Friday, October 29, 2010

In the Spotlight #8: Ceramic Light Bulbs


In order for light bulbs and lighting related products get better and more durable, more materials need to be added their construction in order to strengthen the existing materials and allow the bulbs to withstand higher operating temperatures. In browsing light bulbs you may have come across lamps that feature ceramic materials or ceramic sockets? What exactly does a ceramic bulb or socket entail? In this article I will answer this question and detail some of the products that include ceramics. Ceramics have been long used in electronics because they have some remarkable abilities as current insulators and semiconductors. Even more amazing, ceramics can be integrated with glass to produce glass-ceramic which is stronger than ordinary glass and can withstand rapid and wide temperature fluctuations. These characteristics make ceramics very useful for lighting products. The most common place for ceramics is in HID light bulbs, in particular metal halide lamps. From metal halide PARs for stage lighting to metal halide MR16s, and for other metal halides used for TV/Film production, ceramic metal halide lamps can be found. A ceramic metal halide bulb replaces the quartz arc tube with a glass-ceramic arc tube which can withstand longer durations of bulb operation and higher temperatures, ensuring longer lamp life and better light quality. Ceramic bulbs are particularly useful in applications like medical lighting where you require high quality light for potentially long durations of continuous use. Ceramics can also be found in Xenon medical lamps headlamps, or in both metal halides and xenon bulbs, ceramic arc tubes also resist the gradual degradation and failure of the tube itself, thus protecting the bulb against premature failure. There are also ceramic light sockets, which are used in sockets for all types of bulbs including medium screw bases and MR16s. Ceramic sockets provide excellent current insulation and make the conductivity of the electrical current that much more safe and efficient.
BulbAmerica has a wide range of ceramic lighting products from some of the most trusted names in lighting including Philips, Osram, Ushio, and GE. Check all of our xenon and metal halide products today. We also have a wide range of MR16, CFL, automobile, and LED products to choose from so don’t forget to check them out. Remember, there is more than one way to go green! As usual give us a ring at 1-888-505-2111, leave a comment on our blog, or post on our Facebook with any questions you have.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Boston's W Hotel Gets a Dash of LED Lighting from Chauvet


The 28-story W Hotel in Boston is among the city’s tallest buildings and features an alluring architectural detail recently installed, a stripe of purple light that runs up the building’s glass corner. This flourish of architectural lighting was installed to celebrate the opening of the hotel. The lighting was produced by 28, one on each floor, Chauvet COLORdash Quad RGB LED wash units, providing a rich colorful light while consuming minimal electricity. This lighting assignment required that the units be able to plug directly into a wall output and operate without producing heat in order to ensure safe operation. Luckily the COLORdash Quad RGB LED satisfied all of these criteria. The 59w COLORdash Quad features 36 powerful one-watt LEDs, for rich bright lighting. The COLORdash Quad is completely operable in stand-alone mode, making it perfect for architectural applications where you need to set your unit and forget it.

BulbAmerica has Chauvet’s COLORdash Quad RGB LED units and many of Chauvet’s other products in stock so check us out today. We also have a wide range of LED products perfect for your architectural lighting needs. As usual, leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The George Washington Bridge Gets an LED Makeover


Recently the green revolution claimed another victory, this time at the George Washington Bridge, which spans the Hudson River connecting Manhattan to New Jersey. Until recently, the George Washington Bridge featured mercury vapor lamps along its necklace, the area of the bridge that secures the suspension cables to the top of the bridge. In place of the mercury vapor lamps were installed 156 LED modules; these LED modules are projected to last 15 years compared to the one year life span of the mercury vapor lamps. Furthermore, LEDs do not require any toxins like mercury to produce, making them that much more environmentally friendly.

The LEDs are projected to save the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey $50,000 annually, in addition to saving substantially on energy consumption.
The new LEDs on the George Washington Bridge are a testament to the energy saving, amazing efficiency, and durability of LEDs. Furthermore, this example of LED lighting really demonstrates how wise an investment LEDs really are. BulbAmerica stocks a wide range of LED products for your home, outdoors, theatre, and other applications. Check them all out today! Feel free to leave a question or comment on this article, our Facebook, or call us at 1-877-620-1762 for any remaining questions you may have.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To Infinity and Bayonne: LEDs Serve as a Monument to 9/11

The Bayonne Bridge connects Bayonne, New Jersey, with Staten Island, New York and is the fourth longest steel arch bridge in the world. In memory of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, the New York Port Authority, the organization in charge of the bridge’s upkeep, in 2009 approved a plan to install red, white, and blue LEDs along the steel arch of the bridge. The busy Bayonne Bridge sees approximately 20,000 automobiles a day, so the monument to the fallen of 9/11 would have a large audience to appreciate the ambitious installation and its patriotic message. The brightness, durability, and colorful capacities of LEDs made them perfect for this project and other outdoor lighting projects like it.

BulbAmerica has a wide array of LED products to choose from. We have exactly what you need so check it out today. As usual, leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897.

