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Buyer's Guide to Professional Lighting Controls

Lighting controls are no longer about turning a bulb on and off. They're about controlling an environment. From dimmers and shades to sensors and zones, each feature affects the conditions under which AV equipment is used. According to Gerard Darville, Lutron's pro AV sales and marketing manager, the move toward digital controls makes the job easier.

Lighting controls are no longer about turning a bulb on and off. They're about controlling an environment. From dimmers and shades to sensors and zones, each feature affects the conditions under which AV equipment is used. According to Gerard Darville, Lutron's pro AV sales and marketing manager, the move toward digital controls makes the job easier.

A major frustration for integrators, says Darville, is when a project needs to be re-zoned. "Digitally controlled lighting, where each fixture can take an address, enables the integrator to zone the lighting independent of the electrical circuitry," he says. A digital system also addresses the issue of multiple voltages in one room, which normally would require a booster. "Interface devices go away when you go toward digital lighting control because you run the control wires directly to the fixtures." Digital ballasts and drivers now enable control communication to be bidirectional. Similar to how a projector's monitoring system can notify administrators when a lamp needs to be replaced, digital lighting controls are able to notify users when a light has failed. "If you can tell which one is out," Darville says, "it can save you time and real dollars."

Crestron
www.crestron.com

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Crestron

Model: iLux
Pricing: $1,150 to $1,350
Available components: Keypads, touch panels, occupancy sensors, photocell sensors
Digital or analog: Digital
Wireless capability: Yes
Back box size: 4-gang
Max number of zones: 6
Load capacity per zone: 1,920W
Programmable: Yes
Built-in shade/daylighting control available: Yes
Built-in occupancy sensor: Yes
Performance monitoring: Yes
Crestron's iLux controls six lighting zones and six groups of shades. iLux enables user-preset lighting scenes and integration with Crestron's AV control solutions. iLux accommodates up to 16 Crestron keypads and 16 shade controllers for expanded system control. A built-in motion detector is available for occupancy sensing to turn lights on or off or activate a programmed scene. Six front-panel, three-position rocker buttons control each zone. System programming is done either from the front panel or through a PC. RoomView software handles remote monitoring and management. Wired and wireless models are available in black, almond, and white.

Model: GLPAC-DIMFLV
Pricing: $1,300 to $2,500
Available components: Keypads, touch panels,
occupancy sensors, photocell sensors
Digital or analog: Digital
Wireless capability: No
Back box size: Plennum-rated, surface-mount enclosure
Max number of zones: 4
Load capacity per zone: 3,840W
Programmable: Yes
Built-in shade/daylighting control available: Yes
Built-in occupancy sensor: Yes
Performance monitoring: Yes

Designed as a standalone lighting controller, the GLPAC system uses multiple devices as remote dimmer "pods" to provide coverage to many areas, while linking back to a central control processor for control and monitoring. A built-in Crestron control processor makes expansion with keypads, touch panels, and shades easy via standard Ethernet. RoomView software provides remote management and control over the network. It's vailable in four- and eight-channel versions, with or without energy management.

E:cue Lighting Control
www.ecue.com

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E:cue Lighting Control

Model: Light-Drive Elite
Pricing: $900
Available components: DMX2PWM interface for low-voltage LEDs; DMX2CC for high-power LEDs (1W and 3W); DMX2DALI for DALI driven lighting fixtures
Digital or analog: Digital
Wireless capability: No
Back box size: Single gang
Max number of zones: 1
Load capacity per zone: Not applicable (DMX out only)
Programmable: No
Built-in shade/daylighting control available: No
Built-in occupancy sensor: No
Performance monitoring: No

Light-Drive Elite is a wall-mounted, stand-alone DMX controller and interactive user interface for dynamic lighting. The user interface features touch-sensitive keys and a wheel, with color LEDs for intuitive selection and adjustment. It can be easily connected to LED RGB fixtures through an RJ-45 connection for power and data. Light-Drive Elite's glossy finish is designed for an elegant appearance and easy maintenance.

