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Mentor Components
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11. June 2015

Modular signal lamps – the next generation


MENTOR is developing a new concept for customer-specific LED signal lamps for use in front panels. Single modules can be configured individually and combined to create an ideal solution for the specific application

The current generation of signal lamps is based on THT LEDs. These lamps generally have a strictly defined configuration, meaning that they can only be adapted to individual customer needs with a great deal of effort. Customer-specific solutions become difficult and expensive in particular when one lamp is to be adapted in several of the solution’s components.

Modular system offers new possibilities

The concept of the new MENTOR signal lamp is based on a modular system whose single modules can be adapted individually. The system comprises a light guide, the lamp housing, a board, clamping ring, potting and a connector. The board has a freely-selectable, bright SMD side LED. This gives rise to a wide range of options for configuring an individual signal lamp which is optimally tailored to the specific application.

Individual modules with a wide range of configuration options

The light guide and the beam appearance integrated in it can be selected according to the intended use and the beam characteristics required for this: hazy, clear, or coloured designs with a head shape that can be individually selected – convex, concave, planar or freeform – are possible, as are different diameters (minimum of 1.5 mm/maximum of 6.0 mm).

With the SMD side LED, it is possible to choose between single-colour or two-colour LEDs, RGB variants, warm white or cool white LEDs and special colours such as orange, mint, amber, blue or cyan.

Sunlight readable designs, dimmable LEDs for night-time designs, infrared or night vision solutions, flashing or continuously lit LEDs are all possible options, as are energy-saving low current versions (2-5 mA) with a high level of efficiency for battery-operated or rechargeable applications. The signal lamp is operated using DC voltage and the operating voltage depends on the LED selected. Voltages of 5, 12 or 24 V can be realised using integrated series resistors. If required, the signal lamp can be designed in such a way that it can be controlled using a UART interface.

The outer contour of the robust polycarbonate housing can be individually determined and can have a convex, concave, planar or freeform design, thus ensuring that all functional and aesthetic requirements are taken into account. The housing can be produced in many different colours and can have a polished or matte metal finish (e.g., chrome or stainless steel). If special material properties are required, alternative synthetics such as ABS and PP can be used or special requirements can be met through material compositions.

In addition to a wire connection of the desired length, there are also different connectors to choose from, which ensure a rapid and secure connection.

Simple and rapid assembly: insertion with no need for screws

During assembly, there is no need to screw the lamp on from the rear. Rather, the signal lamp is inserted into the assembly opening from the front side of the front panel and secures itself in a vibration-proof manner, thanks to the integrated metal clamping ring.

This practical, easy-to-assembly solution can be used in front panels with a thickness of 1.5 mm and above. Optional ESD protection diodes provide for smooth, problem-free assembly and mounting

Waterproof – UV-resistant – high level of ESD protection

The signal lamp is entirely suitable for outdoor use thanks to the selection of UV-resistant materials. Through the use of seals and the complete potting of the board, it meets the requirements of protection class IP68 (with a borehole of Ø8H7). Combining the SMD LEDs with a light guide inside the signal lamp enables a very high level of ESD protection (> 10 kV) for the front panel.

Simple replacement during re-design

The diameter of the existing assembly mounting hole for the new signal lamp is 8 mm and thus the same as on the THT predecessor. This means that the old signal lamp in existing applications can easily be replaced with the new SMD variant.

Features & benefits at a glance

  • Modular system
  • Suitable for use with a great many applications
  • Freely-selectable LEDs: single-colour, two-colour, RGB,
    warm white or cool white, special colours, or night vision
  • Diverse options as regards the beam appearance, voltage and
  • Optional: Connector with plug
  • UV-resistant: Suitable for outdoor use
  • Waterproof – IP68 (with a borehole of Ø8H7)
  • Very high level of ESD protection (> 10 kV) for the front panel
  • Optional: ESD protection diodes and series resistors
  • Simple and rapid assembly: insertion with no need for screws
  • Mounting hole is identical to that of the predecessor (8 mm)
  • Simple replacement during re-design