Friday, January 28, 2011

In the Spotlight: PAR Can Replacement Bulbs

So, you’re replacing your PAR can bulbs and you are wondering what you need to keep in mind as you choose right one for your needs. This article is intended to help consumers decide which PAR can replacement bulb is for them. When replacing your PAR can bulb, the first set of considerations you need to make regard the bulb’s essential specifications, namely voltage, wattage, and base. With regard to voltage, your replacement bulb has to match your existing bulb or else you risk damaging your lighting system. As far as replacement bulb wattage is concerned, you may choose a PAR can bulb with equivalent or less wattage but never a bulb that exceeds your original bulb’s wattage. Choosing a bulb with too high a wattage presents safety risks to not only your equipment but to you as well, so be clear on what wattage to choose.

Your replacement PAR can bulb also needs to match the original bulb’s size. A PAR64 lamp, for example, needs to be replaced by another PAR64 lamp to ensure proper fixture fit and comparable performance. PAR can bulbs also vary with respect to base. Different PAR can bulbs will have different bases depending on the bulb’s application. Many PAR30 bulbs used for recessed lighting and PAR16 bulbs used for track and accent lighting will have E26 screw bases so your replacement bulb will have to match the base. PAR56 and PAR64 bulbs intended for use inside PAR can in stage lighting applications will feature mogul end prongs or other types of bases that will need to be matched by their replacements in order to be compatible.

Lastly, consumers should be on the lookout for improved products that can optimize the performance of their lighting systems. With recent improvements in reflector technology, many PAR lamps are more powerful and more lightweight than their predecessors while coming in the same standard shapes, bases, and sizes, making them ideal for replacing burnt out PAR can bulbs. Osram’s aluPAR 1000w PAR 64 lamps are an example of this type of technological improvement. The aluPAR series lamps feature an aluminium reflector instead of glass, making them lighter and easier to use and install. The aluminum reflector allows the aluPAR PAR 64 lamp to perform more efficiently by avoiding backspill and producing a cooler beam of light because of better light dissipating than glass reflectors. Osram’s aluPAR lamps are great replacements for standard PAR64 bulbs and can be used on stage and in architectural applications.
BulbAmerica has your PAR can bulb needs taken care of. From PAR16s to PAR64s and every size in between we have the PAR can lamp for you. Please leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any remaining PAR can questions you have!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

In the Spotlight: PAR Can Bulbs

Though LED PAR cans may be on everyone’s minds these days, they are still far from being hung from everyone’s trusses. Today there is still demand for PAR can bulbs and as you would expect there are still consumers in the dark about them. Consumers planning to use standard incandescent PAR cans need to have some idea of what application they’ll use their PAR cans for before anything else. A knowledge of your PAR can bulbs' application will inform what beam spread you choose and ultimately which lamp you choose. The predominant beam spreads used in stage lighting are typically very narrow spot (VNSP), narrow spot (NSP), medium flood (MFL), and wide flood (WFL) with 12˚, 14˚, 24˚, and 50˚ beam angles respectively. PAR can bulbs come in a variety of sizes, from PAR16 to PAR64. For stage lighting, PAR64 cans and PAR 64 lamps are most commonly used. In some stage lighting setups there are PAR56 cans used for smaller scale washes or PAR36s pin spot used for special effects. By and large PAR64 cans are what consumers will likely need for more general stage lighting and PAR 64 bulbs are what consumers will need to light them.

