Product Reviews, Retail

Reviewed: Swimming pool lights

Summer is here, so we are going for a swim. In this article, we are looking at both indoor and outdoor pools. 

Design criteria
It is no surprise that indoor pool areas are constantly warm and wet. Even in air-conditioned pools, the luminaires need to resist high humidity and elevated temperatures. Unless the luminaires are very high up, they will be splashed. You need at least IP54 and a higher IP rating is better. Remember that it is the second digit that refers to moisture and water protection.  

Some pools have a false ceiling and the void is used to extract the warm, damp air. If you are using a recessed luminaire, remember that the temperature in the void may be higher than the general interior. Also, the upper sections of some recessed luminaires have a lower IP rating than the pool-facing side.  

Lastly, don’t forget maintenance. Luminaires positioned over the water will be hard to access – and may cause glare to swimmers doing backstroke!  

If an outdoor pool is in a dark location, you might want to delineate its perimeter with a continuous line of light or lines of individual inground units. Since people will be in the pool, it is better to use recessed luminaires rather than surface mounted ones. 

Generally, luminaires are recessed into the sides of the pool and the light shines across thus illuminating the swimmers and the opposite wall. Luminaires can also be used in the bottom of the pool to delineate swimming lanes, highlight changes in depth or create patterns. 

High wattage luminaires are often installed in a ‘wet’ recess, often called a niche, whereas low power ones can simply be in the dry body of the wall. 

Don’t forget that any underwater luminaire must be IPX8. The manufacturer should state what is the maximum depth of water the luminaire can be used. If no figure is given, you should assume it is 1m. 

One final point to consider for both indoor and outdoor pools is the compatibility of the metal used for the luminaire and the sterilising chemicals used in the water. I know one case where the stainless-steel bezels turned black just a few days after the pool was filled.  That was a costly mistake – the profit literally drained away. 

Fagerhult
Hero SPA

This IP65 unit has been specifically designed for use in indoor pools. It has a finned die-cast aluminium body with a clear or frosted tempered glass cover. It ranges from 83 – 136W, approximately 11,500 – 16,000 lumen output. Both 3000K and 4000K are available. 

A variety of beam spreads is available but one that is particularly useful is the asymmetric version. This can be wall mounted and the beam is emitted at 60 degrees (from straight down) thus directing most of the light towards the centre of the pool. 

It can easily be dimmed using DALI and has a Constant Light Output, CLO, function. The maximum ambient operating temperature is 35C. 

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Roblon
Fibre Optic

You might ask what can you do with fibre optics that you can’t do with LEDs? The answer is quite a bit, actually. One of the best applications is to produce a colour changing array of star points in the bottom of the pool. 

You can easily achieve hundreds of sparkling points of light from one, remotely positioned, low power, light source.  

There are plenty of configurations possible. As an example, a 22W light generator can feed over 500 fibres. These individual fibres are then terminated in a 7 mm diameter plastic sparkle point at the bottom of the pool. 

One other advantage of fibre optics is that the end points are intrinsically cool because they do not generate any heat. They’re fine for bare feet! 

The main disadvantage of fibre optics is that there is a limit to the distance the light points can be from the generator. If you have a large pool or need to have long tails, you should check how much intensity is lost. 

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Thorn
AreaFlood Pro. 

Anyone who swims backstroke knows how glaring intense lights over a pool can be.  The maintenance of luminaires which are over the pool itself can also be a problem. 

Indirect lighting where wall mounted floodlights reflect light off the ceiling provides a glare-free solution. You could also, of course, mount it in the “normal” orientation facing down. Wall mounting means installation and maintenance are also cheaper and simpler. 

The IP66 AreaFlood Pro is ideal for these applications. One big advantage over many floodlights is that it has an asymmetric beam which can direct the light towards the centre of the pool thus achieving good levels of uniformity. It comes in a wide range of sizes and light outputs. An Olympic size pool would be no problem. 

The flat cover is made of toughened glass and the body is die-cast aluminium. Another aspect I like about the AreaFlood Pro is that you get full technical and photometric data. 

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Trilux
Duroxo

This may not be the best-looking luminaire for a swimming pool but this IP69K, surface mounted, tubular luminaire will resist just about any atmospheric conditions, even high temperature jet cleaning. It will operate from 40C down to -25C (which is maybe a bit cold for swimming)!  But you could also use it in the plant room and purification areas. 

The main body is made of impact-resistant acrylic, pmma, with a rating of IK09. 

It is approximately 1.3 m long and 100 mm diameter. It is rated at 46 W and delivers 6,700 lumens. 

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We-Ef
DOC200 series

This ceiling recessed IP66, 24W and 48W unit would be ideal for domestic pools. 

We-Ef is known for the excellent corrosion resistance of their luminaires; even the stainless-steel hardware is polymer coated.  The standard finishes would be good enough for most applications but We-Ef also offers a version specifically for chlorine-laden atmospheres. 

There is a choice of seven beam widths including a wall-wash. Unusually for a pool luminaire, as well as 3000 and 4000K, a warm 2700K option is also available. 

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Wibre
Centum 4.0202 

Wibre specialise in the field of underwater lighting; the lighting factory was founded in 1953. All their luminaires are made of 316 or V4A grade stainless steel. 

This 210 mm diameter IP68 unit can be used in depths down to 5m. The basic 31 W unit is available in 3000K, 4500K and 6000K. What I particularly like is that it is also available in RGBW with the same three choices of white CCT. The standard beam is 50 degrees and there is the option of a frosted glass lens which softens and broadens the light. 

To ease installation and ensure its IP integrity, it is supplied with a 5m flying lead made from cable specifically designed for underwater use. 

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Zumtonel
Trinos 

This is different from any of the other luminaires featured here in that it is a continuous linear system. It is IP65 and mainly designed for industrial locations. The body is of powder-coated extruded aluminium but instead of having individual lengths of diffuser, the cover comes in a continuous roll up to 50m long. 

Not only that, but it is available in three beam widths. There is an equivalent continuous roll system for the inside which protects from water entering from above. 

Within this trunking-style system, you can mount individual luminaires. For this particular application, you would use LED battens but you can also attach a wide variety of other luminaires such as Exit signs. 

A typical light output would be 3,700 lumens/lin.m and consuming 25W/m. 

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