Surge Protectors Are A Must For Your LED Landscape Lighting System

Just like our electrical appliances and computers at home that need surge protectors in case of lightning or electrical storms, so do your outdoor LED luminaires and LED landscape lighting systems.

The arrival of LEDs in the outdoor landscape lighting industry opened the door to new opportunities for highly efficient lighting solutions. LEDs have made it possible to light our homes, landscapes, and other outdoor living areas more efficiently with a much longer lifespan. It has allowed manufacturers like ClaroLux to develop and create landscape lighting products that provide high performance luminaries like never before.

Low voltage LEDs are built with sensitive electronic components that need to be protected against electrical noise sometime called electromagnetic interference (EMI). Because these low voltage landscape LED luminaires are installed outside in harsh electrical outdoor environments these sensitive electronic components MUST be protected to avoid early failure.

What are we protecting our LED luminaires from?

It is important to protect your LED landscape lighting systems from high energy electrical discharges that are transmitted to the landscape lighting luminaire itself or into the electrical grid network. The high energy electrical discharges consist of electrical noise created by other electrical devices that are connected on the same electrical network like HID ballast, or industrial equipment-like motors. A discharge can also be created by electrical flashes, lightning striking nearby electrical networks or buildings and transferring high electrical energy to the luminaires. Depending on where the luminaires are connected on the electrical distribution grid or depending on the geographical location (ie: Tampa Bay known as the lightning city) equipment might be at high risk of failure if there is no surge protector.

How do surge protectors work?

Surge protection devices, also known as SPDs, consist of well-designed assemblies of electronic components, including Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV). ClaroLux recommends connecting the SPD at the very first stage of the luminaire’s power input, the transformer.  The SPD will get the hit first and react rapidly. It detects the abnormal voltage and starts conducting current in order to capture the high energy surge. This is known as “clamping action”. It will bring the voltage back to typical normal level and redirect the high energy surge away from the sensitive components, to the SPD. Since the surge is not redirected to the ground, MOVs inside the SPD made up of a ceramic mass of zinc oxide grain packed between 2 metal plates will start digging and eliminating the surge energy. The higher the rating in energy ( Kjoules) for the SPD, the more energy it will be able to take and the longer it will last over time.

What Surge Protection Device (SPD) does ClaroLux recommend for their 12V LED landscape lighting systems?

Surge Protectors for landscapeSPDs are high energy and high peak current surge protection devices that are designed for electrical immunity in worst possible outdoor locations or scenarios.  When buying and installing outdoor LED luminaires, it is imperative that ClaroLux’s LED lighting systems be equipped with a high-quality surge protecting device.  One SPD that requires no hard wiring and is fairly inexpensive is the Tripp Lite UltraBlok Isobar Plug-In Surge Protection Device.

Isobar’s unique protection system combines large torroidal chokes, HF/VHF capacitors and multiple metal oxide varistors that remove high-level surges and EMI/RFI interference. UltraBlok offers 2 outlets arranged with standard wall socket spacing in a cordless direct plug-in format. Mounting tabs allow permanent connection via a duplex switchplate screw. Surge suppression rated at 1410 joules/48,000 amps offers high-grade protection. Diagnostic LEDs confirm power availability, line fault and protection status. Lifetime warranty with $10,000 Ultimate Lifetime connected equipment Insurance (USA & Canada Only).

Specifications of the Tripp Lite UltraBlok 428 Plug-In SPD:  

• Output capacity: 1800 watts • AC suppression: 1410 joules • Clamping voltage: 140V RMS • AC suppression response time: Less than 1 nanosecond • EMI/RFI filtering: up to 80 dB • Dimensions: 4″ H x 2-1/2″ W x 2-1/2″ D. Certifications: • UL1449 1998 Rev. (AC Suppression) • UL1283 (EMI Filter) • cUL / CSA (Canada) • Exceeds IEEE 587 category A&B specifications.

Manufacturer’s Part #: IGRM519423