Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are Lumishore products better than competing lights, what are the benefits?
Lumishore products are better in every aspect of performance that a potential customer should consider:
Value - Lumishore lighting systems are the best value on the market in terms of true light output per dollar and in available functionality.
Brightness - Lumishore’s fixture lumen outputs are genuine, accurate and far superior to others and in the case of all our lights we publish genuine numbers.
Functionality - the functionality, including uniquely synchronization and individual light control on our supra and EOS light ranges are far superior and have far more features than any competing lights giving improved performance and visual effects whether you are fishing or relaxing.
Light beam and effects – Lumishore’s wide and ultra wide beam angles provide the stunning swimming pool effect that everyone aspires to. They provide not only a seamless pool effect, but the depth provides the richness and clarity of color others do not achieve.
2. What should I look for when buying underwater lights?
Everyone should do a thorough analysis of competing products before buying underwater lights and it's important to try and validate conflicting claims in order to dismiss the erroneous ones.
- Brightness is very important as too little will spoil the experience. Fortunately too much light can be dimmed with Lumishore products.
- Fixture lumens are the only true measure of brightness of white light.
- Beware - the unscrupulous do make false claims. We know because we test a lot of competitor light offerings using the correct calibrated test equipment.
Lumens vs Fixture Lumens:
- A Lumen is a measure of light output usually from the bare LED chip in ideal but unrepresentative laboratory conditions.
- A Fixture Lumen measures the true light output from the finished light fixture and considers all losses through electronic inefficiencies and any secondary optics to give.
- The fixture lumen is the only figure that should be considered when considering a light’s brightness.
Colors available in each light:
- Blue and white are the most popular single colors. White for clear water and blue for other applications. However every color and combinations can be ‘right’ depending upon the boat owner and their guests’ mood and needs.
- The standard now is for blue and white in every light as a minimum.
- Beware of claims for dual color lights that outputs are those of single color lights when outputs are actually ½ that. A reliable company (like Lumishore) should only quote fixture lumens of the actual output in white only.
- Full color change is the ultimate option which when combined with individual light control gives full control of color and scenes for the ultimate underwater lighting experience.
- Beam angles need to be as wide and even as possible. The width gives the ‘pool’ effect’ and safety whilst the depth provides the richness and depth of color and 90 degrees and above are wide beams, 60 degrees is narrow. 180 degree beams are a physical impossibility with led lights, 100 degree is an ‘effective’ maximum.
- 90 degrees and above are wide beams, 60 degrees is narrow, 110 degree is an ‘effective’ maximum whilst 180 degree beams are a physical impossibility with LED lights
- Narrow beams do not provide the coverage and depth of color.
- Focused beams provide good lighting effects underwater, but lack the depth of color intensity and outputs of lights with wider beam angles.
- Wide and Ultra-wide beams are refracted back into the water by the surface. Claims to the contrary defy the laws of physics as can be seen in the photo below of people swimming at night – you cant see their faces only their torsos.
- Functionality is key to the enjoyment of multi-color lights with a range of functions.
- If you are buying multi-color light do ask if they are synchronized to avoid potentially offensive lighting effects.
- Lumishore lights are the only underwater lights, which are synchronized by a switch.
Type of light (install-ability):
For leisure marine purposes there are 3 primary types of light:
- Surface Mount – These lights attach to the exterior of the hull; they do not have shafts going through the hull and the electronic components are contained within the light. They may be made from a metal or polymer.
- Thru-Hull – These lights have shafts (usually 1”/25mm) and have the added security of internal attachments as well as being fixed using epoxy externally. They also benefit from external drivers which can be placed in accessible locations and the ability to easily bond to the vessel’s protective bonding system.
- Thru-Hull Interchangeable – These lights share the benefits of thru-hull fixtures identified above, but additionally benefit from an ability to change the light unit (LED cartridge) without hauling or lifting the vessel out of the water. All Lumishore TIX (Interchangeable Thru-Hull) lights have the additional benefit of having internal drivers which reduces the number of components needing to be installed therefore reducing installation times and wiring runs, to name a few.
Flush-fit vs. Proud-mount:
- Ideally all lights would mount flush with the hull. This protects the light and the hull and ensures laminar water flow is not restricted. Uniquely all Lumishore thru-hull and thru-hull interchangeable lights fit flush with the hull.
3. Whose lights are the best value?
Unsurprisingly, we know it's Lumishore lighting systems in terms of power, color, functionality and design. We buy competing lights and test their capabilities, performance and design. Lumishore’s value is superior.
