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Title:
EXTERNAL LIGHTING INSTALLATION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/104904
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention provides an external lighting installation comprising illumination means supported by support means, the support means being connected to a base, and control means for controlling the illumination means, which control means is enclosed within a housing disposed outside the support means, and positioned less than 2m above the base.

Inventors:
BALMER, Stephen (Dragonby Vale Enterprise Park, Mannaberg Way Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire DN15 8XF, GB)
Application Number:
GB2006/000944
Publication Date:
September 20, 2007
Filing Date:
March 15, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
BALMER, Stephen (Dragonby Vale Enterprise Park, Mannaberg Way Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire DN15 8XF, GB)
International Classes:
E04H12/22; E04H12/00; F21V23/02; F21V29/02; H02G9/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUTTER, Anton (Marks & Clerk, 43 Park Place, Leeds LS1 2RY, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An external lighting installation comprising illumination means supported by support means, the support means being connected to a base, and control means for controlling the illumination means, which control means is enclosed within a housing disposed outside the support means, and positioned less than 2m above the base.

2. A lighting installation according to claim 1 , wherein the housing enclosing the control means is located at, or substantially adjacent, the base.

3. A lighting installation according to either claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the support means comprises a substantially elongate column.

4. A lighting installation according to any preceding claim, wherein the base comprises a base plate, which extends substantially parallel with an upper surface of the ground.

5. A lighting installation according to any preceding claim, wherein the illumination means comprises at least one luminaire.

6. A lighting installation according to any preceding claim, wherein the control means comprises any of the following components independently selected from a groups consisting of:- an ignitor; and/or ballast; and/or a capacitor; and/or a resistor; and/or a remote sensor or controller.

7. A lighting installation according to any preceding claim, wherein the control means comprises all of the electrical control circuitry for the illumination means.

8. A lighting installation according to any preceding claim, wherein each component of the control means for each illumination means is individually cartridge mountable in the housing.

9. A lighting installation according to any preceding claim, wherein the housing comprises a lid, which lid is lockable to prevent unauthorised access to the control means.

10. A lighting installation according to claim 9, wherein the control means comprises automatic shut-off means, which is arranged to electrically isolate the control means when the lid is opened.

11. A lighting installation according to any preceding claim, wherein the lighting installation comprises temperature regulation means adapted to regulate the temperature of the control means, when the installation is in use.

12. A lighting installation according to claim 11, wherein the temperature regulation means comprises cooling means adapted in use to cool the control means.

13. A lighting installation according to either claim 11 or claim 12, wherein the temperature regulation means comprises a heat sink and/or at least one fin, attached to the housing.

14. A lighting installation according to any one of claims 11-13, wherein the temperature regulation means comprises air cooling means.

15. A lighting installation according to claim 14, wherein the air cooling means is arranged to feed air at a first temperature to the control means, and take air at a second higher temperature away from the control means.

16. A lighting installation according to claim 15, wherein the first temperature is ambient temperature, and the higher temperature will be higher than ambient temperature, due to the heating effect of the control means when the installation is in use.

17. A lighting installation according to any one of claims 14-16, wherein the air cooling means is arranged to move air between the control means and the support means.

18. A lighting installation according to any one of claims 14-17, wherein the air cooling means comprises at least one conduit, which extends between the control means and the support means, and which conduit is arranged to enable air flow therealong.

19. A lighting installation according to claim 18, wherein the air cooling means comprises means for creating an air flow along the conduit, for example, a fan.

20. A lighting installation according to either claim 18 or claim 19, wherein the air cooling means comprises first and second conduits, wherein the first conduit is adapted to feed air at a first temperature to the control means, and the second conduit is adapted to take air at a second higher temperature away from the control means.

21. A lighting installation according to claim 20, wherein an end of the first and second conduits distal from the control means is disposed within the support means, and substantially above ground level.

22. A lighting installation according to claim 21, wherein the end of the first conduit points generally towards the base.

23. A lighting installation according to either claim 21 or claim 22, wherein the end of the second conduit points generally away from the base.

24. A method of regulating the temperature of control means of an external lighting installation according to any one of claims 1 -23, the method comprising:-

(i) feeding air at a first temperature to the control means of the lighting installation according to any one of claims 1-23; and

(ii) taking air at a second higher temperature away from the control means.

25. A method according to claim 24, wherein the method comprises feeding the air leaving the control means to the support means.

26. A method according to either claim 24 or claim 25, wherein the method comprises feeding the air along a conduit, which extends between the control means and the support means.

27. A method according to claim 26, wherein the method comprises feeding the air along first and second conduits, wherein the first conduit is adapted to feed air at a first temperature to the control means, and the second conduit is adapted to take air at a second higher temperature away from the control means, and towards the support

means.

28. An external lighting installation comprising illumination means supported by support means, the support means being connected to a base, and control means for controlling the illumination means, characterised in that the support means and the base are releasably electrically connected to each other by a releasable electrical connector, wherein both components are automatically electrically self-disconnecting upon release of the support means from the base.

29. An external lighting installation according to claim 28, wherein the releasable electrical connector comprises a first connector member attached to the support means, and a complementary second connector member attached to the base.

30. An external lighting installation comprising illumination means supported by support means, the support means being connected to a base, and control means for controlling the illumination means, characterised in that the support means and the illumination means are releasably electrically connected to each other by a releasable electrical connector, wherein both components are automatically electrically self- disconnecting upon release of the support means from the illumination means.

