Spotlights have an important role in our daily life. Whether it is an office, maintenance workshop, production house, or any other public place, good lighting is always necessary.
It helps in employee satisfaction and safety.
While in the home it helps us to do our routine jobs with comfort. We can define it as “A lighting system that focuses light on a specific object or place”.
Spotlighting working principle
It is a basic electrical circuit. We can connect AC or DC sources for its operation. So the circuit consists of a Power source and the lamp works as a resistor.
When the current flows through the circuit, the filament resists the flow of the current. And as a result, it glows.
Spot Lighting works on the same principles. In Some spotlights when the current flows it operates a small circuit board.
The board consists of high-intensity light-emitting diodes. So when the board is energized it illuminates LED to produce light.
It is worth mentioning that only LEDs are not sufficient for producing light or illumination. Spotlights have their own procedure.
To amplify the illumination we put the LEDs in the concave areas. For better reflection, the concave area is coated with highly reflective angled materials.
The reflective material consists of aluminum-coated plastic. When the bulb illuminates the reflective area redirects the light in the form of a steady beam of light.
We can amplify the light of the LED by 10,000 times. All we need to adjust the reflectivity of the coated area of a spotlight.
spotlights Different Types
There are different types of spotlighting systems in use. We are discussing mostly used lighting systems.
A very old lighting system consists of a single convex lens. The lens is round on one side and flat on the other side.
This type of spot lighting is produced by an ellipsoidal reflector. It consists of a barrel and lens. The collected light directs through the barrel.
The common use of this type of lighting is in lighthouses. It either provides lighting to a broad area or a concentrated area.
No lens is used for producing and directing the beam of light.
Parabolic Aluminized Reflector
In this type of lighting the reflector, filament, and lens are aligned in a fixed position. Commonly used in theater
Uses of spotlighting
As already discussed spot lighting is used for highlighting particular objects. Here under some specific uses:
- Art exhibitions
- Jewelry shops to make jewels looks shiny.
- Markets and antique shops to spot the lighting on special pieces.
- Advertising panels.
- Hotels walls to make the hotel name clear and eye-catching.
- gardens and parks to bring light to trees.
What is the difference between spotlights and downlights?
Spotlights and downlights both are used to light up the interior of a room, apartment, or any other indoor place. But there are some points to differentiate between these lights.
One of the main differentiators between the spotlights and downlights is the range. The light from the downlights spreads more than spotlights.
If we want to light up our room for professional purposes, downlights are really helpful. Because the light from the downlights is really sharp, clear, and vivid.
It gives a very good brightness to the surroundings and is very good for reading, writing, and doing jobs requiring a lit-up ambiance.
On the other hand, spotlights are not very well-known for properties like bright and vivid light through them. But spotlights are used more than downlights. The reason is that the light coming from downlights is cool, neat, and sharp light.
The light from the spotlights shines narrowly while the light from the downlights has a broader and wider range. If we visit a store, we will find both spotlights and downlights.
The places where the products are placed need a very attractive and focused light. This light is not needed anywhere but on the product.
So, spotlights are used in such places. They direct light right on the product and highlight it. Most of the time spotlights can be seen at museums, expos, in a bookcase, cabinet, chest, or on art.
While the downlights are used where we need uniform lighting. In the libraries, general stores, and other places where we need luminosity. A good feature that downlights lacks but the spotlight has is adjustability.
Read my article about street lights here.
Do spotlights cause light pollution?
Yes. Spotlight is a source of light pollution because it is too sharp. Due to its intensity, it reflects back light from everything that comes in its way.
We know that our atmosphere has dust particles in it. If you turn your spotlight ON at the night, you’ll see the ray of light propagating from the source.
Other than that, the spotlights outside the houses, offices, expos, and other official buildings light up the whole night. This is light pollution.
If these lights are turned on outside one office, the metabolic cycles of lifeforms on earth and natural harmonies are disturbed.
For example, you had a really big day and you return home, seeking some sleep, but your neighbor has a spotlight hanging right across your window.
How are you going to get some sleep in such conditions? That is how the natural harmonies are disturbed.
We know that some insects are really useful for the growth of plants. Like the process of pollen reproduction, these insects are vital.
These insects do not show up during the day, saving themselves from predators such as birds.
The way to sense when to come out of their nests or not is by the detection of light. If you have too much light around your field, these insects will not come out and the yield of the crop will be affected.
So, spotlights cause light pollution and must not be used where their need is not highly recommended.
How do you wire spotlights?
In houses or offices, installing spotlights is not a problem. Get an AC to DC adapter with the right power rating. The power rating of your spotlights is written on the box of the spotlights.
Take the neutral of the spotlight and connect it with the neutral of the ac adapter. Similarly, connect the positive of spotlights with the positive of the adapter.
Sometimes the positive and negative are not mentioned on either the adapter or the wires of the spotlights. Then remember a simple rule of thumb that the negative wire is color-coded to be black and the positive is always red.
If you do not find the black wire, look for a grey or a relatively whiter-colored wire. These wires represent the ground. Some companies use these wires instead of black.
Connecting the spotlights in the car isn’t really difficult. Some steps for that are described here. First of all, disconnect the battery and shut the engine off.
