Innerscene Virtual Sun A7 FAQ

FAQ for

The Award Winning 
Innerscene Virtual
Sun Model A7

What is Virtual Sun?

Virtual Sun is an artificial skylight that realistically mimics the look and feel of a real skylight, including the visual appearance of a distant sun in the sky that cast sun beams onto the floor.  Virtual Sun uses LEDs and electricity to generate all of it’s light so it doesn’t require access to the outside and it works 24/7 regardless of the outside weather conditions.  By blending hundreds of LEDs together, Virtual Sun can produce a wide range of CCTs and brightness levels at a high CRI.   Virtual Sun is typically installed in a ceiling or a wall during new construction or during a remodelling project.

How do I get pricing information?

Innerscene distributes it’s products through a network or resellers throughout the world. Each distributor may have a different price based on import duties and taxes into a particular country.   Some distributors may carry inventory locally in stock, in which case quoted pricing will include freight shipping cost.  Freight shipping cost can vary greatly depending on the quantity of units and the delivery timeframe.  Please contact us with the following information:

  1. Which city & country are you located in?
  2. Are you looking for a quote that includes freight shipping?
  1. Do you have a loading dock or fork-lift available for unloading?
  2. Are you delivering to a business or residential address?
  1. Please let us know the range of units you are looking for, or alternatively let us know your budget requirements and we can let you know the quantities that fit in that budget.
  2. What delivery time do you require?  When ordering multiple units, shipments by sea can often reduce shipping cost significantly.

What is the lead time for ordering?

Our manufacturing lead time is currently 12 weeks if ordering 4 units or less, 14 weeks for 8 units or less. Contact us leads time for orders larger than 8 units.  Manufacturing lead time does not include shipping time, see Shipping cost & time chart below for estimated shipping time.

How much is shipping cost?

We can arrange shipping for you (DDP shipping terms) or you may arrange your own freight shipping pickup directly from our factory (ExWorks shipping terms).  Virtual Sun Model A7 ships on an integrated palette that is 110x90x70cm and shipping weight is 53kgs.
The factory address is :

Innerscene Ltd.

2 Eastbrook Road,

Eastern Avenue,

Gloucester,

Gloucestershire,GL43DB


If you would like us to source a shipping quote for you, please
contact us with your address and the number of units required for a shipping cost.  Freight shipping cost will vary weekly.

Below are examples of shipping cost from our factory to a few cities around the world.  This includes shipping + insurance only, it does not include the cost of the product, import duties, or any VAT/sales taxes that may be due.

1 Unit
Fastest

4 Units
Fastest

4 Units
Most Economical

London, UK

£124
(2 days)

£360
(2 days)

£361
(3 days)

Stockholm, Sweden

€663
(3-4 days)

€3,465
(3-4 days)

€3,464
(3-4 days)

Vancouver, Canada

3,710 CAD

(3-4days)

6,373 CAD

(3-6 days)

1,493 CAD

(28-33 days)

Malta

759.95 EUR

(3-4 days)

3,540.21 EUR

(3-4 days)

3540.21 EUR

(3-4 days)

New York, USA

$836
(3-4 days)

$3272
(7-11 days)

$1311
(25-30 days)

San Francisco, USA

$836
(3-4 days)

$3409
(7-11 days)

$1509
(46-57 days)

Hong Kong

7951 HKD
(3-4 days)

42,824 HKD

(3-4 days)

7,335 HKD
(42 days)

A good place to get an estimate of freight cost to your location is https://freightos.com

How much are import duties?

When shipping from the UK to other countries, import duties vary by country.   The Virtual Sun A7 has an HS CODE of 94051050 and the following table gives approximate import duties for countries selected below as of 4/13/2021.

Destination Country

Import Duties & VAT

United Kingdom

No import duties

EU Countries

No import duties

Hong Kong

No import duties

United States

Duty: 3.9%

Use Tax: 0-9%
We do not collect Use Tax.  This tax is self-reported and payable to local & state governments.

India

Duty: 20%
VAT: 15%

For other countries, you can use this online calculator with the HS CODE of 94051050 (Chandeliers, electric, ceiling).

https://www.simplyduty.com/import-calculator/

Where is Innerscene Virtual Sun A7 manufactured?

All units are manufactured and shipped from our factory in Gloucester, UK.

How can I become a reseller for Innerscene?

Innerscene is actively connecting with resellers in different countries.  In exchange for significant product discounts and sales and marketing resources, you would agree to install a publicly accessible showroom where potential customers can visit to see Innerscene in person.  Please contact us at info@innerscene.com with more information about your interest.

Where can I go to see Virtual Sun in person?

