Monthly Archives: November 2010

light bulbs photo

Halogen lamps were invented in the 1950s. A high-temperature, long-lasting tungsten filament was enclosed in quartz. The quartz enclosure was filled with halogen, producing a bright white light with a bluish tint. Halogen is extremely reactive, and the halogen cycle which leads to the production of this bright light works best in very high temperature. Halogen bulbs are much more efficient and long-lasting than ordinary incandescent bulbs.

There has been evolution in halogen lamps ever since. A small quartz bulb is filled with gas (inert gas like argon or premium gas like krypton or xenon) and of halogen. Since the gas is filled at very high pressure (to make it work efficiently) and operated at very high temperature, the envelop holding the chemically reactive gas should be both heat resistant and of high strength. Hence, quartz was the natural choice over glass. The atoms of the tungsten filament evaporate during the operation of the bulb. The particles condense and settle on the inner surface of the bulb.

Halogen, being a highly reactive gas, reacts with the condensed particles, converting them into tungsten halide. Tungsten halide evaporates easily, and when particles reach the heated filament (due to running electricity) they break to release the halides, and the tungsten particles settle back on the filament. Due to this process, the evaporated particles of the filament are returned and the process of thinning of filament is slowed down. Thus the bulbs are long-lasting in comparison to incandescent lamps. Due to this halogen cycle, the inner surface of the bulb is always clean, leading to bright light even in aging halogen lamps.

However, the halogen cycle is not a fool-proof solution, so even halogen bulbs do not last forever. The tungsten halides that return to the filament may not settle down in the spots from where evaporation had occurred. Thus, the problem of thinning filaments still exists to some extent. Apart from this, the life of a halogen bulb may be lowered due to notching or necking.

Halogen bulbs contain highly dangerous and reactive gaseous material, and so bursting halogen bulbs can be very dangerous. Halogen bulbs should not be touched with bare hand or tampered with in any way, and proper guidelines for installation and handling should be followed.

By Thomas Morva

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wall lights photo

The installation process starts as soon as you decide that you want to put in a wall glow light in any or all of your rooms. As soon as the decision is made you need to keep points in the walls of the house. For this you have to explain to the electrician doing the wiring of your house. Also you have to decide the exact position where you will install the wall lights so the electrician can the electrician can leave out wires before the painter paints the walls.

Once the room is all done and ready then you go out to pick the wall lights. Usually the home decor retailers selling the wall lights provide you with the servicemen who can install the wall lights for you. Or you can do it yourself as long as the electric wires are already passed in to the switches within the wall. If you are doing it yourself then you need a stool to be at eye level, a battery operated drill, safety goggles and gloves. Also make sure that you have turned off the main power switch of the house before you start working. In any case if you are unsure of what to do call in professional help.

First place the wall light on the wall and check the correct alignment. Once it is placed correct position mark the place on the wall where the holes need to be drilled with a chalk. Ensuring that you are wearing your safety goggles, turn on the drill machine. Once you have made the required number of holes (depending on the style of the wall light) then your work is almost as good as done. Then all you need to do is to connect the wires into the terminals in the wall light. You should keep in mind that you attach the negative and the positive terminal correctly. Also according to the safety requirement a short is also provided. Make sure that you connect it too. Again, in any case if you are unsure about anything then seek professional help.

Once all the wires are connected, screw in the wall light to the wall. And voila! You’re done. Just get down and turn the main power back on. Sit on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, watch TV and enjoy with your family in the new cozy warm glow of your house.

By Robert Blackburn

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home lighting photo

How we light out homes has changed considerably over the years but the theme has been one of constant increase in use and efficiency. Here are some of the major advances in modern lighting.

Pre-electric – Prior to the advent of the light bulb most homes used non-electric source such as candles, oil lamps or gas lamps. Such sources had many negatives such as limited light, noxious fumes, and an increased risk of fire. Despite these problems gas lamps saw use well into the era of electricity and candles continue to be used for ambiance in many homes.

Early Electric – Whether Edison invented the light bulb is disputable but he certainly had the finances and acumen to effectively market it. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries modern lighting continued to be a luxury. However, increased access to electricity quickly allowed the incandescent bulb to find its way into many homes. It was used increasingly to light not only a single gathering room but all rooms in the home and by the end of the Depression was nearly standard. The incandescent bulb remained the dominant source of home lighting for most of the 20th century. However, other bulbs have challenged its dominance.

Halogen – The halogen bulb, first introduced in the 1960′s, is a more compact, brighter means of modern lighting. Initially used for industrial purposes the halogen bulb found its way into the home as a means of spot lighting. As track lighting and recessed lighting became more popular so did halogen bulbs as they are more capable of fitting into such small spaces. The large amount of heat given off by halogen though has led some to move away from its use.