Just disconnecting the negative terminal will do. Locate a good mounting location such as an iron rod. Fix the lights carefully. Always use a relay as a protective device.
Ground the relay using a wire, one end of which is connected to the ground point of the relay and the other end to the chassis of the car. Connect a fuse on another wire that initiates from the relay and terminates at the positive end of the battery.
Connect the negative terminal of the battery to the negative of the spotlight.
Now connect the negative wire to the battery and your connection is complete. Some things left to worry about are the button and the position of the relay.
The position of the relay should not be a hot place as the heat melts off the relay. Place the switch in an accessible location inside the car such as near the tape recorder etc.
The connection of the button is easy. Cut the wire that goes from the negative terminal of the battery to the spotlight.
Now take one end and connect it to a terminal of the button and the other end to the other terminal of the button. If the button is on the circuit is complete (closed) spotlights are on and vice versa.
Do spotlights need transformers?
Yes, spotlights need a transformer. Have you ever wondered what is inside that box from which light is coming? That box has a transformer in it.
Almost the lights (especially the LED ones) have a transformer in their body. These transformers are responsible for stepping down the voltage from 240 to the required level.
Normally, 9-12V Dc is required for the spotlights. But there is nothing to worry about because the designers of spotlights design the spotlight in such a way that the required voltage is attained.
What distance should the spotlight be?
Actually, there is no hard a fast rule for this because this is not circuitry that if made wrong will cause damage.
But still, it is very essential to place your lights at a certain distance so that the light from them is useful.
A common exercise is to measure the height of your ceiling divide it by 2 and place each of your lights at this distance from each other.
Another suggestion is to place your lights at a distance of 1 meter from the edge of the wall and ceiling and then place each light 1 meter apart from it.
Some designers suggest placing your lights at a distance of 3 feet from each other. The angle range of the beam of light of the spotlights is between 30 to 60 degrees.
While placing the lights make sure that the beam of every first light is overlapping the beam of every third light. The distance of spotlights in wet areas matters a lot.
Also, these spotlights should have a good IP rating. Let us take a specific case. In this way, we will be able to have some real calculations in our hands.
I am taking the example of a kitchen so we will understand it better. All the kitchens have 3 kinds of areas.
The first one is the plinth then the cabinet and the last one is the ceiling area. Starting with the plinth area, spotlights should be placed under each column of drawers.
If you have a working space in the kitchen that is made of marble, then it is quite natural that this table kind of space has drawers beneath.
Each column should have its own spotlight. Next are the under-cabinet spotlights. Cabinets usually extend from one end of the kitchen and end at the other end.
That means it has a high chance that there are corners as well. So, start placing your spotlight from the corners. Place an even number (equal number) of lights in such a way that there is the distance between each spotlight is consistent.
Try to keep this distance between 400 to 500mm. That keeps the magnitude of light intensity really good.
As discussed above, the spotlights on the ceilings should have a distance of 1 meter from the corner.
The lights should be in a sequence and should be evenly distributed with a consistent distance between themselves.
Should I replace my halogen spotlight with an LED spotlight?
Yes, you should. There are many reasons to get an LED spotlight and get rid of halogen spotlights.
Such as low power consumption, fashionable design, price, etc. But there is a problem with that. If you want to replace the halogen bulb lights with LED lights, you will have to take care of their brightness.
Because when your headlight had a halogen bulb, it had only one source of light from which the light is received and spread in a focused way.
But when you put a strip of LED lights in the housing of your halogen headlights, it will blind the people coming your way.
Because the light from each LED bulb is a light source and this light is still being treated like the light from the halogen bulb.
In this case, even your low beams will look like a high beam or even more than the high beams. We have a screw that adjusts the height of the headlights.
After placing the LEDs in the housing of the headlights, adjust this screw so that the light stays under the elbow height.
Keep adjusting your LED until your required level of low and high beams is attained.
In houses or buildings also, halogen bulbs are getting replaced with LED spotlights. LED spotlights use almost 80% lesser than the halogen bulb.
So, LED spotlights cost you way lesser than halogen bulbs. The LED spotlights are way brighter than the halogen bulbs.
Although the first cost of LED spotlights is a little more than that of halogen bulbs, the life of LED spotlights is nearly 10 times more than that of halogen bulbs.
Moreover, the first cost doesn’t matter that much because the per-time-period cost (monthly, annual) of the halogen bulb is way more than the LED(s).
So, get your halogen spotlights replaced with LED spotlights.
Are photons from the spotlight floodlights more than the other floodlights?
Yes, floodlights with LEDs emit more photons than other floodlights.
The measure of photons is lumens. When it is the peak efficiency that is 555nm, the photons count is 4.09*10^15 photons per second.
The halogen lights have a very low count of lumens per watt. The lumens per watt for halogen lights is 10-20. While an LED light is 75-110 lumens per watt. That is 7 times the lumens per watt of the halogen floodlights.
Suppose you have an LED floodlight of 30 watts that delivers 75 lumens per second and it delivers lumens for 1 second. The total lumens will be 2250.
If we turn on a halogen bulb of the same wattage for a second (neglecting the startup and thinking it starts working at its full capacity right from the start) it will deliver only 300 lumens in the given time.
That means that floodlights with LEDs can deliver more photons than spotlights with halogen bulbs.