31. An external lighting installation according to claim 30, wherein the releasable electrical connector comprises a first connector member attached to the support means, and a complementary second connector member attached to the illumination means.

32. An external lighting installation according to either claim 29 or claim 31, wherein the first and second members form a standard screw-type connection, or a bayonet type connection.

33. An external lighting installation according to any one of claims 28-32, wherein the releasable electrical connector comprises connector attachment means adapted to mechanically attach the releasable connector to its associated component, for example, the base, the illumination or the support means.

34. An external lighting installation according to claim 33, wherein the attachment means comprises a shroud having a first portion adapted to receive the connector, and

a second portion adapted to be connected to a component of the lighting installation, i.e. the base, the support means or the illumination means.

35. An external lighting installation according to claim 34, wherein the first portion comprises an inner body, and the second portion comprises an outer body, spaced apart from the inner body, to thereby define an annular cavity therebetween.

36. An external lighting installation according to any one of claims 33-35, wherein the connector attachment means for the releasable connector between the base and support means is in communication with air cooling means.

37. A method of installing an external lighting installation according to any one of claims 1-23, or any of claims 28-37, the method comprising: -

(i) securing a base of the lighting installation according to any one of claims 1-23, or any one of claims 28-37 to a surface;

(ii) electrically connecting pre-wired support means to the base; and

(iii) electrically connecting pre-wired illumination means to the support means.

38. A method according to claim 37, wherein the base is pre-wired.

39. A method according to either claim 37 or claim 38, wherein step (ii) of the method comprises connecting the support means to the base in a substantially horizontal position.

40. A method according claim 39, wherein the method comprises a step of tilting the support means into a substantially vertical position after attachment of the illumination means thereto.

Description:

External Lighting Installation

The present invention relates to external lighting installations, and particularly, although not exclusively, to external lighting installations of the type comprising a lighting unit supported by a generally vertical column.

External lighting systems are commonly used in many applications, for example, the illumination of streets, highways, railways, sports facilities, car parks and the like. A common form of lighting system includes a generally vertical column, which supports a lighting unit contained within a housing or fixture. The lighting unit can be a bulb, LED or the like, which is able to produce sufficient light on the area below it. Such lighting units are referred to in the art as a "luminaire". In most arrangements, a luminaire also includes some means for directing and/or distributing the light produced by the lighting unit, for example, a reflector.

A problem with such external lighting systems is that they require frequent inspection and/or maintenance because the bulbs or LEDs etc tend to fail after extended use and therefore need to be regularly replaced. The provision of adequate street/highway lighting is of particular importance due to the related improvements in safety for road users and pedestrians. Accordingly, it is important that external lighting, such as street or highway lighting, is adequately maintained throughout its life span. As external lighting systems, such as highway lighting, are often required in large numbers, the costs of both installation and maintenance throughout their life span is a significant factor. Accordingly, there is a considerable need for lighting systems, which are simple and quick to install, inspect and maintain.

The installation and maintenance of external lighting systems may involve working in an environment that may be considered "high-risk" for health and safety due to several factors, and the environment in which the lighting is located may itself be considered a high-risk area. This is particularly true of highway lighting systems, which are located in close proximity to a "live" road. It will be appreciated that reducing the risk factor associated with installing and maintaining an external lighting system will also simplify the procedures involved and reduce the associated cost. Furthermore, in the UK at least, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 (commonly referred to as the "Condam Regulations") impose an obligation on designers to ensure that structures are designed to avoid or at least

minimise risks to health and safety while they are being both built and maintained. Therefore, there is a need for external lighting systems that may be installed, inspected and maintained with minimal risk to health and safety.

hi most situations, the vertical column supporting the luminaire can be substantially tall, for example, 15m. Hence, the lighting unit at the top of the column, which requires regular maintenance, will be at least 15m above ground level. The electrical control equipment for controlling the luminaire includes an electrical cut-out fuse, an ignitor, a condenser, capacitors, and ballast. In currently available lighting systems, the cut-out fuse may be contained inside an especially formed chamber positioned inside the body of the column, about Im above ground level. However, a significant problem with this arrangement is that an access door or hatch is required in the side of the column to provide access to the fuse. Cutting out space for such an access hatch substantially weakens the whole structure and integrity of the column, and this forms a bending moment along an axis formed by the position of the hatch. Rust and corrosion can develop along this bending axis. Furthermore, having to provide such an access door increases the overall manufacture costs for the column.

Furthermore, in currently available systems, the rest of the electrical control equipment for the luminaire, i.e. the ignitor, condenser, capacitor, and ballast is all provided at the top of the column, normally within the luminaire housing itself. A problem with this is that a large proportion of space inside the luminaire housing is taken up by this electrical control equipment, leaving less room for the bulbs etc. Hence, the luminaire is unnecessarily large. Another problem is that the electrical control equipment has a tendency to generate substantial amounts of heat, and therefore has a tendency to fail, and will therefore require regular maintenance. Furthermore, because of the close proximity of the control circuitry to the rest of the lighting system (e.g. the bulbs), the heat generated can often cause these lighting components to also overheat and become faulty. Therefore, these will also require constant maintenance, and frequent replacement.

It will be appreciated that in order to reach components of the lighting unit control assembly in or adjacent the luminaire, an operator needs to either climb up the side of the column to the lighting unit at the top, or be lifted to the lighting unit by means of suitable lifting equipment, such as a cradle lift, or cherry picker, or the like.

