To Diffuse or Not to Diffuse? LED Optics & Diffusers

To Diffuse or Not to Diffuse? LED Optics & Diffusers

You have just purchased lighting for your indoor horse arena, and are waiting for the fixtures to arrive. The arena is used for casual training and is 80′ x 120′ and rectangular in shape. The ceilings of your arena are 16′ high. In order to light your arena, you have done enough research to know which LED fixtures will be most cost-effective while producing enough lumens to keep the average footcandles to 30 within the confines of the arena.

 

When your light fixtures come in and your electrician installs the light fixtures, you’re impressed by the lumen output but can’t figure out why there is blinding glare every time you look up at the ceiling! The glare is irritating to the horses and riders as well and their performance suffers.

 

After all of the effort you’ve just put in to light your riding arena, it’s very disappointing to find out that you don’t like the glare. Perhaps you should have considered a fixture with a diffuser!

 

What is a Diffuser?

 

A diffuser is a polycarbonate lens that is fitted over the LED modules of several types of fixtures. It is factory-installed at our production facility and meant to remain on the fixture for the duration of its life and use. One polycarbonate diffuser is fitted over each module, so an EPTA linear fixture will only need one, while an APTI sports lighter will be fitted with many diffusers. 

The diffusers can be removed with a screwdriver to expose the LED modules underneath but we generally do not recommend taking these off. They are shatterproof and durable, and come at no extra cost to the customer as they are considered a type of beam spread (150 degrees). 

The diffuser produces a softly-diffused light effect in a near-perfect circle. The optics are shown in the image below. The frosted polycarbonate lens eliminates glare completely by filtering the light from the modules. This is especially beneficial within places with low ceilings as the light is not as bright looking straight up. From an aesthetic standpoint, customers may prefer diffusers simply because they enjoy the soft-focus look that they deliver, and many customers think that they look more visually pleasing than just LED modules by themselves.

Do You Need a Diffuser?

 

Access Fixtures generally recommends diffusers if your lighting project meets the following criteria:

  • You are using an APTI, APTA, APTU, APTO, or EPTA fixture

AND:

  • Your lighting project is indoors, especially with ceilings lower than 20′ high
  • You are worried about hotspots and glare on a sports court or other outdoor project
  • You like the look that T5D polycarbonate diffusers lend to lighting projects.

Obviously, choosing whether or not to use a diffuser is a personal choice that only the customer can decide. Diffusers are not necessary and they only come standard with Access Fixtures’ No-UV – No Light Under 450 nanometers fixtures.  

 

 Wrapping it Up

 

If you’re worried about hot spots or glare, especially in enclosed, indoor spaces with lower ceilings, Access Fixtures recommends fixtures with diffusers. With polycarbonate diffusers, glare can be prevented easily, and at no additional cost. Purchasing any APTA, APTI, EPTA, APTU, or APTO fixture will give you the option to add a diffuser.

If you are unsure how to light your space or are looking for guidance, Access Fixtures recommends signing up for a photometric analysis. A photometric analysis is a computerized simulation that utilizes the best optics possible for your lighting project. Click the link to the right to sign up today.