A fibre optic cable is made of PMMA (Polymethyl methacrylate) plastic or glass. The fibres are designed to enable the transmission of light from a light source known as an illuminator. The fibres distribute the light to a location where light is desired. There is no electrical current and no heat in the fibre cable. This is advantageous when installed in wet areas or submerged in pools and spas. The outer sheathing of the fibre cable is UV protected allowing both outdoor and indoor use, including areas where moisture becomes problematic to some conventional forms of lighting, such as rope lighting.
The illuminator’s light source is derived from LEDs, halogen lamps and gas lamps. The installation area and desired visual aesthetics will determine the type of lamp required. Illuminators are designed to produce white light, multiple colours or twinkling effects appropriate for use in star ceiling or galaxy type applications. DMX capability allows users to set up and control a desired atmosphere and mood setting.
Fibre cables are available in end-lit and side-lit. The end-lit fibre cables have the light shining from the end as the actual cable is sheathed to prevent light leakage, thus allowing a brighter emitted light from the end of the cable. The side-lit fibre cables have a transparent sheathing, unlike the end-lit cable, therefore allowing the light to emit along the side and length of the actual cable. The application governs the type of cable required, for instance, in a downlight application, the end-lit fibre cable is appropriate, whereas, a neon light type effect would require the use of the side-lit cable.
The installation design and desired end-result determines the appropriate sizes. The solid core cable is available in various diameters typically from 0.30mm to 20mm. The bundled cable has more than 1 fibre strand and is available in a combination of different strand sizes typically from 0.30mm to 3mm, to the number of strands in the cable from 5 strands to 300. Fibre optic lighting a versatile system that is limited only by lack of imagination. The versatility extends from the home, to commercial, industrial and corporate installations. Several examples of applications are:
Outdoor areas - Patios | Decks | Pathways | Landscapes Wet areas - Pools | Spas | Saunas | Steam rooms Indoors - Home theatre | Bedrooms Commercial - Lobby areas | Health centres | Sensory rooms | Restaurants | Clubs
Fibre optic lighting is suitable for simple lighting purposes, audio and visual interaction, economy and efficiency, and low maintenance. It is also a great investment and talking point.