LED there be light

LED there be light
There's light at the end of the tunnel finally for inventor and technopreneur Joseph Tan, 48, who had to scale down his electronics business, sell his four-room flat and three cars, and dip into his savings to finance his LED quest. His customers include HP Singapore, Giant, the Singapore stock exchange and the Esplanade.

In the world of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), what you see is not always what you get. Switching over to this mode of lighting - touted as low in consumption and high in intensity - is not as easy as changing light bulbs either.

According to Singapore inventor and technopreneur Joseph Tan, 48, the biggest issues facing LEDs are harmonic current contamination of the power grid, electromagnetic interference, and narrow light distribution.

Mr Tan has invented an LED which he says has managed to bypass these problems, and his product, called Elet, has already won over several large companies.

The first snag has to do with the conversion of alternate current to direct current necessary to power LEDs. In small-scale applications such as replacing lights in a bedroom with LEDs, this does not pose a problem.

But if an entire commercial or industrial building replaces 10,000 fluorescent tubes with LEDs, the so-called harmonic distortion can result in wires melting and transformers breaking down.

Using a medical-grade meter, Mr Tan showed that his Elet LED's total harmonic distortion is less than 5 per cent - a fraction of what other LEDs emit, and even lower than what a fluorescent tube produces.

As for electromagnetic interference, he used a simple transistor radio, passing the antennae over his LED, and other lightings. Again, the Elet model did not cause any audible crackling.

"This is important in places like hospitals, or the stock exchange, where such interference can affect sensitive equipment," Mr Tan said.

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