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LED Technical Terms

Posted by on 4/22/2016 to General LED Information

LED - Light-emitting diode

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a two-lead semiconductor light source. It is a pn-junction diode, which emits light when activated. When a suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This effect is called electroluminescence, and the color of the light (corresponding to the energy of the photon) is determined by the energy band gap of the semiconductor.

An LED is often small in area (less than 1 mm2) and integrated optical components may be used to shape its radiation pattern.


Channel generally relates to the ouput from a controller on a single line/connection E.g. RGB - R-RED is a Channel, G=GREEN is a Channel, B=BLUE is a Channel adn W=White is a Channel.

LED Zones

A Zone relates to an area whereby it has its own related control/circuits E.g. A Dining Room could be on Zone 1 and the Lounge could be on Zone 2, or, in a kitchen the LED lighting above the cupboards could be on Zone 3 and below the cupboards Zone 4. Zoning is a logical way of seperating the control/circuits in to simple areas in which the desired lighting effects and control can be achived.

DMX – Digital Multiplex

Primary method for linking controllers (such as a lighting console) to dimmers and special effects devices such as fog machines and intelligent lights. DMX has also expanded to uses in non-theatrical interior and architectural lighting, at scales ranging from strings of Christmas lights to electronic billboards. DMX can now be used to control almost anything, reflecting its popularity in theatres and venues.

DALI - Digital Addressable Lighting Interface

DALI network consists of a controller and one or more lighting devices (e.g., electrical ballasts and dimmers) that have DALI interfaces. The controller can monitor and control each light by means of a bi-directional data exchange. The DALI protocol permits devices to be individually addressed and it also incorporates Group and Scene broadcast messages to simultaneously address multiple devices (e.g., "Group 1 goto 100%" or "Recall Scene 1").

Colour Temperature

Colour temperature is a characteristic of visible light that has important applications in lighting, photography, videography, publishing, manufacturing, astrophysics, horticulture, and other fields. In practice, color temperature is only meaningful for light sources that do in fact correspond somewhat closely to the radiation of some black body, i.e., those on a line from reddish/orange via yellow and more or less white to blueish white; it does not make sense to speak of the color temperature of, e.g., a green or a purple light. Color temperature is conventionally stated in the unit of absolute temperature, the Kelvin, having the unit symbol K.

Tunable White

Tunable white light is a technology that enables users to adjust the color temperature of a lamp in real time. Generally tunable white is a method of producing a varying colour appearance from light sources with two contrasting colour temperatures. For LEDs, users modify the correlated color temperature (CCT) and intensity of the source with an input, such as a slider control or intelligent lighting management system. The range of attainable color temperatures varies by product: a typical range may lie somewhere between 1600K and 6500K.

LED Controller 

An LED controller can be any devices that can privide switching, dimming and colour control a LED light source. Control can be either wired, or, by remote control by stand alone hand held controllers including, SmartPhones, Iphones, Ipads and Tablets. Note any LED wireless control will need a related receiver.

LED Receiver 

LED wireless control systems will require a receiver. Each receiver will require a power supply, generally a 12/24V DC supply input with outgoing connections to the LED light source E.g. LED RGB Tape. The wirelss receiver can be placed anywhere local to the LED light source (provided it can receive a signal from the wireless controller).