S4GA - Helipad and Airport Lighting Company
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NEWS
Solar lighting FAQ
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What type of applications can your lights be used for?
S4GA Solar AGL is suitable for non-precision instrument runways, visual approach runways.
What is “Solar” airfield ground lighting?
S4GA lighting is 100% off-grid system that can be energized by different power sources. ‘Solar’ means that system can be charged by solar panel, charging station or stationary cable. Primary source of power is solar energy. In order to allow uninterrupted operations SP-401 lighting unit can be addditionally charged:
via OCT-401 charging station that can charge up to 10x SP-401 lighting units simultaneously
via stationary electrical grid that provides 24V, 1.5A DC power.
What is the difference between solar and portable lighting?
Solar Airfield Lighting is an affordable alternative to conventional (wired) lighting. It is used as primary lighting system for regional and domestic airports. System is designed to be permanently installed and utilized as fixed system. Meanwhile, SP-102 portable lighting is used as temporary solution:
– When you need it to be deployed and undeployed quickly (HEMS, SAR, police, military)
– When you need it as a back-up lighting system (in case of failure of primary runway lighting)
– When you need it for temporary use (while reconstruction of a runway; flying schools, police and military training).
The major differences between SP-401 and SP-102:
– SP-401 is usually used as part of permanently installed, primary system / SP-102 is usually used to secure occasional night operations
– SP-401 is wirelessly controlled / SP-102 is activated manually
– SP-401 offers remote monitoring and longer operating time
Is Solar AGL more reliable than Conventional?
Solar-powered lighting has been installed by airport authorities for over 15 years. First used as temporary or back-up today solar-powered systems are used as primary systems. What makes Solar AGL more reliable than conventional is its superiority in terms of power, control and reliability.
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Is S4GA lighting system certified?
S4GA lighting system is compliant with ICAO Annex 14 and certified by INTERTEK. There are two major requirements that every airfield lighting should comply with – those are photometric and chromaticity (colour of light requirement). Both characteristics of SP-401 lighting unit have been confirmed by Intertek. You can check certificates at our website.
Can your system be used for CAT I, II or III runway?
S4GA Solar Airfield Lighting is suitable for Non-Precision Runways.
S4GA solar HIRL (Solar High-Intensity Runway Light) is applicable for CAT I Runways.
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How long does it take to install your system?
Solar AGL requires about 100-150h of work for typical system for 2.000 runway and 600m taxiway. Team of 5 men can perform it in 2-3 days.
Should we hire construction company to perform installation?
S4GA Solar Airfield Ground Lighting is revolutionary plug-and-play lighting system that can be installed even by airport personnel.

S4GA provides all neccesary guidance and if required can supervise installation process. Installation of simple temporary lighting takes not more than 15 minutes, if fixed (more advanced) system is installed at an airport: it would take 2-3 days. There is no need to involve construction company as all works are done “above” the ground level. No trenching, no laying cables or checking electrical circuit is required.

Do you provide on-site training?
The system is designed to be “plug-and-play”. Most of our customers are located far away from us. On-site training would cost our customers extra money. We believe it is better to use this funds in more profitable ventures. This is why we provide simple manuals on how to install, operate and maintain the lighting system. We also understand that many of our customers are new to solar airfield lighting. If additional support is required we sometimes provide simple video manuals. In 99% of cases our customers are able to self-install and self-train. In case of demanding installations we, of course, can provide on-site training.
Is the maintenance of the solar system the same as with conventional lighting?
No, solar AGL needs almost zero maintenance. If any element of the system stops working you can immediately identify this element and fix /replace it.

How does it look like in case of Conventional AGL? Conventional AGL is energized by an electrical circuit that includes multiple elements such as: lighting fittings, constant current regulators, isolating transformers, hundreds of meters of primary and secondary cables, joints, etc. Yes – conventional lighting today is built of reliable components. But as with every reliable components – failure of one component may lead to failure of entire or part of the lighting system. The main issue with the electrical circuit is that when lighting is not functioning properly – it is almost impossible to identify the reason without time-consuming inspection performed by a highly-qualified electrical engineer. Large commercial airports usually hire an entire electrical engineering team to be able to maintain electrical systems on a daily basis. For such airports, it makes much sense as airports operations are their core business. Lack of lighting even for a short amount of time may result in a dangerous situation or lead to financial losses due to a redirection of air traffic to alternate airports.

