At the heart of all of our fibre optic lighting installations is a light source, also known as a light engine.
The light source dictates what colours and effects you see on the main display of the feature, in this instance a starry ceiling.
A light source is an aluminium housing with a lamp which is usually LED, halogen or metal halide.
The housing is specially made with an optical port/aperture and connector which is designed to secure optical fibre in place in front of the lamp.
Lastly, some light engines offer a motor, which is used to turn an effects wheel which creates colour changing, twinkle and animated effects.
Let’s discuss the options and combinations available.
A continuous, static, single colour of light.
White stars with a twinkle effect
An RGB mix means it is an RGB lamp, which means a red, green and blue LED chip are individually mixed using a controller to create the colours.
An RGB LED which changes the colours of the stars to several different static colours and also has colour fading scenes.
It’s worth noting that, when the lamp changes colour, all of the fibres/stars would change colour simultaneously.
A wheel attached to a motor inside the light source wich filters different coloured light to the stars.
Similar to the RGB mix option apart from one main feature. Since it is a rotating wheel with colour segments passing over the fibre optics, you get a added feature of an interesting colour transition. Instead of all of the stars changing colour simultaneously, one by one they slowly change to the next colour as the colour segment passes over specific fibres. This means 2 colours can be seen throughout the display until they have all changed colour. When using an RF remote, you can also pause the effects to have a mixture of 2 static colours.
Colour change with twinkle combined.
Combining a colour wheel and a twinkle wheel means you have a continuous colour fade and twinkle. Using an RF remote you have an option of pausing the effect on a specific colour however since there is only 1 motor, this means the twinkle wheel would also stop, creating a static colour.
Colour change and twinkle
using a special light engine with 2 motors inside. This opens up opportunities to create a much greater variety of colours and effects. Light sources with 2 motors enable users to control a colour wheel and twinkle wheel independently meaning you can have any combination of static light, static twinkle and colour fade twinkle. This is improved even further by adding DMX compatibility which offers full live control of all of the effects including the speed at which the stars twinkle and change colour. DMX compatibility also means a light source can be included as part of a lighting system such as stage lighting or home automation for example.
Now, you should have an idea of which option is most suitable for you. I’ll explain a little on multiple zones.
Your display doesn’t have to be powered by just one light source. It can be divided into specific zones meaning you can choose areas of the product to have different effects to others.
For example, if you had a milky way design surrounded by more stars, the milky way itself could be twinkling but the stars around it could be static.
Another example on the same feature is you could have the milky way itself changing colour and twinkling but have the surrounding stars twinkling on white only, maybe at a different speed.
This can work well when crystal end fittings are used. Crystals don’t work very well with a twinkle wheel because they use multiple fibres to illuminate them, therefore, you don’t get a proper twinkle since at any one time, some of the fibres that power the crystals would be lit and some wouldn’t, because of the twinkle wheel.
So if you wanted a twinkling sky with crystals included, you’d be best to use an RGB effect light source for the crystals end fittings and a separate light source with twinkle when to power the stars.
You should now be able to create your own design by first choosing size colour and shape, then chose a material, the desired layout of your stars and then finally the light engine spec to power the display. If you still need help or more information please read our specification and installation post which explains a variety of different materials and shows some installation drawings.