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issue: October 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine

Electronics Report
Fault Indicator and LED Pair

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Lumex, Inc. (Palatine, IL, U.S.) offers what is said to be the industry's first fault indicator designed for use with surface-mount technology LEDs.

The new right-angle quad LED fault indicator from Lumex can be stacked with its mate - the LPF-C0141303S - to provide a total of eight front-panel indicators.

The new LPF-C041304S right-angle quad LED fault indicator is said to snap into any standard circuit board, fitting over four surface-mount (SMT) LEDs. The device's right-angle design carries the light from the LEDs to the front panel.

According to Tim Mauer, product and technology manager of Lumex's Startbright Group, the device can be used wherever light must be moved from circuit-board-mounted SMT LEDs to any nearby front panel, providing an easy-to-see, horizontal indication of fault, status, or level.

"It can be used anywhere the designer needs to have a light indication function on the front panel, but cannot have the active component right in the panel," explains Mr. Mauer. "It does not have to be only a 'fault indicator.' It can also be a 'status indicator.' Picture the panel of a washing machine, where the indicator shows cycle status or water level or water temperature. Colors can vary from blue to green to yellow to orange to red, showing the different levels, temperatures, etc."

The component is designed for use with the company's SML-LX1206 series of SMT LEDs, the industry's most common, lowest cost device, according to Mr. Mauer. "It is the first for the industry as far as a manufacturer presenting the light source and light pipe as a pair," he explains. "The appliance engineer is afforded the best solution in terms of design and cost. There's only one supplier who handles both the light source and the device that gets the light to the front panel. The total installed cost is lower, since the appliance producer does not have to design or build a bracket, assemble, and so on."

One of the product's main performance features, he says, is its low power. "It eliminates the need for high-voltage neon indicators. Compared to line voltage (120-V a.c.) neon indicators or incandescent lamps, LEDs consume only 5 to 10 mA at only 2.0 V d.c.," notes Mr. Mauer. "LEDs are solid-state devices, and the light generating P/N junction is very energy efficient by nature. The LED chip is a small (about 0.4-mm) cube, and yet it generates more light than a neon bulb and in many more colors."

He adds that the device can also increase product reliability. "Traditional panel LEDs can be paths for ESD to reach the main printed circuit board (PCB). Light pipes are not paths for ESD to the LED or PCB," he explains.

Made of clear UL 94V-O-rated polycarbonate, the LPF-C041304S can be used with LEDs of any color. Available indication colors include blue, green, yellow, red, white, and bicolor choices. The LPF-C041304S has four, round 2.8-mm (0.11-in) indicators on 5.08-mm (0.2-in) centers. The distance from the center line of the board-mounted LEDs to the faces of each of the four indicators is 16.0 mm (0.63 in).


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