A Design Engineer’s GUIDE TO MENTOR'S LED LIGHT PIPE / LIGHT GUIDE SOLUTIONS

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MENTOR Light Pipes / Light Guides are precision optics that precisely manage the light emitted from today's powerful LEDs. MENTOR are world-leading experts in the design and in-house manufacture of such components, and - as 1st-tier suppliers to major automotive and other OEMs - MENTOR is a preferred partner to deliver complete custom lighting / LED optics solutions.

Their standard light pipe / light guide range is amongst the most comprehensive in the world and includes over 450 part numbers, the majority of which are immediately available ex-stock. This comprehensive range allows even lower-volume projects to exploit MENTOR's LED competencies and dimensional variations are often possible with little or no tooling cost.

MENTOR’s new M-CUT 2-D custom light pipes require no tooling investment and have low MOQs, thus opening a whole new creative world to Design Engineers with smaller volumes.

This Microsite is designed help Electronic Design Engineers in the UK easily identify the ideal light pipe for their application. A general overview of MENTOR light pipes is provided at the bottom of this page and, immediately below, the range is divided into six categories with appropriate links to overviews as well as direct links to the detail pages:

CIRCULAR / RING LIGHT GUIDES
NEW, UNIQUE, EX STOCK AND LOW MOQS!

circular / ring light guides examples

NEXT GENERATION FRONT PANEL LED
INDICATOR LIGHTS - EX STOCK, LOW MOQS!

front panel LED indicator lights

Sophisticated lighting can add that “extra edge” to differentiate your product from the rest in the modern consumer world. MENTOR’s new Circular “Ring” Light Guides (also known as “Corona” Light Guides) provide a lighting solution featuring an innovative, compact design with a thin, flat construction, just 4mm thick. Suitable for a very wide range of possible applications including illuminated switches, buttons, knobs, controllers, jacks or logos. The compact design means that PCB space is saved and the size of the housing is minimised compared with other solutions eg a ring of multiple LEDs. Another benefit is that the position of the PCB is independent from the position of the Ring Light Guide.

Link to the detail

These innovative new front panel LED indicator lights by MENTOR are based on a single SMD LED, with a compact design and simple Push-fit assembly. Suitable for indoor or outdoor applications, waterproof, UV resistant and available in standard Ø3mm or Ø5mm versions as well as customisable with little or no tooling cost.

Link to the detail

FRONT PANEL LIGHT PIPES / LIGHT GUIDES

front panel light pipes

M-CUT 2-D CUSTOM LIGHT PIPES / GUIDES

M-Cut 2D custom light pipes

FLEXIBLE LIGHT PIPES / LIGHT GUIDES

flexible light pipes

Front panel light guides / light pipes are the optimum solution when a design calls for a light guide that is not physically attached to the PCB. They push-fit into a hole in the front panel and their light-inject face floats in close proximity to the SMD LED without actually making contact. Ø5, Ø3 and miniature Ø2mm sizes, IP68-rated, square head and rear-mounted front panel light guides are all available.

General Description | Graphical Range Overview

2-D custom light guides / light pipes are customer-specified components with no tooling cost and an MOQ of just 300pcs!! Design Engineers can dictate any shape or size in two dimensions. MENTOR will validate optical performance using specialist software and advise on the type and position of LEDs. Three types of M-CUT light guides /light pipes are available – area, bargraph and solid strip.

General Description

Flexible light guide / light pipe systems from MENTOR offer an elegant and cost-efficient solution for many opto-electronic design challenges - not least for a minor design change during a mid-cycle face-lift. The most popular versions are designed for use with SMD TOPLEDs, although THT versions are also offered.


General Description | Graphical Range Overview

HORIZONTAL LIGHT PIPES / LIGHT GUIDES

horizontal light pipes

VERTICAL LIGHT PIPES / LIGHT GUIDES

verticle light pipes

CUSTOM LIGHT PIPE / LIGHT GUIDE DESIGN

custom light pipe design

Horizontal PCB-mounted light guides / light pipes from MENTOR are used in applications that call for light to be emitted from a panel that is positioned at right angles to the circuit board. MENTOR offers both classic Ø3mm element versions for the 5.08mm grid and miniaturised Ø2mm versions for the 2.54mm grid, as well as hybrid combinations of the two types. Round, square and rectangular element versions are all available. Despite the close proximity of tiny elements, clever design coupled with precision manufacture ensures that there is no light bleed, even when different colours are adjacent.

