Lighting Control System Devices

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,379
    Home Maintenance Expert Steve McCurdy discusses lighting control system devices.

    Steve McCurdy: Hi, This is Steve McCurdy from Leviton Manufacturing and today I'm speaking to you about a lighting control system for your home. Now there are several components that make up a lighting control system for your home. One of the most basic is a switch. Now these types of switches easily replace any single pole or 3-way switch in the home and allow you to have convenience of operating the device on and off. Switches like this are typically rated for a 15 Amp, so the amount of current that the switch controls is important to pay attention to. The next thing we'll look at is dimmers. Now when you talk about dimmers, you have to be concerned with the amount wattage that the dimmers come. So these types of dimmers which are radio frequency controlled dimmers, come as 600 Watt, 1000 Watt, there are versions that can be used for electronic low voltage, magnetic low voltage and it's a very universal type of product and it also comes in an array of colors that go along with it. Another very flexible application are, what we call Appliance in Dimming Modules. Now an Appliance Module allows you to simply switch on and off devices in your home. Now this is particularly beneficial when you're trying to control some of the consumer electronics in your home. I don't know if most people know but a lot of the consumer electronics, TVs, computers, draw a lot of electricity when they are off. This allows you to automate that process and turn them off when they are not been used, saving your lot of energy. Secondly, a Dimming Modules, these are small 300 Watt dimmers that could be plugged into any dimming circuit in the house. Typically, they are used for lamps in bedrooms or in hallways or in living rooms and particularly suited for things like home theaters where you really want to be able to low, the proper lighting level and enjoy the films that you're watching, very easy to insert.

    Now there are a couple of basic terms that are used when you're implementing a lighting control system. Scenes and zones are very common terms that are used, for example, a zone could be a single light load or could be multiple light load that you simply want to turn on and turn off. In this case there wouldn't be really any dimming involved, you simply push one switch, it turns on, you push it again, it turns them all off. Now another version of controlling a group of lights is called scene control. A good example of that could be like the kitchen I'm standing in right now, if I want to come in and there are six lighting loads. There could be under cabinet, over cabinet, down lights, the breakfast nook etcetera and I want to push one button, I want all of those lights to go to what we call Presets, I mean it's actually changing the light level. I want the under cabinet to be at 10%, I want the down lights to be at 50%, I want the breakfast nook to be off. That's called scene control, when you actually drive the light level to a preset that you choose versus just simply turning it on and off for a zone. These are what I call scene controllers. They require a 120 Volt connection and that's all, there's no load that's connected to these devices. You can simply put it in the wall and then you assign the various switches and dimmers that you have to specific buttons you have on this. So one could be a level for cleaning, another could be for entertaining, another could be for breakfast or in lunch or any other activities in the home. So these are very flexible, easy to put on and they remember the scenes that you have programmed them into. In addition, to manually control them, you can control them with a various group of remote controls. This allows you the convenience and the portability of working anywhere in your home and controlling all of these loads either from one place, from multiple locations, it's a very convenient item. Now these are Radio Frequency Type Remote Controls. There's versions from Leviton and also several other manufacturers. They also can operate with conventional, what we call IR Controls which are Infrared Controls and that means, you have a line of sight with the controller itself. For example, on these devices here, right behind this door here, is an Infrared Receiver, it allows you to use any conventional remote control, infrared, to control your Radio Frequency System.

    So safety, convenience, security and also more importantly energy savings is what goes into a lighting control system today. You can start small with one or two devices or do 100 devices in your home, the choice is yours. That's lighting control systems for your home.