4. How can I compare brightness of competing lights?
It is very difficult to compare the brightness of competing lights. Companies provide lots of conflicting information but there are a few pointers to help understanding:
- While we know Lumishore lights are the brightest, the customer obviously cannot ‘know’ that. We will always provide a customer with a side-by-side comparison of competing lights if we have tested them. We buy and test a lot of competitor’s lights but you may not consider that enough.
- Ideally the customer could do a side-by-side in-water lighting comparison for the lights he is considering at the same time in their own cruising ground. Unfortunately this is impractical so we have to consider other methods.
- Seeing existing installations is obviously very helpful.
- Photos on the Internet and brochures are unreliable. Even the best cameras are confused by nighttime conditions and underwater lights can exaggerate the lighting effect. If it looks too bright and lacks sharpness then a photo is probably unrepresentative whilst obviously modern technology allows many forms of willful distortion.
- Nighttime video is more reliable than photos in terms of accuracy as you invariably have a broader and wider seascape and greater perspective. However it is not totally accurate.
- A very simple but inaccurate methodology is to count the LEDs. Most single and multi-chip LEDs used by underwater lighting companies are 3-watt LEDs (Lumishore white LEDs are actually 10-watt but that is exceptional).
- The only true accurate measure of light output is fixture lumens - it is only really valid for white light as a comparator and needs sophisticated equipment to measure. It cannot be measured with hand held light meters.
- In order to perform these measurements Lumishore has its own calibrated integrating spheres. These enable us to accurately claim what our outputs are and ensure that every light is tested to that standard ensuring consistency each and every time. Many companies (including us) quote lumen or data lumen or real lumen numbers – they are all wildly inaccurate and are theoretical outputs of LEDs in laboratory (and other) conditions not in the real world in a light fixture with the inherent inefficiencies involved in specific lights. These numbers mean nothing.
5. What should I ask the light manufacturers about outputs (fixture lumens) on their lights?
Ask the right questions about their light outputs in order to get faith in their claims and ask for supporting information:
- Do you own calibrated integrating spheres that are used to measure your light outputs?
- Are your declared fixture lumens the result of those measurements?
- Send me the charts and data points for the light I’m thinking of buying.
- Do you calibrate and test each and every light in production (because inefficiencies in production can and do exist)?
6. Is LED binning important for underwater lights?
- LED chips are sorted and graded (binned) against a number of critical parameters. This is important not only for output consistency but also for color matching.
- This is particularly important in the underwater environment underwater where applications where color and its saturation in water are very important particularly in relation to lighting effects.
- Lumishore’s arrangements with its suppliers provide the tightest binning possible and every LED used by Lumishore has its own unique part supplier part number to ensure consistency of color, output and water penetration each and every time.
7. Why are individual chips better than RGBW – ‘quadrant’ – 4-in-1 chips?
- 4-in-1 chips are prone to poor color match as they can not be binned leading to potential color differences between lights (and color differences are exacerbated under water).
- Individual chips enable creation of right amount of light specific to the marine environment as opposed to the above water experience which is entirely different and for which the 4-way chips are designed. For example, underwater red light needs more power than blue light.
8. Why is Lumishore color change functionality better than competing products?
- Lumishore balances the appropriate colors for underwater use by introducing more chips for the weaker underwater colors e.g. Red. The use of 4 color chips prevents this.
- Lumishore design all Controllers and electronic drivers in house. They are not “re-badged” home lighting equipment that is inherently unsuitable for the marine environment.
- Lumishore has smoother color change and color cycle with no flicker or jumps between colors.
- Preprogrammed color cycles, color sweeps and many other dynamic lighting effects are built into every controller.
- All 4 channels (RGBW) can be controlled individually and mixed together in any combination to give the ultimate choice in color including the classic “pastel shades”.
- The lights are always in sync with each other even if used with a simple switch in place of a controller.
- Use of Lumishore proprietary 2-way protocol enables improved setup and superior lighting control over conventional DMX protocol.
9. Does Lumishore have built in Wi-Fi and an app? Do I need to buy an additional Wi-Fi unit?
No additional Wi-Fi or supporting units are required as Wi-Fi functionality is built –in to Lumishore controllers.
10. How much does the Lumishore smart-app cost?
The Lumishore App is free and available from the App Store on iTunes for download to your iPhone or iPad.
11. Are Lumishore lights and color control systems designed and developed for the marine environment?
Yes – all Lumishore lights, drivers, controllers, accessories, middleware and software and accessories are designed and developed by us in-house specifically for the marine environment.
