Street light bulbs come in a variety of types, but all of them work in basically the same way. They have a small metal filament inside that glows when an electrical current is running through them. This filament is surrounded by a glass bulb filled with gas, which helps to keep the filament hot and makes it glow brightly. Street light bulbs are designed to last for a long time, but eventually, they will need to be replaced.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how street light bulbs work and what goes into making them last so long. We’ll also discuss some of the different types of street light bulbs available on the market today.
What are street light bulbs?
Street lights, or street lamps, are an important part of any public space. They provide illumination in areas that may be otherwise dark and murky, improving visibility and driving safety. Their light also helps to deter crime by deterring prowlers and making it more difficult for criminals to cloak their activities under the cover of darkness.
Additionally, streetlights are often used in conjunction with other traffic safety equipment, such as reflectors or road markers. When paired with these other devices, they help to ensure that drivers and pedestrians can clearly see all equipment and obstacles along the roadway, enhancing overall visibility in low-light conditions.
Whether you are walking on a sidewalk or driving through a darkened parking lot, a well-functioning street light is the key to your safety and security at all times.
How do street light bulbs work?
Photocells find out if there is a need for light. Photocells are light-sensitive sensors that react based on how much light they see. When there isn’t enough light, like at dusk or when it’s cloudy, the sensor tells the computer inside the streetlight to turn on the electricity flow.
When too much light is detected by the photocell, the sensor will turn off the streetlight (e.g., at dawn).
High-intensity discharge lamps send electricity. The light from a high-intensity discharge lamp comes from an electric arc between two electrodes. The electrodes are in a clear tube with metal salts and gas in it. The electric arc makes heat, which combines with the gas and metal to make plasma, which gives off light.
Streetlights use technology called “bypass.” When a streetlight goes out, the voltage can still get to other streetlights by using either isolation transformers or film cutout technology. Streetlights are connected in a way that is similar to how older Christmas tree lights were put together.
The current that runs five streetlights on the same street flows from light 1 to light 2 to light 3 and so on. In the past, when one streetlight went out, the current couldn’t get around the dead bulb and turn on the lights after it.
Even if a bulb isn’t working, an isolation transformer will carry the current. In film cutout technology, a thin layer of material is used to connect the contacts that allow electricity to flow. If a streetlight burns out, the current runs along the film cutout instead of through the burned-out circuit.
Streetlights are planned with care. Some problems with streetlights are that they make the night sky too bright and make it hard for drivers to see at night. When cars move from a dark area to an area with a streetlight, the human eye has a reflex called “accommodation.” This makes it hard for people to suddenly see light and distance at night.
The eye’s pupils can’t change quickly enough when it goes from dark to light and back again, which can cause problems. Light pollution is a problem with street lighting that has to do with the environment. It includes too much light spilling onto private property, blinding glare, and areas and buildings that are too brightly lit.
There is also the problem of voltage that isn’t wanted. A streetlight can send out voltage spikes that hurt people nearby. This happens rarely, but it can happen, especially when there are electrical storms.
So that drivers don’t have trouble seeing at night, light pollution doesn’t get too bad, and voltage accidents don’t happen, only a certain number of street lights are put up in a certain area, and they are made to give off less light. Some lights have an alarm that goes off when the voltage is too high or too low and stays on until the problem is fixed.
Types of street light bulbs
Isn’t it great that streetlights have helped set the mood in every movie we’ve seen? Yes, you did hear correctly. In fact, Hollywood spends a lot of time, energy, and money making sure that each movie scene has the right amount of light.
Lights are worth the work and time you put into them. So, if you want to light up your patio, garden, or a whole neighborhood or highway with street lights, it’s important to know if you’re using the right kind of lamp.
Different kinds of light fixtures use different kinds of light bulbs. Some are only used for certain kinds of outdoor lighting, while others are more general and can be used for a wider range of tasks.
Read on to learn about each kind of street light bulb, from the first one made to the most recent.
Streetlights are currently getting rid of their old incandescent bulbs and getting new ones that use less energy. In 1879, the famous inventor Thomas Edison made this kind of light, which replaced arc lamps.
Even though it’s not a good idea, some towns still use this kind of light bulb because it reminds them of the “good old days” when people went through the “Period of Change.”
As you can see, it’s still very cute and decorative, but it’s not very useful for lighting the street. Let’s find out more about why that is.