In comparison to conventional lighting – Solar system is built of two types of components: lighting units and control unit. Each of these elements operates 100% autonomously. In other words: there is no “bottle-neck” or “master-slave” relationship with the system. This means that even in a worst-case scenario – when one, two or more solar units are off – the rest of the system will continue to operate. When lighting unit is not operating – you can almost immediately identify what happened and simple replace the unit in 5 minutes. In case of conventional lighting one may require hours to identify which part (cable, transformer, joint, lack of electricity, etc.) of entire system is not working properly.

Can we fix / replace parts of solar system on our own?
Yes, in most cases you are able to fix the failures on your own. But we recommend to contact us first so we can evaluate the damage and give precise instructions on how to solve the problem.

Can we replace battery on our own?
Yes, you can replace the battery on your own following simple instructions that we give you.
Where can we source battery used in SP-401 unit?
We use high quality (worldwide battery standard) however available VLRA batteries that can be sourced almost in every part of the World. No need to worry about their availability.
What is the lighting unit lifespan?
Lifespan of the lighting unit mainly depends on few components:
– Casing is made of the same material that is used to build see yachts therefore its lifespan is calculated in tenth of years.
– LED can operate up to 100.000 hours or 25 years (assuming 40 hrs. of system operations per week)
– Battery lifespan is calculated in cycles. S4GA battery offers 1.200 cycles. However, after 4-5 years the battery could start losing its capacity and should be replaced as soon as possible.
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Are your lights halogen or LED?
We use LED. Lifespan of LED that we use is 100.000 hours.
How does failure of one or few lighting units affects an entire system?
Unlike in case of Conventional lighting where lighting units are connected with electrical cicuit – in case of Solar lighting every single lighting unit operates independently. Therefore, if one of the solar lighting fixtures would fail the rest of the system will continue to operate as if nothing happened.
Will the solar-powered SP-401 work at night when there is no sun?
Yes it will. Please have in mind that lighting unit is energized by rechargeable battery. Solar panel is used to charge the battery (not to power the lighting unit).
How can I charge the lighting unit?
Charging can be performed in 3 different ways:
-via solar panel – requires 20 minutes of charging per 1 hour of operations
-via separate charging station that can charge up to 10 lighting units simultaneously. Charging station requires connection to 230/110V electrical grid. Charging time is 6-7 hours
-via cable (lighting unit can be connected to electrical grid that provides 24V, 1.5A DC power). In this case built-in battery provides back-up power. In case of electrical failure unit will be powered by the battery.
How long does it take to charge the battery?
Solar panel: 20 min of charging is enough to charge the unit for 1 hour of operations.
Charging station: fully discharged battery can be charged in 6-7 hours
How long does it take to charge battery via solar panel in a cloudy weather?
Charging time depends on how discharged battery is. Full battery allows for up to 80 hours of operations. Simple simulation shows that during busy night – airport will use 3-5% of battery capacity. In details: we assume that during one night 10 landings will be performed. One landing can last approx. 15 minutes. Ten landings would than consume 2.5 hours which is only 3% of battery capacity. It would take only 50 minutes to recharge battery in a sunny weather. In case of cloudy weather charging could extend up to 2-4 hours.
What if battery in my solar-powered unit is fully discharged and light is not working?
To minimize risk of complete discharge S4GA offers its customers control & monitoring system. It provides user with GSM-based automatic monitoring and alarming. In case if battery level would drop below 20% or lighting unit would stop responding – user will be automatically notified by alarm messaging.

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What is the warranty?
S4GA offers 24 months warranty for all its products and their
components (excluding battery). Battery warranty is 12 months.
What should I do in case of failure of my product?
Important thing to understand is that failure of one or even few units will not interrupt your night operations. Unlike with traditional cable system every unit in S4GA solar lighting system operates 100% independently.
We offer two options to fix the problem:
– Send faulty equipment to our factory in Poland
– Self-repair: Most of our customers are located far away from us and sometimes shipping is too expensive or can take too long. To address this limitation we offer our customers complete service kits together with manual instructing how to solve most common technical problems. Lighting unit is designed for low maintenance. This is why in 90% of the cases customers are able to self-repair even in most remote locations.
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Do you provide your customers with spare parts in case of fixture failures?
Yes we do. Customers are provided with critical spare parts accompanied by training on how to exchange specific spare part if required.