Fluorescent – Fluorescent lighting has actually been more popular overall in the 20th century than incandescent because of its use in commercial and industrial spaces. Recently, however, fluorescent lighting in the home has increased. With an increased life span and higher energy efficiency than standard bulbs consumers have been drawn by their cost-effectiveness, though many claim that the light output is less desirable than the incandescents of old.

LED – Light Emitting Diodes are relatively new to home lighting. Although colored LEDs have been available for decades white light LEDs have only come onto the market recently. Due to their small size and high efficiency they are good replacements for the halogen lights previously used in spot lighting. Additionally, LEDs are being developed to fit in standard bulb sockets though currently their cost makes them unlikely to replace other lighting in the near future

By Lucy Tomkins

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led lights photo

The process of wiring LED lights is sometimes tricky if the correct measures and steps are not followed to the letter. This process requires total accuracy in the number of LEDs that you want to wire and at the same time the values of the circuit. You should also consider the voltage, current and resistance if you want your circuit to work. The connections should also be clean and it is advisable to use delicate parts.

Before any connection is carried on, decide on the number of LEDs that you intend to wire. With correct power, you can be able to use many as you wish because they require little power. When using these products, one thing to consider is the specs. There are those that have 2 values and are commercially available. Using the same values has been considered the best thing though the amperage and voltage should also be put into consideration.

Decide on the mode of wiring, series or parallel. Whichever mode you choose, consider the voltage and power supply. The type of resistor to use is also important. This can be achieved by using a LED circuit calculator, plug in the values so as to determine the type of resistor that you need. Current rating of the resistor will also be determined by this device.

After identify the resistor to use, wire it into the circuit. You can decide to use a resistor rated that applies to the total circuit current, wiring it on the power supply on the positive circuit or you can also decide to use a wire resistor that has the same value.

When wiring LED lights, the cathodes should be in parallel while the anodes should be on a SPST switch to complete your LED circuit.

By Ali Raza

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under counter lighting photo

Suddenly you have noticed that your kitchen cabinets have got a dreary look about them that is a total turn off. The good news is that with under cabinet lighting, you will give your kitchen a face lift at a low cost, and you will wonder why you did not think of it before.

This kind of lighting is beneficial in many ways:

- It is very easy to install, virtually a do-it-yourself job that will consume very little time.

- It is cheap, because the fixtures are readily available.

- You can choose either low or high voltage varieties, according to your lighting needs for the cabinet.

One thing though that all people agree on unanimously is that kitchen under cabinet lighting is appropriate if you want to flood your countertops with light.

The essence of this type of lighting is to accentuate the counter tops and therefore it is appropriate for any place in the house that has a counter. This could be in the bar area, the kitchen or the bathroom. However, in most places that have counters, there are liquids and water flowing or being used and therefore it would be appropriate to have an expert do the installation, so that you can minimize the risk of electrocution.

In the kitchen and in the bathroom, the presence of overhanging cabinets casts a shadow on the countertop and therefore you cannot see well as you prepare food. The solution to this is to install under cabinet lighting, because this allows you to get another source of lighting to see clearly as you go about your tasks. If you are building a new home, you could ask the builder about it, because most pre-existing houses do not make allowance for this. Still, you can hire an electrician to do it for you.

Make a decision about the voltage that you want. Most experts would recommend low voltage lighting for the under cabinet because this is easy and faster to install. However, because low voltage lighting requires only 12 volts of electricity, you will need also to install the necessary transformers that can reduce the regular 120 voltage of the home to what you need. This is where the services of an electrician come in handy.

Under cabinet lighting is definitely appropriate for any type of counter. If your countertops are marble, granite or stone, you need a good lighting bulb under the cabinets. Moreover, this light should be directed straight at the top of the counter. This gives a nice effect where the white patches of the granite reflect minuscule lights and it enhances the kitchen decor a lot.

If you can spare the time, it is pretty easy for you to install the lights yourself, especially if you follow the detailed instructions. It is a job that should take you at the utmost a few hours. In no way will the under cabinet lighting interfere with your kitchen’s interior décor.

By Sean Jameson

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fluorescent lights photo

Today more and more of the indoors are lit by fluorescent light sources. And that is why this topic of fluorescent light flicker is becoming more and more important to photographers. You might/might not have noticed that your videos may contain rolling dark bands, falsified colors or blackouts from frame to frame when you shoot them in fluorescent light. This is known as fluorescent light flicker normally termed as flickering. Many people normally confuse this flickering with the flicker or black rolling bar that occurs in frames when you shoot a video of your TV set or your computer monitor. But actually flickering has to do with fluorescent light sources. 