Monday, October 25, 2010

CFLs and LEDs Take the A-Shape Bulb By Storm

The A-shape incandescent bulb is undoubtedly the most iconic of any light bulb. One reason for this is that A-shape bulbs are extremely versatile and can fit in most fixtures due its length and moderately slim profile. Manufacturers of CFLs and LEDs light bulbs have realized that in order for these environmentally friendly alternatives to flourish, they must adopt the A-shape so consumers can use their existing fixtures. Even more importantly, people are resistant to light bulbs that do not look how they are accustomed to light bulbs looking, this has been one of the key reasons why individuals have resisted CFL twist, mini-twist, double tube, and triple tube bulbs. Luckily, manufacturers of LEDs and CFLs have answered the call for environmentally friendly A-shape bulbs. For A-shape CFLs, Feit Electric, Osram Platinum, and Sunlite offer bulbs in a wide array of color temperatures to suit the ambiance of the room you are lighting. For A-shape LEDs, Osram leads the way with both color changing and standard white bulbs which are rated to last an amazing 25,000 hours.

Admittedly, A-shape retrofit bulbs, particularly LED retrofits, are still on the expensive side and consumers may be hesitant to pay the steep up-front cost of the bulbs. One slightly longer lasting and more efficient alternative to incandescent A-shape bulbs are halogen A-shapes by GE. These bulbs last roughly 1,000 hours longer than most incandescent and produce the same amount of light, if not more, by using the same amount of wattage as standard incandescent bulbs.

A-shape CFL and LED retrofits are not the only environmentally friendly shapes to be designed by manufacturers. CFL and LED MR16 have become very popular. LED have become extremely popular in the stage lighting arena with the development of LED PAR cans and DJ lighting effects, while CFLs have become popular retrofits for R and BR shapes and small PARs used for flood lighting. Even in automotive lighting LEDs have become a promising technology.

BulbAmerica has a wide range of CFL and LED products to provide you with great quality light while saving the environment and saving you money. From our medical bulbs to our stage lights, our products are the highest quality around so check out what we have to offer! Give us a call at 1-888-505-2111 or email us at cutomerservice@bulbamerica.com with any comments or questions you have! Visit us at www.BulbAmerica.com, you won’t be disappointed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

In the Spotlight #7: Choosing the Right CFL Shape

As CFLs become the go-to replacement for incandescent bulbs, they continue to multiply in the number of shapes they are offered in. What shape should you choose and why? These are good questions and in this article I will answer them for you, so let’s get started. CFL shapes can be broken down into two general shape categories, open shape CFLs and closed shape CFLs. Open CFLs refer to CFLs where the glass envelope is plainly visible such as in twists, mini-twists, and triple tube lamps. Closed CFL bulbs refer to CFLs where the envelope is concealed by another envelope such as with A-shape CFLs, globes, candelabras, bullets, and others.

The criteria you should use for deciding between closed and open shape CFL is the bulb’s application. Are you going to be using it in an enclosed fixture or in a partially exposed application like in certain wall sconces? For enclosed fixtures, most people go with open CFLs for two predominant reasons. The first is that open CFLs, such as mini-twists are often less expensive and less appealing to look at than closed bulbs, so people try to use them wherever they can get away with it. Furthermore, closed CFLs are often enclosed in an additional frosted glass envelope, further diffusing the light. Enclosed fixtures often come with frosted plastic or glass diffusers, therefore by using an A-shape CFL, or other such closed CFL, in an enclosed fixture you could be softening the light excessively or simply using redundant diffusers and wasting money. Put simply, my rule of thumb is that for closed fixtures use open CFLs, and for open fixtures use closed CFLs. This should give you the light bulb and light you want.

When it comes to choosing between the different open CFL bulbs, you’ll again, want to take application into consideration. For lamps with shades, you’ll likely want to choose an open CFL with a smaller, more slender profile, such as a quad or triple tube bulb or a mini-twist. For larger fixtures, twist bulbs are a good choice. Similar considerations should be made when choosing among closed CFLs. Globe and candelabra CFLs are typically used in more decorative or specialty applications like bathroom lighting or wall sconces, where the shape of the bulb itself is important. A-shape bulbs are good in many applications. Don’t forget about closed R (reflector) or BR (bulge reflector) bulbs either, they are typically used in recessed applications or ceiling fan fixtures. Hopefully this guide has been helpful and will assist you in navigating the numerous CFL shapes available.

Don’t forget to make BulbAmerica your one stop shop for CFLs. No matter what CFL you need, we’ve got it! As usual, leave us a comment or question on our blog or our Facebook. Also don’t forget to give us a call at 1-877-622-0897 with any further inquiries you have.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Optima's Oscillating Motor: Make Your Lighting a Moving Experience

In addition to quality LED and DJ products, Optima Lighting offers creative products to get the most out of your existing lighting fixtures. A while back I wrote an article about the simple but extremely useful PAR can stand, that allows you to turn any PAR can into a floor mounted fixture and thus use it for wall washes or other applications. Optima has struck again with another creative lighting product to turn any PAR can into a oscillating fixture, the Oscillating Effect Motor. By simply mounting your PAR can’s yoke to the bolt on the motor’s platform, you can give your PAR can or other fixture an oscillating effect, which is a handy and inexpensive way to add some more excitement to your lighting or make your PAR cans draw an audience’s or a passerby’s’ attention.