It will be appreciated that climbing up tall columns is inherently dangerous, irrespective of where the lighting unit is positioned. Furthermore, the use of cherry pickers to raise operators up to the lighting unit is also problematic, as they tend to be bulky, and therefore take up a lot of space. Hence, in situations where there is insufficient room for the cherry picker, for example, in the central reservation of a motorway, it is necessary to close sections of the motorway, or at the very least, one of the lanes, in order to provide room for the cherry picker adjacent the column.

Furthermore, in order to maintain a series of luminaires along a stretch of a motorway, the cherry picker needs to moved along from column to column as each luminaire is attended to. It will be appreciated therefore that using cherry pickers to raise operators up to the lighting units along a motorway is a very time-consuming procedure, and is inherently dangerous requiring the operator to work at height in restricted space.

Accordingly, at present, installation, inspection and/or maintenance of external lighting systems is difficult, dangerous, and expensive. The inventor of the present invention has recognised that it would be desirable to provide an external lighting system that minimises the complexity of apparatus required, and the number of processes that need to be carried out during maintenance thereof, in particular, in high-risk environments, such as on a live road.

It is therefore an aim of embodiments of the present invention to obviate or mitigate at least some of the problems of external lighting systems, and to provide an external lighting installation, which is simple, safe and inexpensive to install, inspect and/or maintain.

According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided an external lighting installation comprising illumination means supported by support means, the support means being connected to a base, and control means for controlling the illumination means, which control means is enclosed within a housing disposed outside the support means, and positioned less than 2m above the base.

The lighting installation according to the first aspect of the invention differs from known lighting systems in which the controls are provided within the support

means and/or illumination means, and which are inherently problematic. The applicant has recognised that by positioning the control means so that it is in a separate housing disposed less than 2m above the base, i.e. at ground level, that this provides more convenient access during installation, inspection and/or maintenance of the illumination means. Preferably, the housing enclosing the control means is located at, or substantially adjacent, the base.

Hence, an advantage of the lighting installation according to the first aspect is that the requirement for working at an elevated height is obviated. In many cases, the support means may raise the illumination means (and hence, associated control means) a significant height above ground level. For example, a typical motorway lighting column may be approximately 15m tall. Therefore, by positioning the control means at or adjacent the base, it is easily accessible at a convenient working height, for example, at or adjacent ground level, thereby removing the need for the operator to either climb up to the control means at the top of the support means, or to be raised up to the control means by lifting equipment, such as a cherry-picker, or the like. Hence, the lighting installation according to the first aspect significantly minimises risks to the health and safety of maintenance operators. Furthermore, elimination of the need to work at height, during installation, inspection and maintenance, helps to minimise the number of operators that would be otherwise required to perform these operations. Accordingly, maintenance of the illumination means is much safer, and does not require closing of public highways.

In addition, by enclosing the control means in a separate housing that is outside the support means, there is no need to provide an access door or hatch in the side of the support means to provide access to the control means as in known systems. Accordingly, there is no need to cut out space for any such access hatch, and advantageously, the structure and integrity of the support means according to the invention is not compromised. In addition, the support means is less likely to bend or sway, and is more resistant to the development of corrosion. Furthermore, the manufacture and associated cost for the support means is much lower as there is no need to cut out an access hatch.

The control means may be secured to a lower portion of the support means, at a position, which is accessible to an operator without the aid of any lifting equipment.

For example, the control means in its housing may be attached to one side of the support means, preferably no greater than 2m above ground level. However, preferably, the control means is attached to the base, or may be integral therewith, preferably at ground level. Figures 1 and 2 illustrate the preferred position of the control means.

The support means preferably comprises a substantially elongate column, which may be tubular. The column may comprise substantially parallel walls, or walls, which taper inwardly, wherein the diameter of the support means distal from the base is less than proximal to the base. The support means may be cone shaped. Alternatively, the support means may be polygon shaped, such as hexagon or octagon, which provides additional rigidity to thereto. Preferably, the support means comprises a metal column, which may comprise sheet or pressed metal. The inventor has recognised that a pressed support means advantageously reduces its weight without compromising its strength. It will be appreciated that minimising the weight of the support means is advantageous in reducing the load that the tilting means must tolerate during pivoting the support means between the raised and lowered positions, and induces less stress in use under flexures caused by wind loading. The particular metal used may vary depending on the specific height and life span required of the support means. For example, the support means may comprise carbon steel, stainless steel or aluminium. Preferably, the support means is provided with a protective coating on at least its exterior surfaces. It will be appreciated that the coating may comprise a weather resistant paint. Alternatively, the support means may comprise a galvanised finish. In other embodiments, the support means may comprise a thermoplastic coating applied to its outer surfaces.

To provide stability for the lighting installation, the base is preferably secured to the ground. Preferably, the base comprises a base plate, which extends substantially parallel with an upper surface of the ground, i.e. substantially horizontally. Preferably, the plate is metallic, for example, cast iron or steel, and is able to support the support means thereon. Preferably, the base further comprises a root, which extends downwardly into the ground, preferably below the base plate. The root may be formed of the same materials as the support means and/or may comprise reinforced concrete. The base may also be bolted to a hardened surface (for example, concrete or tarmac

etc), by drilling in bolt and bolting the base thereto.

The illumination means is preferably adapted to provide light to its surrounding area, and preferably, space thereunder. Preferably, the illumination means is connected to a first end of the support means, i.e. an upper end. The skilled technician will appreciate the various types of illumination means, which may be supported by the support means. Preferably, the illumination means comprises a bulb, and preferably a reflector, which may be enclosed within a casing. By way of example, the illumination means may comprise at least one luminaire, and preferably, a pair of luminaires, that are supported by the support means. It is the illumination means, which requires regular maintenance, for example, replacing the bulbs, or cleaning the reflector etc, and hence, the reason why easy access to its control means is so important.

