Another application note from OSRAM on different LED circuit design failure mode. Link here (PDF)
In recent years, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) have become a viable alternative to conventional light sources. The overriding advantages long life, high efficiency, small size and short reaction time have lead to the displacement, in ever increasing numbers, of incandescent bulbs. One of the markets where this change has become most evident is Automotive, where LEDs are used now not only for backlighting dashboards and switches, but also for exterior illumination in Center High Mounted Stop Lights (CHMSL), Rear Combination Lamps (RCL), turn signals and puddle lighting.
Despite the long life and low failure rates of LEDs, cars can be found, on occasion, with failed LEDs in their CHMSL. Most often this is due to a flawed circuit design wherein the LEDs were allowed to be overdriven. It is with that supposition in mind that this application note is written: to identify, characterize and comment on LED behavior and failure modes in serial and matrix circuits.