Color Temperature Was Essential When Designing Our LED Light Fittings

When we first began working with LED lighting there were a number of prerequisites for us to put our name to the Sterling Lighting fixtures. We needed the light fitting to look visually beautiful, for it be durable and last under various outdoor weather conditions and be fitted with LED bulbs that are rock solid. Above all though, the right color temperature and light output was essential.

Our product development started with using a traditional 35 watt par 36 bulb. This light provided a more even spread than the standard MR 16 bulb used in many fittings which is so important when lighting up a landscape. Once we were able to perfectly match a par bulb, we began to look for ways to improve and enhance it.

We first increased the color temperature by a 100 degrees. This may only sound like a minor difference, but adjusting the temperature slightly can have a big impact in the overall result. Too cool and the light can appear too white and wash everything out especially in an outdoor garden setting and have it too warm the light can be too strong and overpower the subject you are wanting to highlight.

Further into our product development we noticed that a halogen bulb gave a “hot spot” near the fixture.   Our objective wasn’t to just recreate the exact same look using an LED bulb, we wanted to make the best light source possible. So we chose to incorporate a Cree chip that is known for not producing an intense spot near the fixture itself.

You might notice that Sterling Lighting LED fittings distribute light from side to side as well as front top to bottom. The optics we had also designed helped distribute the light more evenly and further afield than the usual par bulb could.

So with these modifications, we started to achieve the quality of light we wanted to see within landscape projects to enhance design elements, architecture and gardens. We are very happy with the results and can proudly stamp the Sterling Lighting brand on our fixtures!

20130706-000047

Pros and Cons Series of Light Fixture Materials

Pros and Cons Series of Light Fixture Materials

When we design any light fitting we are extremely conscious of not only the light output but also the quality of the fixture. The materiality of outdoor lighting fixtures is important not only from a visual perspective but also from a durability standpoint. So what should you know when selecting the best fixture for your project and clients?

In this series we will discuss the pros and cons of various materials used in outdoor lighting and provide you with the necessary information when specifying and selecting fixtures with your clients.

Aluminium light fittings

Let’s start with is aluminium as aluminium fixtures are seen on many if not most lighting installations out there today. As with anything, there are different grades of aluminium. If you are using a fixture that uses a machined piece of aircraft quality, virgin aluminium, it will obviously perform much better than the typical cast aluminium fixture. Unfortunately there are very few fixtures made using the premium quality aluminium which will affect the durability of the fitting.

The benefits of aluminium

There are some benefits of using aluminium as a material in the production of light fittings. These include:

  • Light weight
  • Resistant to rust
  • Inexpensive compared with brass or copper
  • Good conductor of heat (aluminium fixtures can be used to draw heat away from LED lights
  • Easy to mould into the shape required for the design of the fixture
  • Easy to finish with a paint or powder coat in any color imaginable

The number one reason aluminium fixtures are so popular is that they are typically 1/3 the price of the quality brass or copper fixtures.

The drawbacks of aluminium fixtures

  • The surface pitts causing the powder coat or paint finish to no longer adhere to the fixture
  • The material corrodes causing the fixture to first look chalky before it starts to dissolve
  • The paint or powder coat finish will fade over time in the sun

These drawbacks are why most manufactures will have short warranties on the finish if they provide any warranty at all. Aluminium is not recommended by most companies to ever use in salt water environments as the salty air will destroy these fixtures quickly. Just some of the reasons at Sterling Lighting we don’t include aluminium fittings in our lighting collection.

20130126-185934

Designing The Perfect Path Light

If you haven’t already noticed, we are obsessed with quality path lights. Not only are path lights required for safety purposes, they also play a large role in the appearance of your garden in the evening light. From the installation side of things, we have installed thousands of path lights in the gardens residential properties. Our experience tells us that the most problematic fixture has been the path light. If you have also had experience installing path lights for a period of time, you probably have a list of issues with the fixtures you have used.

path-light

Common problems with path lights

Some of these problems include, but are not limited to, aluminium path lights with a 1/4″ stem that seem to always break at the stake, premium sand cast path lights that are so top heavy that they need to be cemented in to keep from leaning and finally companies using copper plumbing parts and simply gluing them together.

Another common issue we have incurred is the lack of light output. Many companies restrict the light output by constructing metal bars in the front connecting the stem to the hat of the path light. This creates odd shadows and doesn’t help disperse the light evenly across the surface.

 
Finding the solution

path-light2We decided in order to find the perfect path light, we would have to design it ourselves! The first thing we decided the path light fixture need be was an integrated led fixture. We developed a path light using a Cree CXA chip, 4 watt, 400 lumen light source.

We decided on using a heavy duty 1.25″ solid virgin cast brass stake. We gave the fixture a 9″ abs ground stake and a 20″ cast brass stem. We recommend burying 6″ of the stem in the ground along with the 9″ stake. That is a total of 15″ of the fixture in the ground which allowed us to have a solid base to ensure the path lights will always be perfectly straight and not keel over.

path-light3Every component of the fixture is threaded together with no glue in sight. This give the fixture tremendous strength. We even threaded our lens into the fixture itself. The lens is twice as thick as any lens on the market. If it were ever broken, it is designed to simply be replaced.

Besides the path light being able to withstand just about anything one could throw at it, it also gives an amazing light output which is so important to us. This fixture will create a 14″ circle of light. The light source is completely hidden from within the fixture to enhance its visual appearance. We even designed an 18″ extension stake if someone would like a taller path light within their garden.

In our opinion, this is the most durable, beautiful, path light ever made that will tick all the boxes for those who are installing the fixture and we are sure will meet the expectations of the end user.

 

path light

path light