Preferably, the control means is adapted to control when the illumination means is switched on or off, which are preferably electrical components therefor. Preferably, the control means comprises all of the electrical control circuitry for the illumination means. For example, the control means may comprise any of the following components independently selected from a groups consisting of:- an igniter; and/or ballast; and/or a capacitor; and/or a resistor; and/or a remote sensor or controller. The skilled technician will appreciate that the ignitor is provided to start fluorescent and discharge lamps, and that the ballast is an electrical device for regulating fluorescent and discharge lamps.

The housing enclosing the control means is preferably water resistant. For example, the housing may comprise an IP68 rated control box. The skilled technician will appreciate that there are several suitable ways of conventionally mounting the control means within the enclosure. However, in a preferred embodiment, the control means the may be slotted into the housing in a replaceable cartridge arrangement, which allows quick removal and replacement. It is preferred that each component of the control means for each illumination means, and preferably, each luminaire, is individually cartridge mountable.

The housing may comprise a lid, which lid may be lockable to prevent unauthorised access to the control means. The control means also preferably

comprises automatic shut-off means, which is arranged to electrically isolate the control means when the lid is open. It will be appreciated that such an arrangement provides improved safety.

The inventor has appreciated that a significant disadvantage suffered by existing lighting systems is that the control circuitry has a tendency to overheat and fail. For example, the ballast runs at core temperatures of about 17O 0 C. Furthermore, due to the positioning of the overheating control circuitry in or close to the components of the luminaire, these too have a tendency to blow. Therefore, preferably, the lighting installation according to the invention comprises temperature regulation means adapted to regulate the temperature of the control means, when in use. The applicant has recognised that the provision of such temperature regulation means to help control the temperature of the control means is advantageous, and significantly improves the reliability, and hence, lifespan, of the lighting installation. Therefore, it is most preferred that the temperature regulation means comprises cooling means adapted in use to cool the control means.

hi particular, the provision of a cooling means is particularly beneficial in combination with the control means at or adjacent the base as it helps to overcome any overheating effect that may be caused due to being in a location lacking ambient cooling due to a generally enclosed and insulated location.

The temperature regulation means may be a passive system. For example, the housing may comprise heat dissipation means adapted to dissipate heat generated by the control means, preferably away from the housing. It will be appreciated that the dissipation means may provide an increased surface area and, therefore, provide improved heat exchange between the control means and its surroundings. The heat dissipation means may comprise a heat sink, which may be disposed in or adjacent the control means, or on the housing. Additionally or alternatively, the heat dissipation means may comprise at least one and preferably, a plurality of fins, attached to the housing, and preferably, the lid thereof.

Preferably, the temperature regulation means is an active system, and preferably an active cooling means. Advantageously, an active system controls the temperature of the control means by maintaining it an optimised level regardless of

external factors, such as environmental conditions. Preferably, the temperature regulation means is thermostatically controlled. It will be appreciated that in some embodiments, the temperature regulation means may comprise both an active and a passive system.

Several forms of active temperature regulation means will be known to the skilled technician. For example, the active temperature regulation means may comprise a refrigeration circuit (as used, for example, in air conditioning systems), electro-thermal devices (for example, Peltier-effect devices), and air circulation devices. However, in a preferred embodiment, the temperature regulation means comprises air cooling means. The inventor has recognised that an air cooling means for cooling the control means is advantageous in providing a robust and reliable cooling system without providing undue additional complexity or costs to the lighting installation.

Preferably, the air cooling means is arranged to feed air at a first temperature to the control means, and take air at a second higher temperature away from the control means. It will be appreciated that the first temperature may be ambient temperature, and that the higher temperature will be higher than ambient temperature, due to the heating effect of the control means when in use.

Preferably, the air leaving the control means is fed to the support means. Hence, preferably, the air cooling means is arranged to move air between the control means and the support means. More preferably, the air cooling means is adapted to move air between the housing and an inner cavity of the support means. It is preferred that the air cooling means comprises at least one conduit, which extends between the control means and the support means, and which conduit is arranged to enable air flow therealong. Preferably, the air cooling means comprises means for creating an air flow along the conduit, for example, a fan, which maybe disposed inside the housing.

Preferably, the air cooling means comprises first and second conduits, wherein the first conduit is adapted to feed air at a first temperature to the control means, and the second conduit is adapted to take air at a second higher temperature away from the control means, and preferably to the support means. Hence, the first conduit is an inlet and the second conduit is an outlet in relation to the control means. The fan ensures

that cool air flows along the inlet to the control means, and that warmed air flows along the outlet away from the control means.

Preferably, an end of the first conduit (i.e. the inlet) distal from the control means is disposed within the support means, and preferably substantially above ground level. This prevents blockage of, and water ingress to the conduit, for example, in the event of a flood. Preferably, the end of the first conduit points generally towards the base (i.e. downwardly), as shown in Figure 5. As cool air has a tendency to sink, by pointing the distal end of the first conduit downwardly, generally cooler air will be sucked in to the conduit by the fan. Preferably, an end of the second conduit (i.e. the outlet) distal from the control means is disposed within the support means, and preferably, substantially above ground level. Preferably, the end of the second conduit points generally away from the base (i.e. upwardly), as shown in Figure 5. As warm air has a tendency to rise, by pointing the distal end of the second conduit upwardly, the warmer air will be forced up the support means by the fan so that it does not mix with the cooler air being sucked into the first conduit.

