The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Cutting Edge Sports Lighting Shines !


Cutting Edge Sports Lighting Shines

Many colleges regard their sports programs as their primary public image. This is absolutely true of Pasco Hernando State College, whose women’s volleyball team consistently ranks high in state and national competitions. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the gymnasium at their main campus is an important facility to the school’s public relations campaigns. But the gymnasium lights had seen better days. Not only did the fixtures look old, the technology was outdated. 

The existing high bay lights were 400w Metal Halide lights. Metal Halides (a kind of High Intensity Discharge or HID light) emit a good color (about 3000K color temperature), but they take about 5 to 10 minutes to reach full brightness from a cold start. HID lighting is also cannot be dimmed, and if they shut off after reaching full operating temperature, they require a cool down period before they will reignite. The ballasts in many of the lights also buzzed and hummed loudly, which echoed throughout the room. This background noise raised the overall decibel level of non-sports events in the gym, since anyone speaking had to raise their voice just to be heard. 

Accurate Technologies was contacted to provide state of the art light fixtures. The school’s requirements were specific. As with any LED retrofit, greater efficiency and lower maintenance costs were the goals. They were to reach 100% operational brightness immediately, which is no problem for LEDs. But the lights were to maintain the look of traditional High Bays, there was to be an increase in minimum lighting levels over the existing lighting, and the new lights had to be compatible with a radio frequency controlled dimming system which was supplied by a third party. 


A CAD rendering of a college gymnasium. The small white dots are the locations of light fixtures within the room. The rectangle on the floor is the basketball court. Lighting levels are important to the client in this application, so we used software to ensure the performance of our fixtures before installation. 

Accurate’s first step was lighting analysis of the room, completed through a CAD rendering program. The lighting characteristics of the fixtures were loaded into the program and computer models were generated. We selected the proper fixture which met the requirements, our AT-HB-240W, with the optional dimming capability. These results were supplied to the engineer verseeing the project, who approved them. 


A false color analysis of lighting levels within the gymnasium. This tool allows us to see the patterns created by reflected light from the walls and floor.The gymnasium after installation. 400w Metal Halide fixtures were replaced with 240w LEDs. Over 20 footcandles were gained in the center of the room. As an added feature, our LED fixtures were integrated with a radio frequency controlled dimming system. Now, the user has individual control over the brightness of each light in the room. Different scenes have been programmed for a variety of events. 

Over the course of two days, the new lights were installed and wired to the dimming modules, and the control panel was programmed to the proper frequencies. Every light now had its own address in the room, with precise control to run each individual light from 0% to 100% with an app. Now, scenes could be saved for different lighting patterns. A basketball or volleyball game is lit differently than a graduation ceremony or a science fair. And that annoying buzz? Gone. 

The 400w Metal Halide lights in this gym buzzed loudly, flickered, took over 5 minutes to reach full brightness and required regular maintenance. Now, the lights are silent, steady, reliable, and instantly operate at 100%. As an added feature, they can now be dimmed by use of a remote dimming system. 



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