12. How many lights do I need?
- This is very much a matter of individual choice and budget. Normally people focus on the transom and a small wrap-around with specialist applications (like fishing) also favoring lights shining downwards (we only ever recommend thru-hull or interchangeable lights for downward facing lights).
- You will need less with Lumishore lights that than competitor lights as our lights are brighter and have a broader beam to avoid those ‘shark teeth’ effects.
13. What color looks best?
- It depends very much on water conditions with white light looking superb in the clearest conditions and shallower waters like the Bahamas whilst blue is the color of choice where water conditions are less pristine. At Lumishore we appreciate that none of us boat in the same conditions every time so our SUPRA lights now combine both of these colors at full power i.e. 2 lights for the price of 1.
- Color change is the ultimate choice though and Lumishore’s smart lights and controllers enable the ultimate range of colors, scenes and sound-to-light for every mood and occasion.
14. Can they be mounted to the hull sides or bottom?
- Thru-Hulls and Interchangeable Thru-Hulls are all flush-fit so recommended for transom, sides and bottoms.
- While Surface Mounts are low profile we cannot recommend they be installed anywhere but the transom in order they do not hinder lamina flow and hull security is not compromised.
15. How should I clean them?
Follow the instructions that came with your lights.
16. How do you ensure that all lights are protected from water ingress? Are they waterproof?
We employ the Lumishore quad-seal process to ensure against water ingress for all our thru-hull and thru-hull interchangeable lights. There are 4 stages of sealing to minimize the chance of any water ingress. This ensures that in the unlikely event of a damaged lens the light unit remains sealed to ip68 to protect the vessel from any water ingress. Our lenses are sealed to the bodies using a 3-part process to ensure the strongest bonding possible using the best epoxies available - we consult with one of the world's leading epoxy experts on this process. The unit is sealed immediately behind the led array and the entire body is potted with a polyurethane sealant. Just to make sure connector at the rear of the light is also ip-68 rated. You can choose your Lumishore lights with peace-of mind.
17. Can Lumishore lights run out of the water?
Lumishore lights are designed to run underwater, however all Lumishore lights will run out of water. If the lights remain dry for a protracted length of time the lights will dim slightly in order to protect the electronics and electrics using a technique called intelligent thermal dimming.
18. How far under the water line should I mount the lights?
The key consideration here is to ensure that lights are mounted deep enough so that they do not come out of the water whilst rolling at anchor as this can be distracting to other boaters near you. There will be no damage to the lights if they come out of the water. Consequently at a depth of greater than 20cms or 4" to the top of the light is normal.
19. How far apart should lights be placed?
The key to light spacing is ensuring a nice even spread of light. You can easily replicate your desired lighting effect on a piece of paper. Lumishore lights with Wide or Ultra-wide beam angles require fewer lights than competing lights with narrow beams. As a guideline we say 1m – 2m apart on the transom but that can be varied. Configure your boat today with Lumishore's exclusive online 'Configurator'. Choose your boat, then test drive all various mounting locations, light models, quantity and color options before you buy.
20. What features do you have that makes your lights more reliable?
We have a number of advanced built-in features to ensure that your lights will not only provide the ultimate underwater lighting experience, but also prove to be reliable over time. Lumishore’s background is based upon working lives committed to advanced LED technology. It is this expertise that lies at the core of every Lumishore light.
- Array design – our own proprietary HICOB arrays.
- Driver electronics – in-house designed by our technical experts using.
- Advanced features and their specialist knowledge gained over 20 years of designing and developing advanced led lighting
- Use of high quality marine materials including high-grade marine bronze for our thru-hull lighting
In addition to our build quality, Lumishore products have been put through rigorous testing both in the laboratory and workshop. Our test programs include:
- Immersion testing of all lights and drivers.
- Vibration testing.
- Thermal testing.
- EMC testing and practical noise interference testing (EMC/EMI).
- Output testing at all stages of production in our advanced integrating spheres.
- Testing in the real world marine environment on our own customer fleet.
21. Do Lumishore lights have type approval?
Yes – ABS, RINA, DNV-GL Classification Approvals and Lumishore is the ONLY underwater LED lighting manufacturer with full Lloyd's Type Approval including safety-critical EMI/EMC testing and compliance.
22. Can I install the Surface Mount lights on the hull sides?
We don’t recommend this, but it is possible. Thru-Hull and Interchangeable Thru-Hull lights however, can be mounted nearly anywhere including the transom, hull sides and bottom.
23. What's the warranty period?
- Market-leading 3 years for Thru-Hull and Interchangeable Thru-Hull models
- 2 years for SMX (Surface Mount) models with the exception of SMX11 which is 1 year