A few locations you can visit us, include:

        Also check us out on Youtube [1],[2],[3]

Does Virtual Sun emit UVB or UVA light?  Does it help with Vitamin D production?

Virtual Sun emits only visible light with no UV.  UV light can damage eyes, skin, and non-organic material.  Because of this real windows and skylights typically have films that reflect the majority UV light before it enters your home/office.

If you want to promote Vitamin D production, you will still need to go outside.  Some doctors recommend getting 10-30 minutes of sun exposure a few times per week to help our bodies produce Vitamin D, however care should be taken as too much UV can burn our skin, damage our eyes, and lead to skin cancer.  

How does Innerscene’s Circadian Rhythm Cycle mode work?

Using your wall dimmer, you are able to select different modes and outputs for your Virtual Sun unit.  When Circadian Rhythm Cycle Mode is selected on your Virtual Sun unit, the brightness and CCT will automatically vary over time.  The table below shows the default output at different times of the day.   The changes happen slowly over the course of the entire day.   Circadian Rhythm Mode can be selected by setting your 0-10V dimmer to 2.5V or 25% output, or if you purchased a pre-configured remote from Innerscene, selecting the appropriate button.   Sunset and sunrise times are calculated by your unit using the current time and your longitude and latitude location on the earth.  Typically, this info is programmed into your unit at the factory before it is shipped to you but information can be changed using our Bluetooth application if needed.

Visit our Control’s Guide for more information about mode selections.

Warmest CCT = 3000K

White CCT =  4000K

Coolest CCT = 18000K

Time

Setting at the end of time period

+2hr after sunset to -2 hr before sunrise

Moon setting

-1hr before sunrise

Warmest CCT at 25% brightness

Sunrise

Warmest CCT at 75% brightness

1.5hr after sunrise to 2hr after sunrise

White CCT at 100% brightness

Midday -1hr to Midday +1hr

Coolest CCT at 100% brightness

Sunset -2hr to sunset -1hr

White CCT at 100% brightness

Sunset

Warmest CCT at 75% brightness

Sunset +1hr

Warmest CCT at 25% brightness

Sunset +2hr

Moon setting

What is CRI (Color Rendering Index) and why is it important?

Virtual Sun combines the light from hundreds of LEDs to produce high CRI light out (90+) across a wide range of CCTs.    Learn more about CRI and why this is important here.


How is the angle of the sun determined?

Virtual Sun units have a label on the end of the unit indicating the direction of the sun after they are powered on.  The sun beam will always exit at a 30 degree from nadir relative to the fixture as shown in the images below.  

Relative to the long dimension of a Virtual Sun unit, there is no angle.

If a unit is installed in a wall or parallel to a sloped surface, the 30 degree sun exit angle will be relative to the installation angle of the unit.

If I stand in the sunbeams produced by Virtual Sun, will I feel heat?

Many people who sit under Virtual Sun tell us they feel the heat of the sun radiating on their skin, however according to our instruments this feeling is purely psychological.

Like all electric lights, Virtual Sun produces some heat as a byproduct of its operation, however this heat is diffuse and not directed in a beam like real sunshine.  In work environments, sitting under direct sunlight can quickly become uncomfortable because of the heat it produces and the UV light which burns our skin.  

Will I get sunburned if I sit under Virtual Sun?

Since No  UVB rays are emitted, there is no possibility of developing sunburn.

Is it safe to look directly at Virtual Sun?

Virtual Sun Model A7 is classified as Risk Group 1 (RG 1). This means we do not have to attach a warning label to the device and is perfectly safe to view under all circumstances.

How much does Virtual Sun weigh?

Each unit weighs 37 kg (82 lbs).  Virtual Sun ships on an integrated palette and the shipping weight is 70 kg (154 lbs).

How does Virtual Sun show a 3 dimensional image of the sun far away?

Many people are familiar with Virtual Reality headsets which work by placing a lens between your eye and an LCD screen.  When you see the LCD screen through the lens, the image appears to be very far away.

Innerscene invented & patented a new technology that allows us to combine a large number of small images into a single large display that can be viewed without wearing something on your face.  This is different from 3d TV technologies such as shutter/polarizing glasses that show different images to your left and right.

Can you grow plants using Virtual Sun?

Whether a plant will grow and thrive under Virtual Sun depends on a number of factors, including the type of plant, the number of Virtual Sun units you have installed, the distance of the plant from the light source, and the light cycle you use.   Low-light and office plants should grow relatively well under one Virtual Sun at a distance of 5-6 feet or less if placed directly in the sunbeam.  To see a time-lapse video of some bean plants growing from seed to full maturity, check out this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGdLU9YsMwU

How does Virtual Sun compare to a light tube?

