Over the past year, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in different colors than the traditional red have really taken off. White LEDs, in particular, can now be found in a number of applications, including interior lighting, backup lights and license lamps. Customers can also now purchase strobing LEDs in blue and white.

Grote says all the cost, reliability and ease-of-use advantages offered by its red and yellow LED strobe lamps are also available in its new 4-in.-round SuperNova blue and white LED strobing lights. LED strobes, which use a 12v DC connection, eliminate the need for an external power supply; last substantially longer than strobe tubes and are less likely to break, Grote points out. The strobe can be set to perform in dual or quad flash.

Grote reports that it is also now applying some of the tools used in headlight design to its LED marker and turn lights. Its LED license lamp, for example, uses complex active reflectors inside the lamp to direct light, rather than lens optics.

The LED license lamp — Grote's first white LED application — has a shell-like design that allows water to pass behind and over the fixture to prevent pooling and premature light failure. The lamp also has a low-profile design to help prevent damage from collisions with loading docks. Grote explains that the main benefit of the LED license lamp is less maintenance through longer life, i.e., under normal operating conditions the lamp is designed to last the life of a trailer.

Grote has made the first LED combination side turn lamp that meets SAE J2039 side-turn specifications for maximum safety, which it says uses the most powerful LEDs yet to generate the massive amount of light needed to meet the spec.

The side turn lamps also use complex reflectors to direct the LED light. A more efficient use of the light has enabled Grote to minimize the number of diodes needed. To move the resulting heat out of the lamp, the manufacturer developed a patented thermal dissipation system that keeps the LEDs cool during operation.

As for long-term trends, Grote says the final frontier for LEDs is in forward lighting, which fleets can expect to see in 5 or 10 years.

Truck-Lite is also finding new applications for LED lamps. More and more applications that have historically been incandescent are currently being replaced with LEDs, including white LEDs now for dome, back-up and interior applications.

LED technology offers fleets many advantages, Truck-Lite notes, including solid-state technology, resistance to shock and vibration, quick light-up time, less current draw and more light per unit of electricity than incandescent lighting. Many fleets looking to get the lowest cost per mile, long life components and lower maintenance costs have turned to LED lighting for its proven reliability.

In fact, fleets have been requesting that their truck and trailer OEMs include LED lighting as standard equipment. LED technology, says Truck-Lite, is a natural fit on today's trailers with the addition of the mandated ABS systems. The lower overall current draw allows more voltage to be available for the peak requirements when there is an ABS activation. This is especially important to fleets with ABS-equipped doubles and triples trailers, the company adds.

Newer products from Truck-Lite include a single-diode stop/turn/tail (S/T/T) lamp. The Super 66 red six-inch oval LED S/T/T lamp was designed to look similar to an incandescent lamp using Truck-Lite's Advanced Optics Design software. The manufacturer also launched the Model 60 Strobing LED lamp that offers fleets a choice of strobe frequency and viewing angles, in addition to the Super 60 STS amber 6-in. oval LED side turn signal and marker lamp. The Super 60 STS exceeds requirements of SAE J2039 and FMVSS 108.

Last year Truck-Lite announced the purchase of Federal-Mogul's Signal-Stat product line. At the 2003 Mid-America Trucking Show the company introduced the Signal-Stat LED line by Truck-Lite for retail markets. New Signal-Stat LED lamps will initially be available in 4-in. round and oval stop/turn/tail models as well as the 2-in. and 2-1/2-in. round marker clearance models.

Truck-Lite says fleets will continue to drive LED technology so they can receive the same light output at lower costs. In response, the truck lighting industry will design lighting systems with more applications at lower costs.


Grote Industries 314

Peterson Mfg 315

Truck-Lite 316