Optima’s Oscillating Motor can handle fixtures up to 20lbs and is only 6.5lbs, thus making it durable and easy to transport.
Optima’s Oscillating Effect Motor is another creative tool to get the most out of your PAR cans or any other fixtures. Check out all of our other stage lighting products and you’ll discover that we have everything you need to maximize your stage lighting. Feel free to leave a question or comment on this article, our Facebook, or call us at 1-877-620-1762 for any remaining questions you may have.

The Telekom Bridge Glows for T-Mobile


At Deutsche Telekom’s (known as T-Mobile in the US) headquarters in Bonn, Germany, the company needed a bridge to span the busy road and tram lines that stand between the headquarters’ two office complexes. Deutsche Telekom did not want an ordinary foot bridge, instead they sought out the German architectural firm Shlaich, Bergermann and Partner for an attractive solution that would be both functional and bolster the company’s image and brand. The 240ft long Telekom Bridge is built from glass and steel and glows with LEDs. The lighting designers installed LEDs in the hand rails and underneath the glass panels of the bridge’s floor, elevator housing, and stairs providing brilliant white backlighting and making the bridge's surfaces glow. The lighting designers made the LED lighting in the elevator housing interactive, changing color and pulsing as pedestrians walk past it. On the exterior of the bridge the lighting designers also installed 32 LED video panels that show off the company's trademark magenta color in innumerable dot-based patterns that also interact with pedestrians crossing the bridge. One particularly attractive element of the bridge's design is that because all of the lighting is integrated into the bridge itself, the bridge seems glow without any external washes or projectors to break its seamless design.

This is definitely not the first LED lit I've bridge written about on this blog. What is different about it is that its lighting is somewhat static and hidden away directly within the bridge. The Telekom bridge provides an additional example of the creative potential of LED lighting. As usual, leave us a comment or question on our blog or our Facebook. Also don’t forget to give us a call at 1-877-622-0897 with any further inquiries you have.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

LEDs Bring the Light to the Borsuan Music House

Borusan Müzik Evi from Borusan Kültür Sanat on Vimeo.

The Borusan Music House in Istanbul’s historic Beyoglu district is a beautiful six story building used as a hub for Turkey’s art and culture. The building was originally constructed in 1875 and was renovated in 2008 and given a radical and eye catching lattice of v-shaped LED tube columns. The renovation was carried about by the European firm, GAD Architecture. The firm installed a ‘box’ inside the building that houses the new performance spaces and galleries and will be lined by the v-shaped LED color changing tube columns. In other words, the GAD architects essentially built a new building inside the old, and accentuated the new by using the radical LED columns, designed by the American light artist and designer, Leo Villareal.

This is not the first of Villareal’s projects covered on my blog, his art signals not only the boundless creativity possible with light, but also the amazing range of applications possible with LED technology. This time, Villareal used LED tube lights, a technology popular in clubs, restaurants, retail environments, and other architectural applications. Though we cannot supply you with the artistic vision, we can certainly supply you with the LED tubes! Check out our selection of LED tube lights and our other LED products. Don’t forget to leave us a comment or question or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any further questions you have.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

American DJ's Spectrum LED: A Powerful Moonflower Effect for a Great Price


Once again American DJ’s commitment to low cost high quality lighting effects comes through with an innovating and exciting unit, this time it is the 30w Spectrum LED. With an output equivalent to a 150w halogen lamp, the Spectrum LED is powered by 64 powerful LEDs, each rated at 100,000 hours each. The Spectrum LED can run for hours and hours without stop due its lack of duty cycles and moving parts. This means that the Spectrum LED packs a punch but its easy on the electricity and maintenance, leaving you more power and money left on your circuits and in your wallet for additional light fixtures. The Spectrum LED produces a bright and colorful moonflower effect that can be projected on a wall or the dance floor, adding energy where you need it. Like many of ADJ’s products, the Spectrum LED comes operable in either stand alone (sound active, DMX controlled or auto) and master slave modes, giving you a tremendous amount of flexibility when it comes to where and how you will you the Spectrum LED. Remember, use the Spectrum LED with fog or haze effects to really accentuate the sharpness of the unit’s light beams and to get the most out of this moonflower effect unit.

BulbAmerica has the Spectrum LED and other ADJ products in stock now. Also, don’t forget to check out our wide selection of other LED DJ effects. As usual, leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897.

