LED Chips: the Core Component of LED Underwater Lights

LED pool light chips

If you look carefully, you will find that the light-emitting part of all LED underwater lights is composed of small LED chips. The LED chip’s quality directly affects the underwater light’s brightness, service life, and luminous color. This article will give you a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of LED underwater light chips, and share with you the world-renowned LED chip companies.

LED chips development history

In 1907, British experimenter H. J. Round discovered the phenomenon of electroluminescence. In 1927, Russian inventor Oleg Losev produced the first LED (Light-emitting diode) based on this principle.

Until 1962 that LEDs appeared as practical electronic components. At the time, LEDs could only emit low-intensity infrared light and used for remote control of electronic devices.

In 1993, Shuji Nakamura of Japan developed a commercially available blue LED. The emergence of blue LEDs has promoted the development of LEDs in the lighting field. After that, white LEDs and color changing LEDs gradually developed.

Types of LED chips suitable for underwater lights

With the development of science and technology, the production process and types of LEDs are constantly upgrading. There are mainly two types of LED chips and used for under water illumination :

SMD chips

SMD (surface-mounted device), the most widely used LED chip, and named for its square shape.

Pool light with SMD chips

Advantages of SMD chips

The chip is small in size and low in power per chip. It easily integrated into various circuit boards or applied to lighting equipment of various shapes and sizes. When used for illumination, it usually has a large area and high-density integration.

Strong shock resistance and good reliability.

The color consistency of SMD chips is good, and many white LED lamps uses SMD chips.

Due to the small size of SMD chips, the chips used in many ultra-thin swimming pool lights are SMD chips.

Disadvantages of SMD chips

SMD chip is small in size and is not suitable for adding a lens to change the beam angle.

SMD chip package is more complex, with higher thermal resistance and heat generation than COB chip. When other factors are not considered, the theoretical service life is lower than that of COB chip.

SMD chip is an independent package, there will be slight glare and ghosting problems.

The production efficiency of SMD chip is lower than that of COB chip, which is due to the higher labor costs in distribution, separation, package and other links.

COB chips

COB (chip on board) is a highly efficient surface light source chip, which is developing rapidly and gradually replacing SMD chips in some fields.

Pool light with COB chips

Advantages of COB chips

COB chips used in under water lights can equip with different lenses to achieve different beam angles and rich light effects.

COB chips package is relatively simple, and its thermal resistance and heat generation are lower than SMD chips. When other factors are not considered, the theoretical service life is higher than that of the SMD chip.

COB chip is a surface light source, which adopts an integrated package to reduce the amount of luminous light lost by light refraction.

The power of a single chip is higher than that of SMD chips. High-power COB chips often used in special fields such as public lighting.

COB chips spend less labor and other costs in the production process such as package than SMD chips.

Disadvantages of COB chips

COB chips are much larger than SMD chips after encapsulation, and their integrability is worse than SMD chips.

Adding lenses to COB chips will take up more space, so it is not suitable for ultra-thin swimming pool lights.

Structure of LED chips

There are certain differences in the technology and structure of SMD chips and COB chips, but they still contain five structures: chip, bracket, silver glue, gold wire, and epoxy resin.

Chip is the light-emitting part of LED, and its main structure is a P-type semiconductor and N-type semiconductor.

The bracket can conduct heat while conducting electricity. The bracket is composed of a four layer structure of iron, copper plating (conducting electricity, good thermal conductivity), nickel plating (strong oxidation resistance), and silver plating (strong reflection, easy-to-solder wires).

There are many types of silver glue, and its main function is to conduct electricity and heat. The composition is silver powder, epoxy resin, and silver glue composed of thinner is more common.

The gold wire can make the chip and the bracket together into a circuit, and the main material is 99.9% pure gold.

Epoxy resin is composed of agent A and agent B, which have the functions of bonding, sealing, heat conduction, flame retardant, and protection.

LED chips and underwater lights

The LED chip is the core component of underwater light. Without the chip, the underwater light cannot emit light. The light efficiency, service life, color rendering index, style, and energy saving effect of underwater lights are closely related to the type and quality of LED chips.

Light effect

The rich luminous colors of the LED chip and the lens make the light effect ever-changing. The variety of illumination angles and colors can meet various usage scenarios such as swimming pools, ponds, and other water features.

Service life

High-quality LED chips have slower light decay, lower heat generation than inferior products, more mature heat dissipation design and technology, and longer service life.

Color rendering index

The higher the color rendering index of the LED chip, the better it can express the original color of the material, and the effect is more natural.


Some unique shapes, sizes, and styles of LED underwater lights use SMD chips. For example, ultra-thin swimming pool lights, the thinnest models are only a few millimeters thick.

Energy saving effect

High-quality LED chips have higher light efficiency, which means that less power consumed to achieve ideal lighting effects.

World-renowned LED chips manufacturer

All of WANING’s underwater lights use big-brand LED chips, and our LED chip brands are OSRAM/CREE/Epistar.


Founded in 1919, OSRAM is a famous semiconductor brand from Germany. OSRAM is a major player in the global optoelectronic semiconductor market and has a long-term reputation in the global high-quality LED market.


CREE is a famous American semiconductor brand, established in 1987. It has launched a variety of lighting-grade LEDs and is an innovator in the LED lighting industry.

In March 2021, CREE was acquired by SMART Global Holdings for US$300 million, which brought new opportunities for the development of CREE.


Established in 1996, Epistar is the largest LED company in Taiwan. Epistar’s products are widely used in lighting, traffic lights, and electronic equipment. Epistar is an LED supplier of Samsung LCD monitors.


Established in 2000, San’an is the largest LED company in mainland China. San’an has developed rapidly, and its product R&D and performance indicators have reached the international advanced level. Now San’an is already one of the top ten LED manufacturers in the world.


Founded in 2001, Edison is a LED lighting manufacturer from Taiwan. Now Edison has established multiple manufacturing bases in mainland China, and its products are sold all over the world.

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