See photo. Is this a normal LED? I'm trying to troubleshoot it and can't tell if the bulb\diode is fine.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • I was going to write, “what is this, electricalengineering.SE?” Then I went on there and it scared me. But srsly, I don’t know, sorry – Swifty Aug 9 at 18:12
  • Is this a bicycle headlamp or something? If not, I'm not sure this question belongs on bicycles.SE – SSilk Aug 10 at 13:14
up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's an LED.

Easiest way to see if it is damaged is to connect it to a battery and see if it lights up.

The difficulty is that you can't disassemble the the white plastic unit, so if the LED does not light, the connection wires, resistor or LED itself may be damaged.

If you have a voltmeter you could measure the resistance across the terminals. It should be infinite one way, tens of ohms the other. If it's infinite both ways or zero either way it's trash.

Good news is that decent quality rechargeable LED lights are now inexpensive and ubiquitous.

  • Around 1400 Ohms one way and 700 the other way – PIXP Aug 9 at 18:18
  • 1
    If it doesn't light up with a new battery or a fully charged one it's trash. LED lights can't be repaired by standard users. You'd need some skills in applied electronics. – Carel Aug 10 at 9:20

There's a circuit board inside the white plastic bit, which is called an LED driver.

Here's an example http://www.dx.com/p/3-6v-16v-925ma-constant-current-led-driver-board-for-cree-and-ssc-leds-4pcs-506226#.W26FJ3b-hhE which looks like this:

http://img.dxcdn.com/productimages/sku_506226_4.jpg http://img.dxcdn.com/productimages/sku_506226_5.jpg

The red and black leads go to the LED and the two round metal tracks on the other side are for interfacing to supply battery. The specs relate to voltage out, and supply voltage available as well as maximum currents.

Given your light is not working now, you're not going to make it worse with some exploratory surgery.

Now some observations:

  • There is no thermal conductor around that unit. Its all plastic. Normally a high-power LED makes a lot of heat that must be removed by passive heatsinks.

  • That LED is... tiny. Normally bike lights come with MUCH higher power LEDs that look something like this: http://img.dxcdn.com/productimages/sku_186908_1.jpg Note the complete aluminium back to allow heat transfer to a heatsink?

So if your light isn't obviously damaged on inspection (loose wire or leaked battery or corrosion) then its probably best to junk the light and buy something newer. Its done its service, time to retire it.

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