Monday, October 18, 2010

LEDs Hit the Bullseye at Target's Kaleidoscope Fashion Show


Architectural LED applications are truly getting better all the time. One of my favorite LED lighting events from this past year was undoubtedly Target’s “Kaleidoscopic Fashion Spectacular” at the fashionable Standard Hotel in Manhattan. The fashion show was definitely the first of its kind. Lighting designers decided to use the hotel itself as an enormous LED display. The hotel was transformed into a gigantic LED display by placing powerful LED units inside 170 of the hotel rooms and connecting them to a central computer. This system allowed for some amazing and energetic patterns. To heighten the excitement of the fashion show, dancers were placed inside the illuminated rooms and moved rhythmically to the music. Designers also used gobo projectors and projected designs directly onto the Standard Hotel’s façade to provide an additional lighting texture. The hotel was the background of the fashion show itself. In a scaled down, tic-tac-toe board like set up, the models stood in their individual compartments and displayed Target’s new line before brilliant LED color changing.

The Target Kaleidoscope Fashion show is but another example of how LED technology continues to push the envelope of how lighting can be used. BulbAmerica has a wide array for LED products so you can push your lighting envelope too! Feel free to leave a question or comment on this article, our Facebook, or call us at 1-877-620-1762 for any remaining questions you may have.

China's Grand Canal Gets 6 Miles of Brilliant Light

With the continuous improvement of not only LED technology, but lighting technologies at large, the scale of outdoor architectural lighting projects continues to grow exponentially. One of the largest outdoor lighting projects ever undertaken was recently finished in China along the banks of the city of Hangzhou’s world famous Grand Canal. The Chinese government wanted to draw attention to the natural splendor of the canal as well as the history of the city, and decided that the most effective and poignant way to do it was with light. Designers sought to emphasize the snaking 6.1mi canal by adorning the paths on either side of it with aqua-colored LEDs. They also ingeniously designed and installed green and blue LED projectors to color the fog regularly produced on the river and create an ethereal layer of color over the canal. The buildings, homes, and restaurants along the canal were also studded with LEDs. The paths along the canal’s promenade were retrofitted with 70w warm color temperature metal halide HID recessed ground light for an additional element of visibility, while the paths along the banks of the canal were given warm 3w fluorescent lamps to create a meandering park-like feel.

At certain points of the canal, taller buildings peered over its banks providing lighting designers with a unique lighting opportunity. The designers decided to create ‘abstract billboards’ consisting of towering rectangular frames, the largest of which measured 98ft X 65 ft, made of cyan colored LED tubes. These abstract billboards were installed on the facades of these buildings, creating a wonderfully futuristic effect that contrasts well with the ancient history of Hangzhou.


Though there was much lighting installed on the banks and buildings on either side of the canal, the lighting designers also installed lights directly in the water. Custom poles comprised of six blue and six amber one watt LEDs were installed in clusters into the canal to highlight the natural contours of the water and allude to the city of canals, Venice. The outsides of the 16 bridges of the canal were bathed in white light, while their lanterns and other lights were outfitted with 20w CFLs for a soft, energy efficient light.


Clearly Hangzhou’s Grand Canal lighting represents how creative outdoor lighting can be. Check out the products we have to offer and unlock your lighting creativity today! As usual, leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New York's Temple Emanu-El Revitalizes its Architecture with Light


For lighting religious spaces, lighting designers usually build the lighting system in such a way that it can be hidden away and not detract from the space’s original design while providing adequate lighting that also highlights the building’s architectural flourishes. This was the challenge lighting designers faced at Temple Emanu-El, one of New York City’s most famous and prominent synagogues. Originally built in 1927, Temple Emanu-El has some beautiful architectural features that lighting designers wanted to celebrate with their lighting. Above the house hangs a fantastic Lombardian ceiling. The entire structure is lined by fantastic stained glass and sections of mosaic work. As is common in synogogues, the lighting designers wanted to highlight the Bimah, the area of the synagogue where the reading of the Torah and other ceremonial activities take place. Built into the 70ft arch that frames the Bimah, designers installed 750w bulbs and PAR cans, in order supply the Bimah with rich, white light. The lighting designers also accented the area directly above the Bimah where the choir sings with warm color temperature compact fluorescent bulbs.

The ornate stained glass windows were also set off using new lighting designs. Installed into the bases of the window sills were halogen MR16s.Halogen MR16s are ideal for display purposes and particularly well suited for illuminating reflective surfaces because their high CRI white light makes them glitter in an appealing way. Metal halide lamps were also installed into the ceiling to add supplementary daylight-like lighting. Architectural Lighting Magazine noted that the congregants were very excited by the new lighting, and that the exceptional daylight-like lighting of the halogen MR16s, the 750w PARs, and the metal halide lamps worked together to draw attention and accentuate the architecture of Temple Emanu-El.

BulbAmerica carries a wide selection of MR16s, PAR lamps, and metal halide bulbs so you can create an exceptional daylight-like lighting system for your home, office, house of worship, or any other space. Check out what we have to offer today! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897 either.

