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What are LED Spacers and Mounts?

clock 3.5 minutes | 06 Dec 2019

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Introduction to LED Spacers and Mounts

LEDs (light emitting diodes) are the predominant choice for many lighting tasks. From indicator lights to headlights, these versatile components have gained widespread popularity. With them have come the development of LED accessories, such as LED spacer mounts, LED light pipe panel mount technologies, and LED lens holder options.

Some of the benefits of LED light pipe design are:

  • Low power consumption
  • Low heat emission
  • High life expectancy
  • Vibration resistance
  • Colour tunability
  • Compact size

LEDs come in three colours: red, yellow, and blue. Other colours are generated by mixing the RGB LEDs. White is produced in most cases by using a blue LED, coated with a phosphor, similar to that used in fluorescent lamps. When the blue LED is energised, it "excites" the phosphorous coating to generate the white light. If you look into the lens of an LED flashlight, you can see the phosphorous coating.

These diodes have two leads —an anode (+) and a cathode (-)— that connect to DC power supply. You will see some domed LEDs that have more than one lead. These are actually two different colour LEDs in the same package.

For example, a yellow and red led or a yellow and blue LED may be contained in the same bulb. Each colour will have its own anode and share the cathode. Hence, the three leads. You may also see a four-lead LED lamp, containing all three colours.

Close up of an LED light circuitry

It’s important to account for the number of leads when you choose an LED spacer or spacers for your project. The LED light mount will have holes or slots to pass the leads through before soldering the LED to the PCB (printed circuit board). Through hole LED sizes vary, but your LED spacer must have the appropriate number of holes to accept the number of leads attached.

This helps maintain through hole LED polarity to eliminate short circuiting.

While the T-1 and T-1 3/4 round LED lamps can be soldered directly to the PCB, the lead arrangement leaves room for the lamp to move back and forth, potentially breaking the delicate leads. That's just one reason for using LED spacer mounts. The spacer raises the LED from the board surface and provides more stability, rigidity, and height conformity.

The rigidity and stability are crucial during manufacturing and when the cabinet or device is open to service, troubleshoot, or repair the PCB or other internal components.

Maintaining a consistent LED height can be crucial for many applications. It ensures that lumen output and colour rendering to the exterior of the device remain consistent. For example, you may have seen signage that uses LEDs to form static or moving patterns of text. To ensure that there are no dim or bright spots, led spacers standoffs are used to keep the LEDs on the same horizontal plane.

While moving text with uneven lighting, controlled by turning LEDs on and off with a Philip Lighting Cluster (PLC) bulb, might not be as noticeable, static displays will show it more prominently. This can ruin the appearance of the sign or notification.

So things to consider when specifying spacers are:

  • Number of leads on the LED
  • LED diameter, e.g., T-1 or T-1 3/4
  • Distance required from the PDB surface
  • And in some cases, whether the LED lamp is round, square, or rectangular
Flashing green LED lights on a PCB board used in electronic equipment

LED Light Mount Options

Sometimes the LED is not mounted directly to a printed circuit board. In fact, there are applications when the PCB is not accessible and longer, flexible leads must be attached between the LED driver and the LED lamp.

For example, emergency lighting for fixtures and luminaires will have a charging indicator LED. This round surface mount led light will protrude from the back plate or diffuser of the luminaire. However, the driver and backup battery will be installed in the interior of the fixture, often in tandem with the lighting ballast.

To do that, the LED must be secured with an LED lens holder to hold the lamp in place. The lens holder is often a two-piece assembly, although single piece snap in lamp holders are available.

Another LED lens holder allows the light to be observed from an angle. This is useful when the panel enclosure is mounted above eye level. This is accomplished by an internal beveled lens that can be pointed in various directions.

Other lamp mounting options include those that allow the lamp to be installed at a 90-degree angle.

Here are some examples of mounting hardware available to you as you design and build your application using LEDs as your light source. You can also learn more from our LED light guide.

90° LED Mount - Overall Diameter 4.3 mm | 0.169 in 90° LED Mount - Overall Diameter 4.3 mm | 0.169 in

For mounting the LED parallel to the PCB surface.
LED Lens Holder - 11.0 mm | 0.433 in Head Diameter LED Lens Holder - 11.0 mm | 0.433 in Head Diameter

For holding a through hole LED in place.
Round Imperial Extruded Natural T-1 3/4 LED Spacer - UL94 V-2 Material Flammability Standard Round Imperial Extruded Natural T-1 3/4 LED Spacer - UL94 V-2 Material Flammability Standard

For spacing LEDs from PCB surface and minimising shifting and height variations.
Round Imperial Extruded Black T-1 & T1 3/4 LED Spacer - UL94 V-0 Material Flammability Standard Round Imperial Extruded Black T-1 & T1 3/4 LED Spacer - UL94 V-0 Material Flammability Standard

Another option for spacing LEDs from PCB surface and minimising shifting and height variations.
Rectangular LED Spacer - 4.3 mm | .17 in Overall Width Rectangular LED Spacer - 4.3 mm | .17 in Overall Width

Ensures product uniformity and seamless production while preventing shifting within PCB. Square design is especially ideal for angled applications.

Download free CADs and try before you buy

Free CADs are available for most solutions, which you can download for free. You can also request free samples to ensure the solutions you’ve chosen are exactly what you need. If you’re not quite sure which product will work best for your application, our experts are always happy to advise you.

LED light guide for product and panel building