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Old 10-08-2012, 10:50 AM   #1
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Lifespan of LED bulbs

Not trying to start a battle or anything here, I'm just curious. What is the lifespan of most LED bulbs? I know if one were to go out in the year warranty Amazon would replace the PW, but what happens at the 18 month mark? If I read 2 hours a day, every day, how many years should I expect out of the LEDs?
Thanks for the info!
S
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:54 AM   #2
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LED flashlights have their lighting elements last almost to INFINITY. Their drain on batteries is also negligible.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:00 AM   #3
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Your battery will die first. Your desire for your pw even sooner
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:02 AM   #4
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LEDs are pretty tough too, a lot tougher than the Kindle screens. I've dropped LED flashlights several times without damaging the LEDs. The old bulbs were easy to break and burned out rather quickly, but LEDs hang in there a long time.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:02 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by silverraven View Post
Not trying to start a battle or anything here, I'm just curious. What is the lifespan of most LED bulbs? I know if one were to go out in the year warranty Amazon would replace the PW, but what happens at the 18 month mark? If I read 2 hours a day, every day, how many years should I expect out of the LEDs?
Thanks for the info!
S
A quick Google search reveals figures of 50,000 - 100,000 hours, so if you read on your Kindle for 2 hours a day, that's a minimum of 68 years. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you .
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:05 AM   #6
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Your battery will die first. Your desire for your pw even sooner
Definitely, especially since we will be charging the PWs several times more often due to having the LEDs.
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the answers, I really appreciate them. I was just concerned because I have had several flashlights with one or two LEDs out. Granted they are cheap Harbor Freight flashlights, so not really something to base it on!
S
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:05 PM   #8
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Your battery will die first. Your desire for your pw even sooner
Never mind the battery - you'll die first
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:12 PM   #9
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It depends on how hot they are run. Most quotes for 50,000+ hours assume optimal cooling and under-voltage driven, bogus specs in real-life applications. Flashlights are good examples. Early Maglight conversions didn't have enough heat sink/transfer for the LED assembly and will not last that long. The LED turn signal assemblies I've seen in automobiles have a HUGE heat sink attached. I haven't had a chance to look at the newest auto LED headlight assemblies yet but I'm betting on some aggressive venting.

I assume these reading LED's are not as highly driven. Does the lowest part of the screen bezel get at all warm? If not then I wouldn't worry.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:57 PM   #10
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I have 4 LED flashlights which I run with NIMH batteries. They have not yet required a recharge in SIX YEARS.

Current drawn by the Paperwhite is from opening the unit and turning pages - NOT from the LED use. You can keep it at the maximum of level 24 and not change the battery life one iota. Dumping large numbers of ebooks on it will drain it fast due to indexing current use.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:24 PM   #11
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100,000 hours. It is more likely to have a dead battery, broken screen or other mechanical failure before the led wears out in the new kindle, nook or kobo.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:21 PM   #12
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I've heard that LEDs can last 20-30 years. In my lifetime, I can't think of a single instance when and LED light has burned out. If anything, the LED light will be the only thing still working, on a broken device.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:14 AM   #13
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LED flashlights have their lighting elements last almost to INFINITY.
Really? Even past the heat death of the universe?
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:53 AM   #14
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LEDs don't burn out. They get dimmer. After an LED dims to a certain percentage of its original brightness, it is considered dead. The hours they last can vary extremely with various types of LEDs and how they are used.

The types of LEDs used in flashlights and in the lighting industry are very different from the LEDs you see that are used as indicators and such. The ones in lighting drain loads of current (for an LED) and get pretty hot. These ones actually need heatsinks to keep it from burning itself out. A properly designed LED light should easily be able to run continuously for 5-10 years. This rarely happen though since the driver for the LED usually fails before you see any problems with the actual LEDs.

Most small LEDs you see such as those red, blue, and green ones don't need special drivers and don't really generate much heat at all. You could run an LED really hard and end up having it really hot, but that isn't really what they're used for. You rarely ever see these go out.

So in the end, there are only a few reasons an LED would become completely useless and not light up.
1) The driver for the LED dies
2) The LED burned itself out due to bad heat sinking
3) The LED took too much current/voltage and broke
4) A manufacturing defect caused it to die prematurely (I've never seen this happen)
5) Just plain abuse of the LED

A more common defect that was a bit of an issue way back was the fact that LEDs don't always reach the same brightness even if everything is set up the same way. This isn't a big deal anymore.

So here's a common rule to follow for all you people who like to worry out there. Touch the LED. If you don't feel any heat or so little that it might as well be room temperature, then that LED is probably going to outlive any device its put in.

EDIT: I forgot about OLEDs. These ones are organic so they deteriorate a bit faster than normal LEDs. Developers are still working out some kinks for this technology. Don't expect these ones to last forever at its most bright and vibrant state.

Last edited by psycholoner; 10-09-2012 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:51 AM   #15
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Adding to what others have said:

The semiconductor part of a modern white LED is well-known. There are thoroughly tested models for how semiconductors age, and as long as they're kept cool (<50°C), and not driven too hard, they last almost indefinitely.

However, most white LEDs are in fact blue LEDs with a phosphor that converts some of the light into longer wavelengths, and this phosphor can also age. This is also aggravated by excessive temperature, but I believe that the effect is less pronounced - which means that at low temperatures the phosphor ages faster than the LED per se.

When the LED ages the light intensity decreases (the stated lifetime is the time until the intensity is halved.)

When the phosphor degrades, however, the light changes colour, probably towards the bluer end of the spectrum.

Still, neither of these effects should be of any concern for a Paperwhite user, unless you're using the device for more than ten hours a day, in a sauna.
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