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Light Tower Set Up– Dos & Don’ts

Light Tower Set Up– Dos & Don’ts

Light Tower Tips

Before operating portable light towers, it’s important to understand the basic rules of use. The first consideration you’ll want to think about is whether a light tower or light tower/generator combination would be more appropriate for your job site. If you need both then a combination unit may eliminate the need for two machines.

Other options to consider relate to what kind of tower is most appropriate for the function. Some towers feature larger or more efficient fuel tanks than others so for projects needing longer run times, these may be more appropriate. Obviously any other job site restrictions should be considered before making your choice, such as any glare-free requirements, etc.

The first step to effectively using a portable light tower is proper set-up. This involves ensuring that you have proper clearance both around the unit and above, since the mast will be raised many feet upward. It’s especially important that you have the proper clearance from above because power lines pose a significant safety risk.

  • To raise the mast, remove the retaining pin and travel lock pin, turn the winch handle until the lower retaining bar locks in and then insert the retaining pin into the lower bar before extending the mast.
  • To extend the mast, remove the retaining pin, pull the upper retaining bar and turn the extend/retract handle to extend.
  • To retract the mast, rotate the mast and align the arrows, turn the extend/retract handle until the upper retaining bar locks into the mast and no red line is visible.
  • To lower the mast, make sure the sections are retracted then pull the lower retaining bar, turn the winch handle and insert the travel lock pin and retaining pin, once fully lowered.
  • To rotate the mast, release the mast rotation lock, rotate, and then tighten the handle to secure the mast. Remember that the mast must be aligned with arrows before retracting.
  • Before moving a light tower, make sure that the mast has been properly lowered and retracted and stow the outriggers.

Even though portable light towers are (of course) portable, they should not be towed at high speeds and the the maximum advised speeds usually do not exceed 65 mph. For longer distances light towers can be transported via a trailer/flatbed, according to an article published in Rental Management.

An important determination for job site/project/event illumination is deciding the right amount of light that you need and how many light towers will be needed to create it. Another aspect of this decision is to make sure towers are properly positioned to avoid any unsafe glares or shadows. Think about the size of the area, whether lighting will be constant or intermittent and how bright you want the area to be lit. Especially for job sites, it’s important (for safety and efficiency) to position towers at different angles to provide sources of light from various directions.

The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) is a resource that those seeking more information on lighting and associated proper guidelines can use. The IES develops resources and lighting standards for the benefit of the public, according to their website. The group works to develop and maintain a library of approximately 70 publications. The documents include recommended practices, industry standards on light sourcing and measurements and a variety of guides covering a wide range of illumination topics.

When in doubt, always check and follow the suggested procedures listed in your operator manual or give us a call with any questions you may have.

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