though, the price of an LED lighting system was too high for most residential
use. With sales rising and prices steadily decreasing, it's been said that whoever
makes the best white LED will open a goldmine.
White LED lighting has been
used for years by the RV and boating crowd, running off direct current (DC) battery
systems. It then got popular in off-the-grid houses, powered by photovoltaic cells.
It used to be that white LED was possible only by "rainbow" groups of
three LEDs -- red, green, and blue -- and controlling the current to each to yield
an overall white light. Now a blue indium gallium chip with a phosphor coating
is used to create the wave shift necessary to emit white light from a single diode.
This process is much less expensive for the amount of light generated.
diode is about 1/4 inch and consumes about ten milliamps (a tenth of a watt).
Lamps come in various arrangements of diodes on a circuit board. Standard arrays
are three, six, 12, or 18 diodes, or custom sizes -- factories can incorporate
these into custom-built down lights, sconces and surface-mounted fixtures. With
an inexpensive transformer, they run on standard 120-volt alternating current
(AC), albeit with a slight (about 15% to 20%) power loss. They are also available
as screw-in lamps to replace incandescent. A 1.2 watt white LED light cluster
is as bright as a 20-watt incandescent lamp.
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