LED Dartboard Lighting

In order to promote energy efficiency, traditional incandescent light bulbs are being phased out in the USA, as well as in many other countries.  LED lighting manufacturers claim that using their lights can result in electricity savings ranging from 30% to 80%.

As traditional bulbs disappear, and darters find fewer light bulb choices available, they will need to consider which alternative light source might be best for lighting their dartboards.

There are still many choices available on the market, ranging from fluorescent to halogen type bulbs.  However, the latest technology, and most energy efficient, light source is LED lights. LED is the abbreviation for “Light Emitting Diodes”, and is familiar to most people as the little blinking lights on electronic equipment, as well as the light source for the many tiny flashlights currently available in stores.

LED lights for lamps and spotlights are not actually “light bulbs”. Instead, LEDs are really small electronic devices that emit light.  Incandescent bulbs produce light by using electricity to heat  a very thin wire filament.  Most of the energy is wasted as heat.

These LED modules  usually combine several small LEDs into one housing that will screw into a standard light fixture. As each LED is a tiny point source of light, the individual LEDs are often covered by a diffuser lens.   Although more efficient than incandescent light bulbs, LED modules can generate considerable amounts of heat.  Many higher-wattage LED light modules are fitted with cooling fins to convey heat away from the electronic components in the module’s base.

9.5 watt PAR20 LED
9.5 watt PAR20 LED replaces traditional 50 watt floodlight bulb.

The LED light modules are packaged in a variety of forms that mimic the shape of traditional light bulbs.  For lighting dartboards, floodlight or spotlight type bulbs are often used in track light fixtures.  These are often labeled as “PAR” type lights.

To reduce shadows, at least two lights should be used for each dartboard.  To check for proper lighting, stick a dart in the dartboard, and see if any harsh shadows obscure areas near the darts.  Adjust lighting as needed to reduce shadows to a minimum.

Lighting, including LED lights, are available in a variety of “temperature colors”.  For home lighting that produces a relaxed atmosphere, Warm lighting is popular.  This corresponds to a color temperature around 2500 to 2700 degrees Kelvin (K), and is similar to light from a bright flame.   For task lighting, or when true color rendition is needed, “Cold” lighting is used, with a color temperature around 5,000 Kelvin (K).   This is the type of lighting commonly used in retail stores, to make jewelry “sparkle” and add a little “pop” to the color of merchandise.

In between the two, are lights labeled “Cool”, which many find to be a good compromise for home lighting.

For lighting dartboards, Cold or Cool lights provide the best color rendition and contrast for darters trying to focus on small scoring areas.  However, LED lighting is still in its early days of mass production, and many LEDs appear bright white with a bit of blue tone.

In addition to saving energy, LED light modules are advertised to have five to ten times the life span of incandescent light bulbs.  The FEIT brand LED shown in the photo above is advertised to last for 30,000 hours.  If the energy & lifetime claims of LED manufacturers are correct, the next “light bulb” you install over your dartboard might the the last one you will ever need!