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Light Source Overview & Comparison


The large majority of the products we sell use Fluorescent lamps. If you take a look at the chart below, you’ll see why

Flourescent Lighting Chart

The characteristics above pertain to the general and most commonly used types of each light source. There are poor, good, better, and best, within each technology. Good technology poorly deployed can produce a poor result. Fair technology well deployed can produce a great result. Consult with your lighting professional for a well designed solution and technology choice for your application.

Anatomy of a Fluorescent Luminaire

What makes up a fluorescent lighting unit? We’re glad you asked.

The Body

This is the housing that holds everything together and gives the fixture some of its aesthetic appeal. Some bodies are designed primarily for economy, some for aesthetics and others to protect the more delicate components from the elements or impacts. The design of the body is primarily responsible for regulating the temperature of the fixture.

The Ballast

Because they’re energy efficient, fluorescent lamps don’t use the current that comes straight out of the wall. Instead, they use something called a ballast to convert electricity that comes out of the wall — or the ceiling, or floor, or really anywhere — into the type of electrical current that fluorescent lamps need. “But wait,” you might say, “I have those nifty compact fluorescent bulbs in my home, and they plug straight into a normal socket without any separate ballast.” You’re right, there is no separate ballast in those lamps because it’s built straight into the bottom of the bulb. While this works well for home applications, in our luminaires it’s more economical to have one industrial grade ballast providing electrical current to multiple lamps.

The Reflector

The reflector is the shiny bit of metal that’s curved around the lamp or lines the fixture interior to help direct the light where it’s the most useful. Reflectors can help to make sure that the light from a lamp goes right where it’s needed, helping to make an already efficient technology even more efficient.

The Lamps

You might call them bulbs, tubes, or even “a hot wire in a jar”. We like to call them lamps. They’re the part of the luminaire that actually creates light. They do this by passing electrical current from one end of the glass tube to the other across particles of a gas. The gas particles get excited by the current and create light. The composition of the gas and phosphors inside the glass tube are what dictates the color of light that comes out of the lamp. Some combinations of gasses and phosphors produce a cool white light, others produce warmer more yellow colors, and some produce light that’s very similar to natural sunshine.


LEDs are just about everywhere: on your mobile phone, in your television remote and lighting up the buttons on the front of your DVD player. LEDs are so popular for these applications because they’re very efficient at converting energy to light on and they have a very long lifespan.

When lots of individual LED diodes are put together, they can provide quite a bit of light in a very efficient manner. The downside is that with the amount of individual LED’s that are needed to replace more conventional light sources, high quality LED fixtures can become cost-prohibitive.

We've identified specific applications where LED technology can be an ideal solution, and created fixtures that address those applications. As the technology matures, Precision-Paragon [P2] will be looking for more ways that our customers can benefit from the unique qualities of LED lighting.

What About Other Technologies?

While we believe that Fluorescent lighting is frequently the best commercial and industrial lighting solution, we’re not closed-minded. There are specific applications where other technologies like LED, HID, induction and of course daylighting provide the best source of light. We’ll always help you to find the ideal solution for your lighting needs, no matter the technology.


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