From Russia With Light: LEDs Illuminate Toyko in the Heart of 'Vegas'

Ever dream of going to the lightest and brightest parts Tokyo and Las Vegas in the same day? I definitely have, and now you can do it within the confines of the gargantuan 4,154,869sqft ‘Vegas’ shopping mall in southern Moscow. Start your shopping experience by having a total triple sau cow in the ice-rink and then rounding out your pre-shopping pleasure with a ride on the 60ft Ferris wheel. Afterward, relax for a bit in the Vegas ‘super mall’s’ Japanese ‘stone garden’, and then head to the mall’s main attraction: the Ginza street shopping area. Modeled after Japan’s exciting Ginza shopping district, the Ginza area houses not only many of the mall’s stores, but also its innovative LED lighting system. The Ginza shopping area is nearly 450ft long and about 40ft high and hosts over 25 luxury shops. The Philips LED design team decided to give the mall’s Ginza district an authentic feel by giving each shop its own individual façade lit with its own individual LED lighting system. To heighten the uniqueness of the Vegas shopping experience, the lighting designers studded the black ceiling with twinkling LEDs to simulate a night sky to give your shopping expedition a whimsical and eternal feel. At the Vegas super-mall you can experience the brilliant excitement and best of of Russia, the United States, and Japan all under a single roof without the need of a passport! It’s safe to say that the fun and exciting flavor cooked up in the Vegas mall’s Ginza district would not be possible without the nearly limitless applications and possibilities of LED technology. Furthermore, the energy efficiency and durability of LEDs ensures that the LED lighting systems remain low cost while producing high excitement, guaranteeing that the mall’s Ginza district does not become excessive or immodest in cost or character.

BulbAmerica has a wide array of LED products from stage lighting to LED strips. Check out what we have to offer—we have something for everybody! As usual, give us a leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any further questions you have.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Massive 41,000 LED Installation Lights Up National Gallery in Washington DC

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC HD from Leo Villareal on Vimeo.

LEDs for years now have been providing artists with a new tool to push artistic boundaries. This is certainly the case at the permanently installed Multiverse exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, in Washington DC. The exhibit, by American artist Leo Villareal, was completed in 2008 and installed in a 200ft channel containing two moving walkways that connected the eastern and western wings of the gallery. The walls and ceilings of the channel are studded by 4,100 LED modules producing brilliant patterns of sweeping bright white light. Each LED module is individually addressed and controlled from a single central computer. A particularly interesting facet of Multiverse is that the patterns on which it runs were designed probabilistically to ensure that it is highly unlikely that a visitor will ever see a repeated pattern.

With Villareal’s exhibit one can confidently say that LEDs are truly everywhere. They can be found not only the home and office, but in industrial setting, street lights, clubs, theaters, and now art exhibits too. BulbAmerica offers LEDs for all your needs so be sure to check out what we have to offer today. As usual, give us a leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any further questions you have.

Ushio's Synergie LED MR16s: Sometimes It's Easy Being Green

When it comes to quality LED light bulbs, few manufacturers can beat Ushio. Ushio’s Synergie LED MR16 series represents the culmination technological innovation and a commitment to environmentally friendly retrofits for incandescent and halogen bulbs. The 4w Synergie series LED MR16s are a low wattage replacement for 20w-25w halogen MR16s. The Synergie MR16s feature three powerful LEDs, each of which is rated at 50,000hrs for long lasting lighting. Unlike some LED MR16s, the Synergie bulbs are available in a wide range of color temperatures from warm (3,100K) to cool (6,500K), giving you a degree of flexibility that is not often found among LED retrofits. The Synergie series LED MR16s also feature good CRI, ranging from 70 CRI to 80 CRI, making them a viable choice for display lighting applications. In order to give you as much versatility as possible, Ushio’s Synergie MR16s are available in every beam type from spot to wide flood, making these bulbs that much more useful.

Of course, the Synergie bulbs have a hefty price tag at nearly $62.00. Though this price seems steep, don’t forget that the amount you save on energy costs and replacement bulbs will repay the upfront cost of the bulb itself. Also, remember, as I argued in my article, “The People Vs. LEDs: A Technology on Trial”, that with a new technology, often purchasing the product of the high end and high cost brand is the only way to assure a quality product. Ushio's Synergie products confirm this argument. Their excellent construction and satisfaction of rigorous industry standards like California’s Title 24 regulations means that these products carry with them all of the advantages that come with LEDs, rather than cheap technology and construction that compromises LEDs’ benefits.

BulbAmerica carries the entire Synergie line as well as many of Ushio’s other products. In addition to Ushio’s products, we stock only the highest quality LED products. As usual, leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or give us a ring with any further questions at 1-877-622-0897.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Cairo Tower: Standing Tall and Burning Bright with Philps' LEDs

In Cairo, Egypt’s capital city, stands the 613ft Cairo tower. Constructed between 1956 to 1961, the Cairo Tower was and continues to be a monument to Egypt’s ascendance as a world power and a key Middle Eastern nation. Recently, the Egyptian government sought out Philips and their advanced LED technologies to revitalize the tower by adorning its lotus-like exterior with spectacular color changing LED lighting. The Egyptian government was attracted to Philips’ LEDs because they could contribute rich colors to the skyline while using little electricity and requiring little maintenance.

BulbAmerica has a wide selection of indoor and outdoor LED products to help you unleash your lighting creativity. From LED PARs to beautiful LED washes, we have whatever it is you need. As usual, leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897.

