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For this design, I incorporated the Philips Hue wireless control and RGB tape light into a simple fixture stand that can sit against a wall or in a corner.

This is the basic setup. A base plate, ball sockets, and wands with RGB LED strips in each.

This is the basic setup. A base plate, ball sockets, and wands with RGB LED strips in each.

Basic Details:
The wands are mounted to a ball, machined from brass, that sits in sockets printed in ABS plastic. At the tip of each wand is a printed ABS clear plastic diffuser that extends the color just beyond the tip of the metal housing. The housing is a U-shaped aluminum channel that the tape light was installed into.

The mechanical arrangement allows the wands to be tilted and twisted to create different arrays, that, when mixed with color effects, create many different finished “looks” that can be easily changed and reconfigured, either by moving the wands or programming the colors.

This is the wands array in fan configuration placed in the corner of our media room.

This is the wands array in fan configuration placed in the corner of our media room.

The Fun:
The Philips Hue system utilizes a wireless hub (located in another room connected to our in-house WiFi network) to allow any smart device, iOS or Android, to control the effects. These effects include selecting basic color mixes using simple app software, or more complex scenes, and disco effects. There are at least a dozen apps available for the system now. I chose the Pro version of the app, that allows me to set up groups of colors (the wands use three separate channels, plus three others we have in the house). This allows each one of the individual wands to be controlled separately, as well as in a group. I also use another app, called Hue Disco, that includes fading mood washes and functions, as well as disco lighting effects that respond to music being played.

In this arrangment, the wands are aimed at random agles to one another to twist the blend of light into the corner.

In this arrangement, the wands are aimed at random angles to one another to twist the blend of light into the corner.

Color is an addictive addition to entertainment and feature spaces, that produces an impression of flow and movement that white light just does not deliver. In this case, I included the lighted tip on each wand to create a sense of origin at the top of each stem, which is many arrangements, creates a sense that the light is flowing out of the wand from the tip down, like water from a fountain. Since the wands themselves hide the light strips completely, there is little to break that illusion.

Arranging the wands and placement of the base creates the final effects, and sets the stage for the use of color mixes, blends, changing routines, use of disco effects to suit ones tastes. I personally like the slow color changing effects, which fade from one color to another within a pre-selected pallet. In the morning, the flowing of warm color blends was pleasant as the sun rose, while at night with the TV on, blue and magenta blends seemed a nice complement.

Since the wands can be re-arranged on a whim, it’s likely that I will move them around occasionally just to freshen things up, while the apps that control the color and effects give me plenty to tinker with in creating moods and color effects to suit the day, the season, or just kill a few minutes when nothing else is going on.

The images that follow show the wands arranged in different configurations, with the colors changed using a smart phone. I’ve come to find this a great deal of fun, and plan to apply it, and similar approaches into future designs in the 52/52 project. Wireless control is a fantastic way to control products like this, as it requires no wired switches, knobs or buttons. I also like being able to program this fixture and other lights in the house surrounding it to change on schedule, shut off automatically, and turn on/off for nightlight and security duty, easily and effortlessly.

Fan arrangement, set into a corner with RGB and blue color modes. These can also be cycled or left static.

Fan arrangement, set into a corner with RGB and blue color modes. The wands at the right and left are turned toward the walls, the center wand into the corner. The colors can be cycled or left static.

Fan wand arrangment as above, but with pastel colors, warm white and sunset tones

Fan wand arrangement as above, but with pastel colors, warm white and sunset tones

Wands in a Vee formation, all aimed at a slight outward angle to the the wall.

Wands in a Vee formation, all aimed at a slight outward angle to the the wall.

All three wands aimed into the corner for a perspective view

All three wands aimed into the corner for a perspective view

Wands arranged into a vectored arrangement, aimed directly at the wall.

Wands arranged into a vectored arrangement, aimed directly at the wall.

In this arrangement, the wands are spread and tilted away from the wall, with each turned to overlap light toward the center of the wall, to blend the color effects.

In this arrangement, the wands are spread and tilted away from the wall, with each turned to overlap light toward the center of the wall, to blend the color effects.

