Fiber Optic LightingStunning Special Effects Through Creative Design & Implementation
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Fiber Optic Lighting
Fiber Optic lighting continued to grow in popularity until the mid-2000’s when the development of RGB LED strip came to the fore. Sequenced fiber was used in signage to create movement, like a beer glass filling with amber liquid and then a white head frothing and slightly overflowing. Although it is not as popular as it once was, fiber optic lighting still has its place within lighting design.
Decorative fiber optic lighting systems comprise a remotely located source of light (light source), a common end which is the piece that the end of the fiber optic harness is terminated into to enable it to plug into the light source, and the fiber optic cable itself, which can be end emitting, side emitting or side sparkle.
Side Lighting Fiber
A side lighting cable allows the light to radiate through its side walls creating a linear glow along its entire length, resembling neon tube. Since much of the light is lost along the length of the fiber, the length of a run is limited, but this can be alleviated by either creating a loop back to the light source, or by using a second light source to inject light into the end of the cable.
For short runs of around 10m a reflective end cap can be used to bounce the light back up the cable, but the end 500mm – 1000mm needs to be hidden as it will be brighter than the overall length.
We typically keep a single loop of cable to around 30m, depending on the ambient light level, and a single cable with light sources at both ends to around 40m.
How Was it Done?
The delineation of this pool utilised a loop of fiber which ran around the perimeter of the pool that entered and exited the pool shell via the skimmer box.
The second loop of fiber looped around the steeping stones, with an in and out conduit on the back side of each stepping stone. All 4 cable ends were terminated into a single light source with a 6 colour wheel.
It’s best to avoid 90 deg bends that cause the cable to kink and bleed light out as hot spots. Radius bends are desired and should be specified during the design stage of the project.
End Light Fiber
End lighting fiber has a chemical coating that prevents the light from escaping through its sides so that it bounces along its entire length before illuminating the end point.
Large diameter end light cables have more light depreciation than smaller ones, so we tend to keep the cable lengths around the 12m mark, but small fibers like the ones used in star ceiling systems can be much longer, up to 20m.
Injecting Light into Water
End light cable is used for the wonderful special effect of creating coloured water. The water needs to be very stable without bubbles or turbulence to carry the light, and without disturbance the light will carry all the way to the pool.
Sheer decent waterfalls and laminar jets are the most common products utilising end light fiber to inject light into water, with the most trusted laminar jet supplier being Crystal Fountains.
We have our sheer decent waterfalls custom built here in Qld to ensure the water actually carries the light as shown in the images.
Both special effects are expensive to set up, but if your budget allows for them, the results are big time WOW factor!
Side Sparkle Fiber
Side sparkle fiber is used to create hanging chandeliers or curtains of light. In hanging clusters, it has the appearance of a large sea anemone and makes for the most beautiful hanging pieces in restaurants and clubs.
It is essentially end light fiber which had little chips of the protective coating taken off it to allow the light to bleed out the sides as small sparkles of light.
Creative Lighting Concepts has 15 years experinece in the design, manufacture and installation of fiber optic lighting systems across Australia, so contact us today to discuss your project requirements.