LED Headlights Get the Green Light for Electric Cars at the Paris Auto Show


The Paris Auto Show is one the world’s largest venues for major automobile manufacturers to display their latest and most radical car designs. As one might imagine, one of the dominant themes for this year’s auto show was high performance, environmentally friendly automobiles. An integral part of many the energy efficient automobiles on display were their innovative and efficient lighting systems. European manufacturers Renault and SEAT demonstrated the potential of LED headlights with their ZB10 and IBE electric cars. LEDs are the ideal light source for all cars, but especially electric cars because LED headlamps require little electricity to be lit, therefore leaving as much electricity as possible for the prolonged performance of the car. Furthermore, because LEDs are so compact little room needs to be made for them at the front or rear of the car, thus reducing the car’s profile and weight, and thus increasing the distances these cars can travel between charges. As LED optics are further perfected, headlamps are able to render light closer to daylight color temperatures, rather than those icy color temperature that we associate with LED headlights. This means that the light produced will be more effective at illuminating the road and will make the driving experience all the more safe.

LED automobile headlamps have been around for a while and are a familiar sight in higher end makes such as certain models by Audi and Mercedes Benz. The difference is that now LEDs are being integrated into radically efficient electric and hybrid cars by many more manufacturers, thus better balancing the lights with the rest of the cars’ technology and giving consumers more options, and increasingly efficient options for automobiles.

In addition to our wide variety of LED light bulbs and products, we have recently launched our automotive light bulb website so you can find the light bulb for your car at an unbeatable price. We are updating our catalog on our automotive website everyday, so be sure to check it daily for the light bulbs you need for your car. As usual, leave a comment on our blog or Facebook or give us a call at 1-877-622-0897 with any remaining questions you have.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Nocturnal Festival Goes All Night With Elation's Moving Heads

The 25th annual Nocturnal Electronic Music Festival took place this past September in San Bernadino, CA and featured some of the biggest names in electronic music in the world. The festival began at midnight of September 25th and featured non-stop music and dancing until the 3pm that day. The turntables and the 50,000 person audience were not the only things moving all day, the formidable lighting system was continually bathing the audience and the DJs in light, testing the endurance and performance of the moving heads in the trusses overhead. The need for non-stop lighting made it clear to festival lighting designers that they would need lighting they could trust, so they turned to Elation’s moving heads to provide the washes and beam projectors. The lighting challenge was made more difficult by the festival’s huge space, designers had to fill the 56ft high ceiling and 78,000sqft hall with light that would be visible and captivate every member of the audience regardless of where they were standing. Nocturnal’s stage was outfitted with 24 LED wash moving heads to provide bright and flat colors and 24 moving head spots to provide the party with power and dynamic beams that swing to the music and whip up the crowd. Supplementing the LED wash moving heads were 100 LED wash units to provide even more general lighting to blanket the stage and crowd with rich color. The Nocturnal Festival’s lighting designers relied primarily on LED fixtures because they could rely on their long lasting, excellent performance. They chose Elation because their stage lighting products are second to none in the business.

BulbAmerica features a wide range of Elation’s products and other stage lighting products so be sure to check out what we have to offer. As usual, leave a comment on our blog or Facebook or give us a call at 1-877-622-0897 with any remaining questions you have.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

LED Strip Lights Get Dialed In with Optima's Colorstream Strip Kit


LED strip light packages are easy enough to come by these days, but what is not as common is coming across one with an easy to use control that allows you to fully take advantage of the dynamic color changing ability of your color changing strip. The COLORstream RGB LED kit, featuring the PAVO dial is a great option if you are looking for an easy to install and easy to use LED light source for accent, display, under railing, and under cabinet applications. The nearly 40in 7w strip features 35 bright 50,000hr SMD LEDs with a wide viewing angle of 105˚. With a depth of .43in, the COLORstream strip is extremely low profile, making it easy to conceal so what you are lighting is on display and not the strip.

What really excites me about this package is the 100w Optima’s PAVO dial, which is an intuitive and easy to use control for the color strip. By turning the dial initially and selecting among its first four settings: red, green, blue, white, you choose the strip's base color. Once this selection is made, press in the dial and adjust the color and speed of fade1/fade2 and the random flash program. This control is easy to use and allows you fully customize your strip light’s look.

BulbAmerica has a wide range of LED products for display applications as well as LEDs for the home, office, and stage. As usual, leave a comment on our blog or Facebook or give us a call at 1-877-622-0897 with any remaining questions you have.

Fun-Identified Flying Objects: LEDs Go Extraterrestrial


If you’ve read this blog with any regularity you’ve probably read at least one article about the architectural and entertainment applications of LEDs. In this article I’m going to detail another application of LED technology that is truly out of this world, namely UFO lighting. New York artist Peter Coffin recently completed a 23ft in diameter UFO that featured 3,000 individually addressed bulbs that were controlled via a computer to create vibrant extraterrestrial lighting. Coffin and his team took their remote control LED UFO on a flight through the historic city of Gdansk, Poland to the delight, and among some, the disquiet of pedestrians on the ground. The LED UFO has also made a flight through the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, and before a crowd of 500,000 displayed its impressive color changing LEDs and its elegant flight.