 

Solid-state lighting presents many opportunities to create fidelity in specification of lighting not practical or available before. Further, the blend of aggressive marketing, hype, and deception on the part of solid-state product manufacturers demands more diligent specification than ever before. The days of the conventional mode of specifying luminaires and lamps as two separate components, with experiential trust in both, is over. Today, luminaires and light sources are integral to one another, often offered up by those who have marginal experience, and a strong desire to realize sales. The only defense against predatory and overly aggressive marketing is to understand and develop a strong specification foundation. The next protective barrier is to hold that specification. The following are suggestions for building a solid-state lighting foundation for any luminaire specification, with rationalization for each consideration in practical terms. (more…)

After reviewing a range of different metering choices in actual use, I compiled a summary of findings, as well as my own personal subjective ratings of features and overall utility as a lighting professional. This chart is the collection of all findings in a simple comparison table for those who find this useful (like me): (more…)

This is the Lighting Passport Flagship set. Includes case and accessories in a neat package.

This is the Lighting Passport Flagship set. Includes case and accessories in a neat package.

I first saw this device at Light+Build Frankfurt last fall. I was impressed enough to find one added to my collection of tools. The Asensetek Lighting Passport is a unique product in several ways. First, it is essentially a meter head (where the cost is), coupled to an iOS or Android device that does all the computational and display work. The lighting head has a nifty slide action receptor cover, so there is nothing to come off or get lost in a bag or pocket. The measurement range is as broad as any of the other spectrometers tested here, plus some. Not only does it produce the expected spectral power distribution, CRI, CCT, CIE 1931 and 1976 coordinates and illumunance in lux and Fc, it also delivers CQS values. (more…)

Okay, so while this is not of the same caliber, or as new and cool as the spectrometers, and could be considered an obsolete product, since it is no longer made – but, there are enough of these meters around in used condition, and they have been in use for so long, that finding one with the right attachments is not a serious challenge. So why bother? To start, the basic meter frame sold new for over $1,5000, with attachments to produce various readings. I found one example on ebay, sold from a test lab that was closing, that included several useful sensor heads. (more…)

The recent article: LED Bulb Efficiency Surges, But Light Quality Lags states very well the findings of the DOE and others reviewing LED retrofit lamp performance. While well stated, there are severl missing dynamic issues in the conversation that need to be included if LED is to overcome the failure of the CFL to capture the consumer market it so desperately seeks to dominate.

While efficient, there has been no great interest in the consumer market to lamps with poorer quality at higher prices.

While efficient, there has been no great interest in the consumer market to lamps with poorer quality at higher prices.

The CFL lamp has failed in the consumer market for these reasons:

  1. Light quality is poor in comparison to the far cheaper incandescent lamp. This includes color quality, distribution (photometric) pattern is poor (flood type products)
  2. Appearance and fit of the product into existing fixtures – i.e. ugly to look at, stick out of fixtures, create dark spots in shades and fixture diffusers, etc.
  3. They did not last as long as advertised. When switched frequently, the life of a CFL screw base product can be shorter than a long life incandescent. In outdoor cold climate environments, some fail within a few months. In down-lights and enclosed fixtures most fail even more quickly.
  4. They cost too much compared to incandescent of higher quality
  5. They save some energy, but have so many other liabilities the consumer does not take this seriously.
  6. Flickering starts, flicker under dimming, and 120Hz strobe effects from cheap ballast designs
  7. Slow to warm to full brightness – often taking longer to get up to full light than many products are on for in many rooms (pantry, closet, hallway, etc.)
  8. Mercury disposal concerns for some

(more…)

    Flex-arm-large

The Tasca test mule turned 2 years in continual illuminated state this May. That’s 8,760 continuous operating hours in the cold, hot, and messy environment of the shop in which it lives. It gets abused as well, from tossing greasy rags over it to see what happens when airflow over the heat sink is cut off, to blowing coolant on it until it freezes. There have been several lessons learned in this time. For example, lumen depreciation, captured by measuring the fixture’s output, has been negligable. Losses have been less than 1.2% so far, which means the White Optics reflector and anti-reflective glass are doing their job, as is the Bridgelux ES Array LED. Temperature readings taken over this time have not changed anywhere, which indicates the internal construction attaching the thermal slug to the heat sink is durable and reliable. (more…)