LEDs are diodes that have a voltage drop designed to produce visible light. When using a LED in a cicuit it's important to use a current limiter such as a resistor. A typical LED is designed for aproximately 10mA. When using resistors measure the foreward voltage drop of the LED with a multimeter, subtract this from the supply voltage, then plug the difference into ohms law to calculate the required resistor value. Different color LEDs all have different voltage drops.