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Molex 180081-4330

Projects by KEC Molex LED Module

Specifications

Manufacturer:  Molex - Storefront at Newark
Part Number: 180081-4330 [Datasheet]
Function: LED Puck Light Module
Supplier: Newark - $19.95 - Product Page at Newark
Special Features: Helieon series neutral white colored LED, 1530lm, 18.5V nominal forward voltage, 1.4A forward current, RoHS compliant, Plug and Play with available matching hardware.
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Review Summary: This LED module is definitely bright and seems well made, but you are going to need a few other things to actually put it to use including the socket to connect to the LED leads and a constant current source to supply the appropriate power. This is a great choice if you are looking for a complete LED lighting system; however, if you are only looking for a few scattered LED replacements, I'd suggest you keep looking.

Out of the box...

This LED module comes completely self-contained. The LED is mounted to an aluminum heat sink and matched with a lens to focus the light beam. The back of the module has a peel-away sticky mount, so the module can be easily attached to other surfaces. The cover of the module can be taken off by removing the four small screws on the back of the heat sink. With the cover off, it is easier to see the internal connections...

Projects by KEC Molex LED Light

Operation

The LED connector has three pins, but of course, one of them doesn't connect to anything. The left most pin goes to the cathode while the right most pin goes to the anode. If you plan to use the module without the matching socket, you will need to remove the cover and solder leads directly to these pins.

The product guide specifies using a constant current source rather than constant voltage to power this module, which I agree with completely. This is necessary to prevent over driving the LED outside of its maximum current rating while allowing for a predictable luminous intensity.

There is a bit of confusion about the actual specifications of the light when comparing the product page with the actual technical literature because Molex offers multiple modules with different ratings and all are described together. The actual ratings for this device can be found in this product overview.

Projects by KEC Molex LED Characteristics

Because I didn't have a suitable power supply on hand, I was able to test the LED using two series 12V batteries and a series resistance of around 50Ω. This definitely wasn't an ideal test setup, but it proved effective enough to see the light output at a fraction of its rated value. This is not a recommended way to power the LED since such a large amount of power is wasted as heat in the resistors.

The Bottom Line

Without a doubt, this little light can shine; however, that high luminous intensity comes at the price of a decently large power requirement. These LED modules cannot be reliably used without a proper (and somewhat expensive) external constant current power supply capable of providing the necessary 25.8W. If your intentions are to use the LED modules for spot or area lighting and understand the additional requirements (socket and power supply) then the Molex 180081-4330 is a great choice. However, if you only need a single LED light here or there, I suggest you search for a different type of module that does not require the extra investments, such as one designed to fit into existing AC light socket infrastructure.