The inventor has recognised that circulating air between the control means and the support means provides a number of advantages to its cooling. This arrangement utilises the relatively large surface area of the support means, which is able to act as a heat exchanger between the heated air expelled from the control means and ambient surroundings. Furthermore, the inventor has found that the air circulation provides a drying effect upon the air within the cavity of the support means. This effect is advantageous in reducing the accumulation of moisture within the support means, which may otherwise cause corrosion to components inside the support means or the support means itself.

The inventors have realised that the air cooling means provides an efficient way for regulating the temperature of the control unit.

Therefore, according to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of regulating the temperature of a control means of an external lighting installation according to the first aspect, the method comprising:-

(i) feeding air at a first temperature to the control means of the lighting

installation according to the first aspect; and

(ii) taking air at a second higher temperature away from the control means.

Preferably, the method comprises feeding the air leaving the control means to the support means. Preferably, the method comprises feeding the air along a conduit, which extends between the control means, preferably, the housing thereof, and the support means, preferably, an internal region thereof. Preferably, the method comprises feeding the air along first and second conduits, wherein the first conduit is adapted to feed air at a first temperature to the control means, and the second conduit is adapted to take air at a second higher temperature away from the control means, and preferably towards the support means. Hence, the first conduit is an inlet and the second conduit is an outlet in relation to the control means.

The support means of the installation according to the first aspect of the invention is preferably pre-wired for providing an electrical connection between the illumination means and the control means. This arrangement is advantageous in greatly simplifying installation of the lighting installation by minimising the requirement for on-site electrical work. Minimising the wiring to be carried out on site is advantageous in reducing the time for installation and is also beneficial in allowing the wiring to be carried out in factory conditions were it may be also be tested prior to being delivered to the installation site.

In some embodiments, on site installation may be further simplified by electrically and structurally connecting the illumination means to the support means prior to being delivered to the installation site. Accordingly, in some embodiments, the lighting installation may comprise an integral illumination means and support means arrangement, which are preferably pre-wired for electrical connection to the base and control means.

However, in other embodiments, the illumination means may be releasably electrically connected to the support means, wherein both components are automatically electrically self-disconnecting upon release of the illumination means from the support means.

By the expression "automatically electrically self-disconnecting", we mean that the electrical circuit, and power therein, is broken between each component solely upon relative movement thereof apart. This provides not only a quick and easy electrical connection/disconnection system between the components, without the need for a qualified electrician, but also provides a useful safety mechanism for the operator. It will be appreciated that the components may be easily automatically electrically reconnected upon bringing the two components together, again without the need for an electrician, i.e. merely reconnecting the two components forms the complete electrical circuit.

Preferably therefore the lighting installation according to the invention comprises a releasable electrical connector between the support means and the illumination means, wherein both components are automatically electrically self- disconnecting upon release of the illumination means from the support means. The lighting installation may also comprise a releasable electrical connector between the support means and the base, wherein both components are automatically electrically self-disconnecting upon release of the support means from the base. The inventor believes that the use of such automatically releasable electrical connectors in a lighting installation between the support means and the illumination means and between the support means and the base, has not been carried out before, and is advantageous in its own right.

Therefore, according to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided an external lighting installation comprising illumination means supported by support means, the support means being connected to a base, and control means for controlling the illumination means, characterised in that the support means and the base are releasably electrically connected to each other by a releasable electrical connector, wherein both components are automatically electrically self-disconnecting upon release of the support means from the base.

Hence, advantageously, both components are automatically self-disconnecting upon release of the base from the support means, and re-connectable upon reattaching the two components together. There is no need for a qualified electrician to be present because any engineer can simply disconnect/reconnect the two components.

Furthermore, according to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided an external lighting installation comprising illumination means supported by support means, the support means being connected to a base, and control means for controlling the illumination means, characterised in that the support means and the illumination means are releasably electrically connected to each other by a releasable electrical connector, wherein both components are automatically electrically self- disconnecting upon release of the support means from the illumination means.

Hence, advantageously, both components are automatically self-disconnecting upon release of the illumination means from the support means. This is because the connector is automatically electrically isolated on detachment of the support means from the illumination means.

It will be appreciated that a wide range of electrical connectors would be suitable for use in the installation according to the first, third or fourth aspect.

However, for example the releasable connector may comprise a plug and socket type arrangement. Preferably, the connector allows the electrical connection to be repeatedly connected and disconnected.

Provision of an electrical connector enables electrical connections between the support means and illumination means, and between the support means and base, to be made without the need for a skilled electrical engineer on site. This simplifies maintenance, and assembly or disassembly of the installation on site, and advantageously minimises the need to work at an elevated height. Preferably, the illumination means, the support means, and the base are individually pre-wired and may, therefore, comprise sealed units. It will be appreciated that a sealed unit would not require any adjustment or maintenance. Hence, the lighting installations according to the invention provide a modular system, which removes the need for on-site maintenance. This not only simplifies maintenance and installation but is also be beneficial to for health and safety considerations by minimising required work in an environment such as a highway which may classed as high risk. Furthermore, this arrangement is also beneficial as future regulations will require any failed electrical components to be returned to the manufacturer for recycling or disposal as it allows failed control gear, column, or luminaire to be easily removed and returned to the manufacturer.

