Also known as indicator lights or panel indicators, these small lights help indicate whether a certain device or machine is functioning well. For instance, the red light you see on devices when you power them on is an example of an indicator light.
While its function is basic and simple, what these lights signal homeowners is essential because they help detect certain malfunctions in an appliance. Additionally, even though these lights are mainly for panel usage, they can still be installed in various locations.
Indicator lights are widely used in different sectors, but their most important applications are household appliances, especially machines involved in food processing, cooking, and washing. Additionally, they are widely used in the hotel, restaurant, and cafe industries, including professional coffee machines.
These panel indicators are also involved in the following sectors:
- Lighting technology
- HVAC sector
- Wiring and switchgear systems
- Medical machinery sector
- Spare parts
Since these applications belong to various industries, each indicator light must follow certain requirements, depending on what sector it will operate in. For instance, the Ho.Re.Ca industry requires the lights to have good aesthetic and design components aside from safety and functionality.
On the other hand, the HVAC sector requires the lights to have strict technical characteristics, including temperature resistance, light intensity, and proper resistance to aggressive agents or shocks.
A special type of indicator, a vandal-proof indicator, is used in challenging operating conditions. This special light device consists of a metal body equipped with an o-ring that helps to provide high resistance to mechanical and chemical stresses.
LED pilot lights were created to allow their maximum function in various industries, especially for home appliances.
The following are the key features of these essential light devices:
- Viewable under direct sunlight
- Visible from various directions
- Ultra-bright LED ensures accurate recognition and high visibility
- Prevents electrical shocks with finger protection of IP20
- Compliant with EN standards
- c-UL and UL listed
- Lenses come in clear and colored variants
Moreover, panel indicators are designed to display a machine’s operating status, so the small light they emit must always be visible, especially from the outside. The light’s color will determine the actual application’s status, allowing end-users to understand and use it easily.
LED panel indicator lights consist of four parts:
- Lens or diffuser
- Light source
- Plastic support
You will see the lens or diffuser on the front. It’s commonly made of polysulfone, polycarbonate, or nylon, allowing proper light diffusion. When light is diffused, the effect ranges from a simple signal, a spotlight, or a certain lighting function, depending on the indicator light’s application.
The light source serves as the indicator’s main component and is commonly made up of either an LED or a lamp. On the other hand, the body of the panel indicator, or the plastic support, is made of plastic or metal, depending on the device’s application.
You can choose from various polymers when choosing a plastic body, considering temperature resistance and technical performance. Finally, the connection is exactly where the indicator contacts the final application. Generally, it occurs through silicone-glass, silicone, PVC electrical cables, or quick-connect metal terminals.
The following are the technical specifications of LED pilot lights:
- Operating Temperature: -25 to 55 degrees Celsius, no freezing
- Storage temperature: -45 to 80 degrees Celsius
- Insulation Resistance: 100MΩ (DC500V megger)
- Operating Humidity: 45-85%RH
- Impulse Dielectric Strength: 2.5kV
- Overvoltage Category: II
- Shock Resistance Operating Limit: 100m/s2
- Vibration Resistance Operating Limit: 5-55Hz
- Protection Degree: Panel front: IP66 (IEC 60529), UL Type 4X Terminals: IP20
- Terminal Size: M3.5 screw
Indicator lights have durable designs and construction, allowing easy installation and applications in various locations. Additionally, these lights are solid-state, so you can expect them to last long without replacing them at once.
Because they use LEDs as the light source, you don’t need to keep replacement bulbs in stock. Additionally, you are assured that the light intensity and degree of brightness will not diminish over time. LEDs can also function even in different temperature states and resist various weather conditions.
Other outstanding benefits of LED indicator lights are their durability and longevity because of their vibration resistance. Unlike LED, incandescent bulbs have small filaments easily damaged or affected by shock. A LED light source does not have filaments because it’s solid-state, prolonging its efficiency and effectiveness.
Moreover, LEDs are safer because they produce less heat and can run cooler than traditional incandescent bulbs. Finally, you are guaranteed better efficiency with LED panel indicators, draining less battery life. These lights are also corrosion-resistant, unlike incandescent bulbs that can overheat and corrode in the socket or bulb base.
LED indicator lights should be handled with care and safety to avoid damaging the entire machine they operate in.
Take note of the following safety precautions:
1. The power should always be turned off before installation, maintenance, removal, cleaning, and inspection. Not turning the power off can lead to fire hazards or electrical shock
2. For wiring maintenance, ensure that you use properly-sized wires, AWG16 to AWG1f, to meet current and voltage requirements.
3. You should tighten all terminal screws depending on their recommended tightening torque of 1.0Nm. Loose terminal screws can lead to fire and overheating.
During panel mounting, disassemble the locking ring from the entire device and check whether the rubber gasket is in proper alignment. After inspecting, insert one AP22M unit, ensuring that the “Top” mark is aligned with the recess directly into the panel’s cut-out. Turn the locking ring and tighten it after.
When installing the indicator light inside the panel’s cut-out, use a locking ring wrench. The wrench will allow the locking ring to be tightened to the torque needed of 2.0Nm. Avoid over-tightening with pliers, or you can risk damaging the entire unit.
Indicators and warning lights present subtle differences. Warning lights are more commonly used as emergency signals, either static or flashing emergency lights. The light source is commonly a flashing LED striking red for flashing lights. On the other hand, the light source for static has a higher intensity so that it can be seen even at far distances from a control panel.
The colors of indicator pilot lights have various meanings:
- Red: possible danger or malfunction must be attended to immediately
- Yellow: state changes
- Green: safe operating status
- Blue: special instructions
- White: general signals
The common LED indicator lights for cars only require 2 volts to function. With this, the LED pilot light 120V should be reduced to 2 volts by a resistor.
A LED pilot light may be a small device, but its functions work wonders to ensure that your appliances and other machines are working in prime condition. These lights serve as signals to tell you whether a certain device needs repair, preventing further damage that can lead to your appliances overheating and breaking down.