Fiber Optics: Outdoor Lights Easy to Install

By Dulley, James T. | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), September 22, 1997 | Go to article overview

Fiber Optics: Outdoor Lights Easy to Install


Dulley, James T., St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Q: I'm not an electrician, but I want to add high-quality landscaping and security lighting to my house. How effective and energy-efficient are new, do-it-yourself, fiber-optic and all-metal, low-voltage lighting kits? - S.R.

A: New hi-tech fiber-optics (no volts) and low-voltage (12 volts) outdoor-light kits are ideal for the do-it-yourselfer. These kits range from inexpensive plastic sets found at hardware stores, to high-quality beautiful cast-metal ones designed to last a lifetime.

Do-it-yourself fiber-optic lighting kits are safe, efficient and simple to install. Instead of running heavy copper wire to a small bulb in each outdoor fixture, thin durable (plastic) fiber-optic cable is used. Only one efficient bulb is needed in the main unit. Light travels along the plastic fiber-optic cables to each of the outdoor fixtures. A typical kit (by Fiberstars) includes six pathway or four flood fixtures with a main unit. There are no electrical connections to get dirty and only one bulb to replace. Contour-fiber-optic kits are ideal for marking a pathway or lighting around water or a pool, where electricity is a hazard. These kits use special 18-strand, side-glow fiber-optic cables. The entire length of the cable glows. For a unique effect, install a slowly rotating color wheel in the main unit. As this rotates past the main light bulb, the color in all the fixtures or in the side-glow cable changes. The past several years have seen many improvements in do-it-yourself outdoor low-voltage lighting kits. You can find many more high-quality all-metal designs, automatic timer and dimmer controls and literally hundreds of new decorative styles. If you ever tried a few years ago to install a low-voltage lighting kit, you will appreciate how easy the new fixture connectors are to attach. …

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