Tuesday, January 16, 2007

LED there be light!

There's been a lot of hype about the next generation of lighting using white Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) as they're much more efficient than tungsten bulbs and a lot less toxic than fluorescent bulbs.

I got a Cyba-Lite LED/Xenon torch (right) last summer. You use the LEDs for walking around, but if you lose your car keys, you can switch to the powerful Xenon bulb for more oomph. The batteries will last over nine hours on the former, but only one and a half on the latter.

Then Santa got me this great solar-powered LED bike light (left) from The Natural Collection. I was going to wait to see how well the charging works in practice before reviewing this product, but as the light works for 15 hours from a peak charge and it gets plenty of daylight to trickle charge the batteries during the day, I'd be waiting a long time... During the summer, you can use it as a torch or just as a solar charger for two AA or AAA batteries.

While both of these uses are small beer in terms of energy use (and avoiding toxic waste batteries), the really exciting development is domestic LED bulbs. I haven't tried them out yet, but I understand they're still for decorative lighting as they can't match those 50W halogen spotlights just yet...

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At 9:29 PM, Blogger Solomon Broad said...

I've seen LED's in a new range of torches we sell at work (I work in a DIY store), but I've been rather disappointed in terms of their performance. I'd rather charge my rechargeable batteries more often and be able to see where I'm going, than use one of the new LED torches.

Perhaps when the technology has been perfected I'll be more inclined to use them.


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