PAR can bulbs with VNSP beam angles are not well suited for general stage illumination. Their small beam angle and tight beam makes them ideal for setting stage ambiance and look particularly when ran through fog or haze. VNSP PAR can bulbs also can serve as spot lights for individual performers that you want to set off against the rest of the production. At 14˚, bulbs with narrow spots are a bit wider than VNSP bulbs are therefore the go-to bulb for more general spotlighting while also retaining the great fog/haze performance of VNSP bulbs. Moving away from spots, the MFL PAR can bulb is one of the most versatile and widely used PAR can bulbs. MFL PAR bulbs are ideal for creating washes on the stage, curtains, backdrop or any other surface of the stage. Because of their particular beam angle, MFL PAR bulbs offer the ideal color intensity and field of light, making them optimal to use with color gels. Because PAR cans are most often used for general wash effects, MFLs are always in high demand by stage lighting designers and architectural lighting designers alike. Wider angle PAR can bulbs like flood (FL) and WFL are used when a wider wash is needed. FL and WFL bulbs are not widely used on stage because they do not provide very good color and light intensity and provide a light that is sometimes too diffuse to be adequately used on stage.

Of course there are many more options to available and exceptions to what has been written above. But for individuals who are just getting started, hopefully this article will be enough to help them set up their first trusses of PAR cans. As usual leave us a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any questions you have.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Engineered to Perfection: Cutting Edge LEDs Celebrates the University of Liverpool's Active Learning Lab

When the University of Liverpool in England decided to give the university’s engineering department a new building to house its Active Learning Lab, the university wanted a structure that did more than provide new spaces for university students to learn. The engineering building’s exterior was outfitted with an impressive LED façade to signal to the students, neighboring universities, and the world that the university and its students were at the forefront of technical innovation. According to, the 16,145sqft facade of the building was outfitted with alternating perforated and clear glass panels to provide the lighting with a semi-reflective surface that would cover the building uniformly with color while keeping the light limited to the building’s façade. The impressive Theatre Lighting system was designed by English firm Sheppard Robson, and consisted of 19,212 one watt LED linear modules. These modules are individually addressable and can produce an infinite number of color patters and low-resolution graphics and animations.

The University of Liverpool’s Engineering Building is yet another example of the creativity possible with architectural LEDs. BulbAmerica has outdoor LEDs and much, much more, so you can make the most out of your space. Check out our website today! Don’t forget to leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call our experts at 1-877-622-0897 if you have any other questions.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lite Pollution: Brooklyn's Newtown Creek Water Treatment Plant Glows as it Purifies

Separating Brooklyn and Queens, New York, and virtually in our backyard here at BulbAmerica, is Newtown Creek, one of the most polluted bodies of water in the United States. This waterway has been used for decades for industrial purposes and as a result is full of toxins as well as sewage runoff and overflow from Manhattan sewers. In 1967, the New York of Department of Environmental Protection (NYDEP) built the Newtown Creek Water Treatment Plant, a collection of eight 145 feet high and 80 feet in diameter stainless steel digesters that break down the creek’s muck and pollutants and purify the water. Situated on a highly visible tract of land between New York’s two largest boroughs, as well as near a major highway, it became important to the city that the Newtown Creek treatment plant not merely purify, but also glow in order to accentuate the digesters’ radical design and also highlight the mission to purify New York’s waters. The city commissioned New York lighting design firm, L'Observatoire International to give the digesters lighting that would set them off against New York’s skyline. The lighting of the Newtown Creek plant was not a separate renovation, but the continuation of a campaign to make the plant appear more aesthetically appealing that began in 1998.

The lighting scheme for the plant is fairly simple. L'Observatoire International decided to mount five 5,000w metal halide lamps on each of the digesters to give them an otherworldly blue glow. The blue glow is also intended to convey the city’s campaign to purify the creek’s waters and improve New York for all. On the back side of the digesters are white metal halide lamps that produce a whitish-amber light that suggests purity and cleanliness. An addition challenege to the design team was that the treatment plan is function nearly 24 hours a day, so the light had to be functional and provide visibility adequate for plant workers at night.

