1. Jim Swartos

    Jim Swartos Friend of the Community

    I've heard that LED obstruction lighting will reduce the electrical costs on my tower.

    Has anyone done a comparison of the total cost of conversion (from incandescent to LED, to see how long it takes to pay off the conversion and see the savings?

    Is there an LED lighting system that will connect with the existing incandescent sockets? It seems to me that that would make the installation much more cost effective, if you could unscrew a side light and screw in an LED replacement.

    Thanks!
  2. Doug Woehler

    Doug Woehler Friend of the Community

    Yes, LED lighting dramatically lowers the costs associated with power consumption of an obstruction lighting system.

    For example, an LED beacon is 115 watts (LED) compared to 1260 watts (incandescent). An LED sidelight is 12.5 watts compared to 116 watts for incandescent. I?ll be pleased to send you an Excell value calculator.

    In regards to a "screw in LED lamp," the FAA currently frowns on this. This is due in a large part to the existing color of an incandescent obstruction light and the existing focal points of an existing lens. LEDs are monochromatic. This means they "create" only the color required without wasting energy producing all color, such as an incandescent or strobe tube type lamp. To explain this, white light is a combination of all colors. You must "filter" out the colors not wanted with a colored filter. This is why filters become hot. The filter is absorbing all of the colors not needed. This absorption is dissipated as "heat". In this example, if you put a red LED behind a red filter that was designed for the chromaticity of an incandescent light source and not the wavelength of an LED, you will have absorbed the light created by the LED. Thus, no light output through the filter.

    Secondly, LED light sources are a combination of multiple LEDs. If you use an existing lens system the light will not be properly focused to meet the FAA's requirements since the lens was designed for a single incandescent filament. Therefore, the LED fixture must have the color of a lens and focal point to optimize and focus a LED light source to perform correctly.

    Third, if we manufactured a LED bulb and manufactured a lens designed to properly operate with the LED light source, one would have to rely on the installer to ensure the LED light source is properly aligned with the lens. This is impossible to do in the field due to the high variables associated with screwing in a lamp. If you and I were the installer, both of our alignments would be dramatically different due to the "tightness" we screwed the lamp into the socket and the inconsistency of lamp sockets and positions.

    Finally, LED fixtures must be properly sealed to ensure the longevity of the fixture. If an installer did not properly assemble the fixture and moisture or other contaminates entered, the fixture would fail.

    This is why we manufacture fixtures with the LED properly associated with the lens and water-tight seal. We warranty the "light output" of the fixture. If we just sold a lamp, we could not do this and most, if not all installations, would not meet the FAA's specifications. We have designed our sidelights to be attached to the existing wiring systems and conduits. The fixture can be installed with either 1 inch or 3/4 inch conduit either side or bottom mounted. We have also designed an adaptor that allows a LED beacon to use the existing 300mm incandescent beacon lamp socket to "plug in".

    I hope this answered your questions, Jim.

    Sincerely,
    Doug Woehler
    Dialight Corporation
    P: 732-991-2837
    F: 732-751-3221
    dwoehler@dialight.com
    http://www.dialight.com
  3. John Wilson

    John Wilson Friend of the Community

    My question is regarding alarm systems, when changing from incandescent to LED fixtures. I have several towers that are lit and the current sensing equipment will not properly determine lamp failures...and from what I have heard from the vendor of the controller, there is no modification to handle the lower current draw of the LED fixtures.

    Has Dialight done any work in this area, to allow for tower owners to more easily convert to these better fixtures and still maintain their FAA/FCC reporting requirements?

    Thanks.
    John Wilson, Pendleton Oregon
  4. Doug Woehler

    Doug Woehler Friend of the Community

    Hi John,

    This is generally a simple adjustment to your monitor. Most incandescent controllers use two type of monitors. One is a simple current transformer and the other "dip" switches. After conversion to an LED lighting system the goal is to "emulate" a larger current draw. This is completed by placing additional "wraps" of the primary wire through the "CT" to emulate a higher current draw or simply change the "dip" switch settings. Hope this answers your question. If you need additional clarification, please call me.

    Sincerely,
    Doug Woehler
    Dialight
    732-991-2837

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