LED Lighting

LED lamps are rather new, a new technology which developed since 1996 when the first white LED was presented. It took years to develop LEDs which were bright enough for handlamps, even longer until they were bright enough to replace regular light bulbs. And another problem was the necessary voltage, which was not 110V (U.S.A.) or 230V (Europe). Those LEDs need 5V DC and as a result any light bulb must have a converter called an LED driver built in. The LED Lighting systems we are talking about are different, they are actually an LED based technology with low voltage and central transformers.

When lighting show caves, show mines and other cavities, there are additional requirements. The lamps must be extremely resistant to humidity or even splash water. They must function at low temperatures and be easy to replace, even if they are installed in inaccessible places. In addition, they should have a pleasant colour temperature and also be available in the brightness of construction spotlights to illuminate large cavities.

On the other hand, such installations also offer possibilities. One can set up a central transformer and supply the lamps with the required voltage. One can also use the existing cables for this purpose. Due to the long shelf life of the lamps, lamps which are difficult to access would have to be replaced much less often. And the main argument: electricity consumption can be reduced by 80%. For many operators, electricity costs are one of the biggest cost factors. The waste heat from the lamps, which has an unfavourable effect on the cave climate, is also significantly lower. However, the hope that the different light would reduce Lampenflora has unfortunately not been fulfilled.

Modern LED lighting systems, however, offer the possibility of significantly increasing the number of light sources with little effort. This means that the rooms and also the speleothems can be illuminated much better. The quality of lighting systems has therefore increased considerably due to the switch to LED, and not only for technological reasons.

However, with the introduction of LED and the ban on classic incandescent bulbs in many countries, existing lighting systems are effectively being converted to LED. Some advantages of a new lighting system are being forfeited, but the costs are also much better manageable. Especially businesses run by non-profit associations welcome this possibility.