Why flickering occurs:-

To understand flickering in video frames, we will first have to understand the luminance flicker in fluorescent lights. The mains frequency of commercial electrical power at which fluorescent lights operate, is standardized at either 50 Hz or 60 Hz (frequency at which alternating current is transmitted from power plant to end user) depending on geographical region. 50Hz AC (alternating current) changes direction 100 times per second as during every cycle out of 50, first current flows in one direction, then in the other direction. Similarly, 60Hz does so at 120 times per second. The luminance of the fluorescent lights fluctuates according to direction change of AC, instead of being relatively constant. So for example, as the commercial mains frequency in Europe is 50Hz, so fluorescent lights in Europe flicker at 100 times per second and as the mains frequency in US is 60Hz, so in the USA they flicker at 120 times per second. However, with tungsten filament lights the flickering is negligible because the tungsten stays glowing hot and thus giving light even when the current is momentarily zero. 

Now, this luminance variation of fluorescent lights is not apparent to human eyes when one looks directly at a scene lit by fluorescent light because of the natural effect “eye persistence”. Our eyes perceive such lighting as constant. But a video camera is not able to perceive such persistence. Hence, if successive video frames are exposed during different periods of the cycle of AC, they will have considerably different luminance, and the resulting picture will therefore appear to flicker when projected. This happens if video frames are captured at a frequency which is significantly different from the AC power supply frequency. For example, in case we shoot a video with a frame rate of 60 FPS in a scene lit with fluorescent light operating at 50 Hz commercial power frequency, the brightness fluctuation of individual frames occurs resulting from the luminance fluctuation of the fluorescent light. 


This flickering problem is solved by setting the frame rate of camera such that it should be a divisor of fluorescent light fluctuation rate. For example, for mains frequency equal to 60Hz, the fluorescent light fluctuation rate will be 120 and thus we should set the frame rate to 15, 30 or 60. This would mean limiting the exposure times of the sensor to multiples of the period of the AC power cycle, which lets the camera gather light over the duration of integer number of (n) flicker periods. This in effect averages the varying light level over the n complete flicker periods into one image, and since the frame rate is synchronized with the flicker rate, each frame has the same apparent light level. To facilitate this, cameras today come with anti-flicker control. You will need to remember to make the light frequency setting equal to the electrical frequency of the local main electrical system. For example, if a camera is set for operation in USA, which has mains frequency of 60 Hz, but the camera user travels to India, which has mains frequency of 50 Hz, then the camera user must change the light frequency setting of the camera to compensate for the different fluorescent lighting condition, or else suffer from flickering problem. 

Where anti-flicker control is not preferred?

There could be cases however, where light levels may be very much brighter in which the required exposure time is lesser than one AC cycle. But such exposure times would not be effective in reducing flicker, because each exposure time would be only a partial AC cycle, and there is no guarantee that successive frames would be in the same part of the AC cycle. This is why anti-flicker modality in cameras locks the exposure time to a minimum of 100/120, and thus in very bright scenes, the user has to bear over-exposure to remain flicker-free.

By Archna G

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can lights photo

Enjoying your outdoor space is no fun if you have to just go inside when the sun goes down.  But wiring and trenching for lights can be costly and time consuming.  Thank goodness for the sun, which provides us with ample free energy.  Solar lamp post lights are a great way to brighten your outdoor space and not break your bank account.  Here are some cool features of these products.

Designed to Look Good Day or Night

You might think that having a solar panel on top of the lights would make them ugly.  Not so, there are many lights that you can’t really tell there is a panel on it.  And the styling matches the modern, classic, or Victorian styles of their old plug-in rivals.  Odds are you can find a color and motif that match your home.  You don’t have to sacrifice style for green these days.

Nice and Bright

Many people associate solar lights with those tiny, cheap solar lights that appear in backyards around the country now.  While those have their use, they’re not exactly helpful for actually shedding light on an area.  Many of the new solar lamp post lights are being used in parking lots and streets now.  With light bulb and LED light technology advancing quickly, solar lamp post lights are bright enough to light an entry area or a small patio.  And they can last a couple nights even if there is no sunshine.

More Security and Safety

It’s a fact that burglars and vandals stay away from lit areas.  Who’s going to turn on your lights while you’re away on vacation?  Is there a dark area near your house that a prowler could approach and enter the house?  Or maybe you just have that one step that no one sees as they approach the house, and they trip on it every time.  Maybe its time to shed a little light on the area.  These lights are very effective in keeping an area safe and secure.

