Lighting Control Manufacturers Focus on Energy and Retrofit
Within the well-established lighting control category changes to products and the competitive landscape generally tend to be more incremental, rather than “seismic” in nature. That’s what made the decision by multi-room audio pioneer, ELAN Home Systems, to enter into the category last spring so newsworthy.
From exclusive keypad designs (bottom left) to touchscreen and smart phone interfaces (top, bottom right), Vantage prides itself both on the breadth and depth of its interface range.
ELAN Lighting utilizes PulseWorx Gen II Universal Powerline Bus (UPB) to route control signals over a home’s electrical wiring system, replacing standard light switches with the system’s UPB-enabled smart switches.
According to ELAN president and chief technological officer Bob Farinelli, an out-of-the box the system will control any connected load, lighting scenes, and dimming functions. That level of control includes basic on/off functions as well as more advanced lighting effects, such as time-keyed highlights, fades, incremental light changes, and nightlight pathways. The system also adds advanced scheduling and remote access features when paired with the company’s current HomeLogic line and future “g!” IP-based controllers. All devices on the system have unique addresses that provide the capability and bandwidth required to handle large projects and MDU applications.
One Interface Does It All
While most of today’s home systems have evolved independently, Vantage believes that luxury home should not be defined by the range of system control keypads on the family room wall. Instead, its focus is on providing the most robust whole-home control and automation solution by integrating lighting, audio/video, comfort, and security solutions both technically and aesthetically into a single control interface.
From exclusive keypad designs to touchscreen and smart phone interfaces, Vantage prides itself both on the breadth and depth of its lighting control interface range. Vantage incorporates European-style interface designs from its sister company, BTicino, and recently released the RPTouch and EasyTouch II keypads, to add a new dimension to its interface range. Numerous trim, button, and finish styles are complemented by fully programmable tri-color LED technology that allows more personalization of the interface.
A Mesh Network Cameo
(Above) Offering the most affordable options in the product line, Crestron’s Cameo Express wireless dimmers, switches and combination units are available in gloss white, black, and almond. (Right) Keypad Controllers for ELAN Lighting allow control of single or multiple lights with one button.
The latest addition to Crestron’s wireless mesh network lighting controllers has been designed to support up to 100 devices connected to a single gateway. According to the company, each unit in the network functions as a wireless expander, increasing effective range and reinforcing the complete network by providing multiple redundant signal paths.
Because Cameo wireless dimmers and switches are connected to the Crestron network, they also can function as keypads, sending commands to trigger wholeroom or house lighting scenes or audio presets. Remote “slave” units enable control of lights or other dimmable or switchable loads from multiple locations; no extra programming required. In addition, new wireless lamp dimmers and switches are now available, which enables the connection of floor and table lamps to the system and contributes to redundancy that strengthens the network.
The LiteTouch Remote Base Antenna can be added to any existing LiteTouch project, allowing dealers to go back to their LiteTouch projects and up-sell new features and additional load coverage.
Lutron, the company synonymous with lighting control, made a big splash at CEDIA EXPO last September when it introduced the completely new RadioRA2 system, along with numerous other upgrades and enhancements to its classic lines. Even with these new products firmly established, senior VP Chris Murray says that growing concerns about saving energy and proposed energy legislation continue to influence product initiatives at the company.
“Lutron is constantly expanding its line to include things most in demand by homeowners, making it simpler for our system providers to add more value to each proposal and close more jobs,” he said.
Examples include the iPhone/iPod Touch app for the company’s HomeWorks system; the “Smart Grid Ready” feature on RadioRA 2, which will dim lights and lower shades when the smart meter gets a signal to shed loads; the company’s expansion into the automated shade and high-end decorative fixture markets; and the “Green Button” on the HomeWorks system, which trims light levels down to lower levels.
HAI’s new UPB Split-Phase Repeater was designed to enhance the communication reliability between UPB devices by taking UPB messages transmitted on one phase (leg) of a 120/240VAC splitphase electrical system and strongly repeating them on to the other phase (leg).
“The Split Phase Repeater is an invaluable tool in installations with extreme noise, attenuation, or other issues on the powerline,” explained HAI president Jay McLellan. “And the Three-Phase Repeater provides dealers with new installation opportunities for HLC in buildings with three-phase electrical systems.”
Expanding on a Theme
A year ago, LiteTouch launched a new Hybrid Technology line to enable its card-based 5000LC CCU lighting control system to be installed as all-wired, all-wireless, or as a combination installation. Most recently, the company added a Remote Base Antenna, which acts an extension to any LiteTouch Central Control Unit (CCU), adding wireless communication capabilities and/or extends wireless communication range. The LiteTouch Remote Base Antenna can be added to any existing LiteTouch project, allowing dealers to go back to their LiteTouch projects and up-sell new features and additional load coverage.
“Many dealers are re-visiting existing jobs that may have had loads that were left off the system for budget reasons, and offering new LiteTouch Hybrid Technology to add those loads into their already existing system,” said Angie Larson, LiteTouch VP of sales and marketing. “At the same time, dealers can also offer to add Lamp Modules, refresh programming for energy efficiency, or even to swap out keypads with updated styles and finishes.”
Jeremy J. Glowacki is editorial director of Residential System