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LED powerhood could help F1 teams cut their energy use

Formula 1 pit teams could cut their energy usage with an LED system designed to be more reliable than traditional garage lighting.

UK motorsport supplier Showtrax this week unveiled a powerhood — the overhead lighting gantry in race boxes or garages — based on LED ceiling panels that use one-third of the energy of traditional fluorescent tubes.

The firm hopes this powerhood, which isn’t prone to failure during transit like existing fluorescent models, could help motorsport teams reduce their carbon footprint as the industry starts to give environmental issues more recognition.

Developing the LED powerhood meant overcoming several engineering challenges, said Steve Edwards of OCG Lighting, which worked with Showtrax to finish the product.

‘Showtrax originally tried to retrofit with LED tubes, these fulfilled a need but were not an optimal solution,’ he told The Engineer.

‘The tubes were primarily made of plastic and at 6ft they tended to sag in the middle, rendering a pipe clip necessary. Light output from the tubes was poor and tended to be blue-white instead of white-white.

‘The OCG Lighting edge-lit panel offered Showtrax far superior light output and proper daylight output. The colour render index (CRI) from the panels is very high, ideal for mechanics working with intricate diagrams and electrics.’

The project also meant re-engineering the metal frame to fit the LED panels into the powerhood without fundamentally changing its structure.

But the extra space created by the much thinner LED panels made it easier to install the supplies of electrical power and pneumatic air that powerhoods are expected to provide.

Showtrax is now considering the possibility of installing sound systems, computing systems and tyre-warming equipment in the canopy as a result of the extra room.

Readers' comments (12)

  • I had the oportunity to trial some similar LED edge lit panels. They are by far the most impresive LED alternative to flourescent lighting that I have trialed over the last 5 or 6 years.
    However I failed to sell it to my client due to the higher capital cost over already efficient HF flourescent fittings.
    At the end of the day it comes down to money. F1 is a customer not too strapped for cash. Their 'powerhood' probably costs less than a set of tyres.

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  • LEDs make a great light source certainly, but like most 'new' technologies, you pay a 'new' premium as an early implementer. I'm sure that, in time, the costs will fall as they become a 'standard' feature.

    When it comes to lighting in the UK, don't put too much hope on PV technology unless your planned site is in the sunny south. However, small vertical wind turbines could be a solution where the sun doesn't shine too often.

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