Variable intensity LED bulb

A dimmable, extremely long-lasting, and highly energy-efficient LED bulb

Photonics Energy

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The U.S. Navy has developed a dimmable LED bulb that emulates the full dimming performance of a traditional bulb but lasts 60 times longer. (Navy photo)

The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) has developed and tested a patented variable intensity LED bulb that emulates the full four orders of magnitude output dimming profiles of traditional incandescent bulbs compared to only two orders of magnitude for typical LED bulbs. The Navy LED bulb lasts more than 60 times longer and provides better daytime visibility than incandescent bulbs. Additionally, the Navy bulb meets demanding aerospace and military durability requirements, does not require a dimmer circuit, generates less heat than incandescent bulbs, and is compatible with night vision imaging systems.

The basic design of the variable intensity LED bulb yields to tailoring for different supply voltage and luminance characteristics. The design performance can be customized using commercially available parts to replace any number of existing incandescent bulbs. As an example, the first Navy application of the variable LED technology was a replacement for the Number 327 (T1 ¾) mini incandescent “peanut” bulb standard in various aircraft. The new bulb features four LEDs programmed to emulate the intensity response curve of the traditional 327 bulb. It occupies the same physical footprint of the existing bulb but lasts 40,000 hours compared to an average of 400 to 700 hours for the incandescent bulb it replaces.

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