Fiber optic light fixture

If you've built a project from the magazine, or have something fun and interesting to share, show it off here!
User avatar
Smoke_Maker
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Fiber optic light fixture

Post by Smoke_Maker » Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:08 am

The idea here is to build a light fixture that uses sunshine through fiber optic to light the room and in the same fixture a dimable light bulb that will keep light output constant.

I was thinking of a parabolic mirror with a sun tracking unit with the optics going to a ceiling pocket light, the room will have a light photo censor to keep the light intensity at a constant level.

I'm not even sure fiber optic can do this :evil: so the first thing I need is to find a place that sells used or end pieces of fiber optic, any ideas ???
Richard Furniss
is it suppose to smoke like that ?

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4267
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by dacflyer » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:22 pm

i have played a lot with fiber optics, and i doubt that you can get enough light thru a single fiber or even several of them to light a room worth a flip.
then again i could be wrong..but if you were to do it.. you defiantly will want to have some sort of a fun tracker to focus light on the fiber.. and even a powerful light to do the same in the evening.
me, i opted to buy me a SOLATUBE ( 16" ) it has many features that you can add on.
light kit ( inside ) and a light shutter to block out sun light when not wanted.
me i installed my own light kit. sure light shines out the top at night. but who cares.
it lights the room great in the day, and the light kit works great also.
back then i paid $425.00 7 years ago..
also i did a lot of research and the SOLATUBES have stable UV treated lexan, they will not fog over like car headlights do over time. other tube style skylights, i have seen the top covers fog over after a few years. also the tubes them self are not a high quality mirrored finish.
i have seen some that are like them foil type of dryer vent hoses, but in a larger diameter..
anyway.. hope this helps ya..

User avatar
Smoke_Maker
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by Smoke_Maker » Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:46 pm

dacflyer, Your right, I was thinking of a large bundle of fibers and a sun tracker is a must. I have 1 solar tube now and it works great but this is my attempt to do a step up from the solar tube. I want to make a bundle of fiber optics act like a light bulb.

This project will take time and a lot of experimenting, seeing you have optic experience I need a little lesson in how fiber optic work, different kinds, sizes.

So what is your suggestion on the size of the bundle and the type of optic with the most light through put.
Richard Furniss
is it suppose to smoke like that ?

User avatar
VernGraner
Posts: 250
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Austin Texas
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by VernGraner » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:52 am

Smoke_Maker wrote:The idea here is to build a light fixture that uses sunshine through fiber optic to light the room
Being done ins some 3rd world countries with a soda bottle and water. Pretty ingenious:

The "Isang Litrong Liwanag" (A Liter of Light) project

A video of the process and project is here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cSsIqMcROA

Hope this maybe sparks some ideas. :smile:

Vern
--
Vern Graner

User avatar
Smoke_Maker
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by Smoke_Maker » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:42 pm

Thanks Vern, I watched about a half dozen video and it makes my project look very complicated.

I got the solar panels in the mail and I'm waiting the chip.
Richard Furniss
is it suppose to smoke like that ?

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4267
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by dacflyer » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:14 pm

chip ? what chip ?

anyway as far as fiber.. the larger the better.. there is a lot of plastic fiber also. seen a lot of them used in fiber optic lighting. like illuminated color changing rope. the fiver optic is inserted into a light box.. typically 400 watt HID or so. seen some as low as 175 watt HID.. metal halide works best.
a rotating color wheel in the box is how the rope changes colors..
the ends of the fiver so need to be polished to make sure the most light comes out.
most of the fiber i have worked with was communications single and multi mode fiber. no thicker than a human hair after the outter coating have been stripped.. not for lighting use at all. and it is real glass too.
the plastic fiber optics is best for what you wanna use. and i have seem them as thick as 1mm

User avatar
VernGraner
Posts: 250
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Austin Texas
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by VernGraner » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:11 pm

Smoke_Maker wrote:Thanks Vern, I watched about a half dozen video and it makes my project look very complicated.

I got the solar panels in the mail and I'm waiting the chip.
Just musing here, but have you considered using clear rubber hose filled with water as an optic conductor instead of "real" glass fibers? Hose such as these:

Image

The above image is from:

http://www.deebee.com.au/tubing.php

Who I found by doing a quick Google search. I figure they might be cheaper than glass. Anyway, I wonder what their light conducting capabilities would be..? Time to experiment? :smile:

Vern
--
Vern Graner

User avatar
Smoke_Maker
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by Smoke_Maker » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:19 am

Sorry Dacflyer, it was late and I refereed to the wrong project. I did a goggle search and learned a lot about fiber and plastic fiber. I found a place that sells plastic fiber by the foot, I couldn't find any on ebay.

I wounder if it will handle the heat of the sun ??

Vern, you really do think out side the box, I like it. I wish I had known about the soda bottle before I bought a sky light for my shed. Anyway I'm glad to get this project moving, it's fun to be doing something again.
Richard Furniss
is it suppose to smoke like that ?

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4267
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by dacflyer » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:51 am

i am guessing it should be ok as far as heat, so long as the sun is not concentrated on it like a magnifying glass, and i am not sure how long the plastic fiber would last with such strong UV. might turn yellow after a while. even with UV protection..

i heard about the water bottles thru roof,, but it was a 3rd world idea :D they have to put a little Clorox in it to keep the water clear.

User avatar
Smoke_Maker
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by Smoke_Maker » Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:09 pm

The idea is to focus the sunlight on the optics and have the light come out in a room where it is needed in a multi-story house.