The Newtown Creek shows the ability of architectural lighting to transform any structure, no matter how mundane, into an attractive element of the landscape. BulbAmerica has bulbs, washes units, and outdoor PARs perfect for outdoor lighting so you too can make whatever is ordinary at your home or business glow. As usual give us a ring at 1-877-622-0897, leave a comment on our blog, or post on our Facebook with any questions you have.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hitting the Spot: Chauvet's Q-Spot 260 LED Moving Head Moves and Turns Heads Too

As moving heads become lighter, more compact, and more affordable, they are no longer a luxury lighting fixture reserved for large scale stadium and venue lighting. Rather, these largely LED powered moving heads are finding their ways into the lighting arsenals of bands, DJs, event planners, and clubs of all sizes. Chauvet’s Q-Spot 260 LED moving head is a powerful, compact, and thoroughly exciting moving head that deserves attention from mobile DJs to major venues. The Q-Spot 260 features a 60w LED lamp with similar performance to a 250w HID lamp, producing 5,400lx. The Q-Spot’s 60w lamp can be expected to burn for 50,000hrs, so you know your moving heads will be turning heads for a long time. With its 540° pan and 270° tilt, the Q-spot is fully mobile, and moves smoothly, quickly, and silently. With its eight colors (+ white) and glass and metal gobos, the Q-Spot has what you need for endless color and texture combinations. Couple these features with its 100% dimming, variable electronic strobe, and dimming, and you have an unmatched LED moving head. Chauvet has outfitted the Q-Spot with all of the controlling options you’d expect from a high performance moving head: 11 or 14 channel DMX control, 255 programmable steps (w/o controller), and numerous built-in programs.

This is just a summary of the features and capabilities of the Q-Spot 260. To really see how good this moving head is you’ll simply have to pick up one yourself and give it a go. BulbAmerica has the Q-Spot 260 and many other LED moving heads to choose from so check them all out today. In addition, check out our extensive catalog of Chauvet products. For any remaining questions or concerns please contact us via our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks with BIX: Reinventing the Fluorescent Tube in Austria

LEDs are the current rage in architectural light and are often the lighting technology of choice when it comes to media facades, or facades of buildings that are used as canvases for light, color, and animation. Though LEDs are excellent in this application, some lighting designers have become worried that their increasingly wide use is making them too common and potentially overused. The designers at Realities:United, a German architectural firm, sought to make this point among others by using making the already radical Kunsthaus Graz, in Graz, Austria, more radical by installing a media façade constructed solely out of circular fluorescent tubes. The media façade, known as BIX, was installed underneath the transparent plexiglass shell of the museum’s eastern façade. Using 930 fluorescent lamps, BIX achieves low resolution, rendering the images it creates bold and monolithic. According to Realities:United, this was done in part to stray from the TV-like effect of high-resolution media facades and therefore demonstrate that a lower-resolution image has a valuable look and effect that complements the museum’s existing architecture as well provides a unique attraction. The low-resolution of BIX’s fluorescent lamp is matched by its 20 frame/second frame rate and creates large and captivating images. BIX is important because it reminds us that the latest technologies do not necessarily trump the old, that older technologies can always be used in and innovative ways.

BIX’s use of fluorescent lamps reminds consumers and lighting designers alike that the newest technologies are not the only choices available, and furthermore that older technologies can always be used in new and innovative ways. Whether you decide to further explore fluorescent lamps or go ahead with LEDs, BulbAmerica has you covered! Leave us a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any other questions you have.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chauvet's COLORdash Accent: Compact, Powerful, and Colorful

Across the globe, buildings, transportation structures, and homes are being given dynamic light and color with LED lighting. It is no doubt an exaggeration that the coming years and likely decades in lighting design will be the age of LEDs. Thus, it is no surprise that manufacturers continue to churn out more innovative lighting products so designers and consumers can get the most out of their spaces. Chauvet’s COLORdash Accent module represents what we should expect in the future of LED lighting: compact, versatile, and powerful light and color. The COLORdash Accent is only 7in long and 3in in diameter making it ideal for any space, whether hung or left standing. Featuring seven high-power 1 watt RGBW LEDs, the COLORdash is capable of producing a nearly never ending range of flat and uniform color. Chauvet’s Accent module is built to last with its sturdy die-cast aluminum housing and special cooling vents which allow for optimal heat dissipation to ensure continuous operation and durability. Like many LED modules intended for architectural purposes, the COLORdash accent can be operated in a variety of modes including 3 channel, 4 channel, 9 channel, automated, master/slave, and more. This versatility allows for easy use no matter how bare-bones or sophisticated your existing lighting system is. Lastly, at only 10W the COLORdash accent provides you with a generous wash effect while consuming little energy, freeing up room on your circuits and reducing your carbon footprint.

