Lighting Control System

Many new residential and commercial buildings have their lights operated by a lighting control system. These systems have revolutionized lighting design by providing greater control and flexibility. Lights are no longer isolated from each other simply because they are on a different circuit. Many separate lights can be controlled from a single wall panel or remote control, and they can even be controlled over a computer network. While the advanced systems can be quite expensive, there are a wide range of systems available to suit the requirements and budgets of most lighting projects.

A lighting control system has many advantages over conventional wall switches and dimmers. It allows all the lights to be controlled from any wall panel with the press of a button. Different styles of lighting can be created and stored for use at various times of the day. Sensors can be added to allow for automatic lighting changes, such as when a person enters a room. Home security can be improved by using a random lighting pattern instead of predictable light timers. Most systems can also be integrated into an existing home automation system.

The heart of every lighting control system is the central control unit (CCU). It is essentially a small computer that accepts signals from the keypads and sensors, determines the appropriate lighting style, and then sends outs commands to the light control modules. The system can be expanded simply by adding new modules to it, and most system are capable of handling hundreds of keypads and control modules. The control unit can usually be programmed from its front panel but a better alternative is to connect it to a computer.

Control modules receive signals from the control panel and adjust the power flowing to the lights connected to them. Advanced circuitry means they can handle all types of lighting, even fluorescent tubes which do respond well to conventional dimmers. Sensors are another important part of a lighting control system. Motion sensors let the control unit know when someone has entered a room so it can turn the lights on. Light sensors are used to detect the outside light level so that exterior lights can be turned off and on.

Before a lighting control system is installed, a review of the existing lighting should be undertaken so that a design document can be put together. This document outlines all the equipment needed, how much it will cost, and where it will be installed. It should also included a review of how the building is used and suggest several lighting styles that would make it more comfortable and productive for the occupants. Ideally, the process is carried out by a professional lighting designer but many home owners choose to do it themselves.

A lighting control system is usually installed during construction of a new building, but it is also possible to retrofit a system to an existing building. The main control panel is normally placed on or near the switchboard. Control modules are placed along the power cables to act as switches and dimmers. Light switches are replaced by keypads, touch screens, and remote controls. Motion sensors are placed in the rooms and hallways, along with sensors that detect the infrared signals from the remote controls. Signals from the sensors are sent back to the control panel over low voltage data cables.

Many brands of lighting control system conform to standards that allow them to be integrated with other home automation systems. Home automation not only covers lighting but also door locks, window blinds, air conditioners, appliances, and entertainment systems. The connections between the systems are made using standard computer cables and plugs. These systems can be controlled by installing special software on a desktop computer or laptop. Some systems can even be controlled over the internet or from a mobile smartphone. However, there is a small security risk involved with using this feature.

This Lighting Control System Review is Written/Updated on Jun 2nd, 2009 and filed under Home Improvement. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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