Lighting Components Overview

What Are Lighting Components and Accessories?

Lighting components and accessories include devices used to upgrade and repair existing lighting systems. They include very common and familiar devices, such as controls that allow the lighting to be turned off during the day and turned on at night automatically. They also include sophisticated components, such as infrared detectors and microwave detectors that can trigger the lighting to turn on in the event that motion is detected.

Some lighting components and accessories are only required for specific types of lighting. HID lighting and fluorescent lighting both use igniter devices, which are not used on incandescent lighting or LED lighting.

Not all lighting components and accessories are compatible with all types of lighting. Some types of lighting, for instance, does not dim well and dimmer switches will give undesirable results. When upgrading or replacing lighting, it’s important that the type of lighting is suitable for the use. Non-dimmable, high-powered lighting might be perfect for an industrial floor, for instance, but soft, dimmable lighting might be better for the break room and meeting rooms.


What Are Lighting Components and Accessories Used For?

Lighting components and accessories are most often used for repair and replacement.

For repair needs, lighting components and accessories are simply used to change out lighting systems for safety or aesthetic purposes. For instance, lighting systems that have been in place for a long time and that have been exposed to environmental pollutants may be damaged and need to be replaced to ensure that they’re safe to operate.

In other cases, repairs may be made so that the existing lighting system is improved at the same time. For instance, old emergency lighting might be replaced with LED lighting that provides brighter light at a vastly reduced energy cost.

Today, lighting components are commonly used in replacement capacities. Factories that want to increase their environmental friendliness, for example, may install better lighting fixtures that consume less energy and that provide more efficient lighting. Lamps might be replaced with LED models to increase efficiency and to reduce costs, as such lighting systems can last decades.

Lighting might also be upgraded simply to modernize the facility. Pull cords could be replaced with standard switches or wall switches could be upgraded to more durable models that are better suited for hazardous environments.

Some lighting components are used exclusively for cosmetic purposes. Ornate ceiling roses, for instance, can be used to set off expensive chandelier lighting or other lighting that is meant to be elegant. In industrial settings, ceiling roses might be used, but they’ll generally be designed for durability more than aesthetics and may be quite simple devices.

Different mounting styles may also be used to improve lighting. A pendant light, for instance, might be a perfect and inexpensive solution to getting lighting in a small room. If the room’s uses are expanded and more sophisticated lighting is required, the mounting style can easily be changed, providing an entirely different light or just a wall switch for convenience’s sake.

Dimmable LED lamps provide one of the most innovative new solutions for lighting. The very energy-efficient nature of LED lamps is not compatible with dimming switches, which means that the lighting can be made more relaxing and less sharp without having to go back to inefficient and short-lived incandescent bulbs.


What Are Wireless Controls?

Wireless controls allow lighting to be dimmed, turned on or turned off without interacting with a switch on the wall. These are particularly useful for complex systems, such as one might find in a large facility with many hanging lights. They are also heavily used in residences, allowing the homeowner to remotely dim the lighting or add or take away lighting from the environment.


What Are Presence Controls?

Presence controls change the state of lighting based on someone being absent or present in the same room. They may use IR detectors or microwave detectors or other means to provide control over the lighting.

The obvious application for these types of light controllers is in security, but they’re also very well suited for use in power conversation. These lights can be set to turn off automatically if there isn’t motion for a set amount of time. This makes them ideal for closets, bathrooms and other rooms where people might leave lights on out of forgetfulness.


What Are Daylight Controls?

Daylight controls are energy saving devices that can also improve interior lighting. They may turn lights on or off depending upon daylight conditions, or they may actually dim the light to provide supplemental lighting in dusk, dawn or rainy conditions. These are used both indoors and out and are very reliable, long-lasting components.

These devices consist of a photo detector, which is integrated with the switch. The photo detector may be directly attached to the light itself or it may be a separate device.


What Are Passive Infrared (PIR) Detectors?

PIR detectors are commonly used as parts of motion detectors. These detect infrared radiation in the environment—such as that resulting from body heat—and turn lights on or off depending upon its presence.

These sensors are usually constructed with a solid state sensor in the face of the device. The sensors can be very precise, picking up a single person entering a room. These sensors typically have a predefined range of temperature that they are set to function in. If that temperature is exceeded by a heat source entering the room, they trigger the lighting. These are frequently used in burglar alarms in addition to in lighting, giving some indication of how precise their sensors can actually be.


What Are Microwave Detectors?

Microwave detectors are types of motion detectors. They emit a pulse of electromagnetic energy and record the information they get back. When an object is introduced to the area, it changes the frequency of the pulse, triggering the detector to turn on lighting or an alarm. These are common motion detecting lights.


