Leds convert electricity into light. What's revolutionary about them is that they're a much more efficient light source than any lights source before them. Sadly, they are not 100% effective at converting energy into light energy. In the conversion process, energy is lost, in short, all the "lost" energy in the conversion process is converted into heat. If the LED is not properly cooled, it will quickly burn to death, and if unchecked, it may even reach the temperature at which the LED starts desoldering itselves from the board or strip!
In most cases, the effect is not so sudden, but rather surface over time. Most LED light strips do not show any visible symptoms of killing, but if leds without proper cooling or running at low light output only, they usually do. The most obvious symptom is that the LED light that have been running fine for a period of time (weeks/months) suddenly start to lose their leds, and they either go dimmer, change color, or fail altogether. If too many leds fail, then whole sections of the LED light can fail or even the whole led light. Leds typically have a rating of 20.000 hours or even up to 50.000 hours, but those are only true if cooled properly.
The Thermal Challenges of LED Cooling
Over the past decade, the developments of LED semiconductors have LED to important changes in LED applications, from luminous indicators to illuminators. With leds now entering several lighting fields, leds have become one of the standard methods to produce light, combining more traditional light sources such as incandescent bulbs, fluorescent lamps and high intensity discharge (HID). However, LED lighting is unique in that the light source is not a filament, gas discharge or arc, but rather a semiconductor.
This is changing the technology related to lighting development. How to solve the thermal challenge of LED cooling is the problem we need to solve at present. Here is the LED lighting solutions from Lori thermal.