Photograph of LED tower lighting device with a sunset in the background.

Tower Light Monitoring & Remote Reboot

The modern world of aviation is closely regulated to ensure the safety of those above—and below—the clouds. An important aspect of this are the requirements for aircraft warning lights on tall structures. In accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),  “in general any temporary or permanent structure, including all appurtenances, that exceeds an overall height of 200 feet (61m) above ground level (AGL), or exceeds any obstruction standard contained in 14 CFR Part 77, should normally be marked and/or lighted.”

Essentially, the FAA requires that tall structures are noticeable from the skies. This includes wind turbines, water towers, bridges, high-rise offices, and even tower cranes. If you’ve ever seen the Golden Gate Bridge at night, you’ve likely seen the bright, red lights at the top of the piers. Those are perfect examples of tower lighting.

Installing and maintaining tower lighting presents challenges for organizations that are busy enough focusing on their own operations. LumenServe℠, a Tower Lighting as a Service® (TLaaS) company and ControlByWeb® customer, takes the headache out of structural lighting by offering all-in-one obstruction lighting services across the United States.

Photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge in the evening.
The Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic example of obstruction lighting in action.

Incorporating obstruction lighting isn’t as simple as mounting an LED light to the top of a structure and calling it a day. Hardware needs to be FAA-compliant for air traffic safety and, crucially, it needs to be monitored at all times. According to the FAA Light Outage Reporting, “Any failure or malfunction that lasts more than thirty (30) minutes and affects a top light or flashing obstruction light, regardless of its position, should be reported immediately.” [Emphasis added.]

LumenServe provides a valuable service to organizations that require obstruction lighting. They spec out the correct lights, install in a compliant way alongside existing hardware, maintain the system, file reports with the FAA as necessary, and—most importantly—ensure the lights are operating day in and day out. Here’s an overview of what the company offers:

  • Replaces old lighting and faded tower paint with long-lasting dual-mode LED lighting systems.
  • Provides 24/7/365 system monitoring, made possible in part with our WebRelay™ single relay and input module.
  • Performs site audits and ensures compliance through daily logging, reporting, and Federally mandated inspections.
  • Guarantees the installation with an assurance warranty, which covers any type of failure as well as parts and labor.
Two daytime photographs of LumenServe's long-lasting dual-mode LED lighting systems.
Here are two examples of dual-mode LED lighting systems developed by LumenServe.

One of the most logistically challenging parts of obstruction lighting is ensuring the lights are operational all day, every day. As stated in the light outage regulations, any outage that lasts longer than a half hour requires immediate reporting. This means it’s imperative that the system runs smoothly and has measures in place for when things go awry.

Our WebRelay is a major component of the monitoring LumenServe offers. It all started when LumenServe COO Kevin Bethke discovered ControlByWeb during his search for a DIN-mountable smart relay with remote reboot capability. The WebRelay was the perfect device for the job, and it didn’t require any extra software to work in Kevin’s application.

When there’s an issue with the installation, it’s almost always a communication failure—Kevin estimates over 90% of potential errors arise from a break in communication. And, as the old IT saying goes, turning it off and back on again is often the simplest and most effective solution. Rebooting through the WebRelay saves thousands of dollars in costs associated with sending out an employee in a truck to a potentially remote or faraway location.

Photograph of tower with bright red light attached at the top. Background is a mountain range and city further beyond.
LumenServe offers all-in-one obstruction lighting services across the United States.

LumenServe has two WebRelays installed in each application to reboot the lighting whenever a failure is detected. The first WebRelay is installed in a monitoring cabinet with A/C power running through to the lighting. Another branch goes to 12VDC controls and a second WebRelay. Both devices communicate through an M2M (machine-to-machine) cellular network.

The second relay pings a Google server on a regular schedule. If no response is received within a given number of pings, the relay will initiate a reboot of the system directly through the first relay in the monitoring cabinet. Kevin says that rebooting a light will fix it within that 30-minute window about half of the time.

More recently, the company has been implementing our X-408™ digital input module in some applications. The X-408 is connected to a dry contact within the system to monitor door closure and temperature. An auto-generated email can be sent to end users to notify of open doors, temp alerts, and other notifications. The X-408 and other digital-input PLCs are great in these common applications:

  • Door closure detection
  • Temperature contact sensors
  • Air conditioner on/off
  • Generator on/off
  • Day and night mode
  • Lighting systems

Common Remote Reboot Problems

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Lack of Features

Some modules are unable to do much beyond reading a single input and data logging.

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Too Expensive

Individual units can be costly and may require additional hardware or paid software to unlock their potential.

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Other devices often have narrow applications and communication protocols.

ControlByWeb® Solutions

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Robust Platform

Our modules include an embedded UI that’s simple and powerful, with features like remote reboot.

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Great Value

The WebRelay punches above its weight with flexibility and features that are there as needed.

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Highly Adaptable

Our relays and PLCs work with a wide range of hardware, programming languages, and SCADA systems.

It’s clear that LumenServe has a solid offering: the Austin, Texas-based company services a majority of the U.S. states and continues to expand. Kevin estimates there are over 1,000 active TLaaS® installations across the contiguous states. That’s a lot of WebRelays and ControlByWeb PLCs doing their part to ensure systems stay up and running—and giving them a quick reboot as a first measure to fix communication issues.


  • Reliable at any scale. Out of thousands of WebRelays and X-408s in the field, there have only been a handful of failures.
  • Resilient hardware. Kevin noted that our products have continued working through high amounts of RF signal where others have failed.
  • Built-in email notifications. Email notifications are easy to set up, allowing the right people to receive timely alerts.
  • Peer-to-peer communication. ControlByWeb PLCs are capable of communicating directly with each other, expanding I/O remotely.
  • Robust cloud service. The optional ControlByWeb Cloud further enhances remote reboot capability with remote device access.

Frequently Asked Questions

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