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24 DC Lighting
We believe that dc low voltage lighting plays an important
role in portable, off-grid, remote, commercial, industrial
and emergency power, survival systems.
This also applies to utility and emergency vehicle
In a portable system:
DC lighting helps to simplify the system by eliminating the need for
a d.c. to a.c. inverter.
It also reduces the system weight.
With less components the system reliability increases.
In many portable systems such as emergency, show, sign and work
work area lighting, the need for a generator is also removed.
In a stand-alone (off-grid) d.c. only system:
With a d.c. only system the power losses incurred by the
inverter are eliminated.
It is not necessary to run an inverter 24 hours a day to have
lights whenever they are needed.
Dependance on a complicated electronic device, the inverter,
is removed for increased reliability.
In a stand-alone (off-grid) a.c. and d.c. system:
Lighting is available whether the inverter is running or not.
In the case of an inverter failure, and the time it takes to get
it repaired or replaced, lighting is still available.
In a remote system:
System reliabilty and efficiency is increased due to reduced
In an inverter based system the addition of dc lighting aids in
maintenance and reduces down time.
In a utility or emergency vehicle:
Wiring is simple and there is a wide selection of types and
In a commercial system:
Utilizing low voltage d.c. components reduces the hazards of
This helps keep liability exposure to a minimum.
Displays can be easily moved and setup without the need of
extension cords when the battery is integrated into the design.
In an industrial application:
Proper low voltage d.c. lighting helps keep down radio frequency
interference which can adversely affect sophisticated electronic
Low voltage dc lighting has many applications in the
tele-communications and machining center venues due to its
inherent benign nature.
The following link will take you to the directory of d.c. lighting
items that we carry:
Types of low voltage d.c. lighting:
Tungsten incandescent (recreational vehicle type) light bulbs.
These are similar to conventional household light bulbs but operate on
low voltage direct current.
By producting light through heating a tungsten filament this is the most
inefficient form of lighting.
These can easily be used with a dimmer switch.
They also have a limited life span.
Tungsten Quartz Halogen light bulbs.
These produce light by heating a thick tungsten filament using the "quartz
The filament is surrounded by a halogenated gas.
It operates at extremely high temperatures, which is why the bulb is made
The combination of a heavy filament and the halogen gas produce a much
more efficient and long lived light source.
The halogen gas returns tungsten atoms thrown off by the filament to itself.
Even though they are much more efficient than standard light bulbs much of
the energy used is wasted.
If you use a dimmer on these the cycle can be interrupted causing the life
span to be shortened.
For most applications these produce the most amount of light for the energy used.
The tubes are available in color temperatures such as 27K (warm white - light an
incandescent bulb), 41K (cool white) and 65K (very cool white - cooler than daylight.)
The ballast in a d.c. fluorescent light is actually an "inverter/ballast".
It inverts the d.c. voltage into an a.c. voltage and then steps up the voltage to fire and
run the fluorescent tube.
Unlike a regular incandescent light, a fluorescent light can not handle many on/off
cycles nor a low voltage condition.
Manufacturers of fluorescent tubes often show the expected life of their tubes at
The fine print reads "with a minimum run time of 3 hours."
In an application involving many short on and off cycles an incandescent or LED light
may be a better choice than a fluorescent.
With fluorescent lights you should make sure that the wire is heavy enough for the
length of wire running from the battery to the light.
Light Emitting Diodes are the most energy efficient light source currently available.
Many led lights use less than 1/10th. of a watt.
LED's, when operated at the proper internal voltage, can run up to 100,000 hours.
LED's are very directional, making them difficult to quantify and compare with either
a fluorescent or incandescent light.
For task and reading lighting they are hard to beat.
Ultra hight intensity led's can be used for some area lighting applications.
Due to the directional nature of led lighting it is always wise to purchase one, then try it
in each location.
Some applications are well served by led lighting and some are not.
copyright by John Drake Services, Inc.
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