LED Flashers Selection GuideLED Flashers Selection Guide

Image Credit: Grainger Industrial Supply

 

LED flashers are semiconductor integrated circuits used to turn on and off groups of LEDs either sequentially or according to a programmed pattern. They are found in circuits used as indicators and controllers, as well as in home-built projects.

 

Form Factor

LED flashers are typically bought in the form of a complete module that has prongs for plugging into an outlet and extenders for connecting to the circuit. Some LED flashers can also come as an integrated circuit (IC) unit or chip which requires a power source in addition to connection to the circuit.

 

Specifications

LED flashers should be sourced according to these specifications:

  • Average rating or flash rate - The rate at which the flasher makes the LEDs turn on and off, expressed in flashes per minute.
  • Head capacity - The number of LEDs per channel that can be driven. The number of LEDs which the LED flasher can drive is the product of the head capacity and the number of channels.
  • Number of channels - Total number of channels (outputs). Each channel can power several LEDs.
  • Number of patterns - The number of different patterns that can be produced by the flasher.
  • Output current or lamp capacity - The maximum or range of current load per channel, expressed in Amps (A).
  • Voltage rating - The maximum input voltage for the device

Features

LED flashers can exhibit a number of features which may be important to certain applications.

  • Reverse polarity protection - The flasher has circuitry that protects it from a reverse polarity at the input. Reverse polarity occurs when positive and negative terminals are reversed due to incorrect wiring or connection.
  • Silent operation - The flasher doesn't make the clicking sound and noises associated with normal operation.
  • Surge protection - The flasher has a surge protector device at its input to prevent electrical surges from destroying the device.
  • Waterproof - The flasher design provides protection from water or liquid contact.