Peter Coffin’s LED UFO is the likely the most creative uses of LEDs I’ve come across thus far. Indeed, LEDs are not only ideal for spacecraft, but their durability and compact packages make them ideal for aircraft, watercraft, and automobiles as well. BulbAmerica stocks a wide array of LED products perfect for all applications. LEDs will last long, likely never fail, and will save you money. As usual, give us a leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any further questions you have.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

McDonalds' Golden Arches Go Green with Low-Voltage Halogen and LED Lighting

Today there are roughly 13,000 McDonalds fast food restaurants in the United States, all of which have signs, lighting, stoves, and other appliances that consume energy. Like many businesses throughout the United States, McDonalds has begun drawing up plans for becoming more environmentally friendly. A large part of these plans has involved developing environmentally friendly lighting solutions to reduce energy consumption and operating costs. McDonalds has already taken steps to reduce energy consumption but maintain excellent lighting by using Philips’ excellent low-voltage dichroic MR16s to ensure that McDonalds’ restaurants have great looking, long lasting lighting.

McDonalds has also been attempting to improve on the efficiency of high performance halogens and has been experimenting with LED lighting systems coupled with natural lighting. In a prototype restaurant in North Carolina, the lighting is nearly totally comprised of LED bulbs and fixtures and is supplemented by skylights and natural light. The restaurant’s LED Lighting and natural lighting is projected to save this McDonalds roughly 78% in energy consumption. Though it may be a long time until all 13,000 McDonalds restaurants are LED lit, it is promising to see that corporations as large as McDonalds are joining in the green revolution.

BulbAmerica has a wide selection of low voltage halogen lighting products and LED products to save you energy and money while giving you great quality lighting. Retrofit your incandescent bulbs with energy efficient halogen, CFLs, and LEDs and join the green revolution today! As usual leave questions or comments on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any further questions you have.

In the Spotlight #6: Metal Halide Miscellany

Lately I have been fielding a number of technical questions regarding metal halide HID bulbs, so I figured I would use this article to address them because I’m sure that these few customers are not the only ones who have ever scratched their heads over some of these technical issues. In this article I will explain the importance of (1) lamp burning positions, (2) pulse-start versus probe-start lamps, and lastly (3) the difference between quartz and ceramic metal halide lamps.

1. Burning position denotes the proper orientation of the bulb inside the fixture. Manufacturers test their lamps extensively to determine what position, whether it be, base-up, base-down, horizontal, vertical ± 15˚, etc. maximizes the life of the lamp. This will depend largely on the shape or construction of lamp, for example whether it is a short-arc lamp or ED17, and what gasses are inside of it. One should note that many lamps also have a universal burning position, meaning that they can be oriented any way. Manufacturers also denote burning positions to ensure that lamps operate safely and avoid premature failure. Burning position is also important with regard to consistent color rendering. Even lamps of the same model by the same manufacturer can very well have varying color rendering and color characteristics. To help ensure that the light is uniform, manufacturers stipulate burning positions to limit this variability in color quality.


2. Because metal halides are a gas based lamp, they require an initial burst of electrical current to sufficiently excite the gases inside the glass envelop so they can emit light. Probe start and pulse start refers to two different ways that the ignition of the lamp occurs to sufficiently excite the gasses inside the lamp. Older metal halide lamps typically use probe start lamps, which feature a starter electrode. The initial electrical current is produced by the ballast and travels up a conductor to the starter electrode which then forms an arc with one of the two central electrodes and thus facilitates the complete ignition of the lamp. The shortcoming of probe start lamps is that as the tungsten electrode is heated and deteriorates it blackens the glass envelope, reducing the efficiency and efficacy of the lamp. Pulse start lamps eliminate the need for the starter electrode by integrating the ignitor into the ballast which provides an initial 3kV to 5kV burst of electricity that forms the arc between the two electrodes. This streamlined system not only reduces bulb blackening, but also allows the lamp to function with a smaller envelope, making it more efficient. You should also be aware that pulse start bulbs warm up, or reach full luminosity, faster than probe start bulbs and also re-ignite faster, making them more convenient and easier to use.

3. Today, metal halide lamps’ arc tube are housed in one of two different materials: quartz class or a ceramic housing. Ceramic metal halide lamps are newer and are typically more expensive. Ceramic metal halide lamps can withstand higher temperatures and therefore have improved life hour ratings and better lumen maintenance over time. Furthermore, ceramic metal halides have better color rendering and better color consistency than quartz metal halide lamps, making them a good choice if you need a high performance lamp that will faithfully render color, as in medical and scientific applications.