Tungsten-halogen filaments are often used in theaters and stadiums, and they are also used in incandescent street light bulbs. They work well, are bright, and show colors well, but they don’t last as long as other types of bulbs.
- It’s cheap to make.
- The cheapest light ($1 to $2)
- Can work with both direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC).
- The colors look great (a 2700K color temperature can give you a CRI of 100). CRI is 95, which is still a good score, even as the temperature goes up.
- There are only 10 lumens per watt (Most energy consumption is wasted in heat generation).
- Only lasts about 1,200 hours and costs a lot to keep up.
- There are floodlights, headlights, stadium lights, and lights for sports fields.
Mercury vapor light bulbs were made for street lights almost a decade after fluorescent street lights came out. It was much better than the old incandescent lamp and the fluorescent lamp, too.
There are still a few mercury vapor street lights around, but most of them have been replaced with sodium lamps, which are more energy-efficient.
People seem to dislike the older mercury vapor light because it gives off a bluish-green light that makes it easy to tell it apart.
Newer versions were called “color-corrected” lamps because phosphor was added to make them better and give off more white light.
- It uses less energy than both incandescent and fluorescent bulbs.
- Hazardous emissions as it produces ultraviolet rays.
- It goes out much faster than other kinds of bulbs.
- At the end of its life, it goes through a cycle.
In the 1940s, fluorescent light bulbs began to be used in street lights. The tube shape of an old fluorescent light bulb makes it easy to spot.
Both ends of this type of street light bulb have a metal electrode inside. There are mercury and argon gases inside the tube, which help light the lamp. In reality, fluorescent street lights give off a lot of ultraviolet light but not much visible light.
In general, they use less energy than incandescent bulbs, but they give off a lot of UV light. So, they are not very cheap or good for the environment.
Their lives last between 7,500 and 20,000 hours.
- More energy-efficient than outdoor lamps that use light bulbs.
- They give off less heat than incandescent lights.
- It is not compatible with a dimmer switch in any way.
- It takes longer to heat up and get to full brightness.
- It’s dangerous because it has mercury
- Sensitivity to cold weather and windy places
- Still in use to light up parking lots and the edges of streets.
High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) Street Light Bulb
High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps are one of the most common types of street light bulbs used today. They use a mix of different gases to make white light, and they are much more popular because they need less maintenance.
Aside from that, they are also more energy-efficient than light bulbs from the past. HPS also gives off yellow-orange light.
- Can take a little while to turn on.
- At the end of its life, it turns a red color.
- At the end of its life, it burns.
- It needs a transformer/ballast to change the voltage and control the amount of current.
Low-Pressure Sodium (LPS) Street Light Bulb
Low-pressure sodium (LPS) lamps are like HPS lamps, but they only give off warm or yellow light instead of white light.
LPS lamps are more efficient than the ones they replaced, but it takes a few minutes for them to turn on. The light is a pure yellow-orange color.
- It will last longer than HPS.
- The HPS has less glare.
- It has a CRI of 0 because it only gives off a single wave of yellow light, which makes it hard to tell colors apart.
- Used for low-mount applications like lighting under bridges or in tunnels.
Metal Halide Street Light Bulb
The good thing about a metal halide light bulb is that it gives off true white light. This makes them great for large spaces like a sports fields. Metal halide lamps are often used for street lighting, and they are more popular than mercury lamps.
They have also been used in a lot of retrofits, and they come in many different wattages (50, 70, 100, 175, 250, 400, and 1000 watts). On average, metal halide can last between 10,000 and 12,000 hours.
- Have a good way of showing color.
- Having a CRI of around 85 that is better.
- The light is very bright, which adds to light pollution.
- Less efficient than sodium lamps.
- When they fail, they blow up or break.
- Used in streetlights, parking lot lights, stadium lights, warehouses, schools, hospitals, and office buildings, as well as city and high-end street lighting.
Ceramic Discharge Metal Halide Lamp
The metal halide lamp was made better by this type of street light bulb.
It was made to replace HPS and mercury vapor lamps because it gives off clearer light and has a higher CRI rating (78–96).
It also makes the colors last longer. In terms of how much light they put out (80 to 117 LM/Watts), CDM lamps are a lot better than tungsten filament incandescent bulbs.