Make the most out of your space LED architectural lighting. The COLORdash Accent is an especially good unit because it matches its compactness with power and nearly limitless color possibilities. BulbAmerica has a wide range of Chauvet’s LED products and other architectural lighting products so be sure to check them out today. Please leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook, or call us at 1-877-622-0897 with any additional issues if you have them. Get colorful now and check our LEDs!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Let's Get Ready to Rundle!: The Rundle Lantern Brings Light and Color to Adelaide, Australia

The southern city of Adelaide, Australia is home to many attractions, both cultural and natural. One of the city’s most eye-catching attractions however is mounted to the facade of one the most unremarkable structures of any city, namely a parking garage. The Rundle Lantern, as it is called, is nine levels high and covers almost 11,500sqft of the parking garage’s exterior. The Rundle Lantern is composed of 748 screens, or “pixels”, that wrap around the building, creating a very unique canvas for light and animation. The Lantern is powered by 1,496 LED lights (two behind each screen), that are fully addressable and controlled by a central computer outfitted with animation software. Interestingly, the Rundle Lantern displays no text or brand logos, but displays only static or moving colors, creating a vibrant and colorful center in the city that can be enjoyed by all. To make the Rundle Lantern even more captivating, it uses very little energy while produce large amounts of light, reaping the full benefits of LED technology.

The Rundle Lantern is one of the most well done and imaginative applications of LED lighting in the world. Furthermore, the use of LEDs in this application demonstrates how the versatility of LEDs can be used to turn any unremarkable structure into a beacon of light, color, and excitement.

Don’t forget to check out BulbAmerica’s comprehensive catalog of LEDs! From LED lighting effects, PAR cans, and outdoor LED PARs and washes we have everything you need to shine and more! Don’t forget to leave any further comments or questions on our blog or Facebook. You can also call us at 1-877-622-0897.

Twist and Shout: Osram's Golden Dragon LEDs Illuminate Sweden's Turning Torso Building

Though it may be old news to many of you, the “Turning Torso” apartment building in Malmö, Sweden is the tallest residential apartment building in the European Union and features some of the most exciting uses of LED lighting in the world. At more than 620ft tall, the Turning Torso building presented celebrated Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and his team of local architects with a challenge when it came to designing the building’s lighting scheme. The curving corridor design and building exterior posed a problem when it came to lighting because it be customizable and versatile to fit the building’s unique spaces. The architectural team decided to employ 16,200 of Osram’s Golden Dragon LEDs for energy efficient corridor lighting, cutting down on energy costs throughout the entire building (The Golden Dragon LEDs used are similar to the ones used in Osram’s popular LED under cabinet motion sensor units). According to LEDs Magazine, 2,700 of Osram’s LED units were used, featuring a 5,400K color temperature to give the building’s corridors a modern and clean look.

