Analysis of Soft™ Sports Lighting Systems Maintenance Requirements

General

One of the more important features of a sports floodlighting system is the ease of maintenance. A lighting system that is difficult and expensive to maintain usually does not get maintained very well. Thus it is important to know and understand the maintenance features of any lighting system. Following are some of the important maintenance features of the Soft™ Sports Lighting Systems.

Enclosure

The enclosure of the Soft™ Luminaire is aluminum. The door frame is extruded aluminum and the lens is high strength, shatterproof tempered glass. There is no routine maintenance required on these elements of the system. There is dirt accumulation on the glass lens and anodized reflector. We recommend that the lens and reflector be cleaned during routine lamp replacement activities. The glass lens can be washed with clear water mixed with ammonia. The reflector can also be washed with clear water and Bon Ami ® or similar feldspar type cleanser.

Occasionally the glass lens may be broken through vandalism. A replacement lens can be provided by our Factory. Often it is easier and less expensive to just measure the required size of the glass and have a piece cut by a local glass vendor.

Sports luminaires of the standard design often require re-aiming due to the wind and vibration of the pole. The Soft™ luminaires are firmly bolted in place and have NO aiming requirements or adjustments. Thus it is NOT possible for the luminaires to get "out of alignment" as happens with the conventional luminaires.

Ballasts

Ballast's are required for the proper operation of any "discharge type" light source. Ballast's used in the Soft™ Sports Lighting System luminaires are of the highest industry quality. It is highly unusual for a ballast in any outdoor sports application to fail. Operation occurs during evening hours only as compared to fluorescent or industrial type ballast that operate within a closed space during daylight as well as evening hours. A ballast "wears out" through a deterioration of the insulating material of the device. Insulation breaks down mainly due to operation under high temperatures. The sports lighting application is the least demanding and ballast replacements are relatively rare.

Ballast failures do occur later in the life (20 years and beyond) of the illumination system. The ballast's used in the Soft ™ Luminaires is a standard industry product with standardized mounting holes, electrical connections and operating characteristics. Replacement ballasts can be readily provided by our Factory. Again it is often easier and faster to purchase a universal type replacement ballast from a local electrical distributor. The ballasts would normally be stocked by several local firms and could be provided on the same day as ordered.

Lamps

Lamps are the main element of the illumination system that requires regular maintenance. The Soft™ Sports Lighting System utilizes industry standard lamps in the 1,000 watt size mainly and of the Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS) type. The MH lamp has a rated life of 12,000 hours and the HPS is rated at 24,000 hours. Our recommendations are to group re-lamp the entire system at around 10,000 hours of operation or every ten years, whichever comes first.

Occasionally we will get a lamp that fails prematurely. Premature lamp failures almost always occur within the one year warranty period of the system. These are, of course, replaced at no charge to the Owner. Once the system is one year old and everything has been brought up to date, there would normally not be anything required of the Owner until the first lamp change out. This long lamp life means that the system can be operated for up to ten years with no maintenance at all.

Replacement lamps can be provided by the Factory. Again, however, the lamps utilized in the Soft ™ luminaires are standard products that are sold by all major lamp manufacturers. Replacement lamps can easily be obtained from local electrical distributors from their stock. There are no special orientation requirements such as "base up" or "base down", nor is there a requirement for special orientation within the optical assembly of the luminaire.

Summary

Evaluating the Soft ™ Sports Lighting System against the common sports lighting system shows that the Soft ™ system is equal or superior to the conventional sports lighting systems in EVERY category. This can be summarized as follows:

Item Soft™ System Competitive System
Housing (Aluminum) No Maintenance Same
Aiming of Housing None Requires Periodic Reaming
Lens None Except Vandalism Same
Ballast None—Random Failures will occur after 20 years. Same in most cases
Lamps Group Re-lamp around 10 years of life. Most competitors utlilize 3,000 or 6,000 hour rated lamps. These lamps have a higher lumen depreciation as well as short lamp life thus requiring lamp replacements every 2-3 years.*

*There are some other manufactures that utilize a custom lamp. These lamps MUST BE purchases from the luminaire manufacturer. This limits the pricing options as well as the vendor options when replacement lamps are needed. They also require a precise orientation within the optical assembly. It would be very common for maintenance personnel to purchase standard lamps when replacements are necessary. They would most likely operate in what would appear to be a normal manner. However, the system performance would be substantially decreased. Even if the custom lamps were utilized, the maintenance personnel would probably not be familiar with the orientation requirements of the lamps. In short, it is just more difficult to deal with propriety lamps.

In summary, we are pleased to note that the Soft™ Sports Lighting System not only satisfies player requirements and protects the neighbors, it is also the least expensive to operate and maintain.

Contact Us

Soft Lighting Systems

Phone: 425.679.6550

2224-137th Place SE

Bellevue, WA 98005