General Description | Graphical Range Overview

Vertical PCB-mounted light guides / light pipes from MENTOR are used in applications that call for light to be emitted from a panel positioned parallel to the circuit board. MENTOR offers these upright light guides in both classic Ø3mm element versions for the 5.08mm grid and miniaturised Ø2mm versions for the 2.54mm grid, as well as hybrid combinations of the two types. Both round and rectangular element versions are available. As with MENTOR's horizontal light guides, clever design and precision manufacture ensure that there is no light bleed, even when different colours are adjacent.

General Description | Graphical Range Overview

With a near-100 year legacy in electronic component manufacture, 500 employees and several highly-invested international plants, Germany-headquartered MENTOR has a legendary reputation for efficiency and reliability. As 1st-tier lighting suppliers to many major automotive and OEM companies, MENTOR also has unique competencies in the design and in-house manufacture of light guides and optics that precisely manage the output from today’s powerful LEDs. Who better to trust as a partner in a project to design and manufacture a complete lighting solution?

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MENTOR (world-experts in the management of LED-emitted light, highly invested with 500 employees and a near-100 year electronic component legacy) offers standard light guide / light pipe designs in over 450 variants plus infinite opportunities for dimensional variation with little or no tooling cost.

Despite such a large and globally popular standard range, half of MENTOR’s business comes from the design and manufacture of totally custom LED lighting /LED optics system solutions for major automotives and OEMs.

All of MENTOR’s LED light guide solutions share the core function of precision-managing the light emitted from today’s powerful LEDs, be this delivering zero light bleed solutions for adjacent light-emitting elements to totally homogenous and directionally controlled lighting for area, strip and tubular lighting applications.

MENTOR achieve such high levels of optical excellence by precision-design using advanced ray trace simulations and in-house manufacture using highly specialist proprietary techniques that have been developed over many years. MENTOR light guides are sophisticated hi-tech optics, not simply moulded pieces of plastic and their optical performance conclusively demonstrates this.

Our "Technology Spotlight" and "Custom Solutions" pages discuss MENTOR’s leading-edge competence in designing, testing and manufacturing many types of optics that precisely manage LED light, including their innovative miniature light guides.

MENTOR standard light guide systems are designed and manufactured to the same exacting standards; the core offer consists mainly of what Design Engineers most commonly need and want - cost-effective solutions to transfer light from the LED PCB to the front panel, without loss of luminance.

Water the garden imageThe basic function of these types of light-guide is to emulate a hose pipe with 100% of water going in one end and 100% coming out the other with no leakage through the tubing! Like a hose pipe there often needs to be a nozzle to control the angle of spray.

MENTOR light guides offer the Electronics Design Engineer many advantages over conventional LED displays:-

  • Manufacturing costs of specifying MENTOR multiple array light guides complemented by standard SMD LEDs are a far lower than conventional THT LED arrays. (MENTOR manufactures both, so ought to know!)
  • Cost-effective SMD manufacturing can be used, with the light guides push-fitted onto the PCB as a final process.
  • No separate PCB is needed.
  • No fiddly alignment of LEDs to panel holes is required.
  • ESD protection.
  • Space saving.
  • The highest quality optical performance possible with no light bleed. (Side-by-side comparison with alternative solutions really does drive this message home! Sometimes you need to "see it to believe it"). Our video might help with this.

It is worth noting that MENTOR can often supply non-standard lengths by using a low-cost tool insert rather than needing an expensive re-tool. If you require a special length please contact Multitron, we can often find a low-cost workaround even for smaller quantity requirements.

Because they are precision optics, light guides should never be cut to a different length but it is sometimes (not always!) possible to latterally cut (say) a 10-way bargraph to make two five-ways. Again, please contact Multitron for advice before attempting.

Did you know?
Proper light guides (aka light pipes) are precision optics and cannot simply be ordered from the local injection moulders!

Did you know?
You can view a short but exciting video of functioning MENTOR light guides and other opto components by clicking the image below.
p1899810891-5

Did you know?
MENTOR PCB-mounted light guides are attached to the Board via press-in lugs with compression fins.
press-in-mounting-lugs

Did you know?
MENTOR flexible light guides can be a design solution themselves at the inception of a project but are also often a “life-saver” during a mid-cycle face-lift. See our recent blog.
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Did you know?
There are over 450 variations in MENTOR’s standard light guide range, the majority of which are immediately available from stock with small MOQs. Dimensional modifications can normally be supplied with little or no tooling cost.