Preferably, the releasable electrical connector used in the installation of the third aspect comprises a first connector member attached to the support means, and a complementary second connector member attached to the base. Similarly, the releasable electrical connector in the installation of the fourth aspect comprises a first connector member attached to the support means, and a complementary second connector member attached to the illumination means. Preferably, the first connector member comprises either a male or a female connector and the second connector member comprises the other of a male or female connector. The first and second members may form a standard screw-type connection, or a bayonet type connection.

Preferably, the releasable electrical connector is adapted to enable relative rotational movement between the first and second connector members. The inventors has recognised that by providing a releasable connector that allows relative rotational movement between its first and second connector members enables the support means and base, and/or the support means and illumination means to be readily attached to one another in a quick-fit/releasable manner. Advantageously, the releasable connector may be arranged to allow at least partial relative rotation between the first and second connector members without breaking the electrical connection. Such connectors, preferably, allow an electrical connection to be made irrespective of the relative angular orientation of the first and second connector members. This simplifies the alignment of the connector members and, consequently attaching the support means to the base and/or to the illumination means is far simpler. To further simplify making an electrical connection, the first and second connector members may be arranged to self-align with each other. For example, the connector members may be provided with interacting, complimentary, frusto-conical profiles, which self-align with each other.

Connectors of the type, which allow a degree of relative rotational movement between the first and second connector members without breaking the electrical connection are known in the field of domestic appliances. For example, a "P72 Connector" is manufactured by Strix Limited for use in domestic kettle, and presents a preferred connector according to the invention. However, to date, such releasable connectors have never been used in external lighting systems between the base, support means and illumination means. Bayonet type connectors may also be used.

Advantageously, the connector, which is arranged to allow relative rotational movement between the first and second connector members also provides support to the support means, base, and illumination means.

Preferably, the releasable electrical connector according to the invention comprises connector attachment means adapted to mechanically attach the releasable connector to its associated component, for example, the base, the illumination or the support means. Preferably, the connector attachment means is arranged in use to space the connector from any surrounding components. Hence, this arrangement advantageously, provides a cavity adjacent to the connector in which' ambient air may help to cool the connector.

Preferably, the attachment means comprises a shroud having a first portion adapted to receive the connector, and a second portion adapted to be connected to a component of the lighting installation, i.e. the base, the support means or the illumination means. Preferably, the first portion comprises an inner body, and the second portion comprises an outer body, spaced apart from the inner body, to thereby define an annular cavity therebetween. Preferably, the inner and outer bodies are concentrically mounted. The inner and outer bodies may be spaced apart by means of radially extending members.

Preferably, the connector attachment means, and preferably, the annular cavity thereof, for the releasable connector between the base and support means is in communication with the air cooling means. This is illustrated in Figure 5. Hence, preferably, the connector attachment means is in communication with the air conduit between the support means and the control means. Thus, it will be appreciated that in a preferred embodiment, the cavity of the attachment means may be arranged to enable air to be circulated in into and out of the support means. The connector attachment means therefore is adapted to provide an inlet and/or outlet for air flow from the control means to the support means.

Hence, preferably, the air cooling means is arranged to circulate air through the annular cavity of the attachment means to thereby provide a means for circulating air into the interior cavity of the support means. This is advantageous in enabling the support means to be used as a heat dissipation means for heat generated in the

connector between the base and support means. Furthermore, the air flow through the annuhis of the attachment means provides a cooling effect upon the connector.

The inventors also believe that the lighting installation according to the invention enables an efficient method of installing it at a site.

Therefore, according to a fifth aspect, there is provided a method of installing an external lighting installation according to the first, third or fourth aspect, the method comprising:-

(i) securing a base of the lighting installation according to either the first, third or fourth aspect to a surface;

(ii) electrically connecting pre- wired support means to the base; and

(iii) electrically connecting pre-wired illumination means to the support means.

Preferably, the base is pre-wired. The surface may be the ground. Preferably, the lighting installation comprises control means for controlling the illumination means, the control means being enclosed within a housing disposed outside the support means, and located at or substantially adjacent the base (preferably, not higher than 2m above the base). Preferably, the method comprises a step of connecting the base to a main power line.

Preferably, step (ii) of the method comprises connecting the support means to the base in a substantially horizontal position. The method preferably further comprises a step of tilting the support means into a substantially vertical position after attachment of the illumination means thereto.

All of the features described herein (including any accompanying claims, abstract and drawings), and/or all of the steps of any method or process so disclosed, may be combined with any of the above aspects in any combination, except combinations where at least some of such features and/or steps are mutually exclusive. For example, embodiments of the method of installing a lighting system in in accordance with the third aspect of the invention may be arranged to install an

apparatus in accordance with any or all of the embodiments of the apparatus according to the first or second aspect of the invention.

For a better understanding of the invention, and to show how embodiments of the same may be carried into effect, reference will now be made, by way of example, to the accompanying drawings in which: -

Figure 1 is schematic cross-sectional side view of a lighting installation in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional side view of a column, base and control assembly of the lighting installation shown in Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a schematic plan view of the control assembly shown in Figure 2;

Figure 4a is an enlarged perspective view from above of a connector shroud according to an embodiment of the invention;

Figure 4b is an enlarged perspective view from below of the connector shroud shown in Figure 4a; and

Figure 5 is a schematic view of an air cooling system according to an embodiment of the invention.

Example

Referring to the Figures, there is shown an external lighting installation 1 according to the invention, which may be used in many applications, for example, the illumination of streets, highways, sports facilities, car parks, railways, and the like.

