Reducing or controlling the light levels of a space not only brings about potential energy savings but can also dramatically alter the mood and ambience of a living space, whilst still providing good working light when required.
Today’s modern light sources inevitably derive their power from complex power supplies such as low voltage
transformers, arc and fluorescent discharge control gear, and latterly, constant current or constant voltage DC
LED drivers. For this reason, the systems to control light levels through these power supplies has equally
become more complex and there is a need to ensure that the correct dimming systems are used in conjunction with the appropriate control gear. The chosen systems need to be well understood prior to purchase and installers need to provide the appropriate power and control wiring prior to fi nal commissioning and handover to a client.
The following briefl y describes the dimming systems used throughout the range of Illuma products. Further guidance can be obtained by contacting Illuma and /or your dimmer supplier.
These dimmers are the simplest and traditionally the most popular dimmers for small installations. They control the light levels emanating from a light source by reducing the power delivered to the light source through the mains wires.
No other control wires are required other than the mains wires. Rather than reducing the voltage level (which was traditionally done), modern dimmers reduce the power delivered to the light source by switching the power on and off very rapidly (many times a second) either at the beginning of the power cycle
(leading edge) or at the end of the power cycle (trailing edge).
These systems have worked well for simple circuits (traditional 240VAC tungsten fi lament) in the past but can present complications when an electronic power supply unit is included in the system (e.g. HF fluorescent or HID ballast,electronic transformer or LED driver).
In such cases the control gear must be of a dimmable design and its compatibility with the chosen dimmer checked. There are many variants in the marketand difficulties with compatibility may be experienced. These are manifested as: flicker, mediocre dimming range, inability to dim down to 0%, dimmer noise or electrical failure. Check compatibility of the LED dimmer with the dimmer manufacturer before purchase.
Otherwise known as PUSH, Push to Make or Retractive switch dimming. Certain control gear manufacturers offer the option to use a mains signal to control a light source.
An extra mains control wire (a switched supply) is required over and above the (permanent) mains supply; the neutral can however be common / shared.
The benefits are that a very inexpensive and readily available retractive "push to make" rocker switch can be used to control the on and off switching as well as the dimming control of the light source rather than an expensive dimmer. A momentary depression of the switch (0.5seconds) toggles the light source either on or off, whereas a longer depression of the switch (1 second or more) allows the light levels to be reduced or increased.
If this system is to be used, then appropriate wiring (the provision of a switched and unswitched supply) is required before installation.
When testing installations it is important that all products are tested at the same time to ensure that they are correctly synced.
DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) is able to provide either very simple or very complex control of lighting based on a digital network. Control gear (12V transformer, LED drivers, CFL/HID control gear) has to be specifically specified and designed into the Illuma fitting to accept the digital input from the network.
Additional control signal wires are required over and above the mains power supplies. Potentially each and every light source is provided with an address and can be controlled as part of a group or individually via an interface / control panel / PC / notebook / mobile app.
Whilst Illuma can provide lighting fixtures capable of accepting DALI signals this must be specified clearly at the time of ordering and appropriate wiring must be in place prior to / during installation. Illuma do not provide dimming systems to control the lighting but can offer advice and suitable 3rd party providers of the
equipment and commissioning services.
If this all sounds too complex for the initial installation and a DALI system is thought to be either too complicated or too expensive, then a low cost simple DALI option can still be considered. A simple
low cost "rotary knob", "Broadcast" DALI dimmer may be installed with a view to upgrading once experience has been gained with the lighting scheme and full requirements and funds are available for a more complex, fully addressable system. Illuma are able to provide guidance on suppliers of inexpensive broadcast DALI
dimmers. Maximum of 64 units per DALI Circuit.
Analogue 1-10VDC systems (or 0-10VDC) require a second pair of low voltage control wires that link all the control gear on a circuit together. All the light sources on a given control circuit receive the same 1-10VDC signal and as such all will be dimmed to the same level together.
Switching on and off is usually controlled by switching the mains supply on/off either via a separate mains switch or by a mains push switch built into a rotary dimmer.
Illuma are able to offer 1-10VDC dimming control gear on many of its lighting fixtures but this must be clearly requested at the time of ordering and appropriate mains and signal pair wires provided during
Digital Multiplex is a control system protocol originally developed for controlling lighting and other effects in the theatrical and stage environment. Like DALI, it is a specialised digital system requiring multicore sheathed signal cable (using 3 or 5 pin XLR plugs or RJ45 plugs for fixed installations), as well as the mains cabling for the power supplies. DMX is primarily used to control colour changing RGB LED products.
Digital Serial Interface (DSI) is a dimming control system originally developed and marketed by Tridonic and is based on a Manchester-coded 8-bit protocol. Like DALI it is a specialised digital system requiring additional control wiring as well as the mains cabling for the power supplies. Illuma is able to provide Tridonic DSI systems by special request but only where the incorporation of the relevant Tridonic control gear into Illuma fixtures is available and viable.
Casambi control is achieved using low power, wireless, Bluetooth technology that allows for easy control of lighting fixtures from smartphones and tablets.
Lighting fixtures can be controlled either individually or in groups to create scenes that are easily setup. Casambi enabled fixtures communicate between themselves to create a Bluetooth mesh network where all the intelligence of the system is replicated in every node and, in such a way, creates a system with no single point of failure.
Such a self-organizing wireless mesh network can control a large number of fixtures from any point. It also allows for firmware updates over the network, allowing any kind of changes to be made over-the-air. In this kind of fully distributed and symmetric architecture, any unit can go offline and catch up from others when
they return back online.
The Casambi devices are smart on their own and only connected when needed. An Internet connection is not necessary for normal operation, it is just needed for user interface confi gurations to be sent or recalled from the cloud service.
The Casambi app works as one of the user interfaces in a Casambi lighting control solution, as the commissioning tool and as well as a remote gateway. The Casambi app works with iOS as well as Android
devices, like smartphones and tablets. The app is free to download by any end user.
Casambi offers a large variety of possibilities for a user to interact with the lighting depending on the user’s individual requirements. The app has a simple yet powerful user interface. Besides the app, traditional wall switches, push buttons and many other control points can be used.
Casambi supports key standards that have significant market presence. Some of the standards that Casambi supports are:
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