BulbAmerica offers a wide range of Osram’s LED products to get your lighting looking good and working efficiently. From color changing globe and B shape bulbs to under cabinet light modules; BulbAmerica has the Osram LED product for you so check them out today. As usual give us a ring at 1-877-622-0897, leave a comment on our blog, or post on our Facebook with any questions you have.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Light is a Highway...: Philips Gives the Green Light to LEDs on the A44 Highway in Amsterdam

Anyone who has driven on a highway at night has likely traveled through the orange light of low pressure sodium bulbs. Though they are long lasting compared to many older HID technologies and incandescent bulbs, low pressure sodium (LPS) bulbs are rather inefficient and the orange light they produce does not afford drivers optimal visibility. In collaboration with the Dutch Highway Authority, Philips has installed their high quality LEDs along the A44, a central highway in the Netherlands that runs in and out of Amsterdam. The installation is projected to save nearly 40% in energy consumption, or 180,000kWh. Furthermore, LEDs present solution to a common problem in highway and infrastructural lighting, namely light pollution. The highly focusable light and compact light sources of LED luminaires means less light spill and darker, more natural night skies. The combination of focused light and color temperatures at cooler temperatures closer to daylight means that drivers will be able to see the road more easily. LEDs last far longer than LPS bulbs, meaning less time and money is spent on changing out burnt out lamps.
LED lighting is surely the future on nearly every front, and Philips’ project in the Netherlands reminds us that they are extremely useful in nearly every application. BulbAmerica may not be able to light your highways but we can light your home, garden, or stage, so check us out today! For more information leave a question on our blog or Facebook, or give us a call at 1-877-622-0897 with any other further inquires.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

These Cranes are for the Birds! Water, Light, and Robots Take a Singapore Resort by Storm

The Resorts World Sentosa is a resort complex located on the island of Sentosa, off of Singapore’s southern coast. With numerous hotels, a casino, a Universal Studios theme park, a marine life park, and much more, the Resorts World Sentosa has the attractions necessary to capture anyone’s imagination. This past December, however, the Resorts World Sentosa opened its biggest and brightest attraction yet, the “Crane Dance”. The Crane Dance features two 10-story tall animatronic cranes engaged in a synchronized courtship, dancing and lighting up with their LEDs to music. Instead of robotic torsos, these flightless wonders’ chest and ribs are brought to life on two of the largest LED screens in the world which are hung from the dancing cranes. According to the Made in Asia Lighting Bulletin, the 500 ton robotic cranes are controlled using similar systems to those controlling the bullet trains in Japan. In addition to the cranes’ movement, these systems also control the lighting, video display, and literal water-wings of the cranes which spray the color light displays, creating a pleasing array of water-based plumage.

BulbAmerica does not sell animatronic flightless birds, but we do sell water and weatherproof LED units perfect for any type outdoor show or festival you are setting up! Our IP65+ rated LED PAR cans and LED washes from trusted manufacturers like Chauvet, Elation, and Optima are ideal for situations when you need color and light regardless of the weather, so check out our selection today. If you have any further questions or concerns please leave them on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The London Eye Lights Up with Philips' LEDs

The London Eye is among one of the most iconic attractions in the entire city. Situated on the southern bank of the River Thames, the London Eye stands at an amazing 443ft, providing city-goers with an obstructed view of the city. At night, the London Eye takes on another character altogether, as it becomes a colorful disk of light. The London Eye originally featured fluorescent lights that were outfitted with gels to provide color when it was needed. With their limited life spans and inability to change color, however, fluorescent lamps proved to be high maintenance and somewhat limited in use. Philips and its Color Kinetics line of LED lighting came to the rescue. In 2006 Philips provided nearly 650 fully programmable and addressable LED modules. Today, the London Eye remains a beacon of light and is a testament to the usefulness of LED lighting.
BulbAmerica stocks a wide variety of LED products and an extensive catalog of Philips light products. We are always adding new LED modules and fixtures to our product lineup, so be sure to check them out regularly. If you want to find out more leave a question on our Facebook or blog today!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On Reflectors and MR16 Specs: A Guide for ANSI Consumers Everywhere