What Types of Accessories and Components Exist?

There are many different lighting accessories and components to choose from and most quality lighting systems are easily repaired in the event of a failure of some sort.


Ceiling Rose

A ceiling rose is used for decoration or simply to cover the hardware and wiring used to install a light on the ceiling. In industrial settings, they typically have very simple designs, but may be much more ornate in households.


Pendant Sets

Pendant sets are lighting systems that consist of the socket and the ceiling rose needed to install a hanging light. They are simple, inexpensive and well suited to industrial environments.



Lampholders come in many designs and with various bases. They can accommodate bi-pin lamps, Edison base lamps and other designs. Some of them are specifically designed to work with high-heat lamps and to be used in trying environments.


Light Covers

Light covers can be ornamental, functional or both. They are used to cover the actual light on a lighting system, providing protection or enhancing the light-throwing abilities of the bulb itself. Those used in industrial settings are quite often cage types that protect the bulbs against breakage. Some portable light covers are designed to take severe abuse, such as those that are designed to be used by mechanics and hung from the hood of a car as they work.


Lighting Ballasts

Ballasts are electrical devices that limit current. They are most commonly used with fluorescent lamps and are very common lighting system components. They can be made for specific types of lamps, such as HID lighting or other specialty designs.


Lighting Bases

Lighting bases are designed to provide a surface-based mount for a light. They may clamp into place, such as those designs intended to be used with portable work lighting. They may also be mobile, such as desk lamp bases.


Ceiling Lighting

Ceiling lighting is mounted on the ceiling of a room and generally depends a bit from its base. These types of lights are often provided with pull cord on/off switches, though they may be wired to any standard type of switch.



Switches dictate whether a light is receiving electrical power and, in some cases, can vary the amount of power for various effects.

When a light switch is open, the circuit feeding the light is completely de-energized. When the switch is turned on, if there are no resistors in the light switch itself, the circuit is fully powered.

Some light switches are specialized devices and may be designed to handle hazardous environments. They may have, for instance, splash resistance or be made out of material that offer resistance to specific contaminants.


Dimmer Switches

Dimmer switches are typically disks or dials that are rotated to increase or decrease the power going to the light to which they are attached. They do not work with all types of lights, but are common in households and industrial settings. They are sometimes used for aesthetic purposes, but also may serve to save power.


Light Switches

The typical light switch is affixed to the wall and turns the light on or off by way of a lever that is changed between one of two possible positions. Some older models consist of two buttons, depressing one closes the circuit and raises the other button. Depressing the other opens the circuit and raises the on bottom.

Light switches are sometimes not mounted the wall, but may be mounted to the cord or the socket of the lamp. In the former case, these switches are usually rotating dials that turn the lamp on or off. On socket-mounted light switches, the switch might push through the socket to turn it on or off or it might rotate. If it rotates, it may be an on/off switch or it may be able to accommodate multi-wattage bulbs. In those cases, the switch usually cycles through increasing voltages until it returns to the off state with the final turn of the dial.


Pull Cord Switches

Pull cord switches are simple solutions to lighting, particularly that which is hung from the ceiling or high on a wall. The drawback with this type of switch is that each individual light in a room must be put on or turned off separately, though they make fine solutions for rooms where there is only one light.


Timer Switches

Timer switches turn the lights on at a specified time and off at another. They are commonly used in households, when the residents are away but want to give the appearance that the home is occupied by having the lights come on at night and turn off during the day. They can also be used to turn equipment on or off.


Lighting Controllers

Lighting controllers use motion detection, light detection or other means to automatically turn lights on or off as needed. They are used in security applications and in applications where safety requires that a light be on when someone is in a given area, but where lighting is not necessary otherwise.


Lighting Igniters

Lighting igniters are used on specific types of lamps, including HID and some fluorescent lamps.


Lighting Mounts

Lighting mounts include an array of devices that are used to fix lighting to surfaces or to provide a stable base for lighting that might be temporary. They include brackets, décor rings and more.


Lighting Plugs

Lighting plug come in different designs to accommodate different voltages and wiring standards. They allow lights to be plugged directly into a socket. Some designs allow a light socket to be used as an outlet.


Lighting Sockets

Lighting sockets provide the attachment for the bulb. They may be threaded, such as in the case of Edison lamps. They may also have special connectors, such as those designed for high-temperature lighting and those designed for bi-prong bulbs.


Lighting Starters

Lighting starters are what cause the small delay between when a switch is thrown and when a fluorescent light ignites. The starter provides the current flow through the tube. As the electrons in the tube are generated, the starter opens up and allows the electrons to ignite the gas in the fluorescent bulb.