Lighting News

  1. Bulb Bases & Sockets

    Bulb Bases & Sockets

    Bulb Bases & Sockets: Everything You Need to Know

    Much like with bulb shapes, the wide variety of bulb bases and sockets can be daunting if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Nobody wants to discover too late that they got a bulb that is slightly too large for the socket or has a different pin configuration. Luckily, each base and socket can be easily identified based on both their look as well as their use. This article will cover the most common bases and their compatible sockets. This includes screw bases and pin bases; including fluorescent and compact fluorescent bases. And just as with bulb shapes, each base can be identified using a code of letters and numbers designating the base type, diameter, and configuration. This code consists of a starting letter signifying the base type, followed by number(s) measuring its diameter in millimeters, and, if applicable, additional letters to note other characteristics. A common example is the E27 base, also known as the Medium base. The “E” denotes that it is an “Edison” screw base and the “27” means the bulb’s base is 27mm in diameter. In addition to the “E” designation, there is also “G” for pin bases. Each of these will be explained in further detail later.


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  2. Bulb Shapes

    Bulb Shapes

    Bulb Shapes: Everything You Need to Know

    There are many types and varieties of light bulbs, each with its own specific usage. Even just for household lighting, the wide range of bulb shapes can be daunting. Fortunately, the designations for bulb shapes are ordered alphabetically for easy identification. There is a bulb shape for nearly every letter in the alphabet, some being more prevalent than others. For the purposes of this article, however, we will only cover the most common styles and explain their best usages. In addition to describing the shape designations, this article will also explain how to tell the dimensions of the bulb as well as relevant variants of the bulb shapes.

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  3. LED Tube Retrofits

    LED Tube Retrofits: The Benefits and Types

    LED Tube Retrofits: The Benefits and Types

    The Benefits of LED Tube Retrofits

    As the technology of LEDs and their drivers have improved, lighting manufacturers have developed LED bulbs to replace older and less-efficient lighting types, known as LED retrofits. These days, LED retrofits can be found in all types of applications, from day-to-day residential and commercial lighting, to high-intensity outdoor and industrial lighting. The latter being where the endurance and consistent brightness of LEDs are crucial for safety. In nearly every setting, LED retrofits can be seen outperforming their counterparts in key aspects such as improved light-up time and longer lifespans.

    LED retrofits have been developed to replace a multitude of conventional bulb types, including household incandescent bulbs, high-intensity discharge lamps, and compact fluorescent lamps. A popular type of LED retrofit is fluorescent tube replacements. The advancement of lighting technology has made conventional fluorescent lamps

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  4. New from Lutron: The RadioRA3

    New from Lutron: The RadioRA3

    New from Lutron: The RadioRA3

    Lutron Electronics’ latest innovation in lighting control systems, the RadioRA3, was just released in January 2022. The RadioRA3 is a groundbreaking advancement in system controllers, utilizing Lutron’s new all-in-one processor. Features included in the RadioRA3 package are a wide range of controls using the latest in capacitive touch technology. This newest release is just another example of how Lutron has been on the cutting-edge of whole-home lighting systems.

    RadioRA3 Processor and Software

    The RadioRA3 is backwards compatible with Lutron’s RadioRA2 and RA2 Select. According to a press release from Lutron, the RadioRA3 utilizes their ultra-reliable ClearConnect® RF technology, allowing for the processor unit to control up to 200 Lutron devices. Lutron also plans to implement the ability to pair two RA3 processors to create a single system of up to 400 devices. For a complete list of compatible Lutron devices, see here

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  5. LED Driver Basics

    LED Driver Basics

    LED Driver Basics: Choosing the Right One for You

    LED drivers act in a similar fashion to how a traditional electrical ballast works for a fluorescent lamp. LED drivers convert electrical power into the voltage and current needed for the LED system. The power sent to the LED is regulated by the driver, which increases the efficiency and overall lifetime of the LEDs.

    The major difference between electrical ballasts and LED drivers is that while fluorescent lamps have a set and unchanging defined electrical load, LEDs can have a variable range of both electrical load as well as circuitry. Due to this difference, LED drivers must be able to safely handle a fluctuating load. A LED driver is designed to provide enough current to keep the LED at a consistent brightness, while also not providing too much current as to damage the LED. Not using a driver for your LED circuit will lead to an unwanted increase in temperature output by the LEDs resulting in premature failures as well as possible fire hazards.

    Most brands of LED drivers also come with user-programmable features that are not found on electrical ballasts. Brands which have programmable LED driver options are LSI, Advance, and Universal Lighting. Depending on the brand and driver type, features can include OEM resistors for limiting current output, temperature regulators, connections for cooling devices, auxiliary power supplies, and other programmable features such as dimming.

    Which LED driver type that you should use depends

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  6. Electronic Ballast Starting Methods

    Electronic Ballast Starting Methods

    Electronic Ballast Starting Methods

    A fluorescent light ballast converts the input voltage, typically 120 VAC to 480 VAC in North America, to the proper voltage needed to establish an arc between the two electrodes. A ballast can use various starting methods depending on the type of lamp and its application.

    Preheat start is a magnetic ballast technology that is used exclusively with preheat start lamps.  Preheat start ballasts require a separate starter which is sometimes integrated into the ballast.  For 2 pin CFL lamps, the starter is built into the base of the lamp.  

    Trigger start is another magnetic ballast technology that is also used with preheat lamps.  Trigger start ballast additionally provide a low voltage filament heat to improve lamp life.  Trigger start lamps are available for 1 or 2 lamp applications. 

    Instant start electronic ballasts start lamps instantaneously (<0.1 seconds).  Starting voltage for the lamp is about 600V for a 4 ft T8 lamp.  This method maximizes energy savings but decreases lamp life due to the reduction in the life of the electrodes (10,000 to 15,000 on/off switching cycles).  Instant start ballast are best used where there is limited on/off switching cycles during a day.  

    Manufacturers developed rapid start electronic ballasts to start lamps quickly (0.5 -1.0 seconds) and extend the lamp life, typically 15,000 to 20,000 cycles.  Rapid start ballasts apply an additional low voltage (approx 3.5V) to the electrodes which effectively preheats the electrode before the starting voltage is applied.  Because the electrode is preheated, the lamp can be started

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  7. Dimming Basics

    Dimming Basics

    Dimming Basics

    There are various controllable lighting options that will dim your lights for ambiance or energy efficiency.  Dimming lights 20% saves approximately 20% in energy savings.   Controllable lighting solutions can be pretty simple for a single room or complex for total building lighting control.  There are several components in a controllable lighting system: a dimmable lamp, dimming ballast, dimming control including dimmer and an optional sensor.  

    Most types of lighting technologies can be dimmed including incandescent, fluorescent, compact fluorescent, LED and halogen lamps.  In some cases, there are both dimmable and non-dimmable versions of a lamp.  

    Fluorescent lamps require a dimming ballast.  There are many types of dimming ballasts and things to consider when converting to a dimming fluorescent system.  

    The first thing to consider is dimming range.  If it is strictly an energy savings application in a commercial environment, step-dimming or load-shed dimming ballasts are a good cost effective option.  These ballast however, have limited dimming range of 40 to 60%%-100% or limited control such as 3 Step Dimming (ie: 0%, 40% 100%).  Full range dimming is typically 10% or below to 100%.

    The next thing to consider when selecting a ballast is the accessibility to your light fixture from your dimming controls.  If there is limited access from the lighting control to the ballast and additional wiring cannot be easily added, you will need to use a powerline type of ballast where the dimming control is transmitted across the power lines

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