Recent news regarding programmable LEDs sourcing out of China has prompted this article. With a keen eye toward ‘caveat emptor’, we present a guide on what questions to ask of potential suppliers that you are evaluating in the field of addressable LEDs.

LM-80 – This standard relates to lumen depreciation, which is the term used to describe how LEDs wear out over time. Incandescent bulbs will burn out, flourescent lights will flicker and go out, but solid-state devices such as LEDs will slowly but sure lose their ability to emit photons (light particles) when they are stimulated with electrical current. Does the supplier you are looking at provide an LM-80 report? Pixent does! For each product line, samples are testing in a thermal profile for 3,000 hours (several months in a thermal chamber) and their luminous output is measured. Once 3,000 hours is reached, a formula is used to fit a curve that shows the depreciation of light output over time. Can your potential supplier project with confidence and warrant a 50% light output at 30,000 hours? Pixent can!

LM-80 report for the 5050 LED

Reliability – How will you know if your potential supplier has placed an emphasis on proper manufacturing techniques and raw material quality? Pixent engineers do intensive testing and produce reports that speak to product reliability in several areas specific to long life concerns, such as: Thermal Shock, Thermal Cycling, Permeability, Solderability, High Temperature, High Humidity, and combination heat/humidity cycling. Each product line is extensively testing during prototype phase, and lot tested during production to ensure the highest reliability parts on the market. Ask your potential supplier for these reports, and when they cannot produce them, ask Pixent!

Binning – Can your potential supplier guarantee color consistency and luminosity consistency over millions of pieces and years of production? With our multiple binning machines on each production line, every LED is individually tested for color and brightness and then automatically sorted into a “bin”. Pixent uses only the center bin parts – the remaining parts that are outliers are sold to the local China market. So be careful, the potential supplier you are buying from may be sending you parts that were rejected at the manufacturing test. Contact Pixent for more information regarding specific bins that are suitable for your product lines. You can expect year-to-year consistency with our LED products, and we have the test reports to prove it! Each date code lot of parts comes with a report showing percentages and counts of parts in each bin.

Pixent uses only Bin 7 parts!

Technology Edge – Is your potential supplier a ‘copycat vendor’ who is using old technology, or will you turn to Pixent; who is leading the way with new package technologies such as the ‘Nano’ series of fully encapsulated addressable LEDs? These LEDs are now rated for MSL 4, so much of the angst surrounding moisture sensitivity is alleviated. They are also quite small, only 1.5mm square, so now 2.5mm fine-pitch video displays are possible without the costly and inefficient banks of external drivers.

There are a multitude of suppliers that are springing up to try and follow the market of addressable LEDs. But there is one clear market leader: Pixent! Call or write today for more information on how we can add value to your product line, and improve your bottom line!

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