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5 Tips on Outdoor Lighting for Patio and Deck Areas

Indoor lighting is not too difficult to figure out. It depends on the room and the kind of light you want to have. However, when you choose to light up the great outdoors an entire world of possibilities suddenly unfolds. This can sometimes be overwhelming, but relax. Here are 5 helpful tips to improve outdoor lighting for patio or deck guests. 1. Task Lighting Don’t use flood lights for highlighting and task light. They may be too bright and uncomfortable to look at. Instead, opt for powerful but soft light which is directional and can be focused on one thing or area. 2. Steps It is very important to have lights for deck stairs and landscape steps. One of the best choices involves solar powered light. There is no need to run wires which could be a tripping hazard if not properly installed. Solar step lights can be placed just about anywhere and if you need more light just install more fixtures. 3. Flood Lights Flood lights make great outdoor lighting for patio areas that are large and spacious. This includes basketball and tennis courts. Consider LED flood lights because they use a great deal less power and they are safer. LED lights are cool the touch and your guests or visitors will not get burned if they accidentally come into contact with them. 4. Extension Cords It’s not usually a good idea to use extension cords for a number of reasons. However, if you must, make sure to use the proper size cords and they must be rated for outdoor use. Outdoor cords cost more but are much safer. 5. Ambience If you want to set a relaxed mood, consider jars with candles spaced strategically on the patio or deck. Candles can be the perfect addition to outdoor lighting for patio life in the...

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The Achilles Heels of an LED Circuit

Currently, one of the best sources of lighting available are light emitting diodes, which are more commonly known as LEDs. However, over-heating will mean lights out quickly. Both should be taken into consideration when choosing the right LED circuit for your application. Understanding LEDs An LED consists of a semi-conductor material known as p-n junctions. When the right amount of voltage passes across this junction, photons are emitted on a visible spectrum. The chemical makeup of the material will determine the color of the LED. The LED circuit is what powers the LEDs. It is made up of an LED, a voltage source, and a resistor that reduces the voltage. Other components, such as sensors and switches may also be added to the circuit, but will not have an effect on the principles that send power to the LED. Lighting Efficiency In comparison to other lighting sources, LEDs are much more efficient. When converting wattage over to a useable light, standard incandescent produce as little as 15% efficiency and fluorescent lighting at its best is only 50% efficient. In the semi-conductor electronics that are currently on the market, the efficiency of LEDs is at least 85%. Therefore, they have become the ideal choice for lighting solutions in most homes, boats and recreational vehicles. Excess Heat With all light sources, there is always a certain amount of residual heat. This heat energy can quickly destroy the light source. The current flow through the LED circuit heats the LED, which will fail immediately if the temperature of the junction goes beyond 185°F. In order to ensure the proper design of an LED circuit, protection from over-heating is extremely important. Even when operating at a voltage that is carefully controlled, some heat is still generated. By using a heat sink, the heat is removed before it reaches excessive temperatures. The level of heat that a LED device produces depends primarily on the input voltage. For example, if the LED circuit is built to operate at 12.8 volts, it will cease to function at 14.7 volts. Deterioration will take place at a much faster rate and the lifetime will decrease from 100,000 hours to only a few thousand hours. An LED circuit is a worthwhile investment and with proper design can provide many years of quality service. However, sufficient heat protection is vital to ensure the long life of any LED...

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