Heat is going to be a problem, I wounder if the fiber optic glass would handle the heat better?? Anyway it would be a good idea to strip some of the heat out of the sunlight, how about focusing the light and then send it through some filters before getting to the optics.

After a lot of searching I found some info on the Internet.
http://www.thefoa.org/tech/lighting/lighting.html
Richard Furniss
is it suppose to smoke like that ?

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4267
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by dacflyer » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:19 am

i still think that fiber will not deliver enough light to light a room...maybe enough light like a night light or small lamp, but nothing to light up a whole room. unless you have a massively huge bundle of them..
would be cheaper to use a solatube. i know fiber is not cheap.
why don't you want to use another solatube ?

User avatar
Smoke_Maker
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by Smoke_Maker » Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:02 pm

It was just an idea I was talking about with a friend to use fiber optic, there was a project going on at the university doing just the same thing he said, but the problem they were having was melting the box where the filters were, too much heat.

Solar tubs are hard on a multi-story house, I know that this will take time but with what info I have now I think a little experimenting is the next step. I'm going to take your word for it about using the glass fiber optic, I will go with the plastic and try to get the heat out of the sun light.

I like the idea of the clear plastic hose with water in it. I think I will try and put the fiber optic "End emitter" type in one end of the plastic tube and fill it with water and then focus sun light on the other end, also try UV and X-ray light filters.
Richard Furniss
is it suppose to smoke like that ?

User avatar
haklesup
Posts: 2841
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: San Jose CA
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by haklesup » Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:53 pm

THere are commercial systems that fit this description so they are possible but they are also expensive and complex. The fiber bundles need to be high quality and you need to focus a lot of light into them unless the length is particualrly short (and then it would be unnessary)

As for Vern's idea. I think it would work some but be pretty lossy. A water stream will conduct light like a fiber but lots more leaks out the side due to turbulance. Just put a flashlight into a stream in a dark room and you will see the whole stream lighted not just where it hits the floor.

Surrounding the water stream with a plastic hose changes the index of refraction at the water plastic and plastic air interface possibly ruining the total internal reflection principal that makes fiberoptics work. At the very least if it were possible, we'd see it being applied all over the place since the Romans but we don't. I suppose if you could silver coat the inside of the hose somehow it might work.

The SolaTube is actually an air filled large diameter fiberoptic light pipe (well, leave out the "fiber" and substitute air and you're there). It channels light using the total internal reflection principal such that all or most of the light entering one side exits the other. With apporpriate diffusers, they do work quite well. These are appropriate for large area, large light volume and limited distance unlike glass fibers which are good for longer distance but generally fewer photons. additionally unlike fibers that take advantage of an index of refraction that enables total internal reflection of all rays, the solatube uses a silvered interior wall to achieve the same thing.

Now recognizing that you can substitute different wall and cores for your light pipe as long as they reflect rays inward and the core is clear, do you have new ideas on how to move the light.

I think this project is possible but will cost more than you will save in energy, cost more in materials and more in installation labor than its worth. Possibly a smaller implementation in a desk lamp using a fiberoptic microscope light as the pipe and going through the wall is more attrainable project.

I had a complemenatry idea to use a solar collector to preheat a pizza oven and reduce cooking energy during ther daytime. Its pitfall was that at night, if not disconnected, would radiate heat input by the gas burners. It needs a thermal diode of a sort. Kind of a hybrid solar electric oven, very complex with molten salts flowing through pipes and a linear paraboloc collector. Like your idea, the sun and electricity would trade off to provide constant heat. Nothing new about solar heat until you try to operate at 400F

User avatar
dacflyer
Posts: 4267
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 1:01 am
Location: USA / North Carolina / Fayetteville
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by dacflyer » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:38 pm

well if you do go with the water in a hose route.. make sure there is a little bleach in the water so no algae will grow in the tubes.

User avatar
Smoke_Maker
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:02 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Fiber optic light fixture

Post by Smoke_Maker » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:38 pm

Thanks for the reality check, and one of my sayings is that there is nothing I can think of that hasn't already been thought of already.

This is my attempt of simplification, Light tubes really are the simplest way at present, as fiber optic is not there yet. I could blame this on home builders for there wanting cheap housing instead of efficient. Anyway, I guess what they tried to make at the university was mini solar tubes, the art of moving light is deep.

The long side of my house is the East side and West side so I put a 8 foot overhang on the two sides of the house to shed the heat load in the summer but I noticed we were using electric light more to make up for the porch covers, there is always a trade-off isn't there.

Light tubes are what I need (air, fiber or water), but I would like them smaller and dim-able because they are sometime too bright or not bright enough. So the plan or idea still holds, to bring sunlight into a light fixture to keep the room at a constant light level using solar and electric, and I'm sure there is already a commercial product to do this but i need to aggravate the wife some how by changing something in he house or I won't be happy.

Anyway a hardware-electronic answer is in there somewhere and hopefully without software, but nothing is out. I have seen a skylight with a solar reflector that moved with the sun to direct more sunlight into the skylight but I have not seen one with a dim-able feature, but that shouldn't be hard to put a dampener in the tube connected to a stepper motor.

I have one solar tube installed in the laundry room and that will be the victim that I will be modifying now and the room that I want to increase light will have to wait until later. So to start I need a dampener, stepper motor, light sensor and a dimmer switch, all of which have except a dampener for that size tube which is too pricey from Grainer's so I will make one my self.

Anybody seen any light dimmers that react to a other light source's ???
Richard Furniss
is it suppose to smoke like that ?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests