An Engineer in Wonderland – LED candles

A friend showed me these amazing little things from Philips.

led-candles.jpgA friend showed me these amazing little things from Philips.

Basically, they are fake night-light-in-a-glasses based on LEDs. I didn’t put one next to the real thing, but on their own or in bunches they flicker very realistically.

As far as I can see, there are only two small LEDs in each, plus a rechargeable battery and some kind of pseudorandom driver for the emitters.

Each is in a real glass with no holes for charging or control.

Instead, they charge inductively in a base – operate for 24 hours on a charge – and are turned on and off by tipping them sideways.

I have it on good authority that at least one ancient church is using a lot of them to get the effect of candles without the fire risk.



  1. I noticed your article
    It is very sad that SmartCandle in 1997 came up with the original idea, and then Philips ripped it off in 2006
    Just because there name is “Philips” they seem to get all the glory.
    SmartCandles at are the guys who obviously know what they are doing. Its just a shame they do not get the praise
    Kind Regards
    Tim Cowley

  2. Rumour (also known as the Internet) has it that some manufacturers of LED candles use greeting card ‘music’ chips to drive the LEDs. Replacing the LEDs with a piezo speaker produces interesting results !

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