MR16s are among the most popular and light bulb types of any bulb. From retail spaces to restaurants, museums, and kitchens, MR16s are used nearly everywhere. Manufacturers have widened their catalogs of MR16s to accommodate their many applications, but in doing so have it made their MR16s a regular maze of specifications and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) codes. Of these specifications, no subject is more confusing or intimidating than the reflector, so in this article this vital part of the bulb will be the focus. In any light bulb the reflector collects, shapes, and focuses the light. In MR16s, reflectors come with many different types of facets, or folds or indentations, which aid in forming the bulb’s given light characteristics. Before more is said about facets, it is important to take note of the two standard materials for reflectors: dichroic coatings or aluminum. A dichroic coating is a non-metallic film laid on the inside of the bulb that allows for the passing through of heat, allowing the light created and the bulb to remain cooler. With extremely high melting points, dichroic filters are also extremely durable and ensure consistent light quality and protects against color degradation. Aluminum reflectors do not filter out heat, but rather reflect it in addition to light. Aluminum reflectors therefore get hotter and produce a warmer light than MR16s using dichroic reflectors. For heat lamp applications, or other situations where heat is desirable, MR16s with aluminum reflectors are the best choice. Some MR16s such as those used in scanners or projectors feature smooth aluminum un-faceted reflectors where light output is the most important characteristic of the bulb.

A bulb’s reflector and facet type, as well as other features including beam angle, front glass, wattage, voltage, and base, are specified by a three letter ANSI code. The BAB, EXN, and FNV are just three of many ANSI codes for MR16s that consumers may be familiar with.

Hopefully this article has clarified some of the mysteries surrounding MR16s, if not please do not hesitate to leave a question or comment on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

ADJ's Vertigo Tri LED Dazzles with Dizzying Light

 The Vertigo moonflower effect unit has long been an American DJ classic in DJs’ setups, roller rinks, clubs, bars, and more. ADJ has improved on this classic by replacing its old inefficient lamps with powerful Tri-color LEDs, making the Vertigo Tri LED efficient, durable, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. The Vertigo LED uses two 9-watt tri-color LED bulbs; these bulbs produce a wide range of colors (Red, Green, Blue, Purple, Yellow, Cyan & White) and are rated at 100,000hrs each. As is true with most LED lighting effects, the Vertigo Tri LED does not require duty cycles to dissipate heat, therefore making this unit that much more efficient and easy to use. Ease of use is certainly one of the stand-out advantages of the Vertigo LED. Its multi-voltage operation, various built-in programs (including sound operation), and master/slave capability make it invaluable and allow you to use it without a controller. Using only 30w, the Vertigo also allows you more room on your circuits for additional light and sound so you can get the most out of your power supply.

BulbAmerica has the Vertigo LED and many other of ADJ’s great LED lighting effects in stock so be sure to check them all out today! Don’t forget to leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call one of our lighting experts at 1-877-622-0897 with any addition questions you have.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Philips Brings its Powerful LEDs to Time Square

There is likely no more an iconic display of lighting than the glowing crystal ball that drops every New Year’s Eve in New York’s Time Square. Nearly every year the Time Square ball gets bigger, this year achieved an amazing 12 foot diameter and a weight of 11,875lbs. The Times Square ball has traditionally been illuminated using halogen lamps, but beginning in 2007-2008 Philips replaced the ball’s halogen lamps with their powerful and efficient LUXEON LEDs. Since then, and up to this last New Year’s Eve, Philips has added more of its LEDs to the ball making it brighter, more colorful, and more efficient every year. This year the ball was studded with 32,256 LED bulbs grouped in 672 modules. Attached to these modules were Waterford crystal triangles to give the ball its amazing patterns. According to Philips, this year’s ball consumed only 12% of the energy that would have been required if the ball was still illuminated using halogen bulbs. This year’s ball used only 140,000KWh of electricity where as its halogen predecessor would have used 1.1 million.
BulbAmerica is proud to carry many of Philips’ high performing products as well many of other LED bulbs and modules. Make your New Year’s resolution a commitment to go green with energy efficient lighting today, and check out our wide selection of long lasting CFL and LED bulbs and our high performing halogen and metal halides. As usual, leave a comment or question on our blog or Facebook or call us at 1-877-622-0897.