Lamp of Induction
A good thing about an induction lamp is that it lasts for a long time and uses little energy. Nikola Tesla came up with this type of street light bulb, which is said to have a better color rendering index and temperature than Thomas Edison’s incandescent light. Its weakness, though, is that it doesn’t work well in hot weather (35 degrees Celsius and above).
- longer life than incandescent bulbs (10,000 hours)
- More energy-efficient than incandescent lights.
- Has a bigger size than other kinds of lamps, which makes it harder to control the amount of light.
- Cannot be used in applications with low mounting.
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) Street Light Bulb
Even though solar LED street lights are becoming more popular, most street lights are still CFLs. CFL bulbs look like incandescent bulbs on the outside, but they work like fluorescent bulbs on the inside.
So, they take up less space than regular fluorescent lamps. The tubular loops on CFL lights make them easy to spot.
CFL lights are used in a lot of business buildings and along the edges of streets. They give off the same amount of light as fluorescent bulbs but use less electricity. CFLs have a longer life span than incandescent bulbs (10,000 hours).
- They last longer and use less energy than fluorescent lights.
- It is easier to control how far its beam goes than a fluorescent bulb.
- More compact.
- At half of its life, the light can get less bright.
- CFL requires a ballast.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) Street Lights
LED streetlights are the most energy-efficient outdoor lighting alternative. It has a 50,000-hour lifespan and emits no hazardous compounds like mercury lamps.
LEDs are favored over CFLs for solar street lights and integrated solar street lights. Its lighting efficiency is 80 LM/watt, compared to 58 LM/watt for standard street lights.
LED lights are blue/white. LED has many advantages over other lamps. First, no warm-up is required. It’s also UV-free.
LEDs can direct light. Dimmable, unlike CFLs. LED lights are also utilized in smart solar street lights, where brightness and dimming are controlled automatically.
LED lights are long-lasting and low-maintenance.
- 50,000-100,000-hour lifespan.
- Low-heat-emission energy-efficient.
- Light directed (over 180 degrees, unlike other lights with 360 degrees light direction).
- Excellent lighting.
- Cost-effective upkeep.
- Costly start-up
Phosphor-Converted Amber (PCA) LED Street Light Bulb
Three years ago, PCA LEDs were released. Brand-new. PCA LED promises energy-efficient lighting with good color. Price is the only disadvantage.
PCA LED is a yellowish monochromatic amber light. It’s aesthetically attractive and efficient.
- Wildlife-friendly amber lighting Energy-efficient like standard LEDs Long lifespan
LED Street Light Narrow-Band Amber
LED street lights with Narrow-Band Amber (NBA) are new. Instead of the conventional LED color, it’s yellow or warm (blueish-white).
NBA LED promises good color so lit things don’t look grey (like LPS lamps). High-priced but energy-efficient.
What are the benefits of street lights?
Traditional halogen lights survive 1000-3000 hours before burning out or melting.
LEDs produce little heat, which means less wasted energy and colder nights. LED streetlights last 50,000 hours, which is the average lifespan of a person.
LEDs utilize less energy and generate less heat than traditional lamps. Low voltage means fewer electricity use. LEDs consume 35% less energy and 70% less heat than halogen lamps.
They’re more efficient than compact fluorescent bulbs, so they’ll save you money on electricity.
Low-voltage LEDs emit less heat than regular bulbs, therefore they don’t heat the surrounding area as much. This keeps their surroundings cooler on hot summer nights.
LEDs improve safety and reduce your electric bill and fan usage. LED street lights release less heat, reducing air pollution from higher electricity.
Some cities use LED streetlights.
Many cities use LED street lamps. In Edmonton, Alberta, they reduce crime and make pedestrians more visible at night.
San Diego, New York, and Tucson also use LED nighttime lighting. Parking lots and lanes also employ LEDs for lighting.
Incandescent bulbs break easily and need frequent replacement. LED lights don’t break as quickly because they’re constructed of better materials. IK08 is typical for modular led street lighting.
The better design makes LEDs more weather- and impact-resistant. They don’t break as easily as other bulbs, thus they last longer.
Traditional street lamps produce far more heat than LED street lamps, raising concerns about criminal activities. LEDs emit little heat and are better for the environment, so neighbors are less likely to report suspicious activities.
LEDs are safer and easier to see at night due to their brightness. LED lights are brighter than traditional lamps, reducing crime.