central lighting

Hi, just watched a re-run on home and leisure (Bob, Norm or someone) and the house they were refitting was having a central lightbox fitted which then ran to outlets via fibre optics. Anyone seen anything similar over here? Richard
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I don't know about the particular system in question, but a place I used to work had two different versions of the same idea. Neither was suitable (IMO) for domestic use other than perhaps task lighting or effects and highlights.
The first system was used in shop display cabinets. A light box on top of the cabinet fed fibre optics on the shelves in order to light the goods on display. The system was designed for use with General Electric 20V 150W projector bulbs - "DDL" I think they were called - which had a lifespan of something ridiculous like 220 hours. We eventually discovered a 21V "EKE" bulb which lasted a lot longer. There was a variation on this cabinet where the light source was underneath the display and used bog standard 12V 50W bulbs, but it was only really for highlighting and not much good for general illumination.
The second system used discharge bulb "projectors" and huge bundles of fibre optics to light a pathway through a dark area. I suppose that if you used more fibres at each point they would produce a reasonable amount of light, but it seems a bit of overkill for something that could easily be done another way. The projectors took a good 30 seconds to start up in the morning too due to the need to strike and warm up the discharge bulbs and if for some reason (power loss - happened quite a lot) they went out, you had to wait at least 10 minutes, and often 15 before trying to relight them.
I can see two advantages to fibre optics: they are completely waterproof (very advantageous in the second situation described above) and they provide light without heat (at the delivery end). Other than that: they are expensive, have low light output, and are difficult to control.
Now, I suspect that what I know of fibre optic lighting is not at all like the system Bob or Norm was fitting (though the principles must surely apply), but since these are the only systems I've met that's all I can talk about :-)
Hwyl!
M.
--
Martin Angove (it's Cornish for "Smith") - ARM/Digital SA110 RPC
See the Aber Valley -- http://www.tridwr.demon.co.uk/abervalley.html
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They sound like similar systems - light box with (I think) 50w lamp fed out on optics to outlets in the stairway / landing ceiling to provide "pools" of light. Looked quite effective and the output end was adjustable to give either a sharp "spot" or wider "wash". Only reservation is the thought of plunging everything into darkness when the bulb fails (yes, I know bulbs are for growing daffodils and I should have said lamp). Richard
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Also, you don't have access problems changing the lamp.
Our local UGC cinema has focused fibre optic lighting in the ceiling for the gangway lighting during a film. As the ceiling is probably 6 or 7 metres, I presume they used fibre optics so they didn't have to get up there with ladders. It's pretty dim though.
--
Tim Mitchell

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Yes, horribly inefficient (a 500W forced air cooled source creating as much light in a room as a 40W lamp would).
Might become viable if anyone manages to get microwave sulphur lamps working commercially again, so you just have one light in the house.
--
Andrew Gabriel

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