Jul 152013
 

Floodlights 300x198 Spotlights vs. Floodlights: Whats the Difference?Recently, I’ve gotten a few questions from customers about floodlights and spotlights:

What’s the difference between a spotlight and a floodlight?

What kind of beam spread do I need for my lighting project?

How can I know how wide my light bulb’s beam will be from a certain distance away?

I thought these questions would make a perfect topic for today’s blog post.

First, let’s cover the basics:

A spotlight casts a narrow beam of light, usually no wider than 45 degrees. This beam is more concentrated and easier to point and control.

A floodlight can have a beam spread of up to 120 degrees. It can illuminate a larger amount of space with the same wattage and lumen output as a spotlight.

Using spotlights and floodlights:

When highlighting specific points like display objects, wall artwork, architectural details, or landscape features, use a spotlight. Continue reading »

Jul 122013
 

LED Mini Guide Lights 300x195 Practical Magic: How To Have Great Lighting In The Kids RoomLighting is perhaps the only design element that lets you change the look and mood of a room instantly. When that room belongs to your child, variation is even more important. The right lighting can be warm and comforting, creative and energetic, and above all – able to keep up with your children’s many needs. It can help soothe them to sleep, wake them up in the morning, and encourage critical thinking and self expression during the day.

Here are a few elements that add a little practical magic to the kids’ bedroom:

1. Night Lights

I’d say safety and sleep are the first two things to address when lighting a child’s bedroom. How to help your child sleep through the night, and how to help him navigate in the dark without mishaps. A night light can solve both these issues. (No wonder it’s a bedroom classic!) Of course, you can go with the standard plug-in variety, or you can use battery operated guide lights to add light where your child needs it most.

Night Light and Child Practical Magic: How To Have Great Lighting In The Kids Room

I love the idea of a halo of soft mini guide lights around a headboard to comfort a child at night, or a bedside guide light she can use to reach the bathroom safely in the dark. Continue reading »

Jul 082013
 

LED Electronic Driver What You Need To Know About LED Drivers
The switch to LEDs isn’t just about trading your old light fixtures for new ones. Just like fluorescent lights need ballasts to function properly, your LED lights need something called a driver. Sometimes, in smaller LED fixtures, drivers are build right in. But, if that’s not the case for your lighting system, you’ll need to pick one out for yourself. If you’re unfamiliar with the LED driver, what it is, how it works, and the many varieties available, this post will teach you everything you need to know.

Let’s start with a basic definition:

An LED driver is an electronic device that supplies power to LED lights. To ensure the LEDs function properly, the driver converts line power to the appropriate voltage (typically between 2 and 4 volts DC for high brightness LEDs) and current (around 200-1,000 milliamps or mA). Drivers might also include dimming or color correction controls.

All this ensures that your LEDs will operate with a steady lumen output and no variation.

Before we go any further, you should note that the quality of your driver will have a significant impact on your LEDs. A good driver is about 85% efficient, reducing the efficiency of the LEDs it powers by about 15%. To make sure that your LED lighting system is the most efficient, you need to make sure you’re using the right kind of driver. Finding your perfect driver depends on such factors as the type and number of LEDs you’re using, whether you’ll place them individually or in a series, any size limitations you may have, and of course, your installation’s main design goals. Continue reading »

Jul 032013
 

We like to talk at length about the importance of long lasting lights. But, there’s one day when all of that flies out the window (or up into the sky, as it is). The fleeting light from fireworks on the Fourth of July can be among the most dazzling and memorable lights you’ll ever see.

Since July 4th is tomorrow, I’m dedicating this blog post to some of the most amazing light shows in the U.S.

Fair St. Louis at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO:

fairsaintlouis org 10 Spectacular Fireworks Shows For July 4th

Image via FairSaintLouis.org

Kaboom Town in Addison, TX:

Addison TravelChannel com 10 Spectacular Fireworks Shows For July 4th

Image via TravelChannel.com

Continue reading »

Jul 012013
 

Fluorescent Ballast AFE What Turns You On? A Guide To Fluorescent Ballasts
Replacing old fluorescent ballasts? Adding new ones? The array of fluorescent ballasts is more diverse than ever before, so you’ve got to know exactly what you’re looking for. Whether you want to reduce the noise and flickering of your lights, prolong their rated lives, or save as much energy as you can, there’s a ballast out there for you.

But first, some fundamentals:

What is a fluorescent ballast?

It’s an electrical device used to power many kinds of fluorescent lights. The ballast supplies the right voltage to start and run the lights, and controls the current during operation. The right ballast should allow your lights to turn on quickly, and prevent annoying flickering or humming.

Which is the right ballast? (Magnetic vs. Electronic)

There’s an easy answer to this one. The U.S. Department of Energy phased out most magnetic fluorescent ballasts back in 2010. Electronic ballasts are more efficient and function in a more reliable way.

Let’s compare:

Magnetic ballasts: These use a core made of laminated steel plates, wrapped in a copper coil to regulate the lamp’s voltage by magnetic inductance. While magnetic ballasts are less expensive, they’re also less efficient, noisier, and heavier than electronic ballasts. Magnetic ballasts also don’t alter the frequency of electricity supplied to the lamps, so you can expect the lights they control to flicker.

