Lighting Control can save time, money and make your business more secure.

Would you like to have a single button on a keypad or touch screen controller that turns on/off all of the lights in your showroom or office? Do you want lights to turn on and off during the night for extra security? How about controlling lights from your iPhone/iPad or Smartphone? Or have lights turn off in a room after 10 minutes if no motion is sensed?

These are just a few of the things that you can do with lighting control systems. Call us today for a free lighting design quote or read on for more information:

Lighting Control Basics

Lighting control can be as basic as a timer that you plug a lamp into and it turns on and off at a preset time every day. A more sophisticated control system would track the changing time of sunrise/sunset or sense darkness and adjust the on/off times so that the lights always come on around dark.

Lighting Scenes

Lighting scenes allow you to group lights together so that a single button push on a keypad or touch screen controller can set the "scene". So each light in your business can be turned on and set to a specific dim level. Here are some examples:

  • You come in to your business in the morning and push a single button to turn on all of the lights in the office
  • As you leave your business at night, you arm the alarm system and all of the lights in the building go off automatically
  • You enter a conference room and by pushing a single button, the lights come on, the window shades are lowered, a video screen comes down out of the ceiling, and the projector turns on. 

Lighting Technologies

Lighting control basically comes down to two things. The lighting modules and the lighting control system.

  • ModulesThe lighting modules are the devices that actually control the light itself. So for a lamp there would be a light module that would plug into a standard A/C outlet and the lamp would plug in to the module. For a chandelier or recessed lighting, there would be an in-wall switch that looks just like the standard wall switch that you are used to. But these devices would be controllable by the control system. These modules could be wired or wireless and controlled via a variety of different communication technologies.
  • Control SystemThe control system will have the ability to control the lighting modules. By issuing commands, the controller can turn lights on/off or dim/brighten them.
  • Communication ProtocolsCommunication protocols are the mechanisms used by the control system to talk to the lighting modules. Some protocols are one-way and some are two-way. In a one-way protocol, the controller would issue a command (light on for example) and just hope that it actually happened. A two-way protocol allows for the module to respond to the command (yes I turned the light on). Some communicate over the standard 110 Volt A/C wiring in your business. Some communicate via wireless and some are hard-wired. Here are some of the more popular communication protocols:

Powerline:

  • X10 is a one-way protocol that has been around since the early 1970s. It is still in use today. It is cheap and easy to find, but not very reliable, especially in businesses.
  • CE Bus is a two-way protocol that is faster and more robust than X10. It has been around since the mid 80s. It is more expensive and more reliable than X10, but still rarely used in businesses.

Wireless:

  • Radio Ra is a two-way proprietary protocol developed by Lutron. It is medium priced, easy to install and very reliable.
  • Zigbee is a low-cost, two-way wireless mesh network protocol. It is standards based, however interoperability between manufactures is not guaranteed. It operates in the 2.4 GHz or 915 MHz spectrum. Control4 uses this technology 
  • Z-Wave is a low-cost, two-way wireless mesh network protocol. It is standards based and available from many manufacturers. It operates in the 900 MHz spectrum.

Hard-wired:

  • Lutron Homeworks is a two-way proprietary protocol developed by Lutron. It is a high priced, extremely reliable, and very scalable system.

Integration

We install lighting products from Lutron and Control4. These companies have controllers and keypads to control their lighting systems. But what if you have an automation system and want to integrate lighting control in with that system? Not to worry, as there are a few ways to do this. It can be done either via IR or RS-232. So for example an Elan or Control4 touch screen controller can be setup to control audio/video, your alarm system, your thermostats and your lighting. The control system will talk to the Lutron system via RS-232.

Call us today and we can put together a lighting control system that completely addresses your needs.