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LED-Reading a table of technical data for LEDs

Time: 2009-06-24

        Suppliers' catalogues usually include tables of technical data for components such as LEDs. These tables contain a good deal of useful information in a compact form but they can be difficult to understand if you are not familiar with the abbreviations used.

        The table below shows typical technical data for some 5mm diameter round Led lamp lights with diffused packages (plastic bodies). Only three columns are important and these are shown in bold. Please see below for explanations of the quantities.

Type Colour IF
Standard Red 30mA 1.7V 2.1V 5V 5mcd @ 10mA 60° 660nm
Standard Bright red 30mA 2.0V 2.5V 5V 80mcd @ 10mA 60° 625nm
Standard Yellow 30mA 2.1V 2.5V 5V 32mcd @ 10mA 60° 590nm
Standard Green 25mA 2.2V 2.5V 5V 32mcd @ 10mA 60° 565nm
High intensity Blue 30mA 4.5V 5.5V 5V 60mcd @ 20mA 50° 430nm
Super bright Red 30mA 1.85V 2.5V 5V 500mcd @ 20mA 60° 660nm
Low current Red 30mA 1.7V 2.0V 5V 5mcd @ 2mA 60° 625nm

IF max. Maximum forward current, forward just means with the Portable LED Work Light D connected correctly.
VF typ. Typical forward voltage, VL in the LED resistor calculation.
This is about 2V, except for blue and white LEDs for which it is about 4V.
VF max. Maximum forward voltage.
VR max. Maximum reverse voltage
You can ignore this for LEDs connected the correct way round.
Luminous intensity Brightness of the LED at the given current, mcd = millicandela.
Viewing angle Standard LEDs have a viewing angle of 60°, others emit a narrower beam of about 30°.
Wavelength The peak wavelength of the light emitted, this determines the colour of the LED.
nm = nanometre.

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