface to direct the light exactly where it is wanted.
Right about now, you may be asking yourself, "What makes them better than a multi-LED light?" And we asked KC that very same question.
This is the answer we received: "A reduction in the number of LEDs results in more reliability and an increase in MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure). MTBF is a calculation used for all military designs. This light has an MTBF of more than 20,000 hours. Compare that to a 1,000-hour halogen or a 2,000-hour HID. The optical coupling of the reflector and the two LED bulbs result in more downfield light while using less power, making less heat, and being lighter in weight."
We know your next question, too: "Is it brighter than an HID yet?"
KC Hilites replies: "It will be a while before we can match the point source of an HID burner with that of an LED. This LED design utilizes less components, making it more reliable, and the burner does not devitrify as fast as an HID would (requiring replacement). It will also exceed the HID under vibration conditions."
KC HiLites has been able to use two LED bulbs in place of many (in a single light) utilizing a combination of technologies. The optical software, LEDs, and the lighting science field are evolving at a very rapid rate these days. Researchers are developing new materials for the emitters, thermal cooling, and optical efficiency.
The amperage draw is a simple function of the total watts. These two LEDs are producing 35 watts, which equates to 2.9 amps per light. They are currently being used on aircraft for landing and taxi lights.
KC LED Light vs. KC Halogen
The images speak for themselves. The LED light does not bleed like the halogen beam does. While not quite as effective as HID lighting yet, LEDs are quickly taking over. LED lights are more durable than and almost as bright as an HIDwhile giving world’s better light over the halogen bulbs.