The lighting installation 1 has the ability to be lowered and raised about a pivot point to assist the maintenance thereof under the control of a control unit 20. Figures 1 and

2 generally show the arrangement of the lighting installation 1 and control unit 20, Figure 3 shows the control unit 20 in more detail, Figure 4 shows a connector shroud 40, which is used to connect various features of the installation 1, and Figure 5 shows a cooling system used to cool electrical components of the installation 1.

Referring to Figure 1, the lighting installation 1 includes an elongate column

3 having a hollow, polygonal cross-section, which is formed from a pressed steel

construction and has a typical length of about 15 metres. However, it will be appreciated that the height (or length) of the column 3 will vary depending on its specific use, as some applications may require longer or shorter columns 3 to provide suitable illumination. The column 3 is connected to a base 4, which is supported by ground 10. The base 4 includes a root 8, which extends below the ground level 10 to provide a secure foundation for the lighting installation 1, and particularly the column 3 above. For example, for a 15 metre column 3, the root 8 will extend at least 2 metres below the ground level 10. The base 4 is further secured into the ground 10 by a surrounding concrete foundation 9.

The column 3 is provided with a tapered profile with a diameter that reduces from its base 4 of the column 3 (i.e. the lower end) to a distal point at the opposite end, i.e. the upper end. The column 3 can taper inwardly at a constant rate along its length, or in some embodiments, it may have a stepped profile.

As shown in Figure 1, at the end of the column 3 opposite to the base 4, there are provided a pair of luminaires 2, each of which consists of a bulb 2a and a reflector

2b enclosed within a protective casing 2c. The luminaires 2 provide the lighting, and it is these, which require regular maintenance, for example, replacing the bulbs 2a, or cleaning the reflector 2b.

Referring to Figure 1, the column 3 and the base 4 are shown being connected together by a hinge 5, about which the column 3 pivots during the maintenance thereof. The pivoting of the column 3 about the hinge 3 is achieved by an actuator assembly 30. The base 4 of the lighting installation 1 includes a primary base plate 6, which is provided directly above the root 8, and is provided to support the column 3 thereabove. The base 4 also includes a secondary base plate 7, which is connected to the lower end of the column 3. The primary and secondary base plates 6,7 are provided with interacting hinge members, which are pivotally connected together by a pin extending therethrough, to thereby form the hinge 5.

Referring to Figure 2, the base 4 of the lighting installation 1 includes a control unit 20, for controlling the luminaires 2, and the actuator assembly 30. The actuator assembly 30 is shown being connected between the primary and secondary base plates 6,7. hi order to provide maximum mechanical strength to the lighting

installation 1, the hinge 5 and the actuator assembly 30 are connected to opposite ends of the base plates 6,7. Hence, the actuator assembly 30 is disposed in an opposed position with respect to the hinge 5, i.e. it is positioned on a circumferentially opposite side of the column 3 with respect to the hinge 5. As shown in the Figure, the column 3 is disposed adjacent to the hinge 5 and the actuator assembly 30 is spaced apart from the column 3.

Figure 3 shows the luminaire control unit 20 in further detail. The control unit 20 consists of two twin circuits 20a contained within an enclosure box 21, which is formed integrally with the base 4. The enclosure box 21 is an IP68 rated control box. Each of the two circuits 20a controls one of the two luminaires 2. It will be appreciated that the number of luminaires 2 may vary depending on the particular use, and so would the number of control circuits 20a. Each circuit 20a consists of a capacitor 31, an ignitor 32, a ballast 34, and a remote 33. The control unit 20 also includes a automatic cut-out lock 35, which may be positioned in between the two twin circuits 20a, which is provided to isolate the electrical control circuitry upon opening of the enclosure box 21.

The control circuits 20a, and associated electrical components 31,32,33,35 are conveniently mounted in a cartridge which slots into the enclosure box 21. This allows circuits 20a to be easily removed and replaced in the event of failure without any need for an operator to climb the column 3, or require lifting equipment up to the luminaire 2. The enclosure box 21 also includes a die-cast aluminium lid 21a, the upper surface of which is provided with a series of fins 21b, which facilitates passive cooling of the box 21, and prevents overheating thereof.

However, in addition to the cooling fins 21b, the control unit 20 includes an advanced cooling system, which is shown in detail in Figure 5. The cooling system consists of two conduits 25,26, which are arranged to provide air communication between the interior of the enclosure box 21 of the control unit 20 and the interior of the column 3. As shown in Figure 5, the box 20 contains a fan 60, which sucks in cold air along conduit 26, which extends from the box 21 to about Im up into the centre of the column 3. The end of the cold air conduit 26 points generally downwardly as cold air has a tendency to sink. Air is sucked in to conduit 26 in a direction as indicated by arrow 'X', which leads into the box 21, and which circulates in and around the various

components 31,32,33,35 of the circuits 20a. Conduit 25 is arranged to take circulating air that has been warmed by the components 31,32,33,35 away from the box 21 in a direction as indicated by arrow 'Y'. Conduit 25 extends between the box 21 and the lower region of the column 3 as shown in Figure 5, and extends about Im up into the column 3. The end of the conduit inside the column 3 points generally upwardly as warm air has a tendency to rise upwardly therein. Hence, the conduit 25 utilises the column 3 as a radiator using its entire surface area for dissipating heat generated within the control unit 20. The ends of the conduits 25,26 inside the column are at least Im above ground level so that they do not fill with water etc in case of flooding.

