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I tried searching for this but I just get light fixture LED information. I'm trying to determine the expected lifespan of a typical small LED like you'll find in electronics kits or hobbyist stores. I just got mine on Amazon, both in a kit, and I bought another bag of them.

Here's a photo of two of them in a prototype circuit (not currently powered).

electronic hobbyist LED example

The usage pattern I'm interested in is maximum of ~12 hours/day, roughly 1/2 of the year.

They are powered by a 12V AGM battery in a vehicle so voltage will vary from 12 to 14, but they have a large 5K resistor in series, so very little current through them, nowhere near the typical 20mA.

Any actual data is greatly appreciated. Many thanks if you have real data or specific experience in a similar application.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If lifetime matters, buy parts that come with a spec for the conditions you're going to run. Generic parts on Amazon are often surplus or factory reject parts of unpredictable quality. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 10, 2021 at 17:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ It's impossible to know without knowing the exact LED model (and if you buy on Amazon, ebay, or some other cheap wholesale site there is none). I've bought cheap LEDs online that have lasted over 10 years with semi-regular use, and some that have gone out in a week. As has been stated, if lifespan matters, buy a reputable part from digikey or mouser. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 28, 2021 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ For run of the mill, old tech LEDs don't worry. Unless you are driving them at over 20mA they last years (color and/or brightness could vary however) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 5, 2021 at 6:32

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First thing, which I'm sure you already know: if you are concerned about lifetime, i.e. quality, "grab bag of LEDs off of Amazon" is not the place to look. Those might be very well for prototyping a project on a breadboard, but if you need them to be reliable, spend $0.25 at Digikey and get something from Cree, Lumex, Liteon, or any of the other reputable manufacturers instead of something that probably got swept up off the floor at a factory.

Running the LEDs at low current (2mA) is a good way to maximize life.

As for real world data, take a look at any of the LED clocks that are running 24/7 for years on end (my stove has been plugged in continually for 10 years at least and the display is still bright) or indicator lights on door entry card readers, printers, or really anything that gets left on for long periods of time. Your ~2k hours a year should be fine.

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