Leviton Manufacturing
www.leviton.com/wirelessos

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Leviton Manufacturing

Model: LevNet RF
Pricing: $100 to $200 (per component)
Available components: Wireless sensors,companion wall switch, and remote receivers; remote switches for lighting/temperature control; SLT circuit interlock and 4-channel transmitters; 3- and 5-way line voltage relay receivers; plug-in dimmer and on/off relay receivers; 2-, 3- and 4-channel room receivers; 2-channel shade controller; and 4-and 8-channel relay receivers
Digital or analog: Both
Wireless capability: Yes, wireless and self-powered
Back box size: Single gang
Max number of zones: Unlimited
Load capacity per zone: 800W to 3,000W depending on model
Programmable: Yes
Built-in shade/daylighting control available: Yes
Built-in occupancy sensor: Yes
Performance monitoring: Yes

With no additional wiring required, installation is reportedly fast and easy. LevNet RF offers support for occupancy sensing, on/off switching, multilocation switching control for lights and other devices, HVAC control, and more. No wires or batteries are required, which helps make the LevNet RF a flexible and cost-effective energy savings solution. LevNet RF can be specified for retrofit or new construction applications.

Lutron Electronics Co.
www.lutron.com/grafikeye

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Lutron Electronics Co.

Model: Grafik Eye QS Wireless with EcoSystem
Pricing: Varies, contact vendor
Available components: Remote controls, occupancy
sensors, daylight sensors, AV interface
Digital or analog: Digital
Wireless capability: Yes
Back box size: 4-gang
Max number of zones: 16
Load capacity per zone: No practical limit based on using dimming panels
Programmable: Yes
Built-in shade/daylighting control available: Yes
Built-in occupancy sensor: No
Performance monitoring: Yes

Grafik Eye QS is a fully customizable preset light and shade control system which provides control, energy savings, and enhancement of the visual environment. Now armed with wireless technology and an EcoSystem bus supply, Grafik Eye QS adjusts lights and shades by touching a button and saves energy while meeting aesthetic, functional, and regulatory needs of any project or space.

Model: Pro AV Digital Controller
Pricing: Varies, contact vendor
Available components: Ethernet/RS-232 interface, remote controls, occupancy and daylight sensors, AV interface
Digital or analog: Digital
Wireless capability: Yes
Back box size: Not applicable; self-contained enclosure for mounting in AV or electrical closets
Max number of zones: 16
Load capacity per zone: No practical limit
Programmable: Yes
Built-in shade/daylighting control available: Yes
Built-in occupancy sensor: No
Performance monitoring: Yes

Lutron's Pro AV Digital Controller makes it easy to control lights and shades, say company officials. The Pro AV Digital Controller works out of the box with built-in Ethernet and RS-232 capability. It connects directly to other Lutron digital fixtures, such as Sivoia QS shades and drapery tracks, daylight and occupancy sensors, and AV systems.

Schneider Electric
www.mysehome.com

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Schneider Electric

Model: C-Bus
Pricing: $1,500 and up
Available components: Dimmers, relays, low-voltage contact closures, occupancy/daylight sensors, dry
contact inputs, thermostats/temperature sensors, keypads, touchscreens, hosted user interfaces, serial/Ethernet interface devices, logic controllers
Digital or analog: Digital
Wireless capability: Yes
Back box size: Standard C-Bus Wired, single gang; C-Bus Wired Decorator, single to 4-gang; C-Bus Wireless, single to 4-gang
Max number of zones: Unlimited
Load capacity per zone: 1,920W/channel; unlimited channels/zone
Programmable: Yes, through free software
Built-in shade/daylighting control available: Yes
Built-in occupancy sensor: Yes
Performance monitoring: Yes

The C-Bus is a reliable, low-voltage control network that uses standard Cat-5 cabling from device to device and supports any topology or combination of configurations for simple wiring layouts. Processing power is built into each device for distributed intelligence, which provides greater system reliability and flexibility with no single point of failure. C-Bus is capable of integrating with other third-party subsystems, such as HVAC, security interfaces, and powered shades. Network size is scalable; a single network can accommodate up to 100 C-Bus units. For larger jobs, users can stack up to 255 networks.

WattStopper
www.wattstopper.com

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WattStopper

Model: Digital Lighting Management
Pricing: Varies, contact vendor
Available components: Intelligent room controllers, occupancy sensors, daylighting sensors, wall switches
Digital or analog: Digital
Wireless capability: IR communication between some devices
Back box size: Varies by component
Max number of zones: Up to 3 zones per room controller
Load capacity per zone: 1,900W (120V circuit) or 3,500W (277V circuit) per relay
Programmable: Yes
Built-in shade/daylighting control available: No
Built-in occupancy sensor: No
Performance monitoring: No (due 2010)

Suite of lighting controls includes self-configuring sensors, switches, and other components. The all-digital system offers an automatic configuration capability for an energy-efficient operating profile. Certain features, including plug-in connections to a free-topology Cat-5 bus, speed up installation and eliminate wiring errors. Configuration tools help with commissioning and information management.



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