As shown in Figure 2, the control unit 20 is supplied with power via a spur- line 22 taken from a main feed cable 24 by means of a cable connector clamp 23. The main feed cable 24 can be a ring circuit provided for powering a series of lighting installations (not shown). The connector clamp 23 has a two part sealed construction which provides a waterproof connection that can be used with or without the need for any separate resin filling. Furthermore, the connector clamp 23 includes a plurality of needle-like elements, which penetrate the insulation of each individual line of the main feed cable 24, and thereby form a connection without the need for cutting the main feed cable 24.

Referring to Figures 1 and 2, the column 3 is shown attached to the base 4 by the hinge 5 about which the column 3 pivots under the control of the actuator 30. This allows easy access and maintenance of the luminaires 2 at the top of the column 3. A quick-fit electrical connector 27 is provided between the base 4 and lower portion of the column 3 of the installation 1 for connecting wiring 50 for the luminaire 2 from the control unit 20 to the column 3. In addition, a similar electrical connector 28 is provided between an upper portion of the column 3, and the two luminaires 2 for connecting the wiring 50 in the column 3 to the luminaires 2.

Each connector 27,28 includes two mutually connecting members, which include complimentary male and female connectors 27a,27b (or 28a,28b), which engage each other. The leading edge of each half 27a,27b (male or female) of each connector 27,28 is conical in shape to allow each half to align with each other when brought into contact as shown in Figure 5. Such connectors 27,28 are commonplace in household appliances, but have never been used in external lighting installations 1.

The male and female members 27a,27b of the connector 27 between the base 4 and the column 3 allows very quick and easy connection/disconnection of the electrical circuit formed by wiring 50 between the base 4 and column 3. In addition, the connecter 28 between the column 3 and the two luminaires 2 allows the luminaires 2 to be electrically connected/disconnected from the wiring 50 in the column 3. The luminaires 2 are attached to the column 3 by means of a twist lock or bayonet type bracket (not shown).

Referring to Figures 4a and 4b, there is shown views from above and below of a shroud 40 for enclosing male and female members 27a,27b of the connector 27 between the column 3 and the base 4, and also for enclosing male and female members of the connector 28 between the column 3 and the luminaires 2.

The shroud 40 consists of a tubular inner body section 41 defining a central channel 42 therein, in which the connector 27,28 is received. As shown in Figure 4b, an aperture 48 is provided at the base of the central channel 42 through which wiring 50 attached to the male/female members 27a,27b of the connector 27,28 extends. The shroud 40 includes a tubular outer body 43, which extends around, but is annularly spaced apart from, the inner body 41, to thereby define an annular space 44 therebetween. The inner and outer bodies 41, 43 are concentric with each other.

The outer body 43 is provided with four attachment lugs 45 which are spaced apart at equidistant positions around the circumference of the body 43. The lugs 45 are provided with a central aperture 46 through which a screw or pin or the like can be passed for attaching the shroud 40, and hence, one member of the connector 27,28 to the relevant part of the lighting system 1. As shown in Figure 4b, the annular space 44 is divided into four space sections 44a-44d by arms 52 which extend radially outwardly from the inner body 41, the ends of which provide the lugs 45. As shown in

Figure 5, the four space sections 44a-44d are in air-flow communication with the air conduits 25,26 of the air circulation system attached to the enclosure box 21. Hence, cool air flowing along conduit 26 is directed towards and through the sections 44a-

44d of the annular space 44 surrounding the inner body 41 so that heat generated at the connector 27 is quickly dissipated. The cool air in conduit 26 absorbs the heat and is taken away from the connector 27,28 in the shroud 40 as warm air in conduit 25.

Accordingly, air circulation around and beyond the connector 27 in the shroud 40

within the inner body 41 helps to ensure that the connector 27 does not overheat and

Advantages of the external lighting system 1 reside in the placement of the control unit 20 not at the top of the column 3 adjacent the luminaires 2, but down in the base of the installation 1 where it is far more accessible to operators. Furthermore, the advanced cooling system consisting of the cool and warm air conduits 25,26 ensure the electrical components 31,32,33, 34,35 in the box 21 do not overheat, hi addition, the conduits 25, 26 extend to the connector shroud 40 joining the base 4 and the column 3 preventing the connector 27 from overheating.

The inventor has also recognised that provision of the control unit 20 located externally to the column 3 or luminaire 2 is advantageous in allowing the column 3 or luminaire 2 to be designed without the need to provide any accommodation for the control unit 20. Accordingly, it is possible to design a lighter and more compact luminaire 2. It will be appreciated this is also beneficial in reducing the load for which the support means must be designed to support. Furthermore, a luminaire 2 for use with the present invention, comprising less components, provides a designer with a greater degree of design freedom. This is beneficial both in technical aspects, such as the placement of a bulb 2a and the placement and shape of a reflector 2b within the luminaire 2, so as to provide greater photometric performance, and aesthetically.

Furthermore, the design of the column 3 and/or the luminaire 2 need not be compromised to allow access to the control unit 20. For example, in prior art systems, the support means typically comprises an access door for maintenance and inspection. Accordingly, in a preferred embodiment of the invention, the installation 1 comprises an uninterrupted column 3 as shown in the Figures. An uninterrupted column 3, having no cut-out for access, is structurally advantageous. It will be appreciated that for any given column 3 design without a cut-out will be structurally stronger than the equivalent column with a cut-out. Accordingly, the present invention enables a lighter column 3 to be used as it does not require any reinforcement to overcome the effects of a cut-out. Furthermore, an uninterrupted column 3, having no access door is substantially vandal-proof.