Hopefully this article has clarified these important technical issues. Remember that for lamps like metal halides that require special care when using them, you want to make sure you have all of your technical bases covered before choosing the right one for you. Please continue to post your questions and comments on our blog and Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any further inquires you have.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Agbar Tower: Barcelona's LED Beacon Shines Bright


Completed in the summer of 2005, the Torre Agbar in Barcelona remains one of the most striking examples of the architectural applications of LED technology. The nearly 500ft tower features a steel skeleton covered by an enormous glass shell. The Agbar Tower, the headquarters of the Barcelona Water Company, is eye-catching during the day with its bullet shape and its reflective glass surface. At night however, the building comes alive in a brilliant and dynamic light show. Agbar Tower’s LED light system consists of 4,500 LED modules. These modules are capable of communication via DMX protocol and were controlled from a single central computer.

Though the Agbar’s Tower’s lighting is extremely bright, the building’s usage of LED ensures remarkably limited energy draws. The LED modules used for Agbar Tower’s architectural lighting consisted of 18 one-watt bulbs and consumed little energy. One thousand of these LED modules amazingly drew less electricity than seven hairdryers. This fact coupled with the brilliant light of LEDs embodies the benefit of LED technology par excellence.

Agbar Tower is another example of the wonders of LED architectural lighting. Their efficiency, durability, and simplicity makes them truly remarkable and useful in applications ranging from radically designed skyscrapers to the basic A-shape light bulb for your home. BulbAmerica carries a wide range of architectural, outdoor, and home & garden light bulbs. As usual post a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or give us a ring at 1-877-622-0897 with any further questions. Remember, in addition to every color of the rainbow color changing LEDs will get you going green, and saving green too!

GE's CMH Bulbs: Bright Light Done Right

The search for environmentally friendly lighting for retail, office, architectural floodlighting, and hotel applications has often proved frustrating for individuals seeking low wattage, high output, and high CRI light sources. Striking this combination of light characteristics has been seldom, that is until now. GE’s CMH PAR20 metal halide HID lamps are truly exciting and wonderful quality efficient light sources. The PAR20 CMH bulbs have 20w energy draws and are rated to last an amazing 12,000hrs. The PAR20 CMH bulbs produce a powerful 1,000lm and feature a 80+ CRI rating to make sure that whatever is being illuminated has its colors faithfully rendered.

BulbAmerica has GE’s CMH PARs in stock as well as their other CMH light sources. Remember that LEDs and CFLs are not the only environmentally friendly option available. Particularly for larger spaces, metal halide lamps are an excellent choice and produce a high quality bright light. As usual leave a comment or question our blog or Facebook. Or, give us a call with your further inquires or place your order today at 1-877-622-0897. Don’t waste any time, starting saving energy and money today.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Belgium's Dexia Tower Brings the Night Alive with its LED Lights


As the third tallest building in Belgium and home of the prominent Dexia Bank, the Dexia Tower is a central feature of Brussels’ city life. The Dexia Tower is not just known because of its height or its prominent tenant, when night falls the Dexia tower offers a spectacular LED light and graphic show. The Dexia tower has a total of 6,000 windows, 4,200 of which house an LED module consisting of 12 RGB LED light bulbs. When the automated light system closes all of the windows’ blinds, the 50,400 LED bulbs light up, reflecting off the blinds and provide pedestrians and tourists a fantastic light show. The drawn reflective blinds allow the entire surface of the window to be lit up and act as a canvas for the LED bulbs to paint on. This immense LED lighting display is controlled by an advanced central computer which lends itself to boundless graphic, color, motion, and image possibilities.

The Dexia tower is another example of the creative and breathtaking ways LED technology is being integrated into architecture. With individually addressable LEDs, like you have in LED panels and screens, you can draw and illustrate basically anything. BulbAmerica has a wide selection of indoor and outdoor LED products to help you unleash your lighting creativity. From LED PARs to beautiful LED washes, we have whatever it is you need. As usual, leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897.

Washington Art Museum Goes Green with GE's Ceramic Metal Halide Bulbs

For public institutions like art museums, every penny counts. It is for this reason that the management at the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington sought to install a new green lighting system money to reduce the museum’s energy expenditures. The museum’s five exhibition spaces, totaling roughly 50,000sqft, was comprised of more than 600 150w PAR 38 incandescent lamps and PAR cans. This system amounted to an annual energy draw of 373,000 KWh. The museum replaced all of the incandescent PARs with GE’s ceramic metal halide lamps, reducing the prior energy draw to a projected 56,000KWh. This replacement will save the museum and estimated $10,000 per year.

On top of consuming less energy, GE’s metal halide lamps have a higher light output, allowing the museum to reduce the number of lamps it needed from 621 to 505. GE’s high quality metal halides are also rated to last nearly six times as long as incandescent PARs, allowing the museum to save on its maintenance costs and the number of replacement bulbs it needs to buy.


BulbAmerica has GE’s full line of ceramic metal halide bulbs and a huge selection of incandescent bulbs if you are looking for those too. From the Tacoma Art Museum we’ve learned that CFLs and LEDs are not the only ways to go green, metal halide and other HID bulbs are great for larger spaces like museums or warehouses that are looking to save energy and money. Post a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or give us a ring at 1-877-622-0897 with any further questions you have. Go green today!