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Importance Of Using A Heat Sink For Amber LED Lights

May 20, 2022

Importance Of Using A Heat Sink For Amber LED Lights

Depending on the type of emergency services such as the police, EMS or utility and road safety crew, different colors of lights are used. However, what remains common is the type of lighting system used in most of these modern vehicles, LED lights. Be it the flashing blue light of police cars or the amber LED lights used in utility trucks, these beacons are known for their efficiency, long life span and easy maintenance. Another major advantage touted by many is the lack of heat emitted by LED lights. While it is true in a rudimentary sense, the actual answer is a lot more complex. Hence, the question of whether these lights produce heat and how it is dissipated will be discussed down below.

Heat distribution in LED lights.

Do LEDs produce heat?

Externally, LED lights are cool to touch even after prolonged use, prompting most people to say that they don’t produce any significant heat. Heat directly emanated from the source of light can be defined as infrared radiation, a phenomenon not witnessed with these particular categories of beacons.

However, internally, LED lights do produce a significant amount of heat. Since the light is emitted by the semiconductor, the actual efficiency of the operation is apparently only 5 to 40 percent. Therefore, almost 60 to 95 percent of energy is wasted in the form of excess heat. 

What are the consequences of an overheated LED?

The internal temperature of a LED is also known as junction temperature. If this excess heat isn’t managed efficiently, then the junction temperature will steadily rise, adversely affecting the voltage and brightness of the LED. Although the change may not be abrupt, with time, the lumen output will deteriorate, thereby shortening the lifespan of the light. 

Therefore, to effectively dissipate this additional heat externally, heat sinks are required for most LED lights. These devices provide a safe, easy path for the heat to be released to the elements, thereby keeping the junction temperature low and operable. Most heat sinks operate on any one of the three heat transfer mechanisms: conduction, convection or radiation. 

The 3 major factors affecting the efficiency of a heat sink will be discussed in a subsequent blog.

Set up in 2007, Darta Enterprises is a proud, family-owned custom vehicle outfitting company that primarily serves the police, EMTs and the fire department. We have formerly worked with The York Regional Police, Vaughn Fire, the City of Brampton and many more prestigious institutions. To know more about our services or to book a consultation, call us today.