LED vs SMD: What’s the difference?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. So then what’s a diode? Put simply, a diode (in electronics) is a two-terminal component which only allows current to flow in one direction. There are many electrical components which can work in either direction, for instance a piece of wire or fuse. A diode is not one of these, and therefore neither is an LED. So an LED is an electrical component which, when properly installed in an electrical circuit, emits light. Easy, eh?

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SMD stands for Surface-Mount Device. SMDs are specialized components that came about to fulfill specific purposes where saving space was important. As electronics have shrunk in size, SMDs have become more popular than their traditional “through hole” counterpart due to greater packaging efficiency. SMDs are smaller and as their name implies they are “surface mountable”, making them ideal for use on electrical boards. Traditional diodes had long leads known as the cathode and the anode, while SMDs have very short ones or none at all.

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By: Jacob Wisdom