Installation and Operation is a Snap

Since there are no wires to run and no trenches to dig, installation couldn’t be easier.  Most units just simply need some basic assembly and then can be put where you want.  And the automatic eye will turn the light on within half hour of dusk and off within a half hour of dawn.  So its really just ‘put it up and forget about it’.

Easy on the Wallet

Many people think solar stands for ‘expensive’.  That used to be true, but no more.  These units are very affordable now and can actually save you money in the long run.  Especially in neighborhoods with the old gas lights in front of every house, these lights can pay for them selves in no time in the energy you save. Hey money is pretty green right?

For more information on solar lamp post lights and more free information, visit our website.

By Kriss Bergethon

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kitchen light fixtures photo

Kitchen light fixtures can transform your kitchen. There is a wide choice available and with some careful planning you can create just the right atmosphere for your kitchen. You will first need to look at the size of your kitchen, your color scheme, your cabinet finish and your flooring. Then you will need to decide what type of look you are going for: contemporary, rustic or industrialized to name just a few.

Then decide what areas you want to light. You may be updating a few areas or you may want to completely redo your kitchen or perhaps you are purchasing a new home and planning a whole new kitchen. Specific areas you may want to think about are: the sink area, an island, under the cabinets, the range or cook top, a breakfast nook, the kitchen counters, a work area or a special piece (like artwork) or area in the kitchen that you wish to highlight and draw attention to.

Kitchen light fixtures can be as intricate or as simple as your taste. Many people who are updating wish to go with energy efficient lighting. If that is the case, you may want to look at compact florescent lights, LEDs or halogen bulbs. Compact florescent lights are very affordable and easily available and they last long, but there is a negative. They do contain mercury and you will need to dispose of them properly. LED lighting gives you a multitude of options. There are no harmful gases and they last a long time. Halogen bulbs are very efficient and they last three times longer than regular bulbs.

More and more manufacturers are producing their kitchen light fixtures so that they are compatible with more energy efficient lighting. Many of the pendant fixtures have the new LED lighting and this type of fixture looks very attractive over the sink or over an island. A pendant light fixture is suspended from the ceiling by a rod or a chain. Other kitchen light fixtures include ceiling lights, track lighting, under-cabinet lights, pot racks and recessed lighting.

Lighting for your kitchen can be categorized into task, ambient, accent and decorative and by using a balance of the different types of lighting you will able to achieve the optimum effect. Task kitchen light fixtures are used in areas of high activity; for example, if you have a workstation where you pay bills or where the kids do their homework. Pendant lights work great here as well as over the sink.

Accent lighting is nice for areas that you wish to draw attention to like a tile backsplash or an intricate piece of pottery in your kitchen. Ambient lighting is used to fill in shadows so you can navigate through the room without being overpowered by the brilliance of a bright light. Decorative lighting is a little bit of all of the other three types of kitchen light fixtures as you will want all your kitchen lighting to be attractive and compliment your décor.

By placing your kitchen light fixtures in an area where they will make the most difference you will easily be able to define the personality of your kitchen.

By Dave D Beasley

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ceiling light photo

The ceiling fixtures in our homes are arguably the most important ones, as they are typically used the most frequently and serve as the greatest light source in a room. However, the variety of lighting fixtures for ceilings seems to be unlimited. These pieces are available in all types of shapes, colors, and sizes, providing you with an array of options.

As when making any choices about decor in your home, you should first acquaint yourself with the variety of designs that are available. In the realm of ceiling fixtures, several types exist:

Billiard/Island: These decorative ceiling fixtures are ideal for installing over islands (the ones in kitchens, not the land masses) or billiard tables. They can range from more traditional ones, such as Victorian style, to more contemporary models.

Chandelier: A chandelier is a type of ceiling fixture that includes at least two arms that provide lights. The fanciness of chandeliers can vary, though the ones we are most familiar with, are those with crystal or glass prisms that create refracted light.

Fanlight shades: These attractive ceiling fixtures include a single shade or multiple shades that open up like a fan–either upwards, or downwards.

Flush mount: As their name suggests, these lovely ceiling fixtures are installed flush with the ceiling.

Inverted: This type of fixture literally appears to be flipped upside down.

Pendant: The Pendant ceiling light fixture features a design that is etched on the exterior of the fixture. This design can include just about anything, ranging from pine cones to flying ducks.

The Pendant fixture is very popular in kitchens, and you can easily install it above tables and counters. By shining white or colored; or bright or dimmed light throughout the room, you can set the mood for a variety of dining occasions in the kitchen.