Electronic ballasts: To function, these replace the older magnetic core with electronic components that increase the standard operating frequency of electricity from 60 cycles per second to about 20,000, or 20+ kHz. This reduces that pesky flickering that causes headaches and eyestrain. Compared to magnetic ballasts, electronic ones are lighter, quieter, more efficient, and they produce less heat. Continue reading »

Jun 282013
 

light bulb 219x300 How To Make A Battery Operated Light Bulb
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could make a light bulb light up without putting it into a socket? Turns out, there’s more than one way to power a light bulb. If you’re in the mood for a quick, fun experiment, I’ve found a way to power any regular old light bulb with a battery!

Here’s what you need:

  • One D Battery
  • A Light Bulb (With Screw-in Base)
  • Two Pieces Of Insulated Wire
  • Electrical Tape

Follow these steps:

1. Strip about 3/4″ of insulation off each end of your two wires. Continue reading »

Jun 272013
 

light bulb 2 What is the Federal Energy Deregulation Act?
Take back the power, literally! According to Bill Olderman (here is his LinkedIn profile), an energy expert at Titan Energy and the author of today’s blog post, you have more control than you think over your home or building’s energy supply. Whether you want lower bills, more reliable service, or a better approach to the environment, you need to know your rights…

Since the Federal Energy Deregulation Act passed in 1999, many business and homeowners still haven’t exercised their right to choose their energy supplier. The ability for consumers to lower their energy costs, protect against rising rates, and, if interested, make an environmentally friendly choice, are all benefits of Deregulation. 3rd Parties help accomplish this by strategically purchasing the energy you use, in the same way the utility previously did, in the open market.  Depending on your state and the utility which serves you, the benefits will vary.

Deregulation dictates that your local utility can’t “Profit” on the supply of energy. Therefore, they don’t compete with 3rd parties, and shouldn’t care that you choose a supplier. However, you can still see this happen in states like Ohio (in certain markets), when they choose a supplier for you if you don’t choose yourself. Your local utility still delivers, services, and bills your account, as well as responds to any emergencies. This is where the utilities earn their profits. Continue reading »

 Posted by on June 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm
Jun 262013
 

bigstock Modern stone house in Istria 9183125 1 300x144 Are LED Outdoor Lights Bright Enough?
In a word – yes.

Here’s why:

We’ve all had one of those free, or next to free LED flashlights that doesn’t give off enough light to help us see anything. So naturally, you might have some doubts about trusting LED lights to illuminate you exterior, especially at night. Unlike those cheap flashlights, LED outdoor lights – like floodlights, step lights, and landscape lights – are created for important outdoor use. So, they’ll generate enough light to brighten your stairs, driveways, porches, paths, and yards, just like any other outdoor lights.

To be sure that you’ll get lights you can trust to work and to stand out in the dark, just check how many lumens your current outdoor lights emit (halogen, fluorescent, etc) and make sure your new lights have a similar number. Continue reading »

Jun 242013
 

Bay lights nytimes 300x169 Pegasus Lighting Roundup: Lighting In June

Image via NYTimes


What do soccer balls, Mona Lisa, and explosions have in common? They’re all in this month’s roundup! Read on to see what’s been going on in the lighting world…

Lighting news…

In early June, not even three months after its premiere, the artistic light display featured on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge started to malfunction. Some LED lights were stuck on, and others were caught in the off position. After scrambling for a solution, the technicians discovered that harsh weather conditions were causing the problems…Read more.

On June 4, 2013, the Louvre debuted the Mona Lisa‘s brand new LED display lighting. The change was bound to happen sooner or later due to the EU’s ban on incandescent lights, but no one expected how good it would actually look…Read more.

bloomburgbusinessweek Pegasus Lighting Roundup: Lighting In June

Image via BusinessWeek

We hear a lot about LEDs these days, but is there a place in the market for their fancier, pricier cousins, the OLEDs? Organic light emitting diodes have yet to find a niche in the market, but if and when they do, they’ll have to overcome stiff competition…Read more. Continue reading »

Jun 212013
 

LED Track Lighting 270x300 LED Maintenance: Give Your Lights A Long And Happy Life
When you’ve just upgraded your lights to LEDs, your first thought probably isn’t, “What am I going to do when these things burn out?” LEDs can last for as long as half a century, and when you pay for an entire LED lighting upgrade, you should expect them to. However, after you get over the dazzle and gleam of your favorite new lights, it’s important  to know how their lives will play out, so you can best care for them.

This blog post will answer two questions: How do you know when to replace your LEDs? and, How should you care for them so that won’t happen for a long, long time?

1. How to replace your LEDs

The trickiest part of LED maintenance is knowing when you need to exchange your old lights for new ones. Unlike other light sources, LEDs will never burn out. Instead, they get dimmer and dimmer until they’re no longer useful, which is usually when they emit about 70% of their original light output. So the question is, how will you know when it’s time to replace your LED?

When it reaches its rated life at 35,000, 50,000, 60,000 hours, there won’t be any definite indication that it’s time to change your light bulb. Plus, depending on how and where you use your LEDs, they could last shorter or longer than the projected rated life. When they do dwindle to 70%, you might not even notice.

Here are some suggestions so you’ll never find yourself sitting in the dark with the lights on: Continue reading »