This is a good example of two interesting trends. One is the use of multiphysics in engineering analysis. The other is the trend toward smart sensors. As mentioned, thermal issues are a major cause of failure in LEDs and large scale integrated curcuits. This is something the EE did not have to spend a lot of time dealing with in the past. It is good to see Mentor Graphics addressing the issue and taking advantage of new sensor capabilities. It makes life easier for all of us.
That's a very surprising statistic, TJ. At the rate of 75 percent, I would think the city would reconsider either its supplier or the use of LEDs period. Given the difficulty of fixing and replacing traffic lights, I would imagine a more reliable source -- even if more expensive -- would pay for itself.
Interesting point about some LEDs being better than others in terms of quality. I suppose that's true with any component. Any rough guidelines engineers need to consider to help them spec the proper LED supplier?
The alterantives to consider for the heavy LED failure rate in the traffic light failure is that teh LEDs themselves may not have been quality LEDs from a reputable supplier. There are a considerable amount of low quality LEDs that do not perform as well as the more expensive offerings. Also, it may be the substrate that they are mounted on, the solder joint and several other failure modes. I worked in the automive industry on LED headlights and tail lights. I am sure you have noticed the dead LEDs in the tail lights of the truck ahead of you. The quality and durability of these LEDs and the assembly as a whole where not very good. They have improved and so will the LEDs and sub-assemblies in the street lights. Unfortunately early adopters are the guinea pigs for QC.
Call me obsessive, but I’ve always thought an LED should last longer than a human if treated correctly.A continuous light at 80K hours is around 9 years.If we kept the junction under 80C or some other less severe level, could we get a lifetime (>100 years) from them?Could they not be “the light that just does not burn out”?
Cost savings has driven the change to LED lighting; they use less electricity and while expensive on the initial purchase will last much, much longer than conventional lights.
I'm in North Charleston, SC commissioning several projects. North Charleston uses LED traffic signals. Almost every single red and green LED array in the city has at least five LEDs that don't function. In some cases, more than 75% of the LEDs do not turn on. While LEDs do eliminate the single-point failure of incandescent bulbs, 75% failure is unacceptable.
I don't know if it's thermal problems of the LEDs or their circuit boards, environmental aspects of high heat and humidity of this region, or something else. but driving around North Charleston makes me think LED lighting still has bugs to stomped out.
Fantastic synthesis of Theory and Experiment. This interplay between experimentalists and theorists is just what is needed to get an accurate snapshot of the actual system. The theoretical modeling provided by CFD brings us very close to visualizing the system under study, but only when actual measurements are used to carefully calibrate and verify the CFD models. Calculating overall system performance using component values measured in isolation runs counter to the systems reality that the integrated system is often greater than the sum of the parts. Especially when it comes to energy efficiency, I hope we continue to see more stories like this one.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.