Light tubes allow you to capture light from a roof and tunnel it to an interior room.

The advantage of a light tube is low installation cost and no electricity consumed. Comparison of the two technologies:

Light tube

Virtual Sun

Visible blue sky?

No, only diffuse white spot

Yes

Visible sun in the sky?

No, only diffuse white spot

Yes

Cast sunbeams into the room?

No, emits 180° diffuse light

Yes

3d dimensional appearance?

No

Yes

Adjustable CCT?

No direct control

Yes

Works on cloudy days?

Partially

Yes

Works during non-daylight hours?

No

Yes

Requires electricity?

No

Yes

Requires regular cleaning?

Yes

No

Ability to dim/brighten?

No

Yes

Can be installed anywhere?

No, requires access to roof

Yes

What are the advantages of Virtual Sun compared with a real skylight?

  • Supported locations. Real skylights can only be installed where physical access to the roof is available, whereas Virtual Sun can be installed on any floor or in locations where the roof structure cannot be modified for technical or zoning reasons.  
  • Water ingress. It has been said that there are two kinds of skylights; those that leak, and those that are going to leak.  Virtual Sun never leaks.
  • Condensation.  Because of the high thermal difference between the outside of a skylight and the inside, real skylights typically produce condensation which creates ugly water marks after the water evaporates.
  • Heat Loss.  Heating represents 50% of global energy consumption and the largest energy end-use and contributes 40% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.  A real skylight in a roof of a house will typically lose 35-45% more heat during colder weather than the exact same window on the side of a house.  Using Virtual Sun doesn’t contribute to heat loss, however Virtual Sun may require climate control for rooms in warmer climates.
  • 24/7 availability.  Real skylights only provide light during normal daylight hours.  Depending on the time of year and geographic location this can be fairly limited, for example the city of Rjukan in Norway goes 6 months per year without a single drop of sunlight and even cities like London receive fewer than 8 hours of daylight in the winter.
  • Building shadows. Dense cities like New York and Hong Kong have many buildings that are always in the shadow of other buildings and receive little direct sunlight even on the sunniest days of the year.  In more rural locations, hillside preservation ordinances or aesthetic goals may limit tree removal / trimming which can block the majority of sunlight available for a given room.
  • Weather independent.  Even the sunniest cities in the world have dark & stormy days where very little sunlight is present.
  • Cleaning.  Real skylights naturally get dirty from rain, dirt, leaves, and other debris and need regular cleaning.  Depending on the difficulty of accessing the roof, the cost of cleaning can be significant over a 10 year period in comparison to the price of the skylight itself.  Virtual Sun does not not need regular cleaning because it is not exposed to external elements.
  • Structural integrity.  In locations where snow pack is common, the strength of the roof structure increases in importance.  Cutting holes in the roof to allow for installation of real skylight can add significant cost due to the need for extra structural reinforcement.   Virtual Sun can be installed without modifying the external roof structure.
  • Glare.  In work environments, direct and indirect sunlight can cause issues with glare that requires the use of manual or mechanical shades.    Virtual Sun’s sunbeam always remains at a constant angle of 30 degrees which does not cause glare issues.
  • UV Light.   Natural sunlight contains high amounts of UV light which can cause premature aging, sun burns,  eye damage, and even cancer when exposed for extended periods of time.  Most skylights will have some UV filters to reduce this exposure, however even the best filters do not block all the UV light.   It can be hazardous to a person's health to work directly under a real skylight for this reason. Virtual Sun does not emit UV Light and it’s safe to work under for long periods of time.
  • IR & Heat.  Natural sunlight contains a percentage of IR and near-IR light which we feel as heat on our skin. While this experience of heat can feel nice for a short period of time, working under a real skylight for a long period of time would be uncomfortable and require the use of shades, climate control, and dressing in layers to try to adapt to rapid changes in temperatures.   Virtual Sun emits heat only diffusely which would heat a room evenly.  Virtual Sun’s sunbeams contain minimal IR energy making it comfortable to sit & work under all day long.
  • CCT Control.   Unlike a real skylight, Virtual Sun allows users to change the CCT of light in the room on demand allowing for relaxing warm temperatures at the beginning and end of your day and bright blue skies when you need to be awake and alert.  While real skylights can be partially dimmed using manual or mechanical shades, on a cloudy or stormy day, the maximum brightness and CCT in the room are outside of your control.  

How does Virtual Sun compare with other artificial skylights that have a visible sun?

For more information see this page:

https://innerscene.com/a7/competitor-comparison

How much power is needed to run Virtual Sun?

