Swim Safe-Use Low Voltage LED Lights
We’ve all been told mixing electricity with water is something you just never do. But, prior to the development of Low Voltage, High Intensity LED Lights the only way to make a light bright enough for underwater use was to use halogen, mercury vapor, metal halide or HID bulbs which are all powered by 120VAC (Alternating Current). AC power is what is found in most houses and is the current used to power most lighting and appliances in your house. DC (Direct Current) power is what is found in most cars and boats and is the current used to power most lighting and appliances using a battery. Typically, AC voltage can kill you whereas DC voltage is typically completely safe in and around water. The object of this article is to provide the basic differences in AC voltage vs DC voltage without getting to deep into differences between the two power sources.
There are a lot of Underwater Dock and Pier lights being sold today. HID, Mercury Vapor and Metal Halide lights are very bright but they use 120VAC in the water to power them which can be deadly to you and your loved one’s if there is a malfunction. If the power-cord is cut or damaged or if the light malfunctions in any way, anyone in the water could be seriously hurt or killed. While GFCI outlets do offer a limited amount of protection, GFCI outlets are prone to malfunction when used in outdoor environments.
Fortunately, with the advent of low voltage, High Intensity LEDs, Underwater Lights can now be just as bright without using AC voltage to power them. Low voltage, high intensity LEDs produce more than 3X the lumen’s per watt than high voltage incandescent lights which means they are less expensive to operate and are Safe To Operate in the Water.
Our Underwater Dock Lights all use LED drivers which plug into a standard 120-volt outlet, but the AC voltage is immediately reduced down to 36-volts DC which makes all voltage in the power-cord and in the water completely safe to swimmers and boaters.
Unfortunately, there is one disadvantage to using DC voltage vs AC voltage. Voltage loss is extremely high using DC power which means the length of the power-cord used is limited. The longer the power-cord, the more voltage loss there will be which will effect the lights brightness if the cord is too long. When using DC power for lights, the length and wire gauge of the power-cord must match the LED driver correctly in order to obtain full brightness of the light. If is light comes with a 30′ power-cord, it should not be extended or the light and driver could be damaged.
Our DockPro 5000 and AlumiGlo DockPro 12000 underwater dock lights are safe to operate in the water. The 120VAC driver plugs into any standard 120VAC GFCI outlet and immediately reduces the voltage going to the light down to a safe 36VDC. All voltage in the water is 100% Swim Safe.
When choosing an underwater light make sure the light is safe to operate in the water. Your family and friends who may be swimming in the water have no knowledge about the lighting and appliances you are using, so choose low-voltage lights and keep everyone Safe!