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Fluorescent Lamps and Cold Weather

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  • Fluorescent Lamps and Cold Weather

    One of the things observed during physical security surveys deals with the use of ordinary fluorescent lamps in cold climates either in open-to-the-weather parking areas, unheated underground parking garages or unheated residential garages. They flutter and sputter and quickly burnout. They provide poor security lighting for either pedestrian traffic or parked vehicles. Their support for CCTV is marginal to nonexistent.
    For outdoor use the highly loaded High Output and Very High Output lamps are recommended because of their high lumen output. To maintain the high output in cold climates, the lamps must be enclosed, shifting the peak output to a lower ambient temperature.
    Where it is necessary to operate lamps in cold weather without a surrounding enclosure the best results will be obtained from lamps marked ?FJ? either as a prefix or suffix. These lamps have an integral outer jacket and are specifically designed for use in low ambient temperatures.
    Money is the main reason I?ve been given for not using ?FJ? lamps in cold environments. Another reason given, the building manager or homeowner never heard of these lamps.
    In commercial establishments, lighting maintenance is normally the province of facilities management, who in many instances, will not pay for such lighting, as that is a security matter. Security managers are operating on tight budgets and are unwilling or unable to push for such a security upgrade. The fact of the matter is the ordinary lamp will not function properly in cold weather and quickly burnout. Replacing these lamps seems reasonable, not understanding that a slightly higher investment cost actually saves money when it comes to constant lamp replacement.
    Those of us in the physical security survey business must include this matter on our surveys pointing out the ultimate cost savings. It should be included in the cost benefit analysis portion of the survey.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill

  • #2
    I never worked at a site that used florescent lighting outdoors. It has always been halogen or some other high quality lighting. The nice thing about it is that a couple of our exterior CCTV cameras continue to produce full color images at night instead of black & white which is the norm. even for color cameras when it gets dark outside.

    If I could change one thing about the cameras where I am posted, it would be to shield them from electrical interference. At night, it can be difficult to get a plate number even when the lighting is sufficient.
    Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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    • #3
      Fluorescent Lighting

      Hey guys;

      My point of view is that fluorescent lighting should not be used outside. Although fluorescent has a very low re-strike time, and good colour rendering, they just can't handle the cold weather. Up here in Canada, it's cold a lot, and fluorescents just ain't any good for outdoors. At a minimum, high or low pressure sodium lamps should be used. Especially if your in an area that gets a lot of fog. They are bright, cold resistent, and have a good re-strike time. It wouldn't be cost effective to change the housing for the fluorescent lights. You'd be better off switching the lamps to a better performing unit.

      As far as light distortion at night, are your lamps higher than your camera's? If not, the light could be messing up with the iris, not allowing it to pick up the ambient light at night.

      Adam

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      • #4
        Originally posted by astorms
        As far as light distortion at night, are your lamps higher than your camera's? If not, the light could be messing up with the iris, not allowing it to pick up the ambient light at night.

        Adam
        If the above question is meant for Mr. Security: Yes, all lighting is above the CCTV cameras.
        Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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