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Differences Between LED Technologies: DIP vs. SMD vs. COB vs. MCOB

Choosing an LED technology is like choosing the right winter coat to wear: there are different models that provide more or less features depending on what you might need. Once you decide the features you want from your LED, you can easily choose the package type accordingly. The “package type” refers to the way an LED’s semiconductor die–similar to the filament in an incandescent–is packaged inside LED devices for different applications. The LED package can be very basic, like with the DIP LEDs, or it can be very versatile to handle lots of different needs, such as with the SMD package. Modern LED technology as we know it was developed in 1962 by Nick Holonyak with his invention of the DIP LED, and the LED industry has been innovating it ever since. The following article is meant to be a brief overview of the major types of LED package technology that are commercially available today.

Dual In-Line Package LED technology has been around for more than 50 years, and is likely what you think of when you picture an LED. Though it is old, DIP LED are far from outdated as they are still used extensively today for large signs and displays.  The widespread use of DIP LEDs came about due to their long life-span and intense brightness. DIP LEDs are highly recognizable by their “pill” or “bullet” shaped design (≤5mm wide), and the long contacts that extend from the bottom of the LED which can be easily soldered or inserted into a bread board. The LED’s plastic and epoxy casing actually serves as a lens that can focus the light coming from the diode. The shape of the outer casing also includes a flat edge on one side that always indicates the cathode side of DIP LED.

These lights, when used for residential or home use, are typically found in electronics as indicator lights because of their low cost, high brightness, and ease of install. DIP Diodes can be bought in bulk by electronics manufacturers to fulfill many purposes; and because of their plug-and-play nature, can be easily soldered to any kind of circuit board. This gives electronic devices the ability to send information to the user without the need for an actual display on the device

These LEDs will typically produce between 3 and 4 lumens per LED. They typically run at between 5v to 24v, with 12v being the most common voltage. They individually pull between 0.05 and 0.08 watts. This generates between 35 and 80 lumens per watt, depending on the actual LED.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the most commonly used technology for lighting homes and businesses, as well as industrial and other uses. LED technology in lighting has progressed rapidly in recent years and there are now several different types to choose from: DIP, SMD, COB and MCOB.

DIP (Dual In-line Package) is the oldest form of LED technology, and the most commonly used in residential applications. It uses two rows of individual light bulbs connected together in a line. The bulbs themselves consist of a base and two legs which connect at 90 degree angles to a cathode and anode. This design allows for a low-cost, efficient lighting option that is well suited for basic lighting needs. DIP LEDs provide good light output, with a bright light that is balanced and uniform.

SMD (Surface-Mounted Device) LEDs are an improved version of the DIP design. This technology utilizes a single, continuous row of light bulbs instead of two, creating a slim profile. Because of its slim design, SMD LEDs can be used in a broader range of applications. They offer higher efficiency, energy savings, and color and brightness control than DIP LEDs.

COB (Chip On Board) LEDs are a more recent form of LED technology. These are small, tightly packed clusters of LED chips mounted onto a single board. By combining many small pieces of LED chips into a single board, this design creates an extremely powerful package that is far more energy efficient than other LED technologies. COB LEDs provide a higher light output than SMD, while still maintaining a slim profile.

MCOB (Multi-Chip On Board) LEDs are a further iteration on the COB concept. This design takes the same premise as COB, but with multiple LED chips fused together to create one larger module. With this technology, many chips can be stacked into a single package, creating a higher light output without sacrificing energy efficiency. The end result is a brighter, more efficient light source that can illuminate larger areas.

All of these LED technologies offer different benefits and are ideal for different purposes. DIP is ideal for basic lighting needs with basic light output. SMD is great for applications where a slim profile and better energy efficiency are desired. COB offers more power and light output, while MCOB provides the brightest light output with the most energy efficiency. It is important to assess the specific lighting needs for each particular application before deciding which LED technology is best.