Virtual Sun Model A7 uses 200 watts at maximum power.  Typical power consumption varies from 100 to 200 watts during the day depending on the current CCT and brightness and drops down to 10 watts  for night mode.  If operated 12 hours a day for 365 days a year, the annual cost per unit would be less than $100/year based on the world average electricity cost of $0.139 per kWh.

How much space in the ceiling do I need to install Virtual Sun?

Virtual Sun requires a minimum of 10inches / 254mm to be installed flushed with the ceiling.  We also recommend at least one foot of clearance from a person’s head to the bottom surface of Virtual Sun A7.   If you have extra ceiling space available, we recommend creating a recessed light well area so Virtual Sun’s bottom surface is higher than the bottom of the ceiling.  For unfinished ceilings, a section of the ceiling can be dropped as shown below:



If you are working in an space with limited ceiling space above, two possible options to consider include:

  1. Install Virtual Sun such that it is partially recessed above the ceiling and it partially extends below the surface of the ceiling.  For this type of installation, you need to build framing around the sides of the unit to cover surfaces that extend below the ceiling.
  2. Install Virtual Sun into the corner of a ceiling and a wall at an angle as shown below.  For this type of installation you will have limited head height near the edge of your walls.


  1. Drop a small section of your ceiling as shown below.



How do I install Virtual Sun?

Virtual Sun can be installed by any qualified electrician.  Consult our Installation Manual for more information.

Can Virtual Sun help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

We have not conducted medical studies on Virtual Sun A7 for the treatment of SAD, however a number of people, including doctors,  have used Virtual Sun for this purpose and have reported that it is effective in helping them feel normal through dark winter months where normally they would feel depressed and irritated.

Does Virtual Sun cause glare?

No, not when installed in a ceiling. Lighting Designers recommend that you either use large diffuse light fixtures or shielded directional light fixtures to eliminate glare issues.

Virtual Sun emits two light components:

  1. A diffuse light component that is evenly distributed across the entire fixture.  This light radiates in 180 degrees and reaches all parts of a room to provide even illumination. This component is what we perceive as the sky when we look at the fixture.  Because the diffuse light is spread evenly over a large surface it doesn’t produce noticeable glare.
  2. A sunlight component that remains in a tight rectangular beam.  This light component emits at a 30 degree angle from the fixture and has a 2.5 degree divergence angle.  

Can I install Virtual Sun in a bathroom, damp location, or wet location?

Innerscene Virtual Sun Model A7 is self-certified as rated to IP54.  View our Self Declaration document here.

Is Virtual Sun rated for Insulation Contact (IC)?

Virtual Sun is not rated for insulation contact and needs to remain clear of insulation materials to ensure that it does not overheat.

At maximum intensity, Virtual Sun uses 200W of energy which is turned into heat either through light absorption in the room or through heat emissions from LED and power supply losses.   The lifetime of LEDs is determined largely by how cool they remain during operation.  

Virtual Sun has internal temperature sensors that check for over temperature conditions and will automatically dim to ensure longevity.  Because this temperature based dining occurs very slowly, typically it would not be noticeable or visible to inhabitants in the room.  Depending on your construction with multiple Virtual Sun units, heating unevenly due to some units being exposed to open air and some being encapsulated in structure.   If Virtual Sun units are connected to each other via an ethernet switch, all units on the same network will dim to the same level as the hottest unit to ensure consistent brightness across the array.

To ensure the longest lifetime for your LEDs and that the maximum brightness can be achieved, Innerscene recommends creating a small void near the top of the units of 1-2 inches where air flow can occur.  This void can be partially obstructed to accommodate structural support members.  For arrays of 4 or more units,  it is also recommended you ensure adequate ventilation or cooling of the plenum space such that it stays under the published maximum operating temperature specified in our datasheet.

Rooms that have Virtual Sun installed will experience additional heat and may require climate control during the warmer months of the year.

What is the expected lifetime of Virtual Sun?

Virtual Sun Model A7 uses LEDs to emit all of it’s light.   LEDs age with use and slowly lose brightness over time.  Virtual Sun Model A7 uses LEDs that have an expected LM70 of over 50,000 hours assuming adequate temperature controls are in place, meaning after 50,000 hours the LEDs are expected to emit at least 70% of the light from the day you first start using them.  With 24/7 usage this would be close to 6 years, with typically usage this number is expected to be around 15 years.

What is the warranty period for Virtual Sun?

Innerscene Virtual Sun Model A7 has a 5 year warranty.

Purchase Terms & Conditions can be found here:
https://innerscene.com/a7/TermsAndConditions

What Safety Certifications does Innerscene have?

Innerscene’s products are tested under UL for US, Canada, and Mexico and CE for UK and Europe.