Pot Rack: This type of ceiling fixture doubles as a ceiling lamp and storage area.

Semi-Flush: Varying slightly from the flush mount ceiling fixtures, these fixtures are nearly, but not completely, flush with the ceiling.

Wall Sconce: A sconce serves as a decorated object that holds either candles or electric lights.

Here are some tips to help you choose from an array of ceiling light fixtures available:
1. Decide on the amount of light that you want a room to have

2. Keep in mind that each type of room requires a different amount of lighting, when you select a ceiling light fixture

3. Kitchens should generally include a generous amount of light, making them ideal for cooking. However, you may want to choose a lighting fixture for the ceiling that gives you a range of dim-to-bright lighting

4. When choosing a ceiling lighting fixture for the bedroom, you also want to have a range of dim-to-bright light. Bright light is needed for reading, while a dimmer light will relax your mind and body just before you fall asleep. You can select from a variety of ceiling light fixtures to complement the decor in your bedroom, including the wallpaper, walls, furniture, etc. Since you spend at least a third of the day in your bedroom, it should have a cozy ambiance.

By Christian Fernandez

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bathroom lights photo

Bathroom Lighting:

Of all the rooms in your home, the bathroom specially need to be a well-lit area. Many people seem to forget about this details when designing their houses; in the end, you don’t devote most of your day inside bathing room, so why go to all the expense? Well, if perhaps you don’t want to, but a well-lit bathroom has its emotional advantages and it helps physically too to be able to see clearly and walk safely and securely in the bathroom.

Natural light:

In the event the style of your bathroom lets in a great deal of natural light, you should have only take into consideration illumination arrangements for after-dark hours. In other instances, you could have to use a mixture of natural and man-made light sources, or, even wholly man made sources to light up your bathroom. You can get a number of in halogen and standard incandescent lights available in the market. Choose the ones that are superb and bright and as close as possible to natural sunlight.

Utilizing mirrors is yet another good idea, as mirrors reflect the light and can give an impact of a larger space. You can use a wall-mounted mirror as a centerpiece in your bathroom. You may selected from numerous mirrors to suit the decor of your bathroom and your character. You can also want to get a defogger. Defoggers are frequently economical and most often don’t waste too much power.

Light Placement:

Ahead of setting up the light fixtures, look at the sort of ambiance you intend to create with your bathroom. Mistakenly placed illumination can cause very unlucky and even terrifying effects that will very likely – if you’re the very sensitive sort – have you scurrying out as soon as possible. It really is far better in case you give the illumination arrangements some thought and, with the aid of tactically positioned lighting fixtures, produce a enjoyable, peaceful and well-lit atmosphere that offers much incentive to linger in the bath. By using light fixtures with dimmer control, you will alter the intensity of the light to get exactly the required relaxing feel. Dimmers are also energy-savers and your lights will last longer. Just keep in mind that you would need incandescent dimmers for incandescent and halogen lights and agreeable dimmers for any other kinds of lights.

Generally, a well-lit bathroom will incorporate the following forms of artificial light arrangements – ambient lighting, accent lighting and task lighting.

Ambient lighting:

This sort of lighting covers the general bathroom space. You could have a centrally fitted light – a chandelier, for example, if you want to opt for a special and creative effect – or several bright lights fitted all along the walls. If you are planning on installing recessed lights, be sure you install several recessed light fixtures or use recessed lights in combination with other styles of lights. Just a few recessed lights will not do the trick. Be sure you use glass lens over the recessed lights; plastic turns yellow with time.

Accent lighting:

Accent lighting, as the name suggests, draws attention to a certain area or feature of the bathroom. You can use it to good effect to highlight things like an ornate mirror or an artwork or a decorative wash-basin or beautiful tiling.

Task lighting:

Task lighting should allow you to groom yourself efficiently, not create shadows and special effects, although no doubt it’s fine if you can easlily incorporate those suitably in your lights arrangements.

For task lighting around the mirror, place the light fittings on each side of it. The lighting should illuminate the person before the mirror rather than focus on the mirror. Generally speaking, the lights should illuminate your face fully and minimize shadows under your eyes and chin.

It’s also possible to wish to install lighting inside the bathroom cabinets so it is easier to consider things placed inside. Also install lighting fixtures over the bath area and toilet.

Safety Factors:

Last but not the least, keep safety factors in your mind when setting up your bathroom lighting fixtures. Hire a qualified electrical contractor to do the particular installing and always use fixtures and lights particularly intended for use in wet areas. Place lighting fixtures at least